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Whether you're hoping to purchase the new iPad from Apple, the latest tablet from Asus or the Elitebook 2740p tablet PC, there are a lot of tablet computer options available for you.

One of the most important things to keep in mind when evaluating tablets for purchase is function. While they are extremely useful for watching videos, listening to music, reading and catching up on work-related projects on the go, they aren't full-scale computers.

"A tablet is a touch-screen media device that is actually most similar to a portable media player, but with a larger screen," explains Wendy Sheehan Donnell in PC Magazine. "Many tablets have mobile service features, but they don't make phone calls via a traditional mobile provider. And while you can tackle productivity tasks on an iPad or an Android tablet, you won't get a desktop-grade operating system, like you'll find on a PC. "

As long as you understand that current tablets cannot replace the capabilities of a desktop or even a laptop computer, and plan to use yours for on-the-go tasks, buying a tablet is a great idea. Plus, even if your tablet doesn't come with a built-in keyboard, you can often purchase an attachable keyboard for word processing or Web browsing at home.

Similar to whether you have decided between a Mac or PC computer in the past, the same duality exists these days for Apple's iOS versus Google's Android for mobile operating systems. The iPad series are the only tablets that feature Apple's operating system (which is very similar to the iPhone's operating system), but the Android system is used in many types of tablet hardware. While the iPad is the most popular tablet, there are many affordable alternatives.

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