We all want to make the most of technology’s innovations, but what happens when you start to lag behind?
Thanks to the iPad and more recent additions to the tablet world (including the Asus Transformer Prime and the Microsoft Surface), tablets are now at the forefront of technological development. Don’t know what they are or what to do with one? Here are five tips for the first-time tablet owner.
[More from us: Are Tablets Becoming The Preferred Computing Choice?]
1. Protect it with a case
Tablets can be somewhat fragile, and if damaged outside of your warranty conditions, it can be expensive to have it repaired or replaced.
There are many different types of cases and covers you can get to help protect your tablet. Some will stop the screen from getting scratched or cracked, some will protect the whole device from heavier damage, like being dropped, some are waterproof, some just personalized it with a stylish look.
It’s best to adjust what you buy the kind of case that suits your needs. Some of the heavy duty covers might be better for tradespeople, but if yours is only used in the home and office, you may only need a cheap screen protector sheet.
[Recommended read: 6 Essential Accessories to Consider for Your Tablet Device]
2. Be mindful of security
Having such a multi-purpose device with you all the time can be a blessing, and you may end up recording some personal information on your tablet. Many people use them to browse the internet, check their email or make online purchases, and often those details are saved to speed up future transactions.
Unfortunately, that also means that if someone else gets hold of your device, they might suddenly have access to your credit card details and all kinds of sensitive information.
It’s recommended that you enable the auto-locking function on your device. That way, users will need to input a password or PIN to be able to use the tablet. It takes you an extra second each time, but it could save you a lot of money and trouble if your device is lost or stolen.
[Read also: FastAccess – A Software that Remembers Your Face]
3. Apps can do anything
One of the main drawcards of mobile devices is the library of apps it gives you access to. It’s a certainty that whatever you plan to use your tablet for, there will be apps to help you.
Social networks such as Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest are accessible through the internet browser, but the app versions are designed to get the most out of your type of device.
Kindle, Reader and other apps allow you to read full books on your tablet, or you can download publications like The New York Times directly to it.
And of course, there are plenty of great little games available, including the addictive Angry Birds and Jetpack Joyride.
If you aren’t sure about an app, many let you download a trial version for free. If you find it useful or fun, you can then upgrade to the full version – the majority of which will only cost you 99 cents.
4. Research your options
A tablet can be an expensive commitment, so it’s worth shopping around before buying. Compare prices in electronics stores in your area, as well as online. It might even work out better to sign up for a one or two year contract with a telephone service provider, or you can always rent one instead.
5. Take care of your battery
The appeal of tablets is largely in their mobility, so battery power can be a major factor. To get the most out of your battery for longer, ensure that the first time you charge it, you leave it alone for up to eight hours. It can be mighty tempting to play with your new toy straight away, but you’ll get a better lifetime performance out of your battery if you let it fully charge before using it the first time.
You can extend that by avoiding “topping up” the charge – try not to plug it in until the battery is completely flat. If you keep charging it at half-capacity, eventually the battery will degrade: 100% power when the device is brand new may last you two days, but six months later, it might require a recharge after only seven hours.
There are many power-saving functions that can help conserve battery power as well. If you aren’t using a wireless internet connection, turn Wi-Fi off until you are – otherwise the device can waste power by constantly searching for a Wi-Fi signal.
Turn on aeroplane mode if necessary. It will limit your networking capabilities, but can extend the battery life in a pinch.
[Read also: Don’t Trust Your iPad Battery Indicator]
Author bio: Linda Campbell is a freelance blogger who has gone through several mobile devices in the past. Eventually she found it easiest to just rent a tablet.