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experts at
110 pages of step
step advice
he world of mobile is the most
exciting arena of technology
today, and the biggest buzz
surrounds Android tablets.
Thats what this guide is all
about: weve packed it withtips,
in-depthguides and reviews to
help. Naturally, we have all the
basics covered, but theres muchmore
to Android tablets thanbrowsing the
web and accessing email.
Your Android tablet is a hugely
flexible machine, expandable via apps
we reviewover 50 and evenextra
hardware. So weve made sure this
guide includes all the informationyou
need, illustrated withclear screenshots
and step-by-step instructions.
We start at the very beginning, showing
you howeasy it is to set up anAndroid
tablet fromscratch, and introduce all
the key features, focusing onGoogles
brand-newtablet software: Android 3,
also knownas Honeycomb.
Every Android 3 tablet comes witha
set of core applications, fromthe web
browser to the gallery and camera apps.
We reveal howthey work, and howto
make best use of them.
But theres also a wealthof apps that let
you put your tablet to work as anoffice
workhorse, use your tablet as a giant
satnav, and evenas a mobile gaming
and entertainment machine.
Youll find all the informationyou
need inchapters two, three and four,
where we craminguides oneverything
fromhowto synchronise music to your
tablet and get video files to play, to an
advanced tutorial for geeks onhowto
programyour tablet.
One of the biggest problems is the
sheer number of apps to choose from,
so eachchapter includes our round-up
of the key apps, whether office software
or games. These include free options, so
you may not need to spend a penny.
If you havent bought your tablet yet,
weve got every key choice covered. Our
reviews gather together 15 models,
fromthe cheapest to the lightest,
sexiest hardware around. Whether your
budget is 99 or 400, well make sure
you make the right choice.
Our reviews dont pull any punches
either. Eachtablet has beenthoroughly
assessed using a suite of challenging
lab-based tests that reveal howfast it is,
howlong its battery lasts inreal-world
use and the quality of eachscreen.
Inshort, whether youre thinking of
buying, have already bought anAndroid
tablet or are simply curious to know
more, this is the guide for you.
Jonathan Bray
Jonathan Bray is
PC Pros reviews
editor and
resident Android
tablet expert.
Fromhow to set up your tablet to downloading
your rst app, we have everything covered
Movies, music games and more - how to make the
most of your tablets entertainment credentials
Practical advice and tips on social networking,
email and using the web browser
You can turn your tablet into an ofce
workhorse or even a satnav. We reveal how
Fifteen of the very latest tablets, plus bags,
cases and accessories all tried and tested
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Tobeginwe reveal exactly what makes an
Androidtablet tick. Youll findout howtoset
one upfromscratch, howtodownloadandbuy
your very first Androidapp, andwhy Androidfor
tablets is sogood.
Atablet isnt just for browsing the web! Youcan
watchmovies, streammusic fromyour PC,
downloadcomplete TVseries for whenyoure
travelling and, perhaps best of all, its alsoa
brilliant way toplay games. We explainhow.
Email, instant messaging, social networking,
internet telephony, browsing the web you
name it, youcandoit ona tablet. Inthis chapter
we reveal just howpowerful a communications
tool your Androidtablet canbe.
Acer Iconia Tab A100 .............. 078
Acer Iconia Tab A500/A501......080
Advent Vega ........................082
Asus Eee Pad Transformer ......084
Binatone HomeSurf 705 .........086
HTC Flyer ............................088
Cases & bags .......................090
Jexaa JexTab 812 HD ..............092
Lenovo IdeaPad K1................094
LG Optimus Pad ..................096
Motorola Xoom.................. 100
Packard Bell Liberty Tab G100.. 102
Samsung Galaxy Tab............ 104
Galaxy Tab 10.1................... 106
Sony Tablet S ....................... 108
ViewSonic ViewPad 7x............ 110
We uncover some of the more unusual tasks
your Androidtablet is capable of. Discover how
toturnyour tablet intoa productivity tool to
rival a laptop, anebook reader andevena
giant satnav.
If youhavent bought a tablet already, youll find
everything youneedtomake your choice inthis
chapter. Weve reviewed15 tablets that cover
the full range of prices, frombargain
basement topremiumiPadrivals.
In this chapter
ANATOMY OF A TABLETWhat makes upa typical Android
tablet, andhowdoyouchoose one? All the answers are here, fromports
andsockets towhat makes Androidtablets sospecial.
WHAT IS ANDROID Anoverviewof Googles tablet operating
system: where it came from, whats includedinthe different versions, and
what makes it sodifferent fromApples iPad.

FIRST STEPS Getting startedwithyour Android3 tablet, from

setting upyour Wi-Fi connectionandGmail account, totransferring
documents andmusic over USB.

THE ANDROID DESKTOP Findout why the desktopplays

sucha crucial role inAndroid3, howtofindyour way aroundthe icons
andhowtopersonalise it.

THE KEYBOARD&SETTINGS Introducing Android3s

effective onscreenkeyboard, andyour tablets MissionControl the
Settings menu.


Androidare createdequal we explainthe differences betweenthem, and
howtowork out whichone your tablet is using.

APPS FOREVERYTHING What makes tablets special? Apps,

of course: heres a tour of the AndroidMarket andhowtoinstall your first
app andwhy some tablets dont let youuse the AndroidMarket at all.

ALTERNATIVE APP STORES Not all Androidtablets come

withaccess tothe AndroidMarket, but theres noneedtopanic we reveal
the best alternatives.
If youve bought this guide then youre either about to buy a tablet or have
just bought one. So what next? Over the next fewpages, we reveal exactly
what makes an Android tablet tick. Youll find out howto set one up from
scratch, howto download and buy your very first Android app, and why
Android for tablets is so good and so different fromthe Apple iPad.
o what exactly is a tablet, and
what differentiates one from
another? It is, fundamentally, an
LCDpanel witha computer crammed
behind it a touchscreenlaptop
without a keyboard, if you will. So that
display is the first thing youll need to
consider before deciding to buy.
Size is critical. If youre a bookworm
and want a device mainly to read on,
you should opt for a tablet witha 7in
screen. Most 10intablets are quite
heavy and uncomfortable to hold in
one hand. A 7intablet is easier to just
sling ina bag.
A 10inscreencomes into its ownfor
web browsing, entertainment and
gaming. Web pages become easier
to navigate and read, movies more
compelling, and flicking throughyour
photo collectiononthe sofa becomes a
real pleasure.
The type of touchscreenyoull find on
a tablet varies too. Most moderntablets
have a super-sensitive capacitive
screen, whichallows you to tap lightly,
sweep gently and scroll, pinchand drag
withlittle effort.
Some cheaper tablets have resistive
screens. These require you to press
downonthe screento select items and
scroll throughmenus and web pages.
Theyre not as responsive and dont
support multitouch; this means you
cant pinchto zoomor type quickly
using the on-screenkeyboard. Unless
money is tight, avoid this type of screen.
Most tablets also have a camera, but do
check what type before you buy. To save
money some only have a lowquality
front-facing camera, intended mainly
for video calls over the web. Others may
not have a flash.
Youll need to check the amount of
storage space too. Most modern
tablets come withat least 16GB of
storage built in, whichis big enough
for a sizeable collectionof apps, music,
video and games. Some low-cost
Most tablets
have a front-
facing camera,
which allows you
to make and
receive video
calls using apps
such as Skype.
However, not
every tablet has
a rear-facing
camera, which
youll need to
take snapshots
and record video.
They may all look the same, but
not all tablets are made equal. What separates one from another? And how do you go about
choosing the best one for you? We reveal all
Motorola Xoom
sports a 10.1in
screen, which is
ideal for playing
games and
viewing movies.
models, however, keep costs downby
specifying as little as 2GB.
The final big differentiating factor
betweenone tablet and the next is
connectivity that is, howmany ports
and sockets it has. The most commonis
a USB connector you use this to
connect your tablet to a PC or Mac for
general file transfer but there are
other options. Many come withHDMI
outputs so you canconnect your tablet
directly to your HDTV. Some also allow
you to connect USB memory sticks,
while others suchas the Motorola
Xoom include a docking port for
connecting extras suchas cradles.
Most have a memory expansionslot,
too, allowing you to increase storage.
This usually takes the formof a microSD
slot the type of expansionslot youll
find ina smartphone. Occasionally
youll find a tablet witha full-size SD
card slot, whichallows you to use the
type of memory card most cameras use.
It can be a bit
tiresome having to prop
your tablet up on your
lap, and laying it flat
on the floor while
charging it is asking
for trouble. You can
solve both problems by
taking advantage of
your tablets docking
port, and buying a
charging cradle. A cradle
acts as a stand when
you want to go
hands-free, and even
lets you use the tablet
as a hi-tech photo
frame while its charging.
Most Android tablets can be connected to a PC or Mac via USB. However, some are
more flexible than others, boasting not only connections that allow you to drag
and drop files from your computer but also ports that allow the connection of
USB thumb drives.
If your tablet has a rear camera, its useful to also have a flash. This
usually comes in the form of one or two LED lamps, which can be used
to illuminate subjects in poorly lit environments.
Many tablets come with
a decent amount of
integrated storage
anything from 8GB to
64GB but apps, games,
and media take-up more
than you might think,
and there may come a
time when you run out
of space. Most Android
tablets have a microSD
card slot (often hidden
under a flap), and this
allows you to add a flash
memory card to boost
this by up to 32GB.
Your tablet will spend
most of its life in your
hands or on your lap, but
you can also connect it
to your HDTV for that
big-screen experience.
Many modern tablets
have an HDMI output
that allow them to
behave just like a Blu-ray
player, or as a high-tech
games console with
touch controls.
Android tablets come in all different shapes and sizes. The Asus Transformer,
for instance, looks like any standard laptop, but it runs Android 3 and can be
converted from laptop to tablet simply by unhooking the screen from the
keyboard base.
oull probably be quite familiar
withour friendly greenman: the
Google Android logo is liberally
scattered across the windows of every
major mobile phone emporiuminthe
country. But what exactly is Android?
And what makes it so different to
Apples offering?
Inessence, Google Android is an
operating systemjust like Microsoft
Windows or Mac OS. And as withany
laptop or desktop PC, anAndroid tablet
will come witha versionof the Android
OS preinstalled.
Anoperating systemis like a
fancy control panel: it deals with
the complicated stuff,
talking to the
computers core
hardware ina
language it
understands, while allowing
you to pushbuttons and flick switches
to get things done. Without anOS,
youd have to type complicated lines
of code to get it to do eventhe simplest
of things.
The difference betweena standard
computer OS and Android is that,
where Windows and Mac OS were
designed to be controlled via a
keyboard and mouse, Android has
beendesigned to be operated using
a touchscreen. For instance, it uses
finger-sized buttons and controls. It
also supports gestures, suchas flick
to scroll and the famous pinch-to-zoom
gesture first implemented by Apple in
the original iPhone.
As withWindows, Android comes
preinstalled onall manner of devices,
froma range of manufacturers.
Youll find Android onsmartphones,
compact tablets with5inand 7in
screens, and 10intablets. Some
manufacturers have evenattempted,
As well as variety of choice, Android
tablets hold other advantages over the
Apple iPad and iPad 2, and other
manufacturers tablets too. One of
these is connectivity. OnanApple
device theres no way of expanding the
memory, for instance, but on
most Android tablets you canusually
simply slot ina card to boost the
amount of storage space. WithaniPad,
youre stuck withwhatever you can
affordwhenyoubuy; withmost Android
tablets, you canadd storage by up to
32GB whenthe need arises.
Another advantage of Android tablets
is you candrag and drop whatever files
Wondering which
Android tablet
to buy? We review
all the best models
later in this guide.
See chapter 5.
withlimited success, to put Android
onlaptops. And most of the big names
inthe consumer electronics industry
have built entertainment devices on
Android: Samsung, Motorola, Acer and
Asus to name but a few.
This means a huge variety of tablets
withAndroid onboard is available. Flick
to Chapter 5 and youll find reviews of
plain10intablets suchas Motorolas
Xoom, throughAsus Transformer with
its optional keyboard docking base, to
the newwave of 7indevices suchas
Acers Iconia Tab A100. Theres healthy
competitionamong manufacturers of
Android tablets, leading to greater
choice for you.
Youve probably heard a lot about it, but
whats all the fuss about? Why should you buy an Android tablet instead of one from Apple? Youll
find the answer to this question, and more, right here
Manipulate lists, web pages and
photos using intuitive gestures
instead of buttons and scrollbars.
One of the major advantages of Android is that you can switch tablet
manufacturer, and still take the apps youve purchased with you.
make the switchand take all of your
apps withyou.
Inshort, Android is a muchmore
flexible operating systemthanits
mainrival. Its available onmore
devices, it doesnt carry as many
restrictions, and it leaves your future
choices muchmore open.
But we shouldnt be blind to Apples
advantages. Its the most established
tablet, and that shows inthe maturity
of the apps available to it. While
Android is rapidly catching up, there are
more high-quality apps available for the
iPad and because Apple checks each
and every newapp before its made
available, that helps weed out
substandard offerings of dubious value.
By controlling the hardware as
well, you canbe confident of a slick
interface and smoothperformance. The
newer Android tablets made by
big-brand companies all include fast
processors and lots of memory, but
there are dozens of Android tablets
made by manufacturers that have poor
build quality and cut-down
specifications. That means using them
is oftena frustrating experience.
As such, be careful before you buy. If
youre still onthe lookout for a new
tablet, read our reviews.
Android started out life in 2008
on a smartphone. At the time, the
only rivals to the Apple iPhone were
complicated and fiddly to use on a
touchscreen (such as Windows
Mobile), or were corporate devices
targeted specifically at business people
and didnt support touch operation at all
(such as the older BlackBerrys).
Google spotted a gap in the market
and, in partnership with Taiwanese
smartphone manufacturer HTC, produced
the G1 smartphone. It was plagued with
problems: battery life was poor, it was
very basic, and there werent many apps
to start with either.
Google quickly improved Android,
however, moving from version 1 to 1.5,
then 1.6. Since then it has gone from
strength to strength, moving through the
gears to version 2, right through to 2.3
before introducing Android 3 the
tablet-specific version thats the subject
of much of this guide.
Google gives each version of Android a
dessert-related codename; thats why
youll see Android 3 referred to as
Honeycomb throughout this guide. Other
codenames include Gingerbread (version
2.3), Cupcake (version 1.5) and Ice Cream
Sandwich the next version of Android,
which will amalgamate both tablet and
smartphone versions of Android for
the first time.
a potted history
you like inand out of the tablets
memory. If you want to use software to
synchronise your music, video, and
photos, youre not limitedinyour choice
either you canchoose to use Windows
Media Player, DoubleTwist or Songbird,
to name but a few.
Widgets, meanwhile, give you a
windowonyour informationdirectly
fromthe desktop; Apples iPads cant
offer this sort of richinteraction. And
withthese widgets offering at-a-glance
updates, they cansave a lot of time too.
The biggest advantage withAndroid,
though, brings us back to that variety of
choice. If you buy into the Android way
of doing things, your future upgrade
options arent dictated by the whims
and mood of a single manufacturer. If
you see a tablet inthe shops made by a
different manufacturer, you cansimply
If you want to
buy apps, you
need to set up
your own Google
your tablet
makes this a
simple task.
henyou switchonyour
tablet for the very first time,
there are a number of
things you need to do before you can
exploit its full potential.
First up is the job of connecting your
tablet to the internet: youll need to be
online before you candownload and
install newapps and games.
Evenif youve bought a 3G-enabled
tablet, the easiest way to do this is via
your home wireless connection, so
make sure you knowthe name of your
wireless network (oftenreferred to as
the SSID) and its password. If youre
unsure about these details, you should
find it tucked away inthe settings of
any computer or laptop that already
connects to the wireless network. As a
last resort, contact the company that
provides your internet connection.
Once youve provided information
about your wireless network, youll
be asked for a Gmail username and
password. It needs this to synchronise
your email, calendar and contact
information. Also, without a Gmail
account, you wont be able to access
the Android Market to download
and install apps. We provide a
walkthroughof the process opposite,
and if you dont have a Gmail account,
your tablet will guide you throughthe
setup process.
To purchase apps and games from
the Android Market, youll also need to
provide your credit card details. Google
calls this service Google Checkout.
If youve already used Google
Checkout to pay for goods online,
you wont need to lift a finger. If
you havent, the first time you
attempt to purchase anapp that
isnt free, your tablet will launcha form,
asking for your credit card details.
Congratulations: your tablet is now
linked to the internet and you can
buy apps. We nowrecommend you take
some time to copy across some music
files, so you canlistento your favourite
tracks while youre out and about. You
cando this wirelessly, but the easiest
way of transferring any file is to plug
into your PC or Mac via a USB cable.
Whenyou do this, your tablet
will appear onyour computer just like
any USB memory stick would. Copying
files is thensimply a matter of dragging
and dropping theminto the Music
folder onyour Android tablet. Youll find
a walkthroughto guide you overleaf.
Before you can use your tablet to the fullest, you need to
connect it to the internet and set it up with all your online accounts and services think Gmail in
particular. Heres a quick guide to the process
To save time, make
sure you find out the
username and
password for your
wireless network
before you start.
You can set
the time
just leave this
option selected.
Leave the boxes
ticked to back
up your tablet
to your Google
If you dont
have a Google
account, tap
account here.

WALKTHROUGH Setting up Wi-Fi and Gmail

The next screen will
ask you to enter the
date and time, but
you dont need to do
anything but check
that the Use
time option is
selected on the
screen. Your tablet
will be able to set its
clock by
synchronising with a
server online.
Enter your Gmail
username and
password and hit
Sign in. If you
dont have an
account, tap the
Create account
button, ll in the
form, then press
I accept. Create
my account. The
account should be
added to your tablet
automatically. If a
message appears
telling you theres
been a problem,
tap the Back button
and enter the
email address and
password yourself
on the following
Finally, on the next
screen, make sure
you leave the restore
and backup options
ticked. If you ever
need to reset your
tablet, these options
will ensure that
youll be able to
retrieve your apps
and data fromthe
Google servers. Tap
Done and youre

The keyboard will
pop up at this point
and youll be asked
to enter a password.
This is the password
you normally use to
connect your laptop
to your chosen
wireless network. If
no-ones looking
over your shoulder,
select the Show
password option to
make sure you dont
make any mistakes
on the onscreen
keyboard. Tap
Connect to proceed
and wait for the next

The first thing you

need to do is tell
Google which region
youre in. If your
country isnt
pre-selected, tap the
menu and scroll
through the list of
countries, select it
with a tap of your
finger and then press
the Next button in
the bottom-right
corner of the screen.
Your tablet will now
scan for available
wireless networks,
one of which should
be yours. Once its
finished, youll
probably see a
number of options
if you dont see
your network in the
list, you might be out
of range (or it might
not be switched
on!). Move a little
closer to your router
and hit the Refresh
button. Select your
network by tapping
it, then press the
Next button to
move on.

Google will then
ask if its okay to
use your location to
collect anonymous
data and improve
search results. If
you dont want
to reveal your
location, untick
the rst one. If you
untick the second
option, your search
results wont be
localised, which
means if you search
for supermarkets,
say, retail places
near you wont
appear at the top of
search results. Tap


If youre using a
Mac, the process will
be slightly different.
Instead of an
AutoPlay box, the
tablet will appear as
an external drive on
your desktop when
you plug it in. When
this happens, simply
double-click the
drive icon to open it.

In the box, the

manufacturer should
have supplied the
right type of USB
cable for your tablet.
Push the smaller
plug into the socket
on your tablet, and
the larger one into a
spare USB socket on
your Mac or PC.
If youre using a PC,
the AutoPlay box
should appear after a
fewseconds, giving
you a number of
different options to
choose from.
Double-click the
Open device to view
files option. Head
to step 4.

Double-click the
device storage icon,
then double-click
the Music folder. This
is where your tablet
stores all of its music
files if the
manufacturer of your
tablet has preloaded
any samples, youll
find themhere.
Leave that windowto
one side and open
the folder where
your music files are
located on your
computer. On
a Windows 7 PC,
youll find these
under My Computer |
Libraries | Music. On
a Mac, simply
double-click the
Music folder in the
File Transfer utility.
Position the window
next to the one you
previously opened,
and move on to the
next step.
Nowits time to
move some music.
This is simply a
matter of dragging
the albums and
tracks you require
fromthe folder on
your computer
across to your
tablets Music folder.
If youre using a PC,
a pop-up box may
appear warning that
some files might not
be playable. Ignore
this by ticking the
Do this for all files
box and clicking Yes.
To see the music you
just copied across,
launch your tablets
Music app fromthe
desktop and, from
the dropdown menu
in the top-left corner
of the screen, select
Newand recent.
Youll see all the
music youve just
transferred arranged
in an attractive 3D
cover view sweep
your finger across
themto scroll

Dragging and
dropping isnt
the only way to
transfer music.
On a PC; you can
also do it via
Windows Media
WALKTHROUGH Copying music from your computer to your tablet via USB
To select
multiple items
on a PC, hold
down the Ctrl
key while
To search
through your
music library by
keyword, tap
the magnifying
glass icon.


The settings
screen is the
control centre
for your tablet.
Any settings
that can be
changed are
located here.
Make sure you keep your
iPhone switched on during
the pairing process.
Be quick here.
If you dither
too long the box
will disappear.

WALKTHROUGH Using an iPhones internet connection when out and about
Just to be on the safe
side, tap Bluetooth
Settings, and select
the Discoverable
option. This will
ensure your iPhone
can see your tablet
over the Bluetooth
connection. Youll
need to run through
the following steps
quickly, however,
because your tablet
will only remain in
discoverable mode
for two minutes.

If you dont have a

3G-enabled tablet,
you can still connect
to the internet while
youre out and about
with Bluetooth
tethering. Heres
howto do it with an
iPhone. First, turn on
Bluetooth on your
tablet. To do this, tap
the clock in the
corner of the screen,
tap the clock again
when the
notifications menu
pops up, then tap the
Settings option that
appears at the
bottomof the menu.
On the next screen,
select the Wireless
& network option on
the left-hand side,
then tap the
Bluetooth option on
the right-hand side
to turn it on.

You need to turn off
Bluetooth on your
phone before you
can connect. In the
iPhone Settings
menu under General,
select the Bluetooth
option, flip the
switch and go to the
next step.

Nowyou need to set

up your phone to
share its 3G
connection. Its a
simple job just go
into the Settings
menu once again
and, near the top,
youll find an item
called Personal
Hotspot. Select it,
turn it on and when
the option to use
Bluetooth is offered
in a pop-up box,
tap it.
On your tablet, hit
the Find nearby
devices option in
the Bluetooth
Settings menu. After
a fewseconds of
scanning, your
iPhone should
appear in the list. If
youre having
trouble, press the
Scan for devices
option to try again.
Make sure your
iPhone remains
switched on.
Once the iPhone has
been located by the
tablet, select it and
wait. After a few
seconds, a small box
should appear
instructions on how
to hook the two
devices together.
Ignore those and
quickly, before the
boxes disappear,
press the Pair button
on the screen of each
device. Last of all,
once the iPhone is
displayed as paired
on your tablets
screen, tap it to
connect. You should
nowbe able to use
your phones 3G
connection to
browse the web.

Adding items to
the desktop is
as simple as
clicking on the
+ symbol
here are 101 different things you
cando withyour Android tablet,
frombrowsing the web to
playing videos, fromstreaming music to
editing your holiday snaps, but it all
starts at the Android desktop.
Whenyou switchonyour tablet its
the first thing you see; its where you
launchyour favourite apps and games
from, and you canuse it to keep aneye
onyour email without lifting a finger.
If youre used to using a Windows PC,
a laptop or a Mac, many features will
look familiar. The mainpart of the
screen, for instance, acts as a workspace
you cancustomise and drop various
items onto. These items canbe
shortcuts for apps youve downloaded,
bookmarks for your favourite web
pages or one of Androids interactive
widgets your Facebook feed, for
instance, or the weather forecast.
Unlike a PC or Mac, though, Android
isnt limited to only one desktop space.
Sweeping your finger right or left on the
desktop reveals more: Android 3 tablets
offer up to five desktop spaces. Adding
items to themis simply a matter of
tapping the + symbol inthe top
right-hand corner of the screen, then
choosing your items fromthe menu
that appears. You canbring up the same
menu by pressing and holding a finger
to the desktop for a second or so.
But theres muchmore you cando from
the desktop. At the top-left corner of the
screen, youll see a magnifying glass
symbol next to the word Google. This is
the quick searchbox one of Android
3s most powerful features. Fromhere,
you cansearchthe web, and the
contents of your tablet, all at once.
To use it, tap the magnifying glass
and beginto type using the keyboard
that pops up. Or hit the microphone
iconto its right and your tablet will try
to recognise what you say. Opposite the
searchtool, inthe top-right corner, is
the Apps icon. Tap this to bring up the
so-called App Drawer: a list of all the
apps installed onyour tablet.
At the very bottomof the screenis a
thinblack bar the SystemBar. Inits
right corner is a clock and anarea for
alerts and notifications. A quick tap
reveals details of battery life, wireless
network status, and lets you adjust the
brightness of your screen.
Finally, three further icons inthe
bottom-left corner are your main
navigationcontrols: Back, Home and
Recent Apps. Tapping the latter pops up
a list of the five apps you most recently
used. Just tap one to launchit.
Getting to know your tablet
starts with the Android desktop. Its the heart of everything you do, from launching apps to
checking your email, so its well worth spending some time familiarising yourself with its features
If your desktop
doesnt look like the
one pictured above,
its been customised.
See p24 for more
Five desktops
offer plenty of
space to drag
your shortcuts
and widgets
As you
type, search
results appear
Tap the
clock to view
in detail.

WALKTHROUGH Introducing the Android 3 desktop

The Analog Clock is
just one of many
widgets that comes
preinstalled with
Android 3. Not only
does it look great, it
also gives quick
access to the alarm
settings of your
tablet just tap it.

Press and hold your

finger on any vacant
area of the Android
desktop and the
customisation menu
zooms into view.
Here, you can add
newwidgets, change
the desktops
background image
and create shortcuts
to your favourite
apps. Just drag
an itemfromthe
bottomhalf of the
screen to one of
the five desktops
at the top to drop
it into place.
The press-and-hold
technique can also
be applied to app
shortcuts and
widgets to reposition
or remove them.
Hold a finger to the
itemyou want to
change and, after a
second, a faint-blue
grid appears. Keep
your finger held to
the surface then
drag your item
elsewhere. Remove
it by dragging it to
the bin icon in the
top-right corner, or
move it to another
desktop by dragging
to the left or right
edges of the screen.

Its easy to search
both the web and
your tablet. Tap the
magnifying glass to
type using the
onscreen keyboard.
Results appear in
two columns: on the
left, suggested
searches appear as
you type; on the
right, contacts and
websites. You can hit
Enter at any point to
search the web, or
select one of the
options that appears
onscreen as you
type. If you prefer,
tap the microphone
and say your search
termout loud.
Tapping the Recent
Apps icon instantly
brings up a list of the
five apps (more in
portrait mode)
youve most recently
used, complete with
a thumbnail so you
can see exactly
where you left off.
To launch any of the
apps, tap its
Keep an eye on the
corner: this is where
email, calendar
and download
notifications appear.
Tap the menu bar
once to view
messages in more
detail, then tap an
itemto viewit.
You can also access
a number of quick
settings fromhere:
tap the bottom-right
corner once, then tap
the clock and youll
be able to adjust the
screen brightness
and switch into
Airplane mode
(which switches off
all radios, such as
Wi-Fi, GPS and 3G).

keyboard might
look basic, but it
harbours hidden
depths; master
these and youll
be typing almost
as quickly as you
can on a laptop
The keyboard isnt
as basic as it looks. Take control of your Android tablet by learning the keyboards hidden features,
and familiarising yourself with its hidden settings secrets
Keep an eye on the
narrowblack strip just
above the keyboard
for word suggestions
and spelling
heres more to Android tablets
thanjust the desktop. To use
your tablet to the full, youll need
to familiarise yourself withother key
elements. Take the keyboard: its
probably the part of Android youll use
the most after the desktop, but you
need to explore its settings and practice
using it before your typing gets fully up
to speed.
Armed witha little knowledge, youll
be able to insert special symbols ina
trice. Commonsymbols canbe inserted
witha simple long press: just look for
keys that have secondary characters
displayed inthe top-right corner. And if
the symbol youre looking for isnt there,
or its numbers you want, a quick tap of
the ?123 key will bring up more.
Theres evena voice-recognition
buttonlurking inthe bottom-right
corner, whichis perfect for those long,
fiddly spellings youre not quite sure of.
But the key to quick, accurate typing
withthe Android 3 keyboard is to use
Auto Correctionand ShowCorrection.
The first corrects misspellings and
typos every time you hit the spacebar or
enter a punctuationmark, and its so
good you canlet your fingers fly across
the key-tops without worrying too
muchabout hitting the right letter.
Most of the time the keyboard will
choose the right word for you.
As you practise your typing, keep an
eye onthe line just above the top rowof
keys. Here, Android displays the words it
thinks youre typing based onthe
letters youve hit so far. Tap a word to
insert it, thenmove to the next one.
Youll need to turneachof these
options up to the maximum. Set Auto
Correctionto Aggressive, and Show
Correctionsuggestions to Always
show inthe keyboard settings (see
overview, right) to reap the full benefit.
Its also worthexploring your tablets
mainSettings menu. This seemingly
bland collectionof tickboxes and
options is your tablets MissionControl,
and youll uncover all sorts of tasty
titbits if you take the time to familiarise
yourself withit.
Here, you canchange everything
fromthe screenbrightness to the sound
your tablet makes whenanemail
arrives, and you canalso control howit
connects to the internet, stop apps
running, uninstall them, and even
monitor battery and storage usage. We
walk throughits key options overleaf.
Not sure of a
spelling? Hit the
microphone key
and speak into
your tablet
Grey symbols in
the top-right
corner of keys
can be entered
with a long
Auto Correction
keeps typos
to a minimum,
but can be
switched off.

WALKTHROUGH Mastering the Android keyboard

Sometimes, its
nice to hear the
keyboard respond to
your input, as well as
see the letters
appear on screen.
Key-press sounds
can be turned on in
the Settings menu;
again, to access
these settings,
tap the small
Settings symbol in
the bottom-left
corner of the
keyboard, then
select Android
keyboard settings.

As you type, the

keyboard can be set
up to display word
suggestions that run
along the top. If
youre a slowtypist,
or find yourself
constantly making
mistakes, this can be
a godsend. To switch
this feature on, tap
the Settings symbol
(the dial shape) in
the bottom-left
corner, then tap
Android keyboard
settings | Show
suggestions |
Always show.
Numbers and
common special
symbols can be
accessed with a
quick tap of the
?123 key to the
left of the keyboard.
If you cant find what
youre looking for on
this keyboard, hit
the More button to
display a selection of
advanced symbols.
You can get back to
the main keyboard
display at any time
by tapping ABC.

In the bottom-right
corner of the
keyboard, youll see
a key with a
microphone symbol
on it. Tap this, and
Android will launch
its speech
recognition mode
excellent for
entering long, tricky
facility will correct
typos every time you
hit the spacebar or
enter punctuation;
its a great tool for
careless typists. If
youre finding it a
little too eager,
however, it can be
turned down so
only common typing
mistakes are
corrected, or
switched off
entirely. Hit the
Settings key, select
Android keyboard
settings, then Auto
Look at the comma,
apostrophe and
hyphen keys and
youll see a
secondary symbol in
the top-right corner
of each one. To enter
one of these symbols
a question mark,
for example keep
your finger on the
key instead of
tapping it.
One of the great
benefits of Android 3
(the latest version,
also referred to as
Honeycomb) is that,
if you dont like the
keyboard, you can
download another
fromthe Android
Market and switch to
that instead. The
Thumb Keyboard,
pictured here, is one
of the best
alternatives, offering
a split keyboard
arrangement so you
can type more
comfortably with
your thumbs.

Youll need to visit
the Wireless &
networks option
when youre
connecting to a new
wireless network,
hooking up a
Bluetooth device,
such as a keyboard,
mouse or headset, or
adjusting the 3G
settings when youre
using your tablet
with a SIMcard. But
thats not all: you can
also set up a portable
hotspot if, for
example, you want
to share your tablets
3G data connection.

Wherever you are in

Android 3, you can
reach the Settings
screen in the same
way. Tap the clock in
the notifications
area at the bottom
right. Then when a
menu pops up, tap
the clock at the top
of it. This launches
the Quick Settings
menu. To access
the main Settings
screen, select the
Settings option at
the very bottom.
The Settings screen
is split into two
areas. On the
left-hand side are all
the main categories;
tapping each one
reveals a different
set of options to the

You can adjust the
volume settings
quickly by using the
volume buttons on
the edge of your
tablet, but the Sound
section in the
Settings page adds
more options. Tap
the Volume option at
the top and three
sliders appear: the
top one is the main
volume control, and
underneath it are
controls for howloud
notification alerts
are (for newemails
and messages), and
likewise for the
clock alarm.
The screen
brightness and auto
brightness options
can be accessed
more quickly via the
Quick Settings menu,
but the Screen
section hides some
other important
controls, too. Here
you can prevent the
tablet screen from
rotating into portrait
mode, and set how
long your tablet will
sit idle before
turning itself off
to save power.
There are lots of
options crammed
into the Location &
security section.
Youll need to come
here to switch GPS
on or off if you want
to use your tablet as
a navigation device,
and theres also a
host of security
options. You can set
up a screen lock
password, whether
via a PINor pattern,
and for extra security
even encrypt all the
data on your tablet.
If you want to add
extra email or Gmail
accounts, you can do
it on the Accounts &
sync screen. You
can also control how
often your tablet
checks (syncs to
use Googles
terminology) for
newitems here; if
you receive a lot of
email, turning off
the Background and
Auto-sync options
when using a 3G
connection can save
you fromreceiving
an expensive bill
monthly, and extend
battery life too.

WALKTHROUGH Mastering the Settings screen
Many more
reside in the
settings area.
For a quick
overview of how
much storage
space you have
left, tap on
If you need
to reset your
tablet to
settings, you
can do so here.


The HTC Flyer
may not run
Honeycomb, but
its proprietary
make it easy
to use.
oneycomb, or Android 3, is the
most recent versionof Android,
and its the only one Google
has built specifically withtablets in
mind. You might be surprised to find,
however, that it isnt the only versionof
Android intown.
Take a look at the reviews sectionat
the back of this MagBook and youll find
a fewtablets running Android versions
2.2 and 2.3 instead of Android 3 the 7in
Samsung Galaxy Tab and HTC Flyer
being two major examples. Desperate
to cashinonthe success of the Apple
iPad, many manufacturers decided they
couldnt wait for Android 3.
The key difference betweenthese
earlier versions of Android and
Honeycomb is that they were designed
principally for smartphones. And
because smartphones have much
smaller screens thantablets withlower
resolutions, the graphical user interface
oftendoesnt look right.
Icons look oversized and may be
pixellated, while menu options stretch
across the full widthof the screen,
wasting precious space. Earlier versions
of Android do work, but they certainly
arent as attractive as Android 3.
Another difference is that some tablets
withearlier versions of Android on
themdont have access to the Android
Market. This is a bigger problemthan
ugly graphics. Without a means of easily
downloading and installing apps, the
usefulness of any tablet is limited. There
are alternative app stores you can
install onyour non-Honeycomb tablet
(see p28), but they dont have anywhere
near as muchcontent as Googles
official Android Market.
Ingeneral, tablets running earlier
versions of Android arent as good as
the latest devices, then. But there are
some exceptions to the rule, and where
manufacturers have takenthe time and
made the effort to develop their own
interface skin, the results are often
quite successful.
Take the HTC Flyer, for instance (see
above and right). Althoughone of the
more recently launched tablets it
came out long after the Android
3-equipped Motorola Xoom HTC
decided to stick to Android 2.3. However,
the Flyers interface (dubbed HTC Sense)
is very pleasing to the eye, and works
superbly onthe devices 7inscreen.
The Jexaa JexTab 812 HD(see p92) is
another recent tablet that shuns the
delights of Android 3. Like HTC, Jexaa
has installed its ownmodified version
of Android 2.3, whichallows you to
squeeze more shortcuts onthe Android
desktop, thanwould be the case witha
standard smartphone install. The
adaptations arent anywhere near as
extensive as HTCs, nor are they as
innovative. However, the changes do
work a lot better thanthe non-modified
user interface ontablets suchas the
Advent Vega (see p82).
Not every
tablet on the market runs the latest version of Android, but whats the difference and should you
even consider buying one?
If youre tempted to
buy a non-Honeycomb
tablet, make sure it
has Android Market,
or apps will be hard
to come by.
In Android 2.3, you
hold your finger to
the top of the screen
and pull it down to
and here HTC has
added modifications.
Hold the Flyer in
landscape mode and
youll see that the
screen has been split
into three sections: a
list of icons at the
top left lets you flick
between apps; the
options to the right
give quick access to
common settings;
and the notifications
appear in a
scrolling list at
the bottomleft.

A tablet doesnt need

to have Android 3 to
work well, and HTCs
7in Flyer tablet (see
full reviewon p88) is
a brilliant example.
Although the version
of Android on the
HTC Flyer was
originally designed
for a smartphone,
HTC has adapted it to
work perfectly on the
larger screen. Here,
you can see that the
homescreen works
just as well in
orientation as it does
in portrait.
The Flyers core
email app again
makes the most of
the extra screen size.
Instead of simply
displaying emails in
a plain list, the
screen is split into
two panes: tap the
email you want to
read in the list on the
left-hand side of the
screen and the detail
of that email will
then appear on the
right, ready for you
to read and reply to.

One thing to note is
that smartphone
versions of Android
have been around for
longer than the
tablet version, so
manufacturers are
more comfortable
with adding
advanced extras. The
HTC Flyer, for
instance, has a stylus
that allows you to
pen handwritten
notes directly onto
the screen, then
share those notes
with friends, or
catalogue themvia
an online note
service such as
Heres something
you cant do on a
Honeycomb tablet:
pinch your fingers
together on the HTC
Flyers homescreen
and the viewpulls
back, giving you an
overviewof all your
desktops. The Flyer
gives you eight
desktops to drop
shortcuts and
widgets onto,
compared with the
five you get on
Android 3 tablets.
One weakness of
non-Android 3
tablets is that you
cant fit many app
shortcuts onto the
desktop. The HTC
Flyer only lets you
squeeze 16 on at any
one time; with 10.1in
Android 3 tablets,
that number rockets
to a massive 56.
With the HTC Flyer,
you can use the
Android Market to
download and install
apps, just as you can
on any Android 3
tablet. However, its
important to note
that this isnt always
the case with
non-Android 3
tablets. Some have
alternative app
stores preinstalled,
and some have none
at all. Check carefully
before you buy.

applications into
panes helps
make the most
of the larger
screen of a
Tap the Flyers
stylus on its
screen and it
takes a quick
ready for
The Android
application on
the HTC Flyer
works fine, but
not all Android 2
tablets give you
such access.

WALKTHROUGH Why the HTC Flyers interface makes sense

The featured
apps area, which
runs along the
top of the
homescreen, is a
great way of
discovering new
apps and games.
Google updates
it with new
each day, so its
worth checking
in regularly to
see whats new.
Now you know your way around
the Android OS, its time to install a few apps. These are the difference between your tablet being
a glorified touchscreen and the most useful piece of kit in your house
Look at our favourite
entertainment apps
on p38, games from
p42,and our top
business picks on
p60 and p62.
hile apps gained popularity
throughApples iPhone and
Google Android phones, the
larger screenspace of a tablet gives
thema newlease of life.
You candownload anapp to read
novels on, interactive apps for your
favourite magazines, apps for making
free phone calls, apps for sharing files,
shopping and more. Inshort, you can
find anapp to do pretty muchanything
you canthink of, and the best thing
about themis theyre a doddle to install.
Your route for adding apps is the
Android Market, and youll usually find a
shortcut to it fromthe maindesktop (if
you cant see it, your tablet may not
support the Market; turnto p28).
Its split into three panes: a scrolling
carousel at the top for the apps Google
wants to showoff; more featured
apps, filling the majority of the page;
and categories onthe right-hand side.
To get a feel for the sort of apps
available for your tablet, flick through
the Categories links. If you have anapp
inmind, or a particular job you want an
app to do, tap the SearchMarket box in
the ActionBar at the top of the screen
and use the onscreenkeyboard to
searchvia keyword.
Installing anapp is simple: just tap it in
the Market viewto bring up the details
page. This lets you viewa descriptionof
the app, plus screenshots and user
ratings. If youre happy, hit the Install
link to the left and tap OKto agree to
the terms and conditions. Youre then
transferred to the My Apps view, which
shows the status of your install.
Installing paid-for apps is almost as
easy. Once youve entered your credit
card details for the first app you buy,
details are stored for later purchases.
And if you dont like anapp youve paid
for, the Android Market gives you a
15-minute grace period during which
you canremove it for a full refund.
A current annoyance of the Android
Market is that theres no distinction
made betweenapps for tablets and
smartphones. That canmake it difficult
to find apps that make the most of your
tablets larger, higher resolutionscreen.
Adding HD to your searchmay narrow
results to apps that work ontablets HD
screens, but this isnt foolproof.
The good news is that, although
many smartphone-specific apps dont
look great ona big screen, most still
work perfectly well.
Each category
is broken
down into
to help you
browse in a more
focused manner.
If youre paying
for an app, an
Uninstall and
refund option
appears here
after you
download, giving
you a 15-minute
window to
cancel the

If you have more
than one Gmail
account set up
on your tablet,
you can switch
between accounts
by tapping here.
If you dont have a
specific app youre
looking for, you can
browse the market
by category. Each
main category
screen is split into
four sections: an
animated carousel of
featured apps
running along the
top, then selections
of the top paid-for
and free apps below
this, and a list of
subcategories to the
right. You can see
that Angry Birds is
among the top six
free games in the
Android Market.

The main Market

screen offers several
ways to find the app
youre looking for.
You can browse by
the most
downloaded free and
paid-for apps, by
category, or simply
search by keyword.
Were going to use
the keyboard to
search for and install
the perennially
popular Angry Birds
game. Click Search
Market and then
type Angry Birds
(without the quote
marks). Then hit the
Return key.
Angry Birds should
appear in the
top-left corner of
the results screen,
along with a list of
other potential
results. Tap it and the
details screen will
appear. Here, you
can swipe your
finger up and down
on the right half of
the screen to reveal
more information
about the app, read
user reviews, see
screenshots and
even viewvideos of
the app in action. To
proceed, tap the
Install button on the
left-hand side.

Angry Birds is free
on tablets (although
youll have to put up
with some onscreen
ads), so the next
stage will see a
permissions box pop
up. This might look
daunting, but its
simply a heads-up to
warn you which
resources the app
will use when you
fire it up. Its nothing
much to worry about,
so go ahead and
click OK.
If you want to install
one of the thousands
of paid-for apps,
youll need to go
through an extra
stage and fill in your
credit card details.
This is a little
laborious, but once
done you wont need
to go through the
process again. The
Android Market uses
Googles Checkout
service to store your
details, so the next
app you buy will be a
one-click operation.
Youll nowbe
transferred to the My
Apps section of the
Market. This section
of the app (which
can be accessed at
any time by tapping
the My apps
button in the
top-right corner of
the screen) is where
you manage your
apps. The status of
your download
appears in the
top-left corner of
the screen, complete
with a progress bar
and details of the
size of the download.
To cancel the
download, tap Stop.
Sometimes, the
download doesnt
start automatically.
If this happens,
and youre still
twiddling your
thumbs a minute
after tapping Install,
switch over to the My
Apps part of the
Android Market
app and scroll down
the list of apps in the
left panel until you
get to the Not
Installed section.
Your download
should appear
here select it and
then tap Install.

WALKTHROUGH Installing your first app


Android Market
isnt the only
app store in
town for
Android tablets
theres a
whole world of
Although it isnt
App Center is
among the
easiest to use.
pps are what make Android
tablets special, but not every
tablet comes withthe Android
Market installed. For example, some
manufacturers choose not to include it
to save costs.
Fortunately, there are many
alternatives to the AndroidMarket, each
of whichhas beensteadily building up a
decent collectionof apps and games,
bothfree and paid-for, over the years.
Installing apps fromthese alternative
stores is just as easy as it is withthe
official Market. The mainobstacles are
setting up your tablet to accept non-
Market installations (see step 1 of our
walkthrough, right) and finding and
setting up the stores inthe first place.
AndroidPIT (www.androidpit.com) is
the easiest to start with. Enter the
address into your tablets browser, and
the first thing youll see before you hit
the mainwebsite is the download page
for App Center. This is AndroidPITs
alternative Market application, and you
need to install it first.
Just tap the Install App Center
button; this will download a special APK
install file, just like a Setup file ona PC
or Mac, whichyou launchfromyour
tablets notifications area. Again, see
opposite for full instructions.
Once done, youll find the App Center
sitting inyour tablets App Drawer,
ready for launch. Youll need to create
anaccount if you want to download
paid-for apps, but theres plenty of free
stuff to play with.
If you dont find what youre looking for
onAndroidPIT you canalways try one of
the many other alternative app stores.
GetJar (www.getjar.com) isnt as easy to
use, but its packed withcontent.
SlideME (www.slideme.org), and its
associated store application, SAM,
focuses onpromoting the work of small
developers you wont find big titles
here, but you might just uneartha gem
no-one else has heard of.
Theres also Mobihands onlyAndroid
Aproov (www.aproov.com), which
focuses purely onfree apps, and
AppsLib the app store for owners
of Archos Android tablets.
Insome cases you caneven
download the app youre looking
for directly fromthe developers
website. But whatever method you
use to download, the method remains
the same. Turnonnon-Market
installations inthe settings, download
the APKfile, and tap it inthe
notifications area to install.
Some tablets dont come
with the Android Market installed, which you might think would be an insurmountable problem.
Dont panic, though there are plenty of alternatives you can use
Enable your tablet
to install from
Unknown sources
if you want to use an
alternative store to
download apps.
Make sure that
your tablet
apps by ticking
AndroidPIT will automatically
detect your device and provide a
download link.
There are
plenty of good
games available
in App Center,
Paradise Island
being just one.
bar is in a
different place
on Android 2
tablets you
pull it down
from the top.
01 01
0 0 0I
WALKTHROUGH Installing apps with AndroidPITs App Center
The file called de.
shouldnt take long
to download. You can
monitor its progress
in your tablets
notifications area,
which can be pulled
down fromeither the
top or the bottomof
the screen. Once the
progress bar
disappears, tap the
file in the menu,
then tap Install.

Before you do
anything else, you
need to prepare your
tablet to accept
applications. To do
this, go to the
Settings menu on
your tablet, tap the
submenu, and tick
the Unknown
sources option.
The next step is to
visit the AndroidPIT
website and
download the App
Center app. Type
into the address bar
in your tablets
browser, then just
tap the Install App
Center button in the
centre of the screen.

If youre installing
on an Android 3
tablet, the file will
appear in a different
area of the screen
in the toolbar at
the bottomright of
the screen. Look for
a small arrow
pointing down, tap
it, and then tap the
box that pops up. On
the following
window, tap Install,
and youre done.

Go to the Android
app drawer and find
the App Center
application. Tap it,
and youll be greeted
by the App Center
homescreen, with a
list of featured apps
taking up the bulk of
the screen, and a
range of buttons
along the bottom
including Search.
Were going to
search for and install
a popular game, so
tap Search next.
Type your search
term were looking
for Paradise Island
and press the
Search button just
beneath the search
box. The app you
want should be at
the top of the list on
the following page,
with the developers
name Cooper
Media Corp
displayed just
On the following
page, its simply a
case of tapping App
Centers Install
button, waiting for
the download to
complete, and then
tapping Install when
your tablet asks you
if its okay to install
the downloaded
application. Once
this is done, youll
find Paradise Island
nestling in the
App Drawer along
with all your other
stuff. Simple.

In this chapter
SHOOTING&SHARING Howtouse your tablets camera to
take stills andhome movies, andthenshare the results over the internet
withyour friends andfamily.
WATCHINGVIDEOAtablet is ideal for watching movies andTV
shows. We take youthroughthe options andreveal howtoconvert video
onyour PCsoyoucanplay it onyour tablet.

ENJOYING MUSICTake a tour of Android3s musical capabilities

andfindout howyoucansynchronise your music collectionover your
wireless network. The goodnews: its surprisingly simple.
preinstalledofferings are pretty good, but what are the first apps you
shoulddownload? Heres a selectionof the best entertainment apps.

GAMING FOR TABLETS Anoverviewof your tablets gaming

abilities, plus reviews of the very best games for tablets, fromthe classic
Angry Birds tothe frantic Bang Bang Racing THD.
Weve covered the basics: nowits time to get motoring. In this chapter, we
revel in the sheer fun you can have with your Android tablet, fromwatching
prerecorded TV to downloaded movies, fromshooting video with your
tablets camera to exploring the full abilities of your tablet as a music-
playing device. And theres also the small matter of playing games
The Camera
app looks simple,
but hides some
The ring of
icons around
the Shutter
button lets you
control the
white balance
and exposure of
photos, provides
access to a
range of special
effects and
scene modes,
and even allows
you to shoot
timelapse video.
ost tablets include a camera,
so you cansnap stills and
evenuse it like a camcorder.
The process is straightforward: launch
your tablets Camera app and hit the
Shutter button. Theres normally a
shortcut onthe desktop, but if not,
launchthe App Drawer and select the
Camera app fromthere.
You canleave it at that, shooting in
automatic mode to your tablets
memory and browsing the results using
the Gallery app. But by acquainting
yourself withthe Camera apps expert
functions youll shoot muchbetter
photos and video clips. Youll find these
controls onthe ring surrounding the
shutter release button.
Some of these are purely practical:
the lightning bolt symbol gives access
to the flashsettings. You canforce the
flashon, or switchit off for moody,
low-light shots. For videos, the flashcan
be switched onto help illuminate a
poorly lit subject.
If the colours look odd indoors a
little too blue or yellow its usually
because the camera has set the white
balance wrong. This canbe fixed by
adjusting the settings under the AW
(white balance) control. Other settings,
found under the Spanner icon, include
the ability to boost the brightness ina
scene by changing the exposure, alter
the picture size and quality (important
if youre running out of space), and
change the focus mode.
If youre uncomfortable tweaking the
settings manually, but want to improve
your photos, try one of the Scene
modes. These include presets for action
photography, beachsnaps, sunsets and
landscapes to help you get the best
results possible.
Others options are more fun. Hit the
small chequered iconto bring up a
list of creative effects. Using these, you
canturnyour photos black and white,
apply a negative effect or give theman
old-fashioned look witha sepia tint.
Theres anevenmore exciting option
if you switchto video mode: timelapse.
Using this you canset your tablet up to
shoot anaccelerated sunset or sunrise,
or evenyour very ownstop-motion
video, Wallace and Gromit style.
Better still, though, is howeasy your
Android tablet makes sharing photos
and videos withfamily and friends. The
large bright screenmakes it perfect for
handing around at gatherings, and its
internet connectionmakes sharing
photos and videos across the web an
absolute doddle. The walkthrough
opposite shows you how.
While wed never suggest replacing
your DSLR with a tablet, many devices include decent cameras. Heres how to make the most of
them, from capturing special moments, to sharing them with family and friends
To take a self portrait,
use the front-facing
camera by tapping
the small camera
icon in the bottom
right-hand corner.
0I 01
WALKTHROUGH Sharing photos and videos with Picasa
The next step is to
tap the Sharing icon
in the top-right
corner of the screen.
Youll see there are
all sorts of options to
choose from. For the
purposes of this
however, were going
with Picasa. Tap that
option, and then
move onto the next

To share your photos

and videos, the first
step is to choose
what you want to
upload. Launch the
Gallery app, and tap
the Camera Albumto
see your most recent
photos and videos.
Nowselect the
pictures and videos
you want to share.
Press and hold a
finger to one of the
photos to select it;
the tablet will then
go into selection
mode and youll be
able to select as
many others as you
like with a single tap.
If you need to, you
can deselect items
by tapping them

Youll be prompted to
give your items a
caption, and to
select the albumyou
want to upload them
to. You can pick one
youve already
created, but weve
chosen to create a
Nowtype the name
into the text box.
This is a private
album, so weve
selected the Unlisted
option. This means
only people youve
chosen can see the
itemyouve shared.
To share the album,
visit the Picasa
website at |ttp.//
cem your tablet
should log you in
automatically then
select the albumyou
uploaded and tap
the Share icon just
above it.
Nowits simply a
matter of typing the
email addresses of
whoever you want to
share the items with
into the To: box,
adding a message
and hitting the
Share via email
button at the bottom
of the page.

To find out
more about a
picture, tap
the Info icon
in the top-right
corner. Tap the
Camera icon in
the Gallery view
to instantly
launch the
Camera app.
To view a
slideshow of
your uploaded
images, just
tap the
Slideshow link.
Enjoy the big screen on the small screen thanks
to streaming and local video playback. We reveal exactly how to take advantage of on-demand
services from the big broadcasters and how to convert your own videos for playback
Third-party video
apps support more file
types and have more
options than the stock
app. Its well worth
downloading one.
ne of the best things about a
tablet is its huge screen in
comparisonto a smartphone, at
least. Its great for all sorts of things, not
least watching TV, movies or your own
home-grownmovie clips. And there are
all sorts of ways you cando this with
your Android tablet.
The easiest and simplest is via a
streaming service. The gorgeous
YouTube app comes preinstalled on
your tablet and gives access to millions
of clips, fromfunny snippets to movie
trailers, and evenfull TV shows.
Youll find the YouTube app inyour
tablets App Drawer. If youre inthe UK,
we recommend you take advantage of
the BBC iPlayer app inthe Android
Market, because it gives a smoother
viewing experience thanwatching clips
directly onthe BBC website. Its worth
noting, though, that most Android
tablets support Adobe Flash, so you can
use the web browser to viewTV and
video clips onwww.bbc.co.uk and many
other sites.
Another way to watchfilms and TV
shows onyour tablet is to streamthem
fromyour computer. Theres a wide
array of software onoffer to do this, but
Plex is the best weve seen. It costs 3.05
fromthe Android Market and, after
installing it onyour laptop or PC, youll
be able to viewall the video you have
stored directly over your home network.
It evenworks for music.
While streaming video is great, there
are times whenyou wont have a fast
enoughinternet connection or any at
all. Instead, take advantage of your
tablets built-invideo player and make
sure you have a selectionof video files
stored inthe tablets memory.
Some tablets, including the HTC Flyer
and Samsungs Galaxy Tabs, have their
ownvideo stores, where you canrent or
buy videos to download and watchon
your tablets built-invideo player.
For playing other files (whether
downloadedor shot onyour camcorder)
its a little more complicated. Androids
built-invideo player is fussy about what
type of video files it will play, so copying
files across to the tablets memory can
be hit and miss. Youll normally have to
convert files first using anapplication
onyour PC.
The walkthroughto the right guides
you throughthe process, using a free
programcalled Handbrake.
Your Android
tablet is fully
compatible with
all the latest
web video
standards, which
means you can
browse and
watch video on
the BBC iPlayer
website just
like on a laptop
without the
need for a
special app.
WALKTHROUGH Converting a video file using Handbrake
Handbrake also
lets you queue
up videos for
conversion, one
after another.
Be careful not
to choose any
other options
or the video
might not play
on your tablet.
0 0
Next, choose where
you want the file to
be saved on your
computer using the
Browse button for
the sake of
simplicity, we
recommend you
make it the desktop
so its easy to find
when needed. Name
the file.

First, visit the

download section of
the Handbrake
website (|ttp.//
select the version
appropriate to you
and install it.
With the software
installed, your first
step is to select the
video file you want
to watch on your
tablet. Click the
Source button in the
top left of the
window, browse to it
and click OK,
ignoring any further
boxes that appear.

This is where we
determine precisely
howthe video is to
be converted. On the
main screen, look for
a panel called
Presets. Fromthe
Apple menu, choose
the iPhone & iPod
Touch option.
To make the most of
your tablets
screen, you need to
change the
resolution of the
video. In the Picture
tab at the bottom
left, type the same
value into the Width
box as shown next to
Source: and hit the
Tab key on your
keyboard. Theres
only one exception:
if the value is 1,920,
type 1,280.
Finally, hit the big
Start button in the
toolbar and prepare
for a wait: the
conversion process
can take a long time.
Fortunately, you
dont need to do
anything at this
point, so feel free
to occupy yourself
with another task.
Once the conversion
is finished, connect
your tablet to a
USB port on your
computer and drag
the file into the
tablets Movies
folder, clicking Yes if
any message box
You can nowenjoy
your converted
video, making the
most of your tablets
glorious screen. Fire
up the Android
Gallery app, select
the Movies folder
and tap your clip to
watch it.

The New and
recent view
displays all the
music youve
recently added
to your tablet
in an attractive,
spinning 3D
organised by
album. Just
flick your finger
across the
screen to
browse, and tap
to view albums in
full detail.
ndroid 3s Music app is a sight to
behold. Fire it up and youll see
exactly what we mean, witha
screenfilled with3Dalbumcovers
greeting you.
This is the Newand recent view, a
smoothly scrolling carousel you can
flick back and fortheffortlessly witha
finger. Its where the music player
displays all the tracks youve played,
downloaded or transferred inthe past
It isnt the only way of viewing tracks,
though. Options inthe Actionbar at the
topof the screenlet yousort your music
by album, artist and song title. Theres a
full-blownkeyword searchtool,
allowing you to pinpoint exactly what
youre after inseconds, and creating
playlists is a doddle too.
And, once youve set your tracks
playing, you canpop off and do
something else browse your email,
or read a fewpages of your latest
Kindle ebook while the music
continues to play inthe background.
The controls are still close at hand,
though: tap the headphones iconin
the Notifications area inthe bottom-
right corner of the screenand up pops
a small box complete withthe song
name and artist, plus skip and pause
track controls.
To stretchyour tablets musical
legs, youre going to need to add a
fewmore tracks thanthe small
handful of samples provided. You
cando this ina number of ways. The
simplest method is to drag and drop
folders full of music tracks straight to
your tablets Music folder. Just plug the
tablet inand use the file browser on
your computer to transfer the tracks
you want to listento (see p16).
Another optionis to buy and download
music straight to the tablet. All the main
music services have their ownfree apps,
but Amazonis probably the first youll
want to download. It isnt yet optimised
for the larger screenof a tablet, but it
works perfectly well, allowing you to
purchase and download music directly
to the tablet fromAmazons huge range.
And there are all sorts of apps inthe
Android Market that let you do even
more. You canstreammusic over the
internet using Spotify, or listento tracks
fromanother laptop, PC or Mac over
your home network without having to
copy themacross to your tablet first.
You canevensync your tablet over
Wi-Fi, transferring music and playlists
without ever having to physically
connect your tablet to your computer.
The walkthroughopposite shows how.
Browsing, playing, buying and streaming. There
really is no limit to your Android tablets tuneful talents, so follow our advice and place it at the
centre of your musical world
The scrollbar on the
right-hand side of the
screen lets you scroll
through your entire
music library in one,
fluid movement.
Annoyingly, the
AirSync app isnt
designed to
rotate into
landscape mode,
but fear not
it still works
To select
multiple tracks,
hold down Ctrl
while youre
clicking on
tracks with
your mouse.
WALKTHROUGH Synchronising music wirelessly with AirSync
into the Android
Market search
box to find the
apps you need
to install.
With both
doubleTwist apps
installed, launch
AirSync fromthe App
Drawer and follow
the (very) simple
instructions to set it
up, making careful
note of the code

Before you start,

make sure both your
tablet and computer
are connected to the
internet via your
home network. Now,
visit the doubleTwist
website (www.
ea||etw|st.cem) on
your PC or Mac, hit
the download button
and install the
Search for
doubleTwist in the
Android Market app
on your tablet, and
then install both
the doubleTwist
Player and the
doubleTwist AirSync
(3.05) apps.

Fire up doubleTwist
on your computer. It
scans the network
and asks for the code
displayed on your
tablet. All music,
video and photos
stored on it will now
appear under

Your tablet and

computer are paired.
Were nowgoing to
send a selection of
tracks to the tablet
over Wi-Fi. The first
step is to create a
newplaylist by
clicking the Playlist
Setup option in the
left-hand pane and
giving it a name
were calling our
playlist Music.
Click on the Music
link in the Library
section of the
left-hand pane. You
can either drag and
drop files to the
playlist, or select
tracks, right-click
your selection,
choose the Add To
Playlist option and
select your playlist.
Continue to build in
this way until youve
chosen all the tracks
you want.
Select your tablet
under Devices in the
left-hand pane.
Under the General
tab, make sure only
the Music option is
selected, click
Choose Playlists
then Only the
selected, then
select the playlist
you just created.
Finally, hit the Sync
button in the bottom
right, sit back and

You can import
your playlists
from iTunes
instead. Select
iTunes and click
ESSENTIAL APPS top five for entertainment
Price: Free (with ads), 3. 06
(extra features)
Price: 3. 05
Price: Free
Price: Free, 2.42
(extra features)
So, theres a song onthe radio and
you didnt catchthe title or the
band? WithSoundHound running,
tap the Whats that song? button
while the musics playing, and it
will identify the track fromits
unique sound wave signature. And
that isnt its only trick: once your
tracks identified, you canlistento
previewclips of other tracks by
the same band, explore similar
artists and evenhead directly to
the AmazonMP3 store to buy the
track and download it.
While not a specific tablet app,
AirSync is still well worthits price.
Download and install it, along
withthe accompanying
doubleTwist PC and Android
client, and youll be able to
browse the contents of your
tablet directly fromyour desktop,
and synchronise music, videos
and photos over your Wi-Fi
network. Setup is surprisingly
simple and, once done, youjust
leave it running inthe
background. See p37 for more.
Not so mucha playback appas a
tool for finding out whats onand
where, but there are fewbetter
free Androidapps thanFlixster. It
provides reviews andratings from
the RottenTomatoes website,
hosts photos, trailers anda
synopsis for eachfilmto helpyou
decide what to watch. Once youve
decidedonyour movie, youcan
see whichnearby cinemas are
showing it, complete withshow
times andcontact details. A film
buffs dream, andso muchbetter
thanflicking througha local paper.
A picture may say a thousand
words, but what if youwant it to
say a fewmore? PicSay lets you
apply all sorts of funeffects to
your pictures, fromspeech
bubbles for putting words inyour
friends mouths, to clip-art
graphics and a penfor
highlighting details. Also sports
advanced features suchas tint,
hue, exposure, contrast, and
saturationadjustments, while the
Pro versionhas fantastic resize,
crop and straightentools.
Price: 3. 83
Moving video fromyour computer onto an
Androidtablet usually involves converting the
file, thencopying it into the tablets video
folder. WithPlex, youcanstreamyour video
files straight fromyour PC or Mac just install
the accompanying helper applicationonyour
computer, point the Plex appat your machines
IPaddress andit will streameverything from
Full HDcamcorder clips to recordedTVfiles,
straight to the screenof your tablet. It works
remotely too, if youre preparedto fiddle with
your router settings.
Wondering which apps to download next? These ve will allowyou to make the most of
your tablets multimedia capabilities, and should be the rst you download
Owners of
tablets with
an Nvidia Tegra 2
chip inside can
install the
Tegra Zone
app, which
rounds up all
the games aimed
specifically at
the latest
Android 3
Youll be amazed at how much
fun you can have with an Android tablet. With console-quality games and hundreds of free
time-wasters, youll never be bored again
Type HD games
into the search box
in the Android
Market to find games
suited specifically
to tablets.
heres no longer any need to buy
a dedicated gaming device. Your
tablet will do everything a
Nintendo DS or Sony PSP can, but ona
larger, higher-quality screen. The
advanced hardware packed into
Android 3 tablets means effects and 3D
graphics look incredible. Nor is that the
only advantage of owning a power-
packed Android tablet.
As withstandard apps, games are
muchcheaper thanthey are ona games
console, portable or not, withprices
starting at a paltry 69p and topping out
at around 5. Many great titles are
available completely free.
Weve listed our favourite games
overleaf, but there are hundreds more
just waiting to be discovered and
downloaded. Before you start, though,
be aware that there are different types
of games, suited to different types of
Android device. Because the Android
Market provides bothsmartphone and
tablet apps, many titles youll find ina
quick searchwont be optimised for the
large, high-resolutionscreen. Nano
Panda and Chalk Ball bothsuperb
games cant be played inlandscape
mode; instead you have to hold your
tablet vertically, like a phone.
Eventhose smartphone games you can
play inlandscape wont necessarily look
great: the graphics will usually have
beendesigned withsmaller screens and
lower-power hardware inmind, and
may have pixellated graphics.
The first tactic to employ intracking
downtablet-specific games is to keep
aneye out for games that have the HD
suffix tacked onthe end. These have
beendesigned withhigher-resolution
graphics, and take full advantage of the
more advanced graphics processors in
Android tablets. You cansimply browse
the games sectionof Android Market
for these, but narrowing downyour
hunt by typing HD into the keyword
searchbox at the top of the screenwill
help speed up the search.
And if you owna tablet withan
Nvidia Tegra 2 chip inside, you canalso
download the Tegra Zone app. This is a
portal that gathers together all the
games designed specifically for this
type of tablet (games are oftensuffixed
THD or for Tegra), and includes
summaries, reviews and evennews of
upcoming titles.
Before you take the plunge, read our
reviews for a round-up of the very best.
Angry Birds
Price: Free
Price: 1 .31
Bang Bang
Racing THD
Price: 3.70
Radiant HD
Price: 1 .49
No gaming guide would be
complete without Angry Birds. The
premise is simple: using a
catapult, launchyour birds across
the screento kill all the pigs. Your
enemies lurk behind walls of
wood, ice and stone, and it
requires birds of different abilities
to crack their resolve from
ice-breaking cluster birds, to
boomerang birds that canspin
around corners. Fiendishly
addictive, and witha newupdate
released every fewmonths, itll
keep you well and truly hooked.
Qbismis a simple-sounding 3D
puzzle game. Youre givena 3D
template and a selectionof
blocks; your challenge is to fit the
blocks together inthe template in
the shortest time and fewest
number of moves. It starts off
easy and gradually becomes
trickier: withhundreds of levels
to perfect, it could keep you
diverted for weeks to come. Its
one of those games youll start
playing, thenlook at your watch
and find anhour has disappeared.
Download at your peril.
There are plenty of impressive-
looking 3Dracers inthe app
stores, not least Need For Speed:
Shift, and Raging Thunder 2.
However, Bang Bang Racings
top-downapproachhas an
old-school arcade charmthat
none of these canmatch. You
hurtle your car around a variety of
courses, attempting to avoid
obstacles and collisions withrival
cars, nipping throughshortcuts
and into the pits to keep your
motor intip-top condition.
If youhave a soft spot for retro
games, Radiant should be right up
your street. Its Space Invaders
witha twist, enhancing the
classic titles blocky graphics with
moderntransparency and glow
effects, and a thumping music
soundtrack. Thats not all: Radiant
also adds end-of-level bosses, and
a weapons shop betweenlevels
for boosting firepower. This app
has a pick-up-and-play appeal
that many games lack these days,
and is guaranteed to keep you
coming back for more.
Pinball HD
Price: 1 . 83
ModernAndroidtablets have impressive
graphics capabilities, andnowhere is that more
obvious thaninPinball HD(whichonly works on
Tegra-equippedtablets). There are three tables
to choose from: WildWest, Jungle Style and
underwater-themedThe Deep. The 3Dgraphics
are superbandimpeccably smooth, zooming in
andout onparts of the table whennecessary,
andcoping withmultiple balls zipping around
without as muchas a droppedframe. If youve
got stereoscopic glasses handy youcaneven
experience true 3Dgraphics.
There are so many games, and with newones being released every day, it can be
difcult to knowwhere to start. Heres a selection of our favourites
GAME REVIEWS our pick of the top titles
Racing Play
Price: 3. 09
Fruit Ninja
Price: 78p
(1 .96 for THD version)
GlowHockey 2
Price: Free
Guerrilla Bob
Price: 1 . 84
(2.45 for THD version)
Pool Break Pro
Price: 1 . 85
Air Attack HD
Part One
Price: Free
Rocket Bunnies
Price: Free
Infernus: Verse 2
Price: 1 . 23
A top-down3Dperspective racer,
Reckless Racing moves the action
onto the dirt. You choose fromsix
off-road vehicles, eachwiththeir
ownhandling characteristics, and
proceed to hurl yourself around a
selectionof five circuits. While
the price is above average, the
graphics are highquality and the
gameplay is second to none. Our
only complaint is that there isnt
enoughof it. After youve tried
eachcar and track, youll be
gagging for more.
Available inbothenhanced Tegra
and standard versions, Fruit Ninja
is a frenzied fruit-slasher of epic
proportions. As bananas,
pineapples and watermelons fly
up fromthe bottom, your task is to
chop theminhalf witha swipe of
your finger before they fall back
down, avoiding the booby-trapped
bombs along the way. Extra points
canbe gained throughcombos,
and the game offers three
single-player modes and a fun
head-to-head, two-player variant.
Air hockey has beenentertaining
legions of bored teenagers at
beach-front arcades for decades.
Nowyoucanexperience the
unique thwock, thwock, thwock
of puck hitting mallet onyour
tablet, and this rethinking of the
game, complete withstunning
neongraphics and a variety of
playing options, works brilliantly
ona large touchscreen. Youcan
take onthe computer at a variety
of difficulty levels, but the best
way to play is to go head-to-head
witha friend.
Guerrilla Bob is a top-down
shooter of stunning polish. You
control Bobs movement with
your left thumb and shoot with
your right, picking up points, cash
to buy extra weapons and
power-ups as youprogress
througheachlevel. The cartoon-
style graphics look great
especially onthe very reasonably
priced THDversion and there
are also some great multiplayer
options. Youcanteamup friends
insplit-screenmode or over Wi-Fi.
Snooker, eight-ball and English
pool, billiards and carom pretty
muchany cue- and table-based
game you canthink of has been
squeezed into this excellent title.
The gameplay is realistic and
challenging without being too
tricky, and you canplay against
the computer, a friend inpass
and play mode, or another
opponent onthe other side of the
world innetwork mode. You can
evenadd some extra funto the
mix by playing ona hexagonal
table withsix pockets..
If you like your shoot-em-ups fast
and furious, Air Attack HDshould
be top of your shortlist. Inthis
vertically scrolling classic, you
pilot a World War II fighter plane
flying over enemy territory. While
dodging bullets, shells and waves
of enemy aircraft intent on
blasting you out of the sky, the
aimis to reachthe end of the level
and bring the boss down. With
non-stop action, Air Attack will
satisfy the most demanding
gamer, and best of all its free!
It may be free, but Rocket Bunnies
has bags of polish. Youslingshot
your rabbit around the planets in
eachlevel ina bid to rescue the
bunnies inthe shortest possible
time, watching out for marauding
spiders, exploding asteroids and
other lethal obstacles as yougo.
Time your slingshots right and
youpick up speed; time them
wrong and it could all be over. Its
addictive, funand the graphics
look great onyour tablet. An
essential download for anyone
after some less frantic fun.
Moody, spooky and atmospheric,
Infernus: Verse 2 brings the
first-personadventure game to
Android tablets withaplomb. The
graphics are detailed, the
soundtrack tense, and youll soon
be so immersed ina world of
puzzle-solving youll find it
difficult to drag yourself away.
Canyour character escape the cell
block? Canyoufigure out the
fiendishcomputer code? Youll
need your wits about youto
progress far. Be warned, though,
its not for the easily offended.
In this chapter
BROWSINGTHE WEBIntroducing Android3s powerful new
built-inwebbrowser: discover its hiddenfeatures andfindout howbest
totake advantage of them.
MASTERINGEMAIL We take youona tour of Androids
extensive built-inemail capabilities, andexplainhowtosendand
receive messages fromnon-Gmail accounts.

USING SOCIAL NETWORKS Whether youre intoFacebook,

Twitter or Google+, we showyouhowtomake your Androidtablet part of
your online social life.


the best tablet communications tools, fromTwitter andFacebook apps to
Skype andthe amazing alternative browser Skyfire.
Email, instant messaging, social networking, internet telephony, browsing
the web you name it, you can do it on a tablet. In this chapter we reveal
just howpowerful a communications tool an Android tablet can be, howit
can help bring you, your friends and family closer together, and howit
might just revolutionise the way you use the internet.
There are
of free Flash
games on the
website that
play back
perfectly in
the Android 3
web browser.
he internet is nowso central to
our lives that we oftentake the
software we use to access it for
granted. Thats as it should be, and
Android 3s web browser makes the task
more of a pleasure thanmost.
Androids multitouchgestures mean
you canscroll up and downweb pages
withaneffortless flick of the finger. You
canpinchtwo fingers together to zoom
out for anoverview, and pinchthem
together againto zoomin. You canalso
drag pages about as if you were
shuffling paper around onyour desk.
Take a little time getting to know
Android 3s web browser better,
however, and youll be able to do much
more thanzoominand out and follow
links. Theres a lot of power hidden
away under the surface.
Muchof the power of Googles
Chrome desktop web browser is packed
into Android 3. It supports the use of
tabs, whichallowyou to have several
web pages openat once very handy
for keeping ontop of the football
results while putting together the
weekly shop! A single tap is all thats
required to add a newone, and flicking
betweenthemis just as simple.
The browsers address bar also behaves
inmuchthe same way as Chromes. As
well as using it to enter addresses inthe
normal way, you canalso type search
terms into the same box. Once you get
used to this approach, it becomes the
natural way to searchGoogle.
And if you really hate typing, theres
anoptionto searchby speaking into
your tablets microphone; look for the
microphone iconand tap it whenit
appears. You canadd bookmarks for
your favourite pages witha tap of the
finger, and browse throughthe pages
youve visited recently.
Perhaps the Android 3 browsers most
powerful feature is its support for
Adobes Flashtechnology. Flashis the
standard that allows websites to play
video content directly fromthe web
page, and many advanced websites also
rely onit to power graphics-heavy
interactive elements. Its oftenused
for games, too (check out www.
kongregate.comto find out more).
The BBC website, for example, is
packed withFlashvideo clips that play
back perfectly inthe Android 3 browser.
This is a big advantage Android tablets
hold over the Apple iPad 2, whichsimply
doesnt support Flashcontent, and it
makes your tablet the perfect device
for browsing and enjoying the full
richness of the web.
Androids integrated web browser is
powerful and easy to use, but youll need to learn a few tricks to make the most of it. Here we
reveal some of the features that will help you master the internet
If a site opens in
mobile phone view, its
easy to change. Youll
usually find a link to
the desktop version at
the foot of the page.
Tap the X icon
to close
individual tabs.
Press the menu button to
access extra functions such
as the Downloads area.
You can search
Google in the
usual way or use
the address bar
at the top.
If the browser
try switching
the Enable
option to
On demand.
01 01
0 0 0I
WALKTHROUGH Tapping the web browsers hidden powers
Over time the
browser will build up
an archive of the
websites youve
visited, enabling
those pages to load
quicker when you
visit themagain. You
can browse this list
by tapping the
bookmark icon in the
top right of the
browser window,
then selecting the
History option.

Android 3s browser
shares many features
with its desktop
counterparts, and
theres no better
example than its use
of tabs. These allow
you to have more
than one web page
open at a time.
Simply tap a tab to
switch to that web
page, or press the
plus icon on the right
to add a newone.
The Android 3
browser supports
Adobe Flash, the
technology behind
much of the webs
online video content,
such as the BBCs
iPlayer and news
videos. Other Flash
sites include games
portal Kongregate
cem), as well as a
number of childrens
educational sites.

Accessed by pressing
the menu button in
the top-right of the
browser window,
the Settings menu
lets you change
advanced features
such as which search
engine it uses by
default, the size
at which text is
displayed onscreen
and the default zoom
level used when
opening a website.

As we mention
above, the browser
tracks the websites
you visit and
displays a grid of
thumbnail images of
the ones you most
frequently use when
you fire up the
browser for the first
time. To visit one of
the websites, tap its
icon. This very handy
feature isnt enabled
by default, however.
You need to go to the
Labs section of the
browsers Settings
menu to switch it on.
By default, the
browser records
every page you visit
and every search
termyou use, saving
the data to its
archive for retrieval
later. If you dont like
that idea, or you
need to cover your
tracks perhaps
youre arranging a
surprise weekend
away you can
browse using an
Incognito tab,
launched with the
Menu button.
Hidden away in the
Settings menu,
under Labs, youll
find Quick
controls. This lets
you use your thumbs
to access the
browsers most
common controls:
slide a thumb into
the screen fromthe
edge and a dial
appears with back,
forward and refresh
buttons on it, for
example. A number
of other actions can
also be controlled in
this way.

The Gmail app
makes the job
of managing
and reading your
emails easy by
splitting the
view into two
panes: labels
are displayed on
the left and
email headers
are listed to
the right.
ocial-networking services suchas
Facebook and Twitter may be
starting to dominate muchof our
time as well as our social lives, but
youre still likely to spend more time
typing emails thanalmost anything
else. Fortunately, the ability to do this
effortlessly lies at the core of Android 3.
InChapter 1, we discovered that in
order to unlock the full potential of
your Android tablet you need a Google
account. Thats takencare of during the
setup process (see p15), and whenyou
fire up your tablets email app for the
very first time youll find it already
populated withall your messages.
Youll also find that Androids core
email application whichis inthe
app drawer under the Gmail icon
makes reading and responding to your
emails anabsolute pleasure.
The screenis split into two panes. The
navigationpane sits onthe left-hand
side. Whenyou first launchthe Gmail
app it displays a list of folders (or Labels,
as Google is fond of calling them), while
your pile of emails sits onthe right.
Tap a folder onthe left-hand side and all
the emails associated withthat label
will appear inthe pane onthe right. Tap
onthe message subject and the body of
your email will appear, sweeping in
fromthe right. Anindex of your email
remains ina pane onthe left, so you can
quickly browse your messages witha
tap of your finger. To returnto the main
overviewyou tap the Gmail envelope
iconat the top of the screen.
Just as withyour web-based Gmail
account, emails are displayedby default
inconversation view, grouping all
messages withthe same subject line
together, helping you to keep track of
lengthy email exchanges.
If youve bought the tablet for the
whole household, you canadd multiple
Gmail accounts for eachmember of the
family if you like. Switching between
themis simple: tap the email address in
the top right-hand corner of the screen
and a menu will appear listing all your
Gmail accounts. You thenchoose which
account you want to access.
Its not just Gmail thats made simple,
however. Android 3s Email app, whichis
effectively the same thing as the Gmail
app, lets you add anything fromyour
Outlook work email to your Yahoo or
Hotmail accounts. We showyou howto
add a Yahoo account inthe
Android 3s excellent apps make it so
easy to keep on top of your mail that you may find you never go back to using your laptop again.
We explain how to take full advantage using Gmail and Yahoos service
Cant find an email?
The Gmail app
searches messages
on Googles servers,
as well as your
locally stored email.
multiple Gmail
accounts is
simple: just tap
the address in
the top-left
If you want
Gmail to
when you delete
an email, the
option can be
turned on in
To remove
emails and
from your inbox
deleting them,
tap the Archive

WALKTHROUGH Tapping the power of the Gmail app

To save you
bandwidth and
speed up the
retrieval of email,
the Gmail app
doesnt display
images in emails by
default. However,
turning images back
on is a simple job:
just tap the Show
pictures link that
appears at the top
of each email and
theyll magically

The way the panes

work in the Gmail
app are key to its
usability and power.
Not only does the
two-pane system
provide a great way
of navigating
through your Gmail
folders (see
opposite), but you
can also drill down
on each label while
retaining the same
layout. As the body
of your selected
email appears in the
right-hand pane,
the list of emails
it replaces smoothly
moves over to
the left.
You can manipulate
each email just as
you would on your
PC or Mac. Here, the
reply screen allows
you to choose to
Reply all (in the
case of multiple
recipients), Forward
the email, add
attachments such
as pictures or
documents and add
CC or BCC fields to
copy people in on
your conversation.

Gmail search is a
powerful tool. Tap
the magnifying glass
icon at the top left
and a small box will
appear, ready for
you to enter your
keyword. This will
search your entire
Gmail archive if it
doesnt find a match
locally, and display
all the emails youve
received froma
particular contact. As
you type the address
youre looking for
into the box, a list of
possible matches
appears below; select
one to showemails
fromthat person.
Advanced settings
are hidden away
under the Menu
button in the
top-right corner of
the Gmail screen.
Among these
settings is the
rather useful Mute
tool. If youre part
of an ongoing
conversation that
youd rather not
clutter your inbox
with any more, hit
Mute and any future
emails that arrive
as part of that
conversation bypass
your inbox and are
sent directly to your
Gmail archive.
If you receive an
email you want to
keep close to hand,
you can add it to
your starred
emails. Tap the small
star shape next to
the email in question
and it will turn
yellow. Later, to find
it, head to the
overviewscreen (tap
the Gmail icon in the
top-left corner) and
hit the Starred
option in the
left-hand pane. You
can remove starred
emails by tapping
the yellowstar next
to themagain.
Gmails advanced
settings let you
tweak all sorts of
useful bits and
pieces. You can
choose howoften
your tablet checks
for email, which
folders (labels, to
use Googles term)
you want to sync,
change the alert tone
for newemails and
more. To get there,
tap the Menu button
in the very top-right
corner of the screen,
then press Settings.

WALKTHROUGH Adding alternative email accounts
Make sure you
write down all
the details in
this step
if you miss
anything out,
the process will
probably fail.
You can also use
your tablet to
receive Outlook-
based work
email. Tap the
button to set
it up; you may
need the details
from your IT
Non-Gmail mail
arrives in a
separate Email
app, although
it has similar
features to
the main
Gmail app.

On the next screen

youll be asked for
your username and
password. Enter
those details, hit
Next, and the tablet
will attempt to look
up the correct
settings and set up
the email account
automatically. If
youre lucky this will
work first time, and
you can skip straight
to Step 7. If not,
press Manual

You dont need to

stick with Gmail
your Android tablet
can handle accounts
frommany different
types of email
provider. First, youll
need to gather all
your account details
together: your
username, password
and the details of
your service
providers email
servers. Here were
going to be adding a
Yahoo mail account:
youll find these
details by logging in
and searching the
help section for
setting up IMAP.
To add a newemail
account, launch the
Android 3 Settings
menu: on the
desktop, tap the
bottom-right corner,
tap the clock box at
the top of the
resulting menu and
then press Settings.
Next select
Accounts & sync,
tap the Add
account button in
the very top-right
corner of the
screen, and choose
Email fromthe
following box.

This is where you
choose the account
type. The options are
quite cryptic, but
most third-party
email providers will
offer both POP3 and
IMAP email
connections. Its best
to go with IMAP if
you have a choice, as
this supports more
advanced options
such as folders.
Choose your option
to progress to the
next stage.
On the Incoming
server settings
page, check the
details against those
you wrote down in
Step 1. In this case,
the details are
wrong: were going
to change the IMAP
server address to the
correct one by
adding .mail
between imap and
.yahoo, and were
going to change the
security type to SSL.
Hit Next, check the
SMTP server details
are correct, change
the security settings
to SSL, and tap Next
once again.
The last step is to set
your account
options. This isnt a
very important email
address, so were
going to tell the
tablet to check for
newemail only once
every 15 minutes.
You can set this
interval to a longer
or shorter period by
pressing the small
downwards arrow.
Tap Next to finish.
Youre all done now.
however, you wont
find your newly set
up email account in
the default Gmail
application youll
need to launch the
App Drawer (on the
desktop, tap the
Apps button in the
top right-right
corner) and look for
the Email icon. Mail
fromyour newly
added account will
arrive here.

The official
Twitter app
isnt that
impressive, but
have a dig around
in the Android
Market and
youll find plenty
of alternatives.
f theres one area where Android is
deficient, its social networking.
Surprisingly, theres no built-in
support for Twitter or Facebook, let
alone services suchas Flickr or Last.fm.
Evenmore surprising is howsluggish
the networks have beeninsupporting
Android tablets. The situationmay
change eventually, but early adopters
will have found that the official Twitter
app is basic inthe extreme, and no
official Facebook app at all.
Fortunately, Android tablet owners
have access to the Market, and thats
where you should head if you just cant
live without tweeting your every move
or updating your Facebook status.
The first app we recommend you
install is TweetComb, whichhas been
developed specifically for Android 3
tablets. TweetCombs maindrawis its
dashboard view, whichcanbe
customised depending onyour
requirements. Whenyou launchthe app
it displays three columns: your timeline
to the left, mentions inthe middle and
direct messages onthe right.
This canbe changed, however: you can
set up customsearches, subscribe to
lists and have themall displayed side
by side right there onthe dashboard.
And theres no need to restrict yourself
to just the three visible columns,
either you canadd more, and when
you do theyre simply added to the right
of the screen, accessible witha swipe of
the finger.
For Facebook access, your best bet is
either the website itself or Friend Me.
The disadvantage of the former is that
you dont get automatic notifications
whenone of your friends posts an
update. The latter isnt quite as slick as
TweetComb, but it has beendesigned
specifically for Android 3 and has the
distinct plus of being free.
As withthe core email app, Friend Me
splits its mainviewinto panes: the left
pane is for navigating between
Facebooks mainsections fromNews
to Notifications withthe rest of the
screensplit intwo or three columns,
depending onthe sectionyoure in. Its a
great way of updating your status, and
browsing your Facebook photos and
friends Walls. The only omissionis
support for Facebook Chat, but you can
fill that gap withthe free Go!Chat app
fromthe Android Market.
For other social-networking services,
the advice remains the same: have a
good old rifle throughthe Android
Market youll more thanlikely find an
app to suit.
Although there are no
social-networking apps built into Android, you can easily add support for the likes of Facebook
and Twitter with the help of third-party software
Once youve installed
all your social
networking apps,
check to see if any
new widgets have
been added too.
You can check
for new tweets
at any stage
by tapping
the Refresh
On your Twitter
profile page
youll also find a
message replies
and mentions.

You can tailor

the TweetComb
Dashboard to your
needs. Just tap the
menu button in the
top-right corner
of the screen,
select Customize
Dashboard and, in
the pop-up window,
select from the
list of choices by
tapping/ticking the
boxes to the right
of each option. Hit
the Close button
to nalise your

TweetCombs main
dashboard view
features three main
columns, really
making the most of
your tablets screen.
Here, we have our
Timeline on the left,
Mentions in the
centre column and
a custom keyword
search for any tweet
mentioning Arsenal
in the right column.
Posting a tweet is
as straightforward
as youd expect: tap
the Status Update in
the action bar at the
top of screen and
then type whats on
your mind using the
onscreen keyboard.

Tap the Prole
option in the bar
at the top of the
screen to view
information related
to your own Twitter
prole. Again,
TweetComb splits
the screen into
three columns,
with your prole
information on
the left, your
tweets listed in
order in the middle
and any tweets
youve marked as
Favorites in the
right-hand column.
Want to nd
someone to follow?
Then tap the Prole
Search button at
the top right of the
screen. Be careful,
though: this only
searches usernames
so youll have to
get the name of
the person youre
looking for exactly
right if you want to
nd them.
Other Twitter
users proles
are displayed in
a similar way to
your own, with
prole information,
a history of
recent tweets
and Favorites
ranged across the
screen. If you tap
the small triangle
in the corner of
each tweet, a
box appears with
a list of actions
you can perform,
including replying,
sharing and direct
If you want to
change how
behaves, press
the menu button
in the top-right
corner, then hit
Settings. Here
you can change
the text size,
alter how often it
checks your Twitter
account for new
updates and choose
whether to receive
notications for
timeline messages,
mentions and direct

WALKTHROUGH Tweeting with TweetComb

A useful little
option, this:
tap it to jump
instantly back
to the top of
the list.
WALKTHROUGH Using Friend Me to access Facebook
Dont want to
receive Android
of Facebook
activity? You
can turn them
off here.
If you want to
see a friends
photo albums,
simply tap on his
or her profile

To access the
screen, press the
menu button, then
Settings. Here
you can tell Friend
Me how often you
want it to check for
updates you can
choose anything
between ve
minutes and four
hours whether to
use its own internal
web browser to
open web links and
whether you want it
to use Android 3s
notication system
to let you know
when friends have
made new posts.

Friend Mes main

page is split into
two main columns,
with a narrow
navigation strip
running down the
left-hand side.
The default view
is your news feed,
with posts from
friends in the
centre; to bring up
details of posts,
tap the entry youre
interested in and
theyll pop up in
the wider column
on the right.
Friend Me is
actually easier
to use in some
respects than the
Facebook website.
To see your own
prole and recent
activity, including
all your photos
summed up in one
neat page, tap the
Prole option in the
navigation bar on
the left-hand side.
The one thing you
cant do here is edit
and update your
prole youll have
to log on to the
Facebook website
proper to do that.

If youre on
Facebook, youll
probably want to
update your status
at some point. To
do so using Friend
Me, simply tap the
Whats on your
mind button in
the top right-hand
corner, ll in the
box using the
onscreen keyboard
and hit Share.
One of the best
things about
Facebook is photo
management, and
Friend Me doesnt
neglect this side
to the website. Hit
the Photos option
in the navigation
bar and youll nd
you can browse
all the photos
youve uploaded
to Facebook over
the years, with
albums displayed in
the centre column
and the photos
themselves shown
on the right. To
enlarge a photo,
tap it once.
Keeping track of
what your friends
are up to is what
makes Facebook
so great, and
Friend Me has that
covered. Tap the
Friends icon in the
navigation bar and
youll nd your
friends prole
details, plus whats
on their wall, all in
one handy location.
Use the central
column to nd
the friend youre
looking for and tap
their photo to see
their details.
Alas, Friend Me
doesnt support
Facebook Chat,
but there are apps
in the Market that
do. Go!Chat for
Facebook is one of
them, and it comes
with a handy widget
you can drop on
your desktop for
displaying recent
messages both
received and sent.

Use the icon
bar on the
left-hand side
to move from
section to
Price: Free
Price: Free
Dolphin HD
Price: Free
Opera Mini
Price: Free
The multi-platformTaptu keeps
tabs onyour news feeds and
social-networking accounts in
one enormous scrollable grid. Its
impressive to behold. Feeds can
be resized and dragged and
dropped into your preferred order,
allowing you to give greater
emphasis to the photos shared by
your Facebook friends, for
example. Taptu may lack frills, but
it provides anefficient, at-a-glance
summary of your social life inan
easy-to-read format and it wont
cost you a penny.
Withno native support for
Twitter accounts inAndroid 3,
finding anapp for the job is vital.
Fortunately, youdont have to
look far. Withits efficient
column-based approach,
TweetComb shows more
informationona single screen
thanmany paid-for alternatives.
Withsupport for multiple
accounts, optional push
notifications and the ability to
send tweets longer than140
characters, TweetComb is a
valuable freebie.
Dolphinwas one of the first
alternative web browsers to
appear onAndroid. Its packed
withfeatures, not least the ability
to disguise itself as a desktop PC
browser so websites dont default
to a basic mobile phone view. It
supports gestures, so you can
access commonfunctions by
drawing shapes onscreen. The
best bit about Dolphin, though, is
its huge selectionof free plugins,
whichinclude web-page screen-
capture utilities and a tool for
saving pages to read offline.
If your tablet is 3G-enabled, the
Opera Mini browser may save you
fromsmashing throughyour data
cap. Instead of downloading
full-res images onevery website
youvisit, Opera Mini compresses
the page onits ownservers
before sending the slimmed-down
page to your device. This canlead
to blurry images and occasionally
sluggishpage rendering, but
better that thana stonking data
bill. If youre running onWi-Fi,
Opera Mobile offers better
support for HTML5 and Flash.
TouchDown HD
Price: 12. 55 (30-day trial, free)
The Android3 email client is great, but for sheer
power andcontrol youcant beat TouchDown,
especially if youwant to keepyour work and
personal email separate. It keeps all your
emails, contacts andcalendars ina single app,
andsupports pushupdates so youre never left
out of the loop.
Two features really standout: data encryption
anda brilliantly effective remote wipe facility.
This allows youto sendanemail witha kill code
to wipe your data froma lost or stolendevice.
For some users, that alone will make it worth
the price.
The default Android apps for email and the web are good, but you can add further
features thanks to a wealth of third-party apps fromthe Market. Here are 13 of the best
ESSENTIAL APPS for comms and the web
Price: Free
Price: Free
Flash Player
Price: Free
Friend Me
Price: Free
Price: 1. 88 (with video capability)
Go!Chat for
Price: Free
Price: Free
Price: Free
Google+ is the searchengine
giants attempt at beating
Facebook and Twitter at their
owngame, offering its owntwist
onstreams of status updates,
photo uploads and group
communication. The app
integrates withthe service fairly
well, but it isnt pretty. Alas, as with
many of the social-networking
tools, it isnt optimised for tablet
screens. We hope Google sees the
light soonand introduces a
versionbetter suited to non-
smartphone displays.
You cant make traditional
phone calls onanAndroid 3
tablet, evenif youve chosento
purchase a 3Gmodel, but you can
add the ability to do so withthe
free Skype app. Simply download
and install the app fromthe
Android Market, enter your
existing username and password,
and youre read to go. It doesnt
look pretty, but it offers free calls
to and fromyour other Skype
contacts. And, if you buy credit, it
lets you make and receive landline
and mobile calls too.
Despite the name, this app isnt
that flash; it does all its work
quietly inthe background. But to
appreciate advanced internet
content suchas embedded video
clips and radio interviews onthe
BBC News website, its essential
youhave the latest versionof
Adobes FlashPlayer installed.
Many tablets come withit built
in; many dont. So, just to make
sure, before youdo anything else
get yourself along to the Android
Market, type Flashinto the search
box and download it.
Taking its influence fromthe likes
of TweetComb and TweetDeck,
Friend Me brings Facebook to
Android tablets. Its column-based
layout is cleanand clear, and lets
yousee all your friends activity at
a glance. It also integrates nicely
withthe Android 3 notifications
systemto bring youalerts while
youre out of the app itself. It
doesnt quite have all the features
wed like theres no support for
chat, and it doesnt let youupload
photos or video but Friend Me
looks great and is a doddle to use.
Skyfire takes a similar approachto
Opera Mini, compressing web
pages withthe aimof saving you
bandwidthand speeding up page
load speeds. Skyfires difference is
that it will process embedded web
video and compress that too. It
works beautifully, loading pages
and video over connections that
would otherwise cause you to
gnashyour teethinfrustration(on
one BBC video it saved us 70%). It
canalso switchbetweenmobile
and desktop web page views with
a tap of a toolbar button.
Oddly, most of the Facebook
apps available for Android
including Friend Me (see left)
leave out the chat feature.
Go!Chat for Facebook fills inthat
gap, offering Android 3
notifications whenchats arrive,
and it also includes a handy
notifications widget you candrop
onto your desktop. Its basic and
doesnt support the newvideo
chat feature, but this free app
does the job effectively and
without fuss.
Once youve set up all your email
and social-networking accounts it
canbe hard to keep track of
whats using your tablets data
connection. Owners of 3Gtablets
withcapped data plans may well
find themselves exceeding their
data allowance more quickly than
they expect. Synker offers a way
of keeping ontop of things,
providing synchronisation
notifications to let youturnon
and off automatic updates. It also
lets youcreate widgets for all the
accounts youcare about.
For the social-networking gadfly,
Seesmic offers a way to make
sense of the chaos. It brings
Facebook, Twitter, Salesforce
Chatter and Google Buzz into one
single, neat application, and
means youwont have to keep
switching betweenmultiple apps
to keep ontop of all your feeds.
Once youve entered and verified
your account details, status
updates are displayed ina
straight feed, withtabs for
subsections arrayed across the
top of the page.
In this chapter
USING THE CALENDAR Get yourself organisedandkeepup
todate withall your business andpersonal appointments withthe help
of the AndroidCalendar app.
suppliedwithany kindof wordprocessor, spreadsheet or evennote-taking
app. Heres our pick of the best onthe AndroidMarket.

EXTENDINGYOURTABLET Howtotransformyour Android

tablet intoanoffice workhorse, fromdownloading office suite software
toinstalling a Bluetoothkeyboardandmouse.

READING ONYOUR TABLETTheres noneedtolug arounda

separate ebook reader as well as your tablet: Amazons Kindle appprovides
all the functionality of the real Kindle onyour Androiddevice.

MAPS &NAVIGATIONStill using a printedatlas or a traditional

satnav? Time toupgrade toGoogle Maps andits built-innavigationaid.
TomTomeat your heart out!


away fromthe mains withour tips andtricks onsqueezing more juice out
of your tablets battery.


tasks there are a fewessential programming tools every Androidtablet
owner shouldown. Findout what they are here.


We choose the best apps for everything fromsyncing your tablet withyour
desktopcomputer toprotecting yourself fromviruses.
This chapter uncovers some of the more unusual tasks your Android tablet
is capable of. Over the next fewpages youll discover howto turn your tablet
into a productivity tool, an ebook reader and even a giant satnav. Weve also
rounded up the best office apps and utilities on the Android Market.
Android 3s
Calendar app is
simple to use
but deceptively
allowing you
to display
from multiple
accounts side
by side in the
same view.
o far weve concentrated onthe
lighter side of life: howyour
Android tablet canbe used for
personal entertainment and keeping on
top of your social life. But a tablet can
be used for work too.
At the heart of any working day is
your diary without it, a chaos of
missed meetings and forgottenevents
would ensue. Android 3s Calendar app
is the perfect way of organising it all.
Youll find it inthe App Launcher.
You canchoose a day, week or month
view; just tap the options inthe top left
of the screento switchbetweenthem.
You cannavigate betweendays and
weeks witha sideways swipe of a finger,
or use the monthpanel onthe right to
skip into the future.
To add anappointment, hit the
buttonand fill ina form. You cansearch
appointments by keyword, set
reminders and specify if a meeting
repeats daily, weekly, monthly or
annually. You canalso invite contacts
onyour tablet to meetings.
Perhaps the apps most powerful
feature is its ability to synchronise
appointments withthe cloud; that is,
all those services that live online. As
withthe other core apps email and
contacts the Calendar app is linked
directly to your Google account and the
online Google Calendar tool.
Set up anappointment or meeting on
your tablet and it appears inyour online
calendar. Set one up online and your
tablet will remind you its about to start,
wherever you are. Google calendars can
be shared betweencolleagues, too,
enabling you to set up appointments
for a whole department to see.
The Android 3 Calendar app will even
handle multiple accounts. Add another
Gmail account or a corporate email
account via the Accounts &sync menu
optioninthe mainSettings menu, and
youll see the name of that account
appear ina list withyour original Gmail
account name onthe right-hand side of
the maincalendar screen.
By default, the Calendar app will
display appointments fromeach
account side by side, colour coding
appointments depending onthe
account fromwhichthey originated.
Thats brilliant, but if youre particularly
busy, things canstart to get messy and
difficult to read. A simple tap of the
finger onthe account name onthe right
will fix that, effectively turning off
appointments fromthat particular
account, allowing you to concentrate
onone schedule at a time.
Androids powerful Calendar
app will help keep you on top of your schedule, whether at work or play. Here we reveal some of
its cleverest features and explain how to take full advantage
Tap the names on the
right of the Calendar
to make related
appointments appear
and disappear from
the view.
WALKTHROUGH Viewing and setting up appointments
All the navigation
controls are on the
right-hand side of
the Calendar screen.
In the top corner are
buttons for search,
adding newevents
and skipping to
todays date. Below,
a small panel lets
you quickly select a
specific week or day,
and an upwards or
downwards flick of
the finger takes you
back or forward a
month. The switches
at the bottomlet
you showand hide
appointments for a
particular account
with a single tap.

You can tailor the

Calendar apps
viewto your own
preferences. Tap the
Day option (top
left), and youll see
your appointments
displayed across
most of the width of
the screen. Swipe
your finger up and
down to browse that
24-hour period, and
right or left to go to
the next or previous
day. The Week view
displays each day of
the week in narrower
columns, while the
Month viewgives
you a quick overview
of your schedule.
The Calendar apps
Month viewworks
slightly differently
to the other main
views. First, theres
no navigation panel
to the right. To move
around in this view,
you swipe up and
down with your
finger. Second,
theres no right or
left swipe option. If
you want to viewa
specific month a
year or two into the
future, you just have
to keep scrolling
until you get there.

Setting up an
appointment is easy.
Meetings can run all
day or be set to a
scheduled time slot,
and you can give
each one a location,
set recurrences (if
you want a meeting
to take place every
Monday, for
example) and
multiple reminders.
You can also add
the email addresses
of colleagues you
want to invite to the
meeting: if they
accept the invite,
the meeting will
appear on their
own calendars.
In addition to the
core app, theres
also a widget you
can drop on to your
desktop. This
useful titbit displays
todays date, as
well as a scrollable
list of upcoming
appointments, which
you can tap to view
full details. You can
also add a new
calendar item
quickly fromhere by
pressing the small
icon in the top right
corner, or launch
the Calendar app
by pressing the date
in the widgets
top-left corner.
Cleverly, any details
entered into the
Location field of an
appointment will
showup as a link to
Google Maps (see
p68) once its been
inserted into your
schedule. Tap any
appointment then
the location link, and
your tablet will show
you exactly where it
is on the map.
Unusually, the
Calendar apps
Settings menu
(accessed by
pressing the icon
in the top-right
corner) isnt stuffed
with options.
However, its worth
remembering that
you can add extra
accounts fromhere
(the process is the
same as detailed
opposite) and
change basic view
settings such as
which day you want
the calendars
weekly viewto start
on: Saturday, Sunday
or Monday.

Setting up
appointments is
as simple as
pressing this
Press on the
link and youll be
taken straight
to your meeting
location in
Google Maps.

Price: Free
Price: Free
Google Docs
Price: Free
Quickofce Pro HD
Price: 12. 59
The cloud synchronisation
service Dropbox is arguably the
most convenient way to share
documents and files between
different computers and users. Set
yourself up witha free account,
install the software onall your
devices (Android and iOS
smartphones and tablets, plus
Windows PCs and Macs, are all
supported), and sharing files
betweenthembecomes as simple
as dropping theminto the 2GB
Dropbox folder. This is accessible
online via any browser, too.
Youdont need fancy formatting
for jotting downquick notes or
reminders, but it does help to
have some useful extras. Thats
precisely what ColorNote offers,
allowing youto create plaintext
notes or checklists ina variety of
different colours, thenpin them
to your desktop. Wed like the
process of pinning to be more
intuitive, but this attractive app is
otherwise very easy to use, and
offers the handy extra of being
able to send notes via email once
youve finished writing them.
For document editing, creation
sharing and collaboration, Google
offers its ownfree app for
accessing the Google Docs service.
One of the apps best features is
its ability to snap a picture of a
piece of work, upload it as part of
a document and have Google
transformit into editable text.
However, the editing functions
themselves are basic. Its good for
emergencies, but if editing Google
Docs is a regular requirement,
youre better off paying for
Quickoffice Pro HD(see right).
Quickoffice Pro HDoffers office
document creation, editing and
management facilities, withits
spreadsheet, word processor and
presentationtools able to handle
Microsoft Office formats. Editing
facilities are basic and there are
some file compatibility issues
theres no RTF support, for
instance but it offers seamless
integrationwithonline services
suchas Google Docs, Dropbox
and box.net, plus the ability to
drag and drop documents from
one locationto another.
ThinkFree Mobile
for Tablet HD
Price: 6. 14
Whenit comes to office software, most Android
apps offer the bare minimumof editing tools
anda very basic front end; not so ThinkFree
Mobile. Its wordprocessor, spreadsheet and
presentationtool are compatible withthe latest
Microsoft Office formats, but its key attraction
is its feature-richuser interface. The word
processor, for instance, offers column, table
creationanddrawing tools. Theres no
integrationwithonline services, but youget
1GBof online storage onThinkFrees own
servers, andthe price is reasonable.
It may be a lot of fun to use, but your Android tablet also excels at the more mundane
tasks in life. All you need are a fewchoice apps fromthe Market
ESSENTIAL APPS for productivity
Due Today
Price: 1 . 85
Documents To Go
Price: 9.99
Thinking Space Pro
Price: 2.99
Price: Free
Everyone needs to make to-do
lists at one time or another, but
Android offers no suchfacility
built in. Due Today fills the gap
withaplomb: you cancreate
simple lists of tasks and give them
priorities and due dates as normal.
Tasks canalso be assigned to
contexts (to help you keep work
and home items separate, for
instance), to projects and to
people. Its easy to use, witha
simple yet effective front end, and
you canevensynchronise with
online to-do-list services.
Of all the office suites available
for Android, Documents To Go is
the most basic. Youget the usual
word processor, spreadsheet
and presentationtool and
compatibility withMicrosoft
Office formats, but it hasnt been
tailored for tablets. Inparticular,
graphics look chunky and basic,
the in-document options are all
accessed via drop-downmenus,
and theres no support for pinch
to zoom. Youcanuse it to access
Google Docs directly, but
otherwise this is a basic offering.
Mind-mapping software is often
used to brainstorm, organise ideas
or as analternative to planning
programs. There are plenty of
choices onthe Android Market,
but Thinking Space Pro is the best
mind-mapping app weve come
across so far. Creating basic maps
is straightforward enough and
they look good evenif you use
the default settings and you
canalso customise your maps
withdifferent colours and styles,
add link arrows, attachfiles and
evenadd notes.
After doing all this work, it stands
to reasonthat at some point
youre going to need to print out
a document. However, as Android
tablets have no printer drivers
built inas standard, youll need
to download extra software to do
it. The solutionis to set up Google
Cloud Print ona PC at home and
use the PrinterShare app to print
documents throughyour PC over
the internet. Its basic, and you
need to leave the PC thats
connected to your printer on, but
its very effective.
ESSENTIAL APPS for productivity
Price: Free
Evernotes superbcloud-based, cross-platform
note-taking andweb-clipping service is a great
way of organising andstoring stuff youwant to
remember. It allows youto store notes, photos,
webpages andevenaudio clips online ready to
access fromyour PC, tablet or smartphone at
any time. This apphas beenspecially optimised
for Androidtablets andworks beautifully, with
a split-screen, pane-basedviewthat makes the
most of a tablets high-resolutionwidescreen
display. The default viewis especially elegant,
displaying notes ina timeline withthe most
recent shownfirst.
If you want to use your
tablet for work as well as play, youll need to think about buying an extra accessory or two, along
with the apps to make the most of your device
To choose the
right Bluetooth
keyboard for your
needs and budget,
see our reviews
on p98.
eve seenhowyou canuse
your tablet to organise your
life and that, withthe
additionof a fewapps, you caneven
produce and edit full-blownoffice
documents. But if you really want to
make the switchfromlaptop to tablet
for working onthe move, youll need to
think of investing inanextra or two.
The best enhancement weve seenfor
a tablet is the keyboard base for the Eee
Pad Transformer (see p84). This provides
everything you need to turnyour tablet
into a workhorse, froma decent
keyboard and touchpad to anextra
battery. Its big drawback is simple: cost.
Fortunately, its easy and affordable
to achieve a similar effect withsome
carefully chosenaccessories. First on
your list should be a quality case. Not
only will this protect your device from
bumps and scrapes, but many cases
also double as stands, allowing you to
prop up your tablet at a comfortable
angle for typing onscreen, or for using
ona desk witha keyboard and mouse.
Weve reviewed our favourites on
p90, but the key features you should
look for are anadjustable tilt setting,
plus cut-out holes that allowyou to
charge your tablet, plug inheadphones
and so onwhile its still inthe case. You
dont want to be constantly slipping the
tablet inand out of its case just to
charge it, as many are quite a tight fit.
If you planontyping for long periods of
time, you should certainly consider
purchasing a decent keyboard and
mouse. Androids onscreenkeyboard is
good, but you cant touch-type onit.
This isnt as simple a process as you
might expect. Some tablets have
full-sized USB ports that allowyou to
hook up any standard computer
keyboard, but depending onthe
capabilities of your tablet and the
versionof Android its running, you may
not be able to hook up bothkeyboard
and mouse simultaneously.
Most tablets are equipped with
Bluetooth, however, and this is the best
way to go about connecting keyboards
and mice. Note you canconnect bothat
once only if your tablet is running
Android 3.1 or later.
There are plenty of Bluetooth
keyboards available, starting at prices
under 10. Weve selected a fewof
the better ones onp98, and we show
you howto set themup inthe
The ultimate
accessory is the
Asus Eee Pad
keyboard and
touchpad base,
which also
includes an
extra battery.
Some Bluetooth
keyboards come
with a button
you can press
to put it into
pairing mode.
If your
keyboard shows
up as not
connected, tap
on-screen once
to connect it.
Youll find the
under the
Wireless &
networks menu.

WALKTHROUGH How to connect a Bluetooth keyboard

Nowswitch on your
Bluetooth keyboard
and put it into
pairing mode. This
procedure varies
depending on the
device youre using.
Our keyboard, made
by Voix, has a small
button on the rear
you need to press to
put it into pairing
mode. Normally
youll see an LED
flashing at this

If you arent already

there, go to the
Android desktop and
tap the notifications
area in the very
corner of the screen.
When the menu pops
up, tap the box at the
top and select
Settings to launch
Android 3s Settings
menu screen.
If it isnt selected
already, tap the
Wireless &
networks option in
the list running up
the left-hand side of
the screen. Then, in
the larger pane to
the right, look for
the Bluetooth
options and tap the
tickbox immediately
next to it.

Nowtap the Find
devices nearby
option. The tablet
will then performa
scan for nearby
Bluetooth devices
and display themin
the Found devices
list. Depending on
the number of active
Bluetooth devices in
the vicinity, this may
take some time.
Have patience and
wait for the scan to
complete; your
keyboard should
appear near the top
of the list.
Our test device
appears as Bluetooth
Keyboard here, but
that may not be the
case on your device
sometimes youll
see the product
name or even just
a series of letters
and numbers.
Whatever name the
manufacturer has
given your keyboard,
though, it should
display a small
keyboard symbol
next to it in the list.
Select the device by
tapping it once.
Next, you should see
a small box appear
in the centre of
the screen titled
Bluetooth pairing
request. It will ask
you to enter a short,
four-digit code on
your Bluetooth
keyboard and then
press Enter. Do this
straightaway if
youre not quick
enough off the
mark, the box will
disappear. The rest
of the pairing
procedure should
You should nowbe
ready to start typing,
but before you exit
the Settings menu,
check the status of
your keyboard in the
paired devices list.
If it reads Paired but
not connected, tap
it once to connect.

Make sure you
enter the
code on your
keyboard quickly.
app lets you
read newspapers
on your tablet,
just as they are
on paper. Just
pinch your
fingers apart
to zoom in on
the story you
want to read,
pinch out to
zoom out again
and swipe left
to get the
next page.
he AmazonKindle has beena
massive success since its launch
in2010. You canhardly board a
trainwithout seeing at least one
Kindle-toting commuter ploughing
throughthe latest crime thriller.
However, tablet owners dont have to
buy a separate reader device. Amazons
Kindle app is available throughthe
Android Market, enabling you to buy
and download books instantly as long
as youre connected to the internet .
The app stores all your books inits
memory, so you dont have to cart a pile
of heavy novels around withyou on
holiday, while the fantastic screen
quality of many moderntablets means
its almost as comfortable to read as the
printed word onpaper.
The Kindle app also supports
Amazons amazing Whispersync
technology, whichallows you to read
your books onmultiple devices and
synchronises your books, bookmarks
andnotes across all of them. Youcan
alsoinstall the Kindle apponmany
types of phone and, if youhappento
leave your tablet at home or the battery
runs out mid-chapter, youcanpick up
where youleft off onyour phone. The
Kindle appevenremembers the page
youlast read, sothe transfer is seamless.
Your tablet isnt tied to just one service,
though. Other ebook reader apps are
available fromthe Android Market, such
as the excellent Cooler Reader, which
you canuse to read free books from
websites suchas Project Gutenberg
The Android Market also has a library
of books available as individual apps,
including the Bible and all sorts of
guidebooks and works of reference. But
you dont have to stick to one-off
publications. The Zinio app means you
cansubscribe to your favourite weekly
and monthly magazines, and they look
great ona tablets colour screen. Best of
all, the latest editionis delivered
automatically, wherever you are.
You canalso get your fix of news
fromyour daily newspapers, laid out
just as they are onpaper. Install the
popular PressReader app, for example,
and youll be able to have publications
ranging fromThe Guardianand the
Financial Times to The Sydney Morning
Herald delivered automatically to your
tablet, over the internet, whenever they
become available.
Infact, withyour tablet intow, theres
a whole world of publications right at
your fingertips. All that remains is
finding the time to read it all.
Envious of your fellow
commuters with their Amazon Kindles? No need. Your tablet can be an ebook reader too, enabling
you to enjoy thousands of books on the go, as well as magazines in glorious colour
Keep the Kindle app
open at all times so
it can synchronise
the last page you
read if you switch to
another device.
WALKTHROUGH Buying, downloading and reading books with the Amazon Kindle app
To add a
bookmark, tap
once in the
corner of the
reading view.

On the Kindle home

screen youll nd
a couple of free
samples. Options
down the left
let you lter the
contents of this
screen: you can
view everything,
items youve
archived items
(books youve
bought but havent
downloaded yet),
or magazines and
newspapers. At the
top are a search
tool and a button
to change the view.
Tap the link to the
Kindle store.

To make buying
books quick and
simple, youll
need a credit card
stored in your
Amazon account.
If you dont, log
on to the Amazon
website, click the
Your Account link
at the top right,
then Manage
Your Payment
Methods. Enter
your username
and password,
click Add a Credit
Card and select
the 1-Click box
before selecting
the appropriate
delivery address.
With that sorted,
its now time to
move over to your
tablet. First, re
up Android Market,
download and
install the Amazon
Kindle app, then
nd it in the App
Drawer or on the
desktop and launch
it. Enter your
Amazon username
and password in the
boxes and move on
to the next step.

Youre whisked
off to the Amazon
Kindle website,
which launches in
the tablets default
web browser. Find
the book, as you
normally would
when buying a
printed copy, then
click the button
labelled Buy
now with 1-Click
and conrm your
Amazon username
and password.
If youve previously
installed the
Kindle app on
another device,
the following page
may ask you which
device you want the
book delivered to.
Select your tablet
and click Continue,
then launch the
Kindle app from
the App Drawer
once again, and
watch as your book
is automatically
With your rst
book paid for
and downloaded,
reading it is
simplicity itself.
Just launch the title
with a single tap
of the nger. Once
youre in, you can
turn pages either
by tapping in the
right or left margins
of the page, or by
swiping your nger
left or right.
The Kindle app
offers several
options to improve
your reading
comfort too: tap the
centre of the page
and, in the top right
corner, youll see a
brightness control
(keep this as low as
is comfortable to
avoid eye-strain),
an option to change
the text size and a
switch for changing
the colour scheme.
Black on white is
the default, but
you can also read in
sepia, or have white
text on a black

If you
delivered your
book to the
wrong device,
youll find your
book in the
Archived items
section (see
step 5).
If youve
already logged
into Amazon
on a different
device, you
need to select
your device
before you click
Buy now.
When you start to use Google Maps on a
tablet youll get a feel for its massive potential: your handheld device can drill down to the tiniest
street or give you an overview of a continent. And its rather handy at telling you where to go, too
With two fingers
resting on the map,
drag them down
the map will tilt,
giving a neat
perspective view.
ot long ago, anatlas was an
essential part of any
households private library. But
just like the poor old encyclopaedia, the
internet has consigned atlases to the
dustbinof history. Nowadays, Google
Maps rules the world of cartography,
and youll be delighted to discover that
one of Android 3s core apps is designed
specifically to take advantage of it. As
always, youll find it inthe App Drawer,
under the title Maps.
A tablet brings the digital world of
Google Maps to life ina way that a
laptop or PC just cant. Pushing and
dragging the map around withyour
finger is effortless, and you canalso
pinchyour fingers to zoominand out,
just as you would inthe browser.
Its a beautifully designed piece of
software and, as withbrowser-based
versions of Google Maps, you can
searchlocations and points of interest
by entering a keyword. Witheverything
fromlocal businesses to major
sightseeing attractions and hotels in
Googles vast databases, youll almost
certainly find what youre looking for.
As withGoogle Maps online, you can
also viewmaps ina number of different
ways. Theres the standard road map
view useful for sorting out directions
but you canalso display the map as a
giant satellite photograph, with
uncannily detailed aerial shots of
(almost) everywhere onthe planet.
Youll find this optionif you tap the
Layers buttoninthe top-right corner of
the screennext to the menu button,
alongside options to display traffic,
terrain, trainlines and evenlinks to
geo-specific Wikipedia articles.
Thats not all, though: Google Maps
canalso give you walking or driving
directions, and if your tablet has a GPS
chip, it canevenact as a full-blown
satellite navigationsystem, just like a
TomTom. Enter a destinationusing the
keyword search, thenwhenyouve
found what youre looking for, tap the
flag onthe map to bring up its details.
The final step is to tap the Directions
buttoninthe panel.
Just watchout for your data usage.
Google Maps may give you the feeling
that you have the whole world at your
fingertips, but infact all the data lives
onGoogles servers, and your tablet
needs to download the maps eachtime
you browse to a newlocationor
calculate a newroute.
Google Maps lets
you use your
tablet just like
an atlas, but it
puts a whole lot
more power and
interactivity at
your disposal,
from business
listings and
directions to
WALKTHROUGH Using your tablet as a satnav
In the box that pops
up next, select
Driving Navigation.
After searching for a
signal fromthe GPS
satellites, Google
Maps should enter
the voice-guided
satnav mode. The
GPS chip in your
tablet needs a direct
viewof the sky to
lock on to a signal.
While youre waiting,
you can tap the
small square button
in the bottom
right-hand corner
of the screen to get
a full list of the
driving directions
for your route.

Launch the Google

Maps app from
either the desktop
shortcut or the App
Drawer. When it fires
up, type your
destination into the
search box in the
top-left hand corner
of the screen. For
simplicitys sake,
weve searched for
London Zoo, but you
can also enter an
address in the
normal way, or tap
in a postcode.
Alternatively, if you
just want directions
to a city centre,
simply enter the
citys name.
Tapping the flag that
appears on the map
will launch the
locations details
panel. Here, you can
take a look at a
panoramic viewof
your destination
using the famous
Google Street View,
browse photos and
even read reviews
and write your own.
We want to get
directions, however;
to do this, tap the
Directions button
to enter navigation

You can nowpop the
tablet on its mount
(if you have one)
and start driving. The
Navigation view
shows your current
location in the
bottom-right corner
and the estimated
time to arrival in the
bottom-left corner.
At the top youll see
an icon showing the
next turning; a green
bar displaying the
name of the street
you need to turn
down next; and a
small, grey icon
indicating the
turning after that.
There are a number
of advanced options
it might be useful to
be aware of at this
stage. If youre stuck
in traffic you can
take a virtual tour of
the next part of your
route, for instance.
Just tap the green
bar at the top of the
screen and the view
will advance
smoothly to the next
turning. As it does
this, a small arrow
will appear in the
corner tap this to
advance to the next
turning, and the
next, and so on.
As you previewyour
route in this way,
you may also notice
a couple of extra
buttons appear at
the bottomof the
screen. Tapping the
figure of a man will
launch Google Street
View, giving you a
previewof that
portion of your route
very useful for
roundabouts and the
like. To return to your
current location at
any point, tap the
blue arrowin the
corner of the screen.
One of Google Maps
Navigations most
powerful features is
its alternative
routes function. Tap
the estimated time
of arrival button at
the bottomand
youll see three
different routes to
your destination,
complete with
colour-coded traffic
data - red for heavy
traffic, green for
none. To use one of
the alternative
routes, tap it and
then press the blue
arrowat the bottom
to go back to the
navigation view.

Google Maps is
free, which in
this case means
Luckily, the ads
dont get in the
way too much.
The blue circle
indicates the
accuracy of the
GPS signal.

If you want to
see exactly
which apps and
have been using
your battery,
and for how
long, check out
the Battery
usage page. Youll
find this in the
Settings menu
under About
he best tablets will last for more
thantenhours of continuous
use froma single charge, and for
several days if used more sporadically. If
youre not careful, however, you may
find yourself having to charge your
tablet more oftenthanyoudlike. Theres
nothingmoreirritating thantaking your
tablet fromits bag to be told battery life
is running low.
If you followa fewsimple guidelines,
however, you should be able to keep
going as long as the Duracell bunny. The
place to start is the screen. Go to the
Settings menu, tap About tablet then
Battery usage, and youll see which
apps and components are taxing your
battery most. The screenwill probably
be top of this list: its the most power-
hungry component of your tablet.
If you want your tablet to last longer
betweencharges, you need to minimise
the screens power draw, and there are
several ways of doing this. The key is to
make sure it isnt onfor any longer than
necessary, and whenit is on, to keep the
brightness as lowas possible. Youll find
details inthe walkthroughopposite.
The other key things to consider are the
mobile broadband and Wi-Fi adapters
your tablet uses to connect to the
internet. Withbrowsing at the core of
what you do withyour tablet, its little
wonder these give the battery a
thoroughworkout. And withso many
apps constantly checking for messages
and updates inthe background things
canquickly get out of hand.
You canfind details opposite onwhat
to do to minimise the impact internet
connectivity has onyour battery, but
again, the key is control. Inthe
Accounts &sync sectionof the
settings menu youll find you can
change whenand howoftenyour tablet
synchronises your various email and
social networking accounts.
Other apps suchas weather
updates, a widget that checks stocks or
a newsfeed reader may also be listed
here. Ask yourself if you really need this
informationto be updated constantly. If
the answer is no, make sure you change
the settings of eachapp individually to
make sure it isnt sneaking onto the
internet behind your back.
Last, but by no means least, take a
trip to the My Apps sectionof the
Android Market and make sure that
automatic updates for all your apps are
switched off. App updates canbe quite
large, and updates, especially over a
mobile internet connection, canbe a
serious drainonyour battery.
With so
many features on tap, if youre not careful your tablet will soon have its battery life sucked out of
it. Here, we explain the chief culprits and offer some tips on how to conserve power on the move
Keeping on top of
battery-hoggers can
be tiresome, but
battery-saving apps
on the Android
Market will help.
WALKTHROUGH Seven steps to better battery life

When your screen

rotates from
landscape to
portrait mode, or
vice versa, its using
precious battery
life. If you use it in
mostly landscape
mode, you can turn
off auto-rotation. In
the Settings menu,
select Screen, then
tap the Auto-rotate
screen tickbox.
While youre there,
set Timeout to 15 or
30 seconds. This will
ensure the screen
isnt on for longer
than necessary.

The screen on
your tablet is
the main culprit
when it comes
to swallowing up
battery life the
brighter it is,
the more power
it uses. The best
way to resolve this
issue is to use the
Auto brightness
setting, which
dims the screen
depending on the
ambient light: to
set it, tap the clock
in the bottom-right
corner, then the
clock in the pop-up
menu, then AUTO.
The next best way of
eking extra minutes
from your battery is
to use ight mode.
This switches off
the power-hungry
Wi-Fi radio and
disables 3G and
Bluetooth so you
can be sure nothing
is sucking away
power. Only use this
in emergencies,
though, as you
wont be able to
browse the web or
send and receive
email while ight
mode is on. Youll
nd it in the same
place as auto

Another way of
rationing your
tablets use of
its 3G and Wi-Fi
connectivity is to
alter its Autosync
settings. Under
Accounts & sync
in the Settings
menu youll see
several options
for managing the
frequency with
which the tablet
and specic apps
connect to the
internet. Disable
background data
and apps will
connect to the
internet only when
you ask them to.
Again, turning off
all background
data may seem like
overkill. If you want
your tablet to keep
checking your email
in the background,
but nothing else,
this isnt the setting
to use. To do this,
leave background
data ticked and, in
the app list below,
tap the green
icons next to the
apps you dont
want to connect
to the internet
Some apps Adobe
Flash Player, for
example may be
set to automatically
download and
install updates
without your
intervention. To
stop this, and save
battery life, go to
the Market app, tap
My Apps and select
an installed app.
Check in the pane
on the right that
the tickbox next to
Allow automatic
updating isnt
For ultimate control
over battery-
hogging apps
and hardware,
download a battery
app from the
Android Market.
JuiceDefender is our
favourite. It lets you
manage power-
related settings
on an app-by-app
basis, allowing
Gmail access to the
net, for instance,
but stopping
TweetComb from
updates until you
launch the app

The automatic
setting is
useful, but it
isnt very
often youll
save more power
by doing it
Not all apps
with internet
connectivity will
be listed here.
Make sure you
know what they
are and check
their settings
We recommend
switching off
updating for
apps. The
Market app will
still check for
updates and
tell you about
them, but it
wont download
and install them
for you.
As if Android
tablets werent flexible enough already, you can make them even better. The magic of Tasker lets
you create your very own Android apps, without learning a programming language
If you dont want to
splash your cash,
theres a 14-day
free trial of Tasker
available on the
Android Market.
hink of anything you want to do
withyour tablet, and chances
are there will be anapp inthe
Android Market that lets you do it. But
what if you want to do something that
isnt covered? What if, no matter how
muchdigging around you do, you just
cant find anapp to do what you want?
If thats the case, and if youre of a
technical bent, you might want to
investigate Tasker. It isnt free, but it
enables you to programyour tablet to
do almost anything you canthink of,
without theneedtolearnaprogramming
language. Want to send anemail to your
other half whenyou reacha certain
stage of your commute? Set the tablet
to silent whenyou go to bed? With
Tasker, you cando all this and more.
The key to working withTasker is to
understand Profiles, Contexts and
Actions the three core elements that
Tasker uses to do its job. Profiles are the
tasks or individual jobs you want Tasker
to carry out: sending anemail based on
your location, for instance, or adjusting
the volume level whenever your plug in
a pair of headphones. You cancreate
any number of Profiles, and eachcanbe
switched onor off, as you see fit.
Thats easy to wrap your head around,
but nowwe get to the more difficult
part Contexts. InTasker, eachprofile
has one Context attached to it, and this
acts as the trigger that sets the Profile
inmotion. This canbe almost anything
you canthink of. You canuse hardware
triggers: onscreengestures, plugging in
those headphones or reaching a certain
battery level, for example.
There are location-based Contexts
that trigger actions depending on
where you are. Apps canbe triggers too,
setting off actions whentheyre
launched; or you canuse the time or
date, and evencertainsystem-level
events. You cantrigger your Profile
every time you turnonor shut down
your tablet, for example.
Finally, Actions are what you want
your tablet to do once the Profile is
activated. Inthe walkthroughto the
right, we explainhowto set up a Profile
that launches the Music app, sets the
volume level to ten, thentells you what
its done ina pop-up message, but you
canadd many more actions.
Infact, witha little perseverance and
application, youcando almost anything
you want withTasker. The only limit is
your imagination.
Tasker lets you
set up any
number of
tasks, and
theyre easy to
switch off and
on at will.
WALKTHROUGH Programming with Tasker
You can adjust
the length of
time the
warning message
stays onscreen
by adjusting the

Next, we need to tell

Tasker what to do
have been plugged
in and the context
has been triggered.
Tap the NewTask
button and type a
name for the action
in the box: were
going to set the
volume and launch
the Music app, so
weve called it Setvol
Launchmusic. Tap
the tick and youll be
presented with a
more complicated
Task Edit box; this is
where you define the
actions that make up
the task.

Before you do
anything else, set up
a newaction, or
Profile as Tasker calls
them. Were going to
create a profile that
sets the music
volume to ten and
launches the Music
app whenever
headphones are
plugged in. To create
a newprofile, tap the
plus symbol in the
bottom-left of the
screen, type
into the NewProfile
Name box and tap
the tick button to
Nowyou need to
select your Profiles
first context. Despite
the obscure name, a
context is simply a
trigger, like the
movement sensor
that sets off a
burglar alarm. In our
case the trigger is a
pair of headphones
being plugged in,
but it could be the
time of day or the
launching of a
specific app. Tap
State, Hardware,
Headset Plugged
then tick to confirm
that this action
applies to any type
of headset.

Were going to tell
the tablet to set its
volume to medium.
Tap the plus symbol
in the bottom-left
corner of the Task
Edit window, then
select Audio, Media
Volume, and adjust
the slider to the
appropriate level.
Drag it to the right a
fewsteps, then tap
the tick symbol in
the bottom-left
corner of the
window. Youll now
be returned to the
Task Edit box, where
the newtask will
appear at the top of
the list.
To launch the Music
app, we need to
create another stage.
Tap the small plus
symbol in the Task
Edit windowonce
again, then select
the App option in the
following window,
tap Load App, and
select Music from
the scrolling grid of
applications. To
finish, tap the tick in
the bottom-left
corner of the
window, and you
should nowsee
another action added
to the Task Edit
As a finishing touch,
were going to
generate a pop-up
box as a reminder
that the volume level
has been changed.
Once again, the
process is simple:
tap the plus symbol
in the bottom-left
corner, but this time
select the Alert
option, followed by
Popup. On the next
screen, type The
volume level has
been set to 10 into
the Text box and tap
the tick in the
bottom-left corner
to confirm.
All that remains is to
make sure the profile
is up and running.
Tap the tick in the
bottom-left corner
of the Task Edit box
to close it and, on
the following screen,
ensure the tick next
to Plugheadphones
profile is green and
that the small button
in the bottom-right
corner of the screen
is set to On. Now,
whenever you plug
your headphones in,
the tablet will
launch the Music app
and set the volume
to ten.

Weve picked a
hardware action
to trigger our
program, but you
can base your
programs on
location, time
or gesture.
There are
hundreds of
other actions
you can select,
from changing
the display
brightness to
airplane mode
on and off.
File Manager HD
Price: Free
Price: Free
JuiceDefender Plus
Price: 1 .99
Anti-Virus Free
Price: Free
A file browser is essential for any
discerning Android tablet owner,
and File Manager HDis the best
weve seenfor Honeycomb tablets
so far. Its grid viewtakes full
advantage of your tablets large
screen, the multi-select tool makes
shunting files around a doddle,
and a series of shortcuts and
user-definable bookmarks to the
left of the screenease navigation
around Androids complicated file
system. Theres evena LANtool for
browsing local network shares,
and a built-intext editor.
If youre unwilling to pay the big
bucks for LogMeIn, theres
always TeamViewer, which
provides a more basic remote
control service for free. Dont
expect the slick, tablet-friendly
experience youget withLogMeIn
whensigning inyoull need to
turnyour tablet around to
portrait mode, and there are no
advanced file-management tools
but as a basic remote control
tool it does the job brilliantly.
And best of all, its completely
free for personal use.
If you find your battery runs out
quicker thanyoud like, this clever
app adds extra tools to help you
control precisely whenyour tablet
uses its power-hungry Wi-Fi and
3Gradios, switchingthemoff when
they arent needed. Originally
designed for smartphones but just
as effective withtablets, you can
set JuiceDefender Plus to turnoff
everything at night, switchWi-Fi
hardware off automatically when
youre out of range of your usual
network and control hardware
use onanapp-by-app basis.
The problemisnt as bad as it is
withWindows PCs, but viruses
are beginning to target Android
devices. For peace of mind, this
scanner fromvirus veteranAVG
will check files and apps for
viruses as youdownload them,
and adds a fewextra features.
Perhaps the biggest is that if your
tablet is lost or stolen, youcan
locate it via Google Maps. There
are task killer, backup and app
management tools included, and
a tool to protect youfrom
phishing websites.
LogMeIn Ignition
Price: 8.99
Remote control apps let youaccess your
desktopor laptopdirectly fromthe screenof
your Androidtablet, andtheres no better
solutionthanLogMeInIgnition. As withmost
other remote control apps, youinstall partner
software onyour PC or Mac, thensignupfor an
account anddownloadthe appfromthe Market.
Thenjust signinandaccess your computer
directly fromyour tablet. Its quick, the
multitouchcontrols are a revelation, andit also
lets youbrowse the file systemof your target
PC, whichmeans youcanget access to
documents youmay have left at home.
Want to access your desktop PC fromyour tablet, touch-type on the screen or protect
your device fromviruses? This selection of useful utilities lets you do all that and more
ESSENTIAL APPS The best tools and utilities
Thumb Keyboard
Price: 1 . 56
Anyone who doesnt have hands the size of a hairy
yetis will findtyping withtheir thumbs a bit of a
stretchonthe latest 10inAndroidtablets.
Beansofts superbThumbKeyboardoffers a handy
solution. It splits the keyboardintwo, placing the
letters insmaller clusters to the right andleft of the
screenso youcanreachthemmore easily, withless
commonly usedsymbols, numbers andnavigation
keys inthe centre. It works beautifully, withsuperb
wordsuggestionsmoothing out the worst of your
typos, anenhancednormal keyboardandoptimised
layouts for every size of tablet screen.
Price: Free
Price: 3.99
Wi-Fi Analyzer
Price: Free
WiFi File
Explorer Pro
Price: 0.99
The list of standard desktop
widgets onAndroid 3 tablets is a
little thin, but you canboost it
for free withthe excellent
Widgetsoid. Sporting quick toggle
switches for Wi-Fi, flight mode and
Data Sync to name but a few,
alongside a healthy set of display
options (size, colour, transparency
and so on) for you to tailor, this
free applicationprovides a great
deal of choice. Its initially
confusing, and not helped by a
poorly worded FAQ, but stick with
it and youll be rewarded.
Tasker lets youset up macros that
runa series of actions based on
predefined triggers. The
possibilities are endless: youcan
use it to dimthe brightness at
certaintimes of day, set a long
screentimeout whenyoure using
anebook reader, or link actions to
hardware events suchas the
accelerometer or onscreen
gestures. Want to launchanapp
witha shake? Or fire up anapp
automatically whenyoufirst turn
your tablet oninthe morning?
Youcando it all withTasker.
Having trouble withyour Wi-Fi?
This handy utility could help. Four
different views display wireless
networks inthe surrounding area
indifferent ways, to diagnose and
detect problems. Theres a signal
strengthspeedometer, a graph
displaying signal strengthover
time and a screenshowing which
wireless channels neighbouring
networks may be using. You can
use the informationto ensure
your network doesnt clashwith
anyone elses, and improve the
reliability of your connection.
For transferring small numbers of
files over your wireless network,
youcouldnt ask for a simpler
method thanthis. Simply enter
the supplied address into your
computers web browser, and
youll be able to use the website
that appears to copy files directly
to and fromthe memory of your
tablet. Youcant upload whole
folders to your tablet, but other
useful features include the ability
to compress and rename folders
and streammedia files.
In this chapter


Android3 fare ona 7inscreen?


Android3 tablet aimedat those ona budget

ADVENI VECAIt may cost just 200, but

the Advent Vega is fast andfeature-packed


Aunique combinationof laptopandtablet


Cana 99 Androidtablet matchits pricier rivals?

HIC FLYERInnovative technology from

the successful smartphone manufacturer

CASES &BACSKeepyour device protected

withour selectionof the best bags andcases

)EXAA )EXIAB 8l2 HDAsuperbdisplay,

AndroidMarket and3Gsupport at a lowprice

andsoftware, the K1 is ideal for work andplay

LC0PIIMUS PADEnter another

dimensionwithLGs 3D-capable Optimus Pad

ACCESS0RIESBoost your tablets

capabilities withour choice of essential extras

M0I0R0LA X00MHowdoes the original

Android3 tablet matchuptothe newarrivals?


Speedandstyle comes at a reasonable price


while, but the7inGalaxy Tabis still afine option


offering fromSamsung sets the standard

S0NY IABLEI S We previewSonys

strikingly different andinnovative tablet


overhauls Android3 for its groundbreaking 7X
If you havent bought a tablet already, youll find everything you need to
make your choice in this bumper chapter. Weve reviewed 15 tablets that
cover the full range of prices, frombargain basement to premiumiPad
rivals. Weve tested the tablets to within an inch of their lives, and to cap it
all, weve also picked out some essential accessories, cases and bags.
he first batchof Android 3
tablets were restricted to screen
sizes of 9inor above. With
Android 3.2, smaller devices withlower
resolutiondisplays became possible.
The first to appear was the Acer
Iconia Tab A100, whichcomes witha 7in,
1,024 x 600 resolutionscreen, and
Google has done a fine job adapting its
software for use onsmaller screensizes.
Inuse, the A100 is almost as easy to
manipulate as its larger cousins, with
menu options, buttons and bars all
perfectly proportioned.
The smaller screenmeans widgets
and icons occupy more desktop
real-estate, and typing onthe standard
Honeycomb keyboard is a little more
fiddly, but wed take those small niggles
for the sheer portability. Its compact
enoughto slip into aninside jacket
pocket, and reasonably light at 400g.
The rest of the designis perfectly
acceptable too. The grey glossy plastic
back isnt luxurious, but general build
quality is good, and we like the fact
that, whenyou hold it inlandscape
orientation, the extended ends give
your thumbs somewhere to rest.
There are other nice touches: next to
the volume rocker theres a lock switch
for preventing the screenfrom
auto-rotating, and all the ports and
sockets (the 3.5mmaudio output, Micro
HDMI, and proprietary docking port) are
located sensibly onthe short edges.
So the A100 is as easy to use as its larger
cousins, and internally its also up to
scratch. Theres no 3Goption, but you
get 8GB of internal storage and a
microSDslot for expansion. Its powered
by a dual-core 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2
processor and has 1GB of RAMto back
that up, so Android flies along.
Scrolling, panning and pinch-to-zoom
operations are as responsive as you
Cute, and compact enough to fit in your pocket, the Acer Iconia Tab A100 is a
charming rarity a 7in tablet with Android 3 onboard
Acer Iconia Tab A100
Small and lovely: the Acer Iconia Tab A100 is a
rarity with its 7in screen and compact dimensions.
could hope for, and we found standard-
definitionBBC iPlayer and YouTube
videos played smoothly, althoughHD
streams were hit and miss. The only
caveat is that horizontal scrolling
animations inthe App Drawer view
shudder slightly as you swipe left and
right, but this is a mild glitch.
And our tests showits easily the
matchof most other Android tablets. It
loads complicated pages quickly and
without fuss, withthe BBC homepage
appearing infive seconds flat.
Generally, were big fans of this neat
little tablet, but there are annoyances.
The first is the screen. Its sharp enough,
but brightness and viewing angles leave
muchto be desired. We measured a
maximumbrightness of 239cd/m
bright enoughto use outside, and
colours change hue as you tip the tablet
back and forthinlandscape orientation.
The next problemis battery life.
According to Acers specifications the
A100 is capable of up to five hours, and
sure enoughwe achieved a time of 4hrs
53mins inour looping, low-resolution
video test. Thats well short of average
for a Honeycomb tablet, and lags
significantly behind its mainrival for
the 7intablet crown the HTC Flyer
whichmanaged 8hrs 4mins.
The 5-megapixel camera is another
disappointment. Stills, eveningood
light, are spoiled by heavy compression.
Video shot at 720p and 20fps is
extremely soft and lacks detail.
So, withaverage screenquality,
belowpar battery life and a poor
camera, you may think its one to steer
clear of. But the Acer A100 is likeable. Its
nice to use, snappy and responsive, and
looks more attractive whenyou put it in
context: it costs the same as the ageing
7inSamsung Galaxy Tab, and is cheaper
thanthe 16GB HTC Flyer. If a 10intablet
doesnt appeal, this mini alternative or
the ViewSonic ViewPad just might.
All the buttons
and ports are
on the A100s
short edges:
the headphone
socket and
power button
on the left;
else along the
right edge.
Battery life
(hrs - higher is better)
BBC desktop
load time
(secs - lower is better)
Measured brightness
- higher is better)
Operating system
Android 3.2
Screen & Weight
7in, 1,024 x 600/400g
Dual-core 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2
Price 299
Overall rating
Good Competitive price; Android 3
inside; small screen works well
Bad Mediocre screen quality; poor
battery life; camera isnt great
VerdictIt has some flaws, but for the
price we cant help but like this little
Honeycomb tablet
15 1
239 50
The rear of the tablet sports a smart
grey gloss finish and a 5-megapixel
autofocus camera with an LED flash.
The A100 may be
compact and
light, but it isnt
particularly slim.
As with most
Android 3
tablets, there
are no buttons
on the front
of the A500
all the
controls you
need are hosted
The Iconia Tab A500/A501 undercuts much of the opposition, but has Acer cut too
many corners to hit the lowprice?
Acer Iconia Tab A500/A501
cers Iconia Tab A500 was one of
the first Android 3 tablets to hit
the shelves, arriving onthe
scene at about the same time as both
the Motorola Xoomand the unusual
Asus Eee Pad Transformer. It cant match
the Transformer for innovation, but as a
straightforward tablet it gives botha
runfor their money.
The hardware cuts a familiar dash. As
withthe Xoomand the Transformer,
theres a 10.1in1,280 x 800 resolution
display, and the tablet is powered by
the dual-core 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2
processor. Theres 1GB of RAMand 32GB
of integrated flashstorage.
The A500 also sports a 5-megapixel
camera onthe rear and a 2-megapixel
unit onits front, while the edges are
home to a good selectionof ports: an
HDMI output, a full-size USB port and a
microSDslot ontop. For those whoneed
data onthe move, theres a 3G-equipped
version the A501 available for 536.
Bothversions include GPS.
Physically, the Iconia Tab A500 sits
somewhere betweenthe Xoomand the
Transformer: it isnt as attractive as the
former, but its aluminiumexterior,
whichwraps around the top and
bottomedges, makes it look and feel
more expensive thanthe latter. Its hefty,
though, weighing inat 756g and
measuring 260mmacross. That may
sound close to the Xooms 730g, but the
extra ballast is instantly noticeable.
The Iconia is pleasingly light onits
feet, though. Android 3s menus and
animations whizz by. Our performance
tests back this up, withthe BBC
homepage loading inanaverage time
of four seconds. The games we tested
played smoothly, fromsedate offerings
suchas Angry Birds to more intensive
titles suchas Need for Speed Shift.
Battery life is middling. Witha
low-resolutionvideo onloop, and the
screenset to mediumbrightness, the
Battery life
(hrs - higher is better)
BBC desktop
load time
(secs - lower is better)
A full-size
USB socket
means you
can connect
a wired mouse
or keyboard,
or even a USB
thumb drive for
The HDMI port
lets you
connect the
A500 directly to
an HDTV.
The rear of the
A500 is finished
in brushed,
touch aluminium.
The A500 tablet is slim but hefty,
tipping the scales at 756g.
Iconia lasted 10hrs 1min. Thats slightly
longer thanthe tablet part of the Asus
Eee Pad Transformer, but behind the
12hrs 49mins of the Motorola Xoom.
Unlike rivals, Acer has chosento leave
Googles Android 3 user interface as is,
bolstering it witha fewextra apps. First
up is a rather pointless launcher, which
largely duplicates the Android desktop.
Acers Clear.fi app enables media
streaming fromand to DLNA servers,
but we found it of limited use as the
A500 is picky about whichvideo formats
it will play. For social networking,
theres SocialJogger, and althoughwork
is covered by Documents to Go (see
p62), this isnt the full version.
It isnt all bad news. The LumiRead
ebook reader comes preinstalled, along
withthree HDgames Need for Speed
Shift, Lets Golf and Hero of Sparta. Most
useful is Acer Sync, whichtakes care of
synchronisationand backup duties.
The cameras image quality is above
average. Photos look soft and highlights
oftenlook blownout (you wont be
ditching your compact camera), but
decent shots are possible withcare. It
evenstretches to half-decent video,
with720p resolutions shot at 30fps.
Predictably, the Iconias LED-backlit
screenisnt as punchy or vibrant as
the IPS screenonthe Asus Eee Pad
Transformer. The display looks perfectly
acceptable inisolation, but it comes
second best to many of its rivals.
Infact, the A500 comes second best
ina number of areas, including battery
life and weight. But this isnt to dismiss
it entirely. Youll struggle to get more
storage for your money, and while Acer
does make compromises, none are fatal:
its quick inuse and well made. Add in
some useful software (once youve
deleted the dross), and youre left witha
strong budget choice.
Operating system
Android 3
Screen & Weight
10.1in, 1,280 x 800/756g
Dual-core 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2
Wi-Fi (only A501 has 3G)
Price 350, 32GB Wi-Fi (A500);
536, 32GB 3G (A501)
Website www.acer.co.uk
Overall rating
Good Attractive design; very quick;
reasonable price
Bad A little heavy; screen isnt the best
quality around
Verdict A competent tablet, but its a
little heavy and struggles to stand out
343 50
15 1
Measured brightness
- higher is better)
The Advent Vega combines a lowprice with cutting-edge power and the potential
for an upgrade to Android 3 whats not to like?
Advent Vega
he Advent Vega has beenaround
for some time now. Althoughit
looks similar to the recent batch
of Android 3 tablets, it was actually
launched before the first of themsaw
the light of day. As such, it doesnt have
Android 3 onboard only version2.2.
Nor canit matchmany for design:
clad inglossy black plastic, it looks and
feels cheap, and whenyou rap the case
withyour knuckles it gives a hollow
sound. Theres no 3Goption, no
rear-facing camera and no GPS either.
Yet there are reasons you might
consider the Advent Vega. For one, its
price is very reasonable indeed, and for
another its powered by cutting-edge
hardware. Under its unassuming skin
lies a dual-core, 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2
processor to matchanything modern
Android 3 tablets have to offer.
And it has some other features
worthy of praise too. Despite being
relatively fat at 13.6mm, its quite light
for a 10.1intablet at only 700g. Battery
capacity is good, withthe Vega lasting
tenhours inour looping video test.
It also bulges withports and
expansionoptions. Inadditionto the
3.5mmheadphone socket and power
input, you get a microSDcard slot with
a bundled 4GB card to add to the 512MB
of built-instorage, a full-sized USB port
and anHDMI output to display videos
and pictures onanHDTV.
That hardware should be more thana
matchfor Android 2.2 as well, but thats
where we encountered some
frustrations. Sometimes the operating
systemflies along, but at others it
seems to stall for a moment.
The edges of the screenarent as
responsive as the centre. Too frequently
it took us two or three jabs to convince
the Vega that we wanted to hit anicon.
It isnt a complete disaster, but it makes
Under the skin, theres power aplenty: in
fact the Vega sports the same processor
as most modern Android 3 tablets.
Battery life
(hrs - higher is better)
Measured brightness
- higher is better)
BBC desktop
load time
(secs - lower is better)
The tablets
10.1in screen has
a resolution of
1,024 x 600,
which can feel
cramped at
sockets sit
under a flap
on the tablets
The Vega is a
tablet, with no
camera, and no
3G option for
connection on
the move.
Operating system
Android 2.2
Screen & Weight
10.1in, 1,024 x 600/700g
Dual-core 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2
Advents tablet more frustrating to use
thanit should be.
We found a similar problemwhen
web browsing, witha very slight lag
betweenus tapping onthe screenand
the browser dragging downwards.
Again, it isnt a damning flaw, just a bit
frustrating. We also found its
permanently viewable menu bar a
hindrance whenbrowsing: rather than
have 1,024 x 600 pixels to play with, you
only have 1,024 x 540.
The quality of the screenis poor, too.
While its bright, withperfectly
reasonable colour balance and
sharpness, its viewing angles fall off
dramatically once you move away from
the optimumposition.
Thats a real shame, because inmany
ways the Vega is perfectly set up for the
web. Support for Flashmeans you can
watchservices suchas SeeSawand
iPlayer, and its benchmark figures
reveal potential. The BBC homepage
appeared infive seconds flat.
If you have a little technical know-
how, you canmake the most of its raw
horsepower. The Vega has acquired a
good deal of support among the
Android developer community since its
launch, and there are a number of
alternative user interfaces that, with
some perseverance, canbe installed.
You caneveninstall Honeycomb and
enjoy all the benefits that brings.
Its unfair to expect perfectionina
200 tablet, and Advent has inevitably
had to make compromises. But it has
made theminthe right areas, without
sacrificing core performance or
connectivity. Wed still recommend a
fully fledged Android 3 tablet suchas
the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 or Asus
Eee Pad Transformer for a smoother,
slicker experience. But, if you have only
200 to spend and dont mind getting
your hands dirty upgrading, the Vega is
a viable budget option.
Price 200
Website www.pcworld.co.uk
Overall rating
Good Lowprice; very fast; good
community support
Bad Cheap-feeling; low-resolution
screen with poor viewing angles
VerdictDecent core hardware ensures
performance is decent, but the quality of
the screen is poor
15 1
235 50
Asus adds an ingenious keyboard dock to its Android 3 tablet, producing an
impressive tablet that can be used for both work and play
Asus Eee Pad Transformer
a drab brown(or if were being kind,
bronze), plastic-feeling chassis. A
variety of buttons and ports adorn
the edges, including mini-HDMI and
a microSDslot, while the bottomhas
a proprietary power and docking
connector. The standard model offers
only Wi-Fi and 16GB of storage, but
32GB and 3G-equipped versions are
also available.
Inside, it sports the same 1GHz Tegra 2
chip as many of its rivals, and feels as
responsive and slick as the best Android
3 tablets. Speed tests showno different,
withthe Transformer taking two
seconds to complete the SunSpider
o other tablet is quite like the
Transformer. Half laptop, half
tablet, it combines the joys of
Android 3 withthe typing power and
pointing precisionof a keyboard and
touchpad. Its anintriguing proposition,
and one that makes the Transformer
the most flexible tablet onthe market.
The device comes intwo halves. The
tablet part canbe used onits own, or
the Transformer canbe employed as a
pseudo netbook: clip it into the hinge of
the optional keyboard base (around
100) whenever the fancy takes you.
Its quite long, witha widescreen
1,280 x 800 display embedded within
JavaScript test, three to load the BBC
homepage and scoring 2,041 inthe
Quadrant Android benchmark. The
latter two results beat the Motorola
Xoom, althoughits worthbearing in
mind the same sticking points apply:
the browser remains a tad juddery and
YouTube HDclips arent totally smooth.
The screenis the Transformers best
feature. Its anIPS panel thats
significantly brighter and punchier than
the Xooms display, and the resolution
ensures its sharp and clear. Its slightly
sunk fromthe bezel, whichreduces
viewing angles, but its a perfectly
pleasant display to look at for long
The Transformerss 10.1in screen
uses IPS technology,
guaranteeing good colour quality
and wide viewing angles.
Battery life
(hrs - higher is better)
Measured brightness
- higher is better)
BBC desktop
load time
(secs - lower is better)
15 1
Operating system
Android 3
Screen & Weight
10.1in, 1,280 x 800/690g
Dual-core 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2
Wi-Fi (plus 3G on 32GB model)
The Transformer can
be clipped neatly into a
special keyboard dock,
turning it instantly
into an Android 3
The camera is
capable of
pictures, but
theres no flash
to help out in
low light.
periods. The speakers are fairly loud but
dont pack a great deal of bass.
Theres a 5-megapixel camera onthe
rear, whichproduced sharp images with
good colours. However, we noted quite
a bit of noise and chromatic aberration,
so dont expect it to be as good as a
proper compact camera. The video
camera canshoot 720p video at 30
frames per second, but quality is similar.
The keyboard onthe docking stationis
standard modernnetbook fare, withthe
additionof anAndroid home key and a
useful rowof shortcuts and playback
controls along the top edge. You can
adjust the screen, close it like a netbook,
evenpick it up by the screenedge and
it wont budge until you release the
latchto separate the pieces again.
The big questionis why youd bother
withthe full keyboard and tablet set
whenyou could buy the 16GB tablet on
its ownfor 342. One huge benefit is for
work: withthe dock inplace, you can
easily edit Microsoft Word, Excel and
PowerPoint files using the bundled
Polaris Office suite.
The dock also adds two USB ports
and a full-sized SDcard reader, but
theres a bigger reasonto pay the 70
premium: the dock is also a battery
extender. The tablet alone lasted 8hrs
37mins inour tests a good four hours
less thanthe Xoom but the base feeds
power into the battery to give you
another 7hrs 6mins.
Overall, that makes the Asus Eee Pad
Transformer anattractive proposition.
The screenis as good as any ona tablet,
the price of the 16GB Wi-Fi-only version
is very reasonable, and the optionof the
keyboard dock adds further appeal. For
the ultimate tablet experience, we still
prefer the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, but
if you want to spend a little less then
the Transformer is a great choice.
The keyboard dock
includes an extra
battery, boosting
the stamina of
the Eee Pad
Price 16GB, 342; 32GB, 419
Website http://uk.asus.com
Overall rating
Good Excellent screen; ingenious
keyboard dock; reasonable price
Bad Average battery life without the
dock; no flash for the camera
VerdictA flexible, well-designed
tablet, with good performance and at a
very reasonable price
326 50
You dont have to spend a fortune to lay your hands on an Android tablet, as this 99
device fromBinatone proves. Unfortunately, too many corners have been cut
Binatone HomeSurf Tablet 705
inatones HomeSurf 705 is one of
the cheapest tablets around. It
costs just 99, and that alone
makes it a tempting proposition. But to
say that the budget price is clearly
evident would be anunderstatement.
A quick look at the specifications
reveal its 7inscreenuses cheap resistive
technology. This requires you to exert
physical pressure to activate onscreen
buttons, rather thanbrushit lightly. Its
resolutionis low, at 800 x 480, and
quality is poor, withpallid colours and a
grainy finish. A maximumbrightness of
is also very low, meaning your
eyes will struggle to read it outside.
The screenis surrounded by flimsy,
cheap-feeling plastic, withits black
bezels and chrome-effect border
unsuccessfully aping the iPhone 4s
design. A microSDcard slot canadd up
to 32GB to the 2GB of onboard storage,
but thats it for connectivity.
The bargainexterior is matched by
the hardware inside. The HomeSurf 705
is powered by a Rockchip RK2818
running at 600MHz 40MHz slower than
the chips maximumspeed, and several
hundred megahertz behind most of
todays tablets. Its also paired withonly
256MB of RAM. Theres no Bluetooth, nor
3Gfor data connectivity onthe move.
Unsurprisingly, performance is poor.
It took 29 seconds to load the BBC
homepage, whichmakes web browsing
as muchfunas reading blank paper.
EvenAndroids unlocking slider takes a
couple of seconds to respond, and
navigating the App Drawer and some of
the OSs menu screens is very sluggish.
The combinationof screenand
hardware is especially disappointing:
firmtouches are required to make any
impact, and it regularly takes a couple
of seconds for the OS to recognise that
youre interacting withthe device at all.
It will play back 720p video, but the
web browser lacks Flashsupport. More
The HomeSurfs screen uses
resistive technology, which means
it isnt as responsive to the
touch as wed like.
Battery life
(hrs - higher is better)
Measured brightness
- higher is better)
BBC desktop
load time
(secs - lower is better)
Operating system
Android 2.1
Screen & Weight
7in, 800 x 480/300g
Single-core 600MHz Rockchip
One positive is
the microSD
slot, allowing you
to increase the
built-in 2GB of
storage to
34GB if you buy
a 32GB card.
From some angles, the Binatone
looks quite smart, with its silver
trim and compact, bag-friendly
demanding games suchas Angry Birds
Seasons ranat one or two frames per
second and were impossible to play,
and the battery drains at analarming
rate. Our looping low-resolutionvideo
ranit dry inonly four hours. Thats the
worst result of any tablet, and only a
third of the lifespanoffered by the
Motorola Xoom.
Software is a major issue. The Android
Market is off-limits, withBinatone
instead bringing you the Giga Store.
This is one of the more dubious
unofficial Android stores weve seen,
withfewrecognisable apps and when
we downloaded Angry Birds Seasons, it
was inJapanese.
The trio of buttons at one end of the
bezel suggest its a portrait tablet, but
the Binatone logos suggest a landscape
view. Indeed, while some things work
bothways, others (suchas the home
screen) dont. Some apps ignore the
buttonpositioning entirely: the Giga
Store forces you to flip the tablet so the
buttons are upside-downonthe top.
Consistency is not muchinevidence.
And thentheres the HomeSurf 705s
final big problem: Android 2.1. Its
already outdated, withno signof
features suchas USB tethering or Flash,
nor any prospect of Honeycombs
tablet-specific tweaks. Binatone wont
be offering Android upgrades either; we
might see Android 2.2 onthe next
versionof the HomeSurf, by whichpoint
the rest of the world will be onAndroid
3.1 at the bare minimum.
All of these criticisms must be
tempered by that 99 price, for which
you are getting a basic web browser
andmedia player. That might be enough
for some, but withno updates in
prospect, no Android Market and some
of the worst tablet hardware around,
wedadvise saving for something better.
It looks a little like an Apple device,
but sadly doesnt behave like one.
Price 99
Website www.binatonetelecom.com
Overall rating
Good Lowprice; very light weight and
Bad Cheap feeling; slowand
unresponsive; awful screen
VerdictYes, its cheap and small, but
those are the only positives. This tablet is
outdated, tacky and painfully slow
500 189
15 1
The Flyers 7in
display may be
small, but its
lovely to behold:
bright, clear and
very colourful.
The Flyer is
equipped with a
5-megapixel rear
camera that
can also shoot
720p video.
Smartphone manufacturer HTCs very first Android tablet has a diminutive 7in
screen and one or two unusual features up its sleeve
HTC Flyer
TC is well knownfor ploughing
its ownfurrowwhenit comes
to mobile devices. It insists on
using its customSense UI onAndroid
smartphones, and the HTC Flyer, its first
Android tablet, is no different. Where
most moderntablets opt for Android 3,
the Flyer plumps for a Sense-enhanced
versionof Android 2.3.
If that sounds strange, wait until we
get to the rest of the Flyers quirks.
Instead of joining the 10inherd, its a 7in
device like the Acer Iconia Tab A100, and
it doesnt have a dual-core processor
either inits place theres a fast,
single-core 1.5GHz CPU. It also comes
witha stylus for penoperation,
augmenting the usual finger-driven
tapping, swiping and pinching.
Its different, but is it any better? It
certainly looks the part. The 1,024 x 600
screenis bright (at 379cd/m
, its much
brighter thanthe 7inSamsung Galaxy
Tab or the Acer A100) and contrast is
good, lending images real punch.
We like the idea of the stylus, too. Tap
ona screenand the Flyer takes a
screenshot that canthenbe annotated
using a series of pens and brushes. Hold
downone buttononthe stylus and you
canhighlight text; hold the other and
you canerase what youve scribbled
down. The selectionof brushes and
nibs, plus HTCs Notepad app, will give
your doodles a newlease of life.
The Flyer is hewnfroma chunk of
aluminiumwithwhite plastic bumpers
at the top and bottomof the rear panel,
and feels better made thanthe Galaxy
Tab or the Acer. Its light enoughto hold
comfortably inone hand and use as an
ebook reader, whichyou certainly cant
say of the 10inAndroid tablet crowd.
Infact, as its running Android 2.3, the
Flyer feels more like a phone thanmost
tablets, animpressionunderpinned by
the HTC Sense user interface. This is
packed withslick, preloaded widgets
Battery life
(hrs - higher is better)
Measured brightness
- higher is better)
BBC desktop
load time
(secs - lower is better)
A white slip case
is bundled with
the Flyer a
worthy inclusion.
The 32GB model
comes with 3G
for internet
access on
the road.
Unusually, the
Flyer comes
with a stylus, so
you can make
notes on screen.
Operating system
Android 2.3
Screen & Weight
7in, 1,024 x 600/420g
Single-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm
Wi-Fi (plus 3G on 32GB model)
and apps, whichallowyou to access
your email and social networking
content directly fromthe desktop.
Other pre-loaded apps include HTC
Watch, whichadds a movie purchase
and rental portal, while My Shelf adds
anebook store, courtesy of Kobo.
Some may criticise HTC for sticking
withAndroid 2.3, but onthis evidence
weve no complaints: the Flyer is as slick
and easy to use as any Android 3 device.
Performance is excellent. The Flyer
took only six seconds to load the BBC
homepage over a fast Wi-Fi link right
up there withits Tegra-equipped
rivals. The UI is responsive, with
transitions fromdesktop to desktop
feeling snappy. Our only concernis
some choppiness whenscrolling
throughweb pages.
Battery life is good compared to
other 7intablets: our looped video
played for 8hrs 4mins, whichputs the
Flyer ona par withthe 7inSamsung
Galaxy Tab and is far better thanthe
Acer Iconia Tab A100.
There are problems, however. The
5-megapixel, 720p camera onthe rear
has no flashor image stabilisation,
and image quality is poor, withheavy
over-compressionruining shots inall
conditions and noise spoiling video and
stills inlowlight. Althoughyou canadd
a microSDcard to the device, it also
lacks anHDMI output.
All this pales into insignificance next
to the fattest fly inthe ointment: the
Flyers price. The 16GB Wi-Fi versionwill
set you back 480 and the 32GB with3G
costs 543, whichis substantially more
expensive thanmost 10inAndroid 3
tablets. Its a lovely device, and well
made too, but the price would have to
be 150 lower for it to really appeal
especially whencompared to the 299
Acer Iconia Tab A100.
Price 16GB, 480 (Wi-Fi only); 32GB,
543 (Wi-Fi, 3G)
Website www.htc.com
Overall rating
Good Slick front end; beautiful design;
the stylus is a useful addition
Bad Expensive; no Android 3
Verdict A fine 7in tablet, and the lack
of Android 3 doesnt hurt it much, but the
price is far too high
379 50
15 1
SDTabletWear Stand and Type
Price: 16 Supplier: www.mobilefun.co.uk
Proporta Neoprene Sleeve
Price: 15 Supplier: www.mobilefun.co.uk
ZooGue Case Genius
Price: 40 Supplier: www.mobilefun.co.uk
Smart but cheap, this case is ideal if spending 40 or 50 seems
excessive. It isnt particularly luxurious, withstiff, unforgiving leather
and little protective padding, but it does let youprop up your tablet in
two positions, it comes ina range of colours, and its available for the
Motorola Xoom, Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Asus Eee Pad Transformer.
Made fromstiff, reinforced leather, the Zenus fits the Motorola Xoomlike
a glove, and althoughtheres no padding, theres plenty of protection.
There are cutouts for all the ports and sockets, and you canunclip the
top, fold it back and use it as a stand for use witha keyboard and mouse.
Proporta sells all sorts of premiumcases, but this neoprene slip case is
dirt cheap. Designed to fit all 10intablets, its soft, furry interior will
protect your tablet, and the greenpinstripe that wraps around the case
looks smart. As its universal, though, dont expect a particularly snug fit:
all the 10inmodels we tried init slotted inwithroomto spare.
Available for the Samung Galaxy Tab and the Motorola Xoom, ZooGues
Case Genius is beautifully made fromblack, padded leather, and its
lined withmicrofibre. It candouble as a stand: two Velcro strips run
along the front flap that let youpositionthe legs at any angle, and
theres also a sturdy elasticated strap for one-handed carriage.
Zenus Prestige Stand
Series for Motorola Xoom
Price: 50 Supplier: www.mobilefun.co.uk
Bought a tablet? The next thing to do is get yourself a case or bag to protect it.
There are many on the market, but belowis a selection of the very best
Cases &bags
Boblbee Peoples Delite Aero
Price: 184 Supplier: www.amazon.co.uk
Tuff-Luv Black Leather Book Case
Price: 40 Supplier: www.mobilefun.co.uk
Case-Mate Barely There
Price: 25 Supplier: www.mobilefun.co.uk
For the ultimate protectiononyour ride to work, this bags 3.5mm-thick
polycarbonate shell protects your tablet, while anair-cushioned back
panel doubles as a CE-certified Level 2 back protector to safeguard your
spine inthe event of a fall. Its practical, too, witha 20-litre capacity, and
a padded pocket for any size of tablet inside.
Designed to fit most 10intablets, Tech21s classy slip cases have D3O
impact-resistant material hiddenaway inside. This is designed to absorb
and dissipate sharp shocks, and is also used inprotective clothing for
military personnel and motorcycle racers, so youre getting a highcalibre
of protectionfor your tablet. The price is rather high, though.
Tuff-Luvs cases not only look stylish, but also provide a good deal of
protectionfor your tablet. Available for the Acer Iconia Tab A500 and Asus
Eee Pad Explorer, the toughleather Book Case provides plenty of padding
and a thick flap to cover the screen. Theres also a kick-stand attached to
the rear witha couple of press studs, allowing it to double as a stand.
The name says it all: this case is for those who want protectionfor their
tablet but not the bulk of a traditional case. Available for the Samsung
Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Motorola Xoom, it snaps snugly and securely into
place, has cutouts for all ports, camera and speakers, and the soft-touch
plastic its made fromfeels silky smoothinthe hand.
Tech21 PremiumD30 Leather Slip Case
Price: 33 Supplier: www.enhanceyours.com
With an excellent capacitive 8in touchscreen and a very tempting price, this
well-made tablet could appeal if youre on tight budget
Jexaa JexTab 812 HD
exaa is UKcompany that specialises
inproducing cheap Android tablets
and, like other models at this price,
its JexTab 812 HDdoesnt sport Android
3. Instead, you get a slightly modified
versionof Android 2.3.
Onmany other tablets this leads to
major flaws: smartphone graphics dont
normally scale up well to a tablets
larger screen; the hardware is usually
slow; and, critically, theres usually no
access to Android Market.
The JexTab 812 HDknocks all these
preconceptions onthe head. Its
modified user interface looks sleek,
withnone of the pixellationthat
afflicts the Advent Vegas front end, for
example. Theres plenty of roomonthe
desktop for shortcuts and widgets too;
at least as muchas youll find onan
Android 3 tablet.
Nor is it poorly made. Its slimand
light, and althoughthe rear panel is
cheap glossy grey plastic, the front
fascias aluminiumfinishfeels
expensive. Its the screenthats the star
of the show, though: it measures an
unusual 8inacross the diagonal, uses
capacitive touchscreentechnology, and
its quality is excellent.
The other thing to note about the
display is that, unlike most other
Android tablets, it has a resolutionof
1,024 x 768, whichmeans its easier to
use inportrait orientationthantablets
withwider aspect displays.
Theres plenty more to like. Android
Market is preinstalled, so downloading
apps and games is simple. Flashsupport
means you get the whole web, not just
part of it. And, while theres noBluetooth
or GPS, connectivity is good: a microSD
slot allows the 8GB of storage to be
expanded, and a full-sized USB socket
lets you connect thumb drives and even
3Gsticks for mobile internet access.
Measuring 8in
across, with a
high resolution
of 1,024 x 768,
the high-quality
screen is the
star of the
JexTab show.
Battery life
(hrs - higher is better)
Measured brightness
- higher is better)
BBC desktop
load time
(secs - lower is better)
The JexTab has
HDMI, microSD
and full-sized
USB sockets.
Operating system
Android 2.3
Screen & Weight
8in, 1,024 x 768/560g
Single-core 1.2GHz Rockchip
Wi-Fi (3G support via optional dongle)
Slim and light,
the JexTab
feels well
The JexTab has
front and rear
cameras for
video calls and
occasional photos.
Under the hood a single-core, 1.2GHz
processor provides the tablets power,
coupled with512MB of RAM. Onpaper,
these specifications look plenty; in
practice, theyre not fully up to the job.
As a media player, the JexTab excels.
You cancomfortably play music and
local video files up to a resolutionof
1080p, and output themto your HDTV
via the HDMI socket onthe right. It also
plays games smoothly: Angry Birds,
Raging Thunder 2 and DragonFly! were
all handled perfectly.
Evenbattery life is decent, and inour
tests the JexTab 812 HDmanaged to last
well beyond the claimed eight hours. It
lasted 9hrs 50mins whenplaying a
low-resolutionvideo onloop withthe
screenset to mediumbrightness.
Oddly, though, web browsing isnt as
slick. It took the JexTab a sluggishten
seconds to render the BBC homepage,
and scrolling and panning around
wasnt exactly smooth. That said,
downloading a third-party browser
suchas DolphinHDor Opera Mini (see
p54) does improve matters a little.
Another problemis that the wireless
hardware inthis tablet isnt very strong.
If you have areas of your house or flat
where a laptop struggles to connect to
your wireless network, its possible the
JexTab 812 HDwont be able connect
at all. Finally, its nice to have both
front (2-megapixel) and rear cameras
(3-megapixel), but neither produces
good-quality results.
Admittedly, those issues arent small
ones, and the absence of Android 3 is a
disappointment too. Nevertheless, the
JexTab 812 HDis a perfectly reasonable
tablet. It has a lovely screen, access to
the Android Market, plenty of useful
features suchas support for USB 3G
sticks andanHDMI output, andit makes
a marvellous games and media
machine. Whenyou consider the 200
price tag, it looks a tempting buy.
Price 200
Website www.jexaa.co.uk
Overall rating
Good Lovely screen; Android Market; 3G
support via the USB socket
Bad Browsing performance is sluggish;
weak Wi-Fi
Verdict A good screen and decent
battery life offset the lack of Honeycomb
and average performance
208 50
15 1
Lenovo brings a touch of corporate style to its well-priced tablet, plus a whole bundle
of interesting software tweaks and extras
The IdeaPad
K1s home
button is
to go back, just
swipe your
thumb across it
in a downwards
Lenovo IdeaPad K1
enovo is knownmore for
executive IT equipment than
shiny gadgets, but its IdeaPad K1
Android 3 tablet is a signit wants to
bring its expertise to a wider audience.
There are several different colours
available and all look smart (Lenovo
says only the black versionwill be
available inthe UK, but weve spied
others inthe shops). Plus, theres a
laptop-like array of connection
options, withexpansionfor microSD
flashmemory cards, a micro-HDMI
output and a cable inthe box for
connecting USB memory sticks, a
keyboard or a mouse.
And just as withthe companys
laptops, the K1 is loaded withsoftware.
Lenovo provides its ownapp store in
additionto the Android Market, a fully
licensed copy of DataViz Documents To
Go, its ownversions of the Music and
Gallery apps, two video-editing apps
and a selectionof HDgames.
It has also tweaked the Android 3
operating system. The systembar that
runs along the bottomof the screenhas
bolder, brighter icons, and the menu
you get whenyou tap the notifications
area inthe bottomright has more
options and is scrollable. Theres a
replacement keyboard, a new
favourite apps sectionto the bottom
of the Android App Drawer, and
bizarrely a duplicationof the recent
apps menu too. Instead of appearing in
a straight line onthe left, Lenovos
versionpops up onthe right as a
spinning circle of thumbnails, launched
via a buttononthe systembar.
Plus, ina final creative splurge, the
K1s single, physical home buttonis
Anupwards sweep of the thumb
pops up the context menu; a
downwards sweep takes you back a
step; and pressing the buttonreturns
you to the mainAndroid desktop.
Battery life
(hrs - higher is better)
Measured brightness
- higher is better)
BBC desktop
load time
(secs - lower is better)
The IdeaPad
feels well made,
but its also on
the heavy side.
On the left-
hand edge are
the power and
volume buttons,
a screen
rotation lock
switch and a
expansion slot.
Our review
unit was
supplied with
an attractive
rear panel. In
the UK, though,
only the black
plastic version
will be available.
Interms of core specifications, the K1 is
a little more mainstream. As withmany
other Android 3 tablets, theres a
dual-core 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 CPU
under the hood, backed by 1GB of RAM.
Theres 32GB of storage, GPS for
navigationand Bluetooth.
This results inperformance thats
indistinguishable fromthe rest of the
Android 3 crowd, witha BBC homepage
load-time of four seconds, and generally
responsive panning and zooming. Early
reviews complained of sluggishness
and instability fromthe K1, but this was
presumably due to pre-production
hardware and/or software, because we
experienced no problems. The K1s
battery, meanwhile, lasted 8hrs 35mins
while looping a low-resolutionvideo
unexceptional, but hardly disastrous.
It all starts to go awry withthe
cameras. There are front and rear units
onthe K1, withresolutions of 5- and
2-megapixels respectively, and a single
LEDflashto help out inlowlight.
Quality, however, is terrible, withsoft,
over-compressed images and video.
Nor are we convinced by the chassis.
The rear panel is so flexible that if you
pushit too hard the screenbegins to
ripple and flash. Its heavy at 770g, and
its wide bezel makes it feel significantly
larger inthe hands thanits mainrivals.
The final problemis withthe 10.1in,
1,280 x 800 resolutionscreen: it isnt the
brightest around, at 301cd/m
Despite the niggles, though, this is a
decent tablet at a more thandecent
price. Theres a generous helping of
preloaded apps and games, a healthy
32GB of storage space and weve no
complaints about performance. Rivals
suchas the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
offer superior hardware and a better
quality all-round package, but none
quite manages to matchthe Lenovo
IdeaPad K1s bang per buck.
Price Wi-Fi, 360
Website www.lenovo.co.uk
Overall rating
Good Responsive and speedy; plenty of
preloaded apps
Bad Flimsy build quality; a little
oversized; screen is a touch dim
VerdictA great choice if youre on a
tight budget and youll take advantage of
Lenovos generous software bundle
15 1
301 50
Operating system
Android 3.1
Screen & Weight
10.1in, 1,280 x 800/770g
Dual-core 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2
LG takes a gamble with its first Android tablet and, while not every risk pays off,
the 3Dcamera and unusual screen size set it apart fromthe opposition
LG Optimus Pad
Gcame to the tablet party late
withthe Optimus Pad, so it
needed to do something special
to stand out. And it does have a couple
of nifty tricks up its sleeve.
The first is its size. Withits 8.9in1,280
x 768 screen, the Optimus Pad sits apart
fromthe crowd. Its a good compromise
betweenthe more common7inor 10in
models, but it isnt without its problems.
Onthe plus side, its a little more
portable thanmost 10intablets, and
thus better suited to reading onthe go.
Its also more comfortable for browsing
the web thana 7intablet, withits larger,
higher-resolutionscreenmaking small
text easier to read. Its disappointing
then, to find that the Optimus Pad is
rather thick at 18mmand weighs more
thanthe larger Samsung Galaxy Tab10.1.
LGs other unusual offering is 3D, with
a pair of 5-megapixel digital cameras on
the rear able to capture stereoscopic
720p 3Dvideo. Its effective, but to make
the most of it you need to plug the
tablet into a 3D-ready TV using its HDMI
output. The tablets screenisnt properly
3D-enabled, and thus you have to use
the supplied glasses to viewthe 3D
video, whichis less thansatisfactory.
To make matters worse, software
integrationis almost non-existent: to
shoot, browse, share and play 3D
footage onthe tablet you have to use
different apps fromthe standard
Android 3 ones, whichis confusing at
first. These have no options to upload
footage directly to YouTube and share it
withfriends; you have to flip back to the
standard app for that.
Aside fromthe headline features, the LG
Optimus Pad is a solid tablet. Its well
made: the soft plastic rear doesnt creak
or bend, and the finishmakes it easy to
grip and comfortable to hold. The
display itself is bright and clear, witha
The 8.9in screen
makes the LG
easier to carry
around than
most 10.1in
Battery life
(hrs - higher is better)
Measured brightness
- higher is better)
BBC desktop
load time
(secs - lower is better)
Operating system
Android 3
Screen & Weight
8.9in, 1,280 x 768/620g
Dual-core 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2
Wi-Fi, 3G
maximumbrightness of 398cd/m
and a
good 622:1 contrast ratio.
Inside the chassis, the Optimus is
powered by the same dual-core 1GHz
Nvidia Tegra 2 technology used by all
other Android 3 tablets, and the figures
showits just as nippy. Inthe SunSpider
JavaScript benchmark, the LGgained a
result of 1,994ms, loaded the BBC
homepage inanaverage time of six
seconds over a fast Wi-Fi connection,
and achieved 1,923 points inthe
Android Quadrant benchmark.
The 5mp camera, used in2Dmode,
produces good-quality shots: infact,
theyre as good as any weve seenfrom
any tablet. It also records smooth, crisp
and detailed 1080p video. Under a small
plastic panel at the rear lurks a slot for a
SIMcard, allowing you to untether the
tablet fromyour Wi-Fi network and use
it anywhere you canget a mobile phone
signal. And theres a decent 32GB of
storage onboard.
Battery life is average, though: inour
looping low-resolutionvideo test, the
Optimus lasted just 7hrs 24mins
significantly short of the Motorola
Xooms 12hrs 49mins, but similar to
the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.
Theres no microSDslot another
disappointment but this and a few
other foibles shouldnt put you off the
Optimus Pad. Its a solidtablet withgood
performance and a decent camera.
What isnt so attractive is the price.
If you buy one SIM-free youre looking
at 750, whichis ludicrous higher
thanevery other tablet onthe market
today, and for a product thats solid
rather thanspectacular.
Until the price falls, then, wed urge
you to look elsewhere. For a quality
compact Android tablet, the HTC Flyer
represents better value, and for a
larger-screened tablet the Samsung
Galaxy Tab 10.1 knocks spots off the
Optimus Pad inmost departments.
On the rear are two 5mp cameras,
which allow the tablet to shoot
video in stereoscopic 3D.
The SIM card
slot sits under
a plastic panel
on the rear, but
theres no way
of expanding
the tablets
The LG Optimus
screen is bog
standard, which
means to view
3D you have to
don the bundled
red and blue
Price 750; also available on contract
Website www.lg.com
Overall rating
Good Compact and quick; the screen is
bright with good contrast
Bad Far too expensive; a little on the
heavy side
Verdict A solid tablet, but its 3Dvideo
features and slightly smaller size arent
worth paying such a huge premiumfor
500 398
15 1
Hard Candy Stylus
Price: 30 Supplier: www.mobilefun.co.uk
Dual-Connect Slimline Bluetooth
Keyboard and Trackpad
Price: 37 Supplier: www.mobilefun.co.uk
Wowee One Classic
Price: 40 Supplier: www.mobilefun.co.uk
Fingers and thumbs are all very well, but theyre no good for sketching
or penning handwrittennotes. Thats where the Hard Candy Stylus
comes in: finished inshiny chrome, its weight gives it a high-quality feel.
The soft, capacitive nib allows accurate control of your tablet, and its
double-ended, witha top-quality penunder a cap at the other end.
If you need to type more thana paragraphor two, nothing beats a
physical keyboard. This light, cheap Bluetoothmodel is just the ticket: the
keys have a crisp, positive action, theres a smattering of handy media
buttons onthe top row, and its powered by a pair of AA batteries. A
couple of negatives: it has a half-height Enter key, and it feels a tad flimsy.
This pocket-sized Bluetoothkeyboard is very light at 119g, packs five rows
of keys in, including a dedicated number row, and includes a small thumb
trackpad for precise mouse control. A switchonthe rear allows you to
switchquickly betweentwo devices. It works well, but its a touchpricey.
This pocket-sized hybrid speaker is designed to improve onthe tinny
audio most tablets pump out. Weighing just 200g, it uses traditional
speaker technology to produce high- and mid-notes and a gel pad that
makes the surface it sits onvibrate to create bass. Sound quality is a
touchharsh, but its loud and the gel audio is surprisingly effective.
Full-sized Bluetooth keyboard
Price: 30 Supplier: www.mobilefun.co.uk
Stands, keyboards and speakers you name it, there are all sorts of ways you can
extend the capabilities of your Android tablet. Here are some of the best
Griffin WaveStand
Price: 17 Supplier: www.mobilefun.co.uk
Just Mobile Encore
Price: 48 Supplier: www.amazon.co.uk
Wireless keyboard for Motorola Xoom
Price: 65 Supplier: www.mobilefun.co.uk
There isnt muchto the GriffinWaveStand, but it does its job: to be a
simple tablet stand. Its wide, rubber-lined mouthholds all but the
chunkiest tablets firmly inplace, a tongue extends fromthe rear so it
wont tip over whenyouprod the screen, and its ingenious designalso
lets youprop up your tablet at a shallower angle for typing.
The official stand for the Motorola Xoomis beautifully made and it has a
good solid weight to it that helps keep your Xoomanchored to the desk.
Around the back are connectors for a charger and a pair of speakers. Its
great for leaving onyour desk, but that weight makes lugging it around
impractical, while the angle at whichit holds your tablet is a touchsteep.
If the cheap GriffinWaveStand isnt your cup of tea and you dont owna
Xoom, the Just Mobile Encore might be the answer. Its actually aniPad
stand, but it will work withany Android tablet. Its beautifully made, with
a solid matte-silver metal base, a hinged support that lets you prop up
your tablet at any angle you like, and a rubber lip to prevent scratching.
It may have the Motorola logo plastered all over it, but this keyboard
works withany Bluetooth-enabled tablet. It has a nice feel to the keys,
and its also the most robust keyboard weve yet seenfor tablets. As
withthe Full-sized BluetoothKeyboard, though, it has a half-height
Enter key, whichcould be irritating for touch-typists.
Standard dock for Motorola Xoom
Price: 35 Supplier: www.motorola.com
The first Android 3 tablet to arrive on the market nowlives up to its name, with
powerful core components on the inside matched by some slick design
Motorola Xoom
he Motorola Xoomwas the very
first Android 3 tablet to hit the
shops, and whenit appeared it
had a fewroughedges. It didnt feel as
responsive as we hoped, and there was
the odd bug too, suchas a microSDslot
that didnt work properly. Since then,
however, the Xoomhas beenupdated
witha newversionof Android 3 3.1
and those issues no longer apply.
As withevery other Android 3 tablet
onthe market, it features a dual-core
1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 processor under
the hood, and finally it feels as if the
Xoomis able to fully tap into its power.
Menus scroll and respond to the touch
as quickly as youd ever need, and
zooming and panning inweb pages is
as slick as it is onApples iPad 2. Its
simply a joy to use.
The powerful processor is backed up
with1GB of RAMand 32GB of storage,
and if you want data connectivity on
the move, theres also a 3Gversion
the SIMslot is situated under the
same flap (onthe top edge of the
tablet) as the microSDcard slot. The
latter allows you to add a further 32GB
of storage to bring the total up to a
highly respectable 64GB.
Further practical touches include a
micro-HDMI port, allowing you to watch
video fromyour tablet onyour HDTV.
Theres also a pair of cameras. The 5mp
unit onthe rear includes a dual-LED
flashand is capable of shooting 720p
video, while the 2mp camera onthe
front is just for video calls.
As onmost tablets the cameras are
average inquality, but the same cant be
said of the 1,280 x 800 10.1inscreen. Its
one of the best, witha highmaximum
brightness of 358cd/m
, but its the
contrast ratio that really impresses. At
1,377:1, it lends movies and images
solidity and a sense of realism. Its only
weakness is that it lags behind a little in
the vibrancy of its colours, but this is
The Xooms 1,280
x 800 resolution
screen is both
bright and crisp.
Battery life
(hrs - higher is better)
Measured brightness
- higher is better)
BBC desktop
load time
(secs - lower is better)

Operating system
Android 3.1
Screen & Weight
10.1in, 1,280 x 800 / 730g
Dual-core 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2
Wi-Fi (3G optional)
The volume
controls are
located on the
left edge of
the tablet.
The microSD
expansion slot
sits behind a
small flap on
the top edge.
A micro-HDMI
socket lets you
connect the
Xoom directly to
an HDTV.
only obvious whenplaced next to the
Asus Eee Pad Transformer or Samsung
Galaxy Tab 10.1.
Battery life is brilliant, lasting an
impressive 12hrs 49mins inour looping
video test withthe brightness turned
downto around a third. And the design
of the Xoomputs it right up there with
the most desirable technology around.
Its subtly curved rear-panel is decked
out incool anodised aluminiumand
topped witha tactile, soft-touchblack
plastic strip; its lovely to hold inyour
hand, and feels built to last.
What the Motorola Xoomdoesnt
offer is a great deal of bundled
software. Infact, the only preinstalled
extras you get, beyond the standard
selectionof Google apps, are a file
manager and video-editing app. The
latter is worthhaving, and good for
cutting a fewsimple scenes together,
but dont expect to create home-movie
masterpieces. If youre really serious
about editing video, youre still better
off doing it ona PC or Mac.
Note also that theres no low-cost
16GB Wi-Fi-only versionof the Xoom,
whichis a shame because that means
the cheapest versioncomes inat a not
inconsiderable 399. Thats around 50
more expensive thanthe 16GB Eee Pad
Transformer (see p84), Acer Iconia Tab
A500 (see p80) and Packard Bell Liberty
Tab (see p102) models. Its evenslightly
pricier thanthe lowliest Samsung
Galaxy Tab 10.1 (see p106), whichis
slimmer, lighter and altogether more
desirable thanthe Xoom.
That said, the Xooms excellent build
quality puts it a notchabove every
other Android 3 tablet bar the Samsung,
so if you canfind it at a lower price it
comes highly recommended. Its an
excellent product, and muchimproved
thanks to the updates.
The Xoom is
equipped with
a 5mp camera
and a dual-LED
flash to help in
low light.
Price Wi-Fi, 399; 3G, 479
Website www.motorola.com
Overall rating
Good Great design; quick and
responsive; fantastic screen;
Bad Camera isnt the best; a little on the
weighty side; not the cheapest option
Verdict A well-made, slick and quick
Android 3 tablet only the cameras could
give any cause for complaint
500 358
15 1
Its a stylish Android tablet at a reasonable price, but can Packard Bells latest
offering compete with the best around?
Packard Bell Liberty Tab G100
ackard Bell is owned by PC and
laptop giant Acer, and as a result
many of the two brands
products look alike. But the similarities
betweenPackard Bells newtablet and
the Acer equivalent are striking. Infact,
if you were to place the Packard Bell
and the Acer Iconia Tab A500 (see p80)
side by side withthe screens facing up
and the logos hidden, youd be hard
pressed to see any difference at all.
Bothtablets have 10.1in, 1,280 x 800
screens, and bothare smartly flanked
withmetallic strips. The positionof all
the major ports and components is the
same: the volume buttons, lock switch
and microSDslot are onthe top, theres
a full-sized USB port onthe left, a 3.5mm
headphone jack and micro-USB socket
onthe right and a proprietary docking
connector onthe bottom. Eachtablet
weighs exactly the same too: 756g.
A closer look reveals some subtle
differences, however. The corners have
beenrounded off here, as have the top
and bottomedges; small changes, you
might think, but they make the Liberty
more comfortable to hold.
Flip the tablet over, and youll see the
rear has a different designtoo. This has
no practical effect, but we prefer the
Liberty Tabs sparkling red-wine finish
and the way the chrome strips wrap
all the way round to the rear of the
device. The only negative points stem
fromthe Libertys plastic rear panel (the
Acers is metal), whichmakes it 1.5mm
thicker. Despite that, we prefer the
Libertys design.
The hardware specifications make for
familiar reading, but thats no bad thing.
The 5mp camera onthe rear shoots
720p video at 30fps and is capable of
some good results withthe help of
good light and a bit of TLC. Theres also a
2mp camera onthe front for video calls.
Theres a
camera for
video calls with
services such
as Skype.
Battery life
(hrs - higher is better)
Measured brightness
- higher is better)
BBC desktop
load time
(secs - lower is better)

A micro-HDMI
port allows you
to connect the
tablet to your TV.
Chunky: the
Liberty Tab
is one of the
thicker, heavier
tablets around,
at 15.6mm and
weighing 756g.
Usefully, theres
a full-sized USB
socket on the
side, so you can
connect thumb
drives for
extra storage.
Operating system
Android 3.0.1
Screen & Weight
10.1in, 1,280 x 800/756g
Dual-core 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2
Inside, theres a dual-core Nvidia
Tegra 2 processor, coupled with1GB
RAM, whichare enoughto keep Android
3 skipping along at a respectable speed.
Inour tests, it loaded the BBC
homepage inanaverage of four
seconds, about what wed expect. But at
the time of writing the Liberty Tab was
still running Android 3.0.1, and
responsiveness left a little to be desired,
withweb-page scrolling feeling a little
choppy and sluggishat times. Still, an
over-the-air update is inthe pipeline,
whichshould improve matters.
The screenis bright and punchy, with
good contrast, but as withthe Acer it
falls behind the best for viewing angles
andcontrast, soblacks dont look as dark
as they should. Battery life is good, but
a surprising two hours downonthe
Iconias score inour looping video test.
Luckily, though, it doesnt come withthe
Acers pointless hub and Clear.fi apps;
just a well-chosenselectionof more
useful apps and games.
Social Jogger amalgamates your
Facebook and Twitter feeds, theres a
handful of ebook and digital magazine
readers, a media server app lets you
share your tablets media files over a
local network, and for pure
entertainment Heroes of Sparta HD,
Lets Golf HDand Need for Speed Shift
HDare all included.
We enjoyed using the Liberty Tab,
and the price is reasonable: the 16GB
versioncosts 350 (theres no 3Goption
as yet, and the 32GB versionwasnt
available at the time of writing), which
puts it ona par for value withthe Asus
Eee Pad Transformer.
For our money the optionof the
keyboard dock, a lighter weight and
better-quality display edges things in
favour of the Eee Pad Transformer, but if
none of these is a deal-breaker thenthe
Packard Bell adds up to a nice package
that wont disappoint.
Price 16GB, 350
Website www.packardbell.co.uk
Overall rating
Good Slick performance; good looks;
decent screen quality
Bad A touch on the heavy side; the colour
scheme is a tad garish
Verdict Not as sleek and slimas some,
but once it includes Android 3.1 the Liberty
Tab will be an attractive proposition
346 50
15 1
The original Android tablet has been around for a while now, but its still worth
considering if you want a lightweight and compact device at a reasonable price
Samsung Galaxy Tab
lot of tablets have passed under
the bridge since the Samsung
Galaxy Tab was first unleashed
uponthe world. Back then, it was one of
the fewalternatives to the iPad worth
giving the time of day to, but it was far
too expensive. But nowthe price has
dropped to 299 for the Wi-Fi version
and around 330 for the 3Gone, its an
entirely different proposition.
It doesnt runAndroid 3, but a few
things still go inthe Galaxy Tabs favour.
For instance, withthe 3Gversionyou
cansend texts and make phone calls
(youll need a Bluetoothheadset for the
latter), whichAndroid 3 tablets cant do.
The 7inscreenmeans its lightweight
and compact, and easier to hold in
one hand thanlarger-screened devices.
Evenwitha relatively low1,024 x 600
resolutionits better suited to the job
of anebook reader as a result. And
despite its lowly 3mp resolution, the
quality of the on-board camera is
pretty good too.
Samsung has tweaked the bundled
calendar and email apps to work in
landscape mode, and has also
included a video store app for
downloading and renting films, while
anebook reader, linked to the Kobo
book store, and Zinio for magazines
are good choices considering this
tablets 7insize.
A versionof ThinkFree Office is also
included for editing and viewing office
documents. This lets you read PDF files
and edit spreadsheets, presentations
and Word files. As long as the document
doesnt include complicated formatting,
you should be pleased withthe results.
You cant create newdocuments from
scratch, but its still possible to work
around by creating a blank Word
document, say, and placing it inthe
Documents folder.
Finally, it should also be noted that
the Galaxy Tab provides access to the
The Samsung
Galaxy Tab was
among the first
rivals to the
Apple iPad to
be launched, but
it hasnt aged
too badly.
The 3mp camera
is accompanied
by an LED flash
for snaps in
poor light.
Battery life
(hrs - higher is better)
Measured brightness
- higher is better)
BBC desktop
load time
(secs - lower is better)

The small 7in

screen, makes
this compact
device ideal for
use as an ebook
Operating system
Android 2.2
Screen & Weight
7in, 1,024 x 600/385g
Single-core 1GHz ARM Cortex A8
Wi-Fi (3G optional)
official Android Market, whichnot all
tablets of this ilk do. That capability
opens the door to thousands of
high-quality apps and games.
The Galaxy Tabs designis
disappointing, though, withits
glossy white and black plastic
chassis feeling cheap inthe hand. Its
thick, too: compared to the svelte HTC
Flyer, its a porker, and we prefer the
Acer Iconia Tab A100s design, too.
Often, the fact its running Android 2.2
is also far too obvious. Some widgets
dont fit neatly onthe screenor cant be
centralised properly, and menus look
large and awkward. Inshort, it looks
like anenlarged smartphone, and it
feels clumsy as a result.
Performance fromthe older-
generationsingle-core 1GHz ARMCortex
A8 processor isnt muchto write home
about. The Galaxy Tab loaded the BBC
homepage ina sluggish11 seconds, and
this lack of speed is reflected ingeneral
use, frommenu scrolling to web-page
panning. Eventyping onthe keyboard
suffers froma delay betweentapping a
key and text appearing onscreen.
At eight hours inour test, battery life
is underwhelming, and the screenisnt
the best either. Its maximumbrightness
is only 289cd/m
, whichmeans it isnt
very readable outside under cloudy
skies, let alone insunny conditions.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab is certainly
showing its age, then, and withboththe
Acer Iconia Tab A100 and ViewSonic
ViewPad 7x offering the delights of
Android 3 tablets at a similar price, its
hard to see its appeal at least inits
16GB Wi-Fi-only guise.
The 32GB 3Gmodel, however, remains
a tempting buy, and at just 330 is
considerably cheaper thanthe only
other 3G-connected 7intablet the
32GB HTC Flyer.
15 1
500 289
Price 16GB, 299 (Wi-Fi only); 32GB,
330 (Wi-Fi, 3G)
Website www.samsung.com/uk
Overall rating
Good Small and compact; far better than
bargain-basement tablets
Bad Runs an older version of Android;
sluggish compared with modern tablets
Verdict A decent tablet at a good price,
but not as polished or slick as newer rivals
The Galaxy
Tab has
a proprietary
USB connection,
so youd better
look after
the cable.
Samsungs preinstalled live panels include
photo frame and weather widgets.
Light and thin enough to challenge Apples iPad 2, Samsungs stunning 10.1in
Galaxy Tab sets the Android tablet standard
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
his is the tablet Apple wanted to
ban. Legal actionhalted its sales
across Europe for a week, and
the dispute rumbles on. Its easy to see
why: not only is there a physical
resemblance, but the Galaxy Tab 10.1
has many brilliant things inits favour.
Its the lightest 10.1inAndroid tablet
onthe market by a distance at 565g, and
its thintoo, at 8.6mm. The plastic back
isnt quite as bulletproof as the metal
casing of the HTC Flyer, but its sturdy
and far fromcheap-feeling.
The multitouch1,280 x 800 LCDscreen
is a delight, offering excellent viewing
angles and a maximumbrightness of
. The only downside is that the
widescreenformat is slightly unwieldy
inportrait orientation, but thats no
different to every other 10.1 tablet.
Internally, the Tab 10.1 is based ona
dual-core 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 processor.
This is a commoncomponent inAndroid
3 tablets, so it was no surprise to see
similar performance. The BBChomepage
opened insix seconds, and inuse the
tablet felt as snappy as youd expect. We
found that 720p YouTube videos played
without a hiccup, as did standard-
definitioncontent fromthe BBC iPlayer
mobile app, althoughhigh-definition
streams were unwatchable.
Samsungs TouchWiz 4.0 customises
the regular Android interface and
includes live panels information
widgets suchas a weather forecast for
your home screens. Theres also a Mini
Apps Tray along the bottom, giving
quick access to your favourite apps. The
notificationand settings area at the
bottomis replaced withSamsungs own
version, offering simpler one-touch
access to frequently used settings.
A showy tilt to zoom feature has
also beenadded to the browser and
various interface elements have been
spruced up. These changes arent too
intrusive, but they add little to the
Battery life
(hrs - higher is better)
Measured brightness
- higher is better)
BBC desktop
load time
(secs - lower is better)

The rear of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is

coated in rubbery plastic, giving a
good, grippy surface.
Operating system
Android 3
Screen & Weight
10.1in, 1,280 x 800/565g
Dual-core 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2
Wi-Fi (3G depends on model)
experience. Potentially more useful is
the preinstalled copy of Polaris Office,
plus some bespoke Samsung apps.
These include Social Hub, which
combines social-network services such
as Twitter and Facebook into a single
interface, and the Music Hub, a music
store powered by the 7digital service.
Transferring media files fromyour PC to
the Tab 10.1 is a breeze. Samsungs Kies
software offers wireless syncing, and
once the drivers are installed onto your
PC the tablet also works as a regular
mass storage device. The excellent
speakers deliver remarkable volume
considering the size of the device.
The rear-facing camera captures 720p
video footage, but its a little grainy.
Stills look better: the rear autofocus
camera takes 3.2mp photos withcrisp
detail and realistic colours eveninlow
light. Theres anLEDflashto help out if
things get too dark. The front-facing
camera is sharp, too, but uses a smaller
2mp sensor and a fixed focal length.
We do have a fewgripes. The biggest
is battery life: inour continuous video
test it managed only 7hrs 18mins of
playback 1hr 20mins less thanthe
Asus Eee Pad Transformer.
Its annoying too that the only regular
connector is a 3.5mmheadphone socket
(plus a SIMslot onthe 3Gversion).
Otherwise, all power and data goes
througha proprietary 30-pinsocket. If
you want to hook up anexternal
display, youll need the external HDMI
adapter, available for around 20 online.
Theres no microSDslot, but Samsung
offers a wider choice thanmost, with
16GB, 32GB and 64GB versions.
Withits slick performance, light
chassis andsuperbscreenandspeakers,
the Galaxy Tab 10.1 matches the appeal
of Apples iPad better thanany of its
rivals. Its the best Android tablet yet.
Price: Wi-Fi: 16GB, 399; 32GB, 479;
64GB, 559. 3G: 16GB, 499; 32GB, 579;
64GB, 659
Website www.samsung.com/uk
Overall rating
Good Thin, light and responsive; bright
screen with great colours
Bad Proprietary connector; no memory
Verdict The slickest Android tablet yet
15 1
At 8.6mm, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is
almost impossibly thin.
Sony Tablet S
Sonys strikingly different tablet looks set to shake up the tablet market and boasts a
handful of unusual features that make it stand out fromthe crowd
ony oftenturns up late at the
technology party, but whenit
does arrive, it usually does so with
a bang. And that looks to be the case
withits first Android tablet, the rather
awkwardly named Tablet S.
Not that Sony strays fromconvention
whenit comes to the core specification,
witha 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 processor
powering the Android 3.1 operating
system. Withidentical specifications to
so many other tablets, its hardly
surprising to find that the Tablet S is
pretty slick, withmenus, animations
and scrolling and panning inweb pages
as responsive as they come. (Alas, this
guide was published a little too early for
Sony to give us the full retail versionto
test, so were unable to reveal figures
and battery life at this stage.)
Its the designof the S that will really
turnheads, though. The 9.4inscreen
means it feels a little more compact
thanmost of the 10.1inAndroid 3 crowd,
and its extremely light and well put
together. Sonys official specifications
place it at a mere 598g only the
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is lighter
among 9/10intablets. We like the
screen, too: the 1,280 x 800 resolutionis
generous, and as wed expect fromany
Sony display its bright and punchy.
Sony has opted not to use aluminium
inits construction, but the silver and
glossy black plastics that have been
used feel highquality. The rear panel is
slightly textured, giving your fingers a
chance to gainplenty of purchase, and
the rear edge looks as if its beenfolded
back onitself, giving the S a novel
wedge-shaped profile thicker along
one long edge thanthe other.
This odd shape has two advantages.
First, whenthe S is put downona flat
surface, the screenis set at a slight
angle. So, rather thanforcing you to
crane your neck to look fromabove, its
quite usable froma sitting (or standing)
The 9.4in screen
makes for a
tablet thats
slightly more
compact and
lighter than
most 10.1in models.

The Sony Tablet S is designed with one long edge thicker

than the other, tipping it up at a convenient angle when
its placed on a desk.
Hidden away
on the Ss
rear panel is
an infrared
emitter, allowing
the tablet
to be used
as a remote
control for your
TV and other
Operating system
Android 3
Screen & Weight
9.4in, 1,280 x 800/598g
Dual-core 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2
Wi-Fi (3G optional)
position. Inadditionto easier typing,
this makes it far more pleasant to watch
a video or read a web page withthe
tablet flat ona desk.
Second, whenyou pick up the S, the
thick edge gives a good chunk of plastic
for your hand to grip, making it more
comfortable to use as a reading device
inportrait orientation.
The key to the Ss appeal over other
Android tablets looks set to be its home
entertainment qualities. First among
these is the ability to use the Tablet S as
a (very expensive) universal remote
control, courtesy of anintegrated
infrared transmitter and some clever
built-inremote control software.
Hundreds of TV brands and models
are preconfigured, so most people will
be able to select their TV set froma list
and get channel-hopping right away. If
your TV isnt listed, anIRreceiver allows
you to programthe requisite codes
using your old remote.
Another party trick is the ability to
flick movies andmusic wirelessly to
other devices. Youdont needa Sony TV
for this: it will work withany TVwith
up-to-date DLNAsupport, although
were yet tosee a definitive list of
supportedhardware. The final attraction
is PlayStationcertification. That means
its possible todownloadandplay PS
One games, suchas CrashBandicoot.
The price is no different fromthe
premiumcompetition the basic 16GB
Wi-Fi model is 400 so whether Sonys
Tablet S is good enoughto edge out
Samsungs Galaxy Tab 10.1 depends on
your priorities. If you planonusing your
tablet mainly inthe living room, wed go
for the Sony for its coffee table-friendly
shape and media facilities; out onthe
road, though, wed prefer the larger
screen, lighter weight and slimmer
profile of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.
The textured
rear of the S
makes it easy to
grip in your hand.
As youd expect
from a Sony
device, build
quality is high.
Price 400 (16GB, Wi-Fi only)
Website www.sony.co.uk
Good Clever design; universal remote
control features; very light
Bad Expensive; not everyone will get on
with the asymmetric design
Predictions With some truly unusual
yet useful features, Sonys newtablet will
gain many fans
ViewSonic introduces a very different Android tablet, with a small screen and a
host of innovative software and hardware features
ViewSonic ViewPad 7x
ost manufacturers choose to
leave the Android 3 software
front-end well alone: its easy
to use, looks great and runs smoothly.
ViewSonic, however, has revamped the
software fromthe ground up for its
pocket-sized ViewPad 7x.
You cantell its different fromthe
moment you switchit on. You canstill
navigate betweendesktops by swiping
your finger, but eachdesktop space has
anoutline that makes it look like a pane
of frosted glass. The controls inthe top
corners have also disappeared: instead,
a horizontal slider is wedged above the
systembar at the bottomof the screen.
Grab or tap the slider, and it zooms
out to give a 3Doverview, allowing you
to flick betweendesktops muchmore
quickly thanona standard Honeycomb
tablet. The ViewPad 7x also ups the
standard Android 3 desktop count from
five to sevenand you canadd up to a
massive 15 desktop spaces.
Tap another buttoninthe zoomed-
out viewand you canchoose froma
number of full-screenwidgets to slot
into your carousel of desktops. These
take over all the space onany desktop,
and there are four to choose from: a
world clock panel, a weather panel,
calendar and a Flickr photo panel.
The ViewSonics standard desktop
spaces are also different. You canstill
drop shortcuts and widgets wherever
you like, but withthe ability to organise
shortcuts into folders you cansqueeze
muchmore onto one screen.
ViewSonic has replaced the Android
keyboard withone fromspecialist
developer TouchPal, adding several
alternative layouts. Finally, the
horizontally scrolling Android 3 App
Drawer has beensupplanted by a
vertically scrolling one.
Once youve finished exploring
what the front-end has to offer,
theres also a selectionof extra apps
At 7in across
and with a
resolution of
1,024 x 600,
the screen
offers enough
space for
web browsing.
Theres a flash
to go with
camera, and it
can shoot 720p
video too.
Battery life
(hrs - higher is better)
Measured brightness
- higher is better)
BBC desktop
load time
(secs - lower is better)

available, including a fully licensed

versionof DataViz Documents To Go
(normally 10).
ViewSonic hasnt neglectedthe
hardware either. The ViewPad7x is
poweredby a dual-core 1GHz Nvidia
Tegra 2 processor, has 1GBof RAM, anFM
radiotuner, HDMI output anda microSD
slot. The latter helps compensate for
only 8GBof storage. Andit squeezes all
this intoa tablet thats bothcompact
andlight, at under 400g.
Evenwithall the extra software, the
Android 3 interface feels responsive,
web pages panand scroll without
hesitation, and they load quickly. The
BBC homepage took only four seconds
to appear over a fast Wi-Fi connection.
Battery life is goodfor a 7intablet: it
lasted6hrs 37mins inour videoplayback
test, muchbetter thanAcers Iconia Tab
A100, whichlastedunder five hours.
The maindisappointment is the 7in
1,024 x 600 resolutionscreen, whichisnt
the crispest or brightest weve seen. The
ViewPad cant matchthe HTC Flyer for
build quality, either. The deep red
plastic back withred trimsurrounding
looks smart enough, but the rear panel
is prone to scratching and scuffing.
There are two cameras a front-
facing 2-megapixel and a rear-facing
5-megapixel one but quality is deeply
mediocre. Heavily compressed, smeary
and detail-free images are the order of
the day. It canshoot 720p video as well,
but footage looks similar.
Inall, though, the ViewSonic ViewPad
7x is a decent tablet for the money. Its
compact, light and combines this
withslick performance and reasonable
battery life. There isnt muchto choose
betweenthis and its mainrival, the Acer
Iconia Tab A100, but if youre after
something a little different thenthe
ViewPad edges it.
Price 299, 8GB
Website www.viewsoniceurope.com
Overall rating
Good Excellent software tweaks;
compact and light
Bad Screen isnt the brightest; rear panel
prone to scuffing; poor camera
VerdictA nicely put-together 7in
tablet thats quirky without being clumsy.
We like it.
15 1
Operating system
Android 3.2
Screen & Weight
7in, 1,024 x 600/380g
Dual-core 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2
240 50
Stereo speakers
reside sensibly on
each edge.
The red trim and
deep red rear
panel look good,
but pick up
scratches easily.
The ViewSonic
has 8GB of
storage on
board, and you
can add more via
the microSD
slot on the
right-hand edge.
3G The type of data connectionfirst
used by smartphones and advanced
business laptops, 3Gallows you to
connect to the internet wherever
you canget a good mobile phone
signal. Not everywhere is covered
by a good signal, though, and owners
of 3G-enabled tablets may find that
their tablets drop into GPRS (general
packet radio switching) mode, which
is muchslower.
1080p See HDvideo.
720p See HDvideo.
Adobe Flash Player See Flash.
Bluetooth A wireless technology
used for the connectionof peripheral
devices suchas keyboards, mice and
headsets, and also for tethering your
tablet to a mobile phone to use its 3G
data connection. Bluetoothtypically
has a range of around 10m.
Capacitive (touchscreen)
Used inmost premiumtablets and
smartphones, capacitive touchscreens
require a muchgentler touchto
activate thanresistive types.
This is the measurement we
use to indicate howbright a tablets
screenis. Fully expanded, it stands for
candela per metre squared, and we
measure it using a piece of equipment
called a colorimeter. The maximum
brightness figure is derived froma pure
white screenwiththe tablets
brightness setting turned right up.
Flash A special type of web
technology that allows website
developers to place more advanced and
interactive elements onpages, suchas
video players and games. Most modern
Android tablets have support for Flash;
the iPad 2, famously, does not.
fps Movies are made up of many
thousands of still images played in
sequence to give the impressionof
movement. Frames per second, or fps, is
essentially a measurement of that, and
indicates the frequency withwhicha
video camera captures a scene the
higher the fps, the smoother the video.
Froyo Googles codename for Android
version2.2. Most commonly used on
smartphones, but also employed as the
operating systemincheaper tablets.
Gingerbread Another Google
codename, this time for Android version
2.3. Most commonly used on
smartphones, but also employed as the
operating systemincheaper tablets.
GPRS See 3G.
GPS Standing for Global Positioning
System, the GPS radio is the
technology that enables devices such
as tablets and satnavs to pinpoint their
geographical position, and so provide
driving instructions and other
location-based services. GPS requires a
viewof the sky to receive a signal from
GPS satellites, so doesnt work indoors;
althoughtablets canstill establisha
loose positionby analysing the names
of local Wi-Fi hotspots and matching
themagainst Googles global database.
HD video There are two types of HD
video 720p and 1080p (or Full HD)
and the difference betweenthe two is
essentially the number of pixels used
(the resolution). A 720p HDvideo is 1,280
pixels wide and 720 pixels high; a 1080p
HDvideo is 1,920 x 1,080 pixels.
HDMI A type of digital video
connectionthat allows devices to be
connected directly to anHDTV. Tablets
typically use either mini- or micro-HDMI
ports, but cables are rarely included.
Honeycomb Googles codename for
Android version3, and the only version
of Android so far designed specifically
for tablets.
Ice Cream Sandwich The
codename for Googles next versionof
Android. Ice CreamSandwichis set to
unify the smartphone and tablet
operating systems, giving bothtypes of
device a similar look and feel.
IPS Stands for in-plane switching
a type of TFT screentechnology used
inmore expensive monitors and tablets.
Used by the Asus Eee Pad Transformer
and Apples iPad 2, IPS displays boast
superior colours and wider viewing
angles to standard TFT screens.
Megapixels Refers to the total
number of pixels a tablets camera is
able to resolve. The Asus Eee Pad
Transformer is capable of shooting
5-megapixel stills (five milliontotal
pixels) witha resolutionof 2,592 x 1,944.
microSD Like the SDcards used in
digital cameras, but muchsmaller,
microSDcards allowyou to expand
the storage of your tablet onthe
cheap so you canfit more music,
video and other files in. 32GB cards cost
fromaround 40.
Multitouch Refers to the ability
of a touchscreento accept input from
more thanone point ona screen
simultaneously. Multitouchscreens
allowthe use of advanced gestures,
suchas the pinching inand out of the
fingers to zoominand out of web
pages, and the rotationof photos
withtwo fingers. Multitouchalso
allows more effective keyboard data
entry, as you canhold downShift to
type capital letters.
Resistive (touchscreen) This
is the cheapest type of touchscreen
technology available to manufacturers.
A resistive touchscreenrequires
pressure onthe screento activate
buttons and links. Theyre generally
to be avoided, as they (usually) dont
support multitouch, and arent
particularly responsive or accurate.
Stop motion If youve seenNick
Parks superb Wallace and Gromit
animations, thenyoull knowwhat
stop-motionanimationis. It refers to
a movie created frommany thousands
of snapped still images, and allows
skilled animators to bring inanimate
objects to life. Android 3 tablets have a
stop-motiontool built into the video
camera app, whichsnaps still images at
predefined intervals thenstitches them
all together for you, for effortless
stop-motionhome movies.
Streaming Refers to the process of
playing video or music files stored ina
remote locationonyour tablet, without
physically copying the file to its local
storage. Good examples of this are BBC
iPlayer and YouTube videos, where a
website stores the file, and streams it
via a special web page-based video
player, inthis case Adobe Flash. You
canalso play media files hosted ona
networked PC or Mac using a client/
server app suchas Plex.
TFT This is the standard type of
screenused intablets today. TFT stands
for thin-filmtransistor, but due to
variations inmanufacture, quality
control and the electronics behind
them, theres a vast difference inquality
betweendifferent tablets.
USB There are several different types
of USB connection, but all allowthe
connectionof two devices together
for the purposes of transferring files.
Android tablets canusually be
connected to a PC or Mac using a
micro- or mini-USB socket. Some have a
full-sized USB socket, whichallows the
connectionof USB memory sticks and
hard disk drives, keyboards and mice.
Viewing angles Not all tablet screens
are made equal, and poor viewing
angles canseriously affect your
enjoyment. Witha tablet that has poor,
or narrow, viewing angles, the screen
must be held square onto the eye line
as soonas its tilted slightly away, the
colours change, or shift, making viewing
difficult or impossible. Not what you
want if youre sharing a movie or photos
withfriends or family.
Wi-Fi The most commonwireless
technology included intablets, Wi-Fi
lets you hook into your broadband
connectionat home (or at a hotel/
caf-based hotspot) and browse the
internet, transfer files fromcomputer to
tablet and back again, and evenstream
video fromdevice to device. There are
several different types of Wi-Fi,
denominated by cryptic phraseology
and acronyms writteninto tablets
specifications: 802.11g is the older,
slower type; 802.11nis more modern,
faster and may also allowa tablet to
connect fromfurther away.
Editor Jonathan Bray: jonb@pcpro.co.uk
Managing Editor Priti Patel
Design & Layout Jo Clements
Hannah Heagney, hannah_heagney@dennis.co.uk, +44 20 7907 6134
Anj Dosaj-Halai, Anj_Dosaj-Halai@dennis.co.uk, +44 20 7907 6132
Advertising Manager Matt Wakefield +44 20 7907 6625
Digital MagBook Account Manager Katie Wood +44 20 7907 6689
Production Manager Nicky Baker +44 20 7907 6056
MagBook Manager Dharmesh Mistry +44 20 7907 61 00
Marketing & Editorial Executive Emily Hodges +44 20 7907 6270
Managing Director John Garewal +44 20 7907 6000
Deputy Managing Director TimDanton
MDof Advertising Julian Lloyd-Evans
Newstrade Director David Barker
Chief Operating Officer Brett Reynolds
Group Finance Director Ian Leggett
Chief Executive James Tye
Chairman Felix Dennis
The MagBook brand is a trademark of Dennis Publishing Ltd, 30
Cleveland St, London W1T 4JD. Company registered in England. All
material Dennis Publishing Ltd, licensed by Felden 2011, and may not be
reproduced in whole or part without the consent of the publishers.
While every care was taken during the preparation of this MagBook, the
publishers cannot be held responsible for the accuracy of the information
or any consequence arising. All judgements are based on products
available to us at the time. Value for money comments are based on
current UK prices. Dennis Publishing takes no responsibility for the
content of any external websites mentioned.
Printed by BGP, Bicester, Oxfordshire. The paper used within this
MagBook is produced fromsustainable fibre, manufactured by mills with
a valid chain of custody.
Thanks to MobileFun.co.uk for supplying the majority of the cases and
accessories for the reviews.
3D................................................ 096
Accessories, reviews...................... 098
Acer Iconia Tab A100 ...................... 078
Acer Iconia Tab A500/A501 ............. 080
Advent Vega.................................. 082
AirSync......................................... 037
Amazon Kindle .............................. 067
App reviews
Comms and the web .................... 054
Entertainment............................ 038
Games....................................... 042
Productivity............................... 060
Tools and utilities....................... 074
Android, history of ........................ 012
Android, versions .......................... 024
Android Market ............................. 026
AndroidPIT.................................... 028
Appointments, setting up............... 059
Apps, installing............................. 026
Asus Eee Pad Transformer............... 084
Auto correction ............................. 021
Battery life ................................... 070
Binatone HomeSurf Tablet 705 ........ 086
Bluetooth keyboard ............... 065, 098
Brightness settings ................022, 070
Browsing ...................................... 046
Calendar ....................................... 058
Camera......................................... 032
Capacitive touchscreen .................. 010
Cases and bags, reviews................. 090
Clock............................................ 019
Customising.................................. 018
Desktop........................................ 018
doubleTwist................................... 037
ebooks ......................................... 066
Email.................................... 048, 050
Facebook ............................... 051, 053
File transfer (via USB) .................... 016
Flash Player, Adobe........................ 046
Flickr............................................ 051
Friend Me ..................................... 053
Gallery ......................................... 032
Gaming......................................... 040
Gmail ....................................015, 049
GPS....................................... 022, 068
Hotspot .........................................017
HTC Flyer .............................. 024, 088
Jexaa JexTab 812 HD ....................... 092
Keyboard...................................... 021
Last.fm......................................... 051
Lenovo IdeaPad K1......................... 094
LG Optimus Pad ............................. 096
Maps............................................ 068
Motorola Xoom........................ 011, 100
Music ........................................... 036
Navigation.................................... 068
Office tasks .................................. 064
Packard Bell Liberty Tab G100 ..........102
Pairing ......................................... 065
Picasa .......................................... 033
Programming ................................ 072
Reading........................................ 066
Remote control.............................. 074
Resistive touchscreen.................... 010
Samsung Galaxy Tab....................... 104
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 ................ 106
Satnav.......................................... 069
Screen lock ................................... 022
Search.......................................... 018
Settings ....................................... 022
Sharing ........................................ 032
Social networking.......................... 051
Sony Tablet S................................. 108
Streaming .................................... 034
Symbols ....................................... 021
Synchronising............................... 037
Tabs ............................................. 047
Tasker........................................... 073
Tegra Zone .................................... 040
TweetComb ................................... 052
Twitter................................... 051, 052
Video .................................... 032, 034
Video conversion (via Handbrake) ... 035
ViewSonic ViewPad 7x .....................110
Voice search.................................. 019
Widgets........................................ 018
Wi-Fi, setting up ........................... 015
Yahoo email, setting up.................. 050