What the heck is in the specs? 1

posted in: hardware, Tablet Talk | 0

How to interpret tablet specification info
generic tablet with question mark

This next post is as promised about what the specifications section of a tablet sales page are all about. Please note that not all spec sheets are created equal and you may need to go above and beyond the seller’s description of the device. So unfortunately, we need to work through several of these examples, so it will take multiple posts to deal with this topic.

Example 1

We will start with a real life Android example. (I am just using this to give you an idea of what you will see when tablet shopping. I am NOT endorsing this tablet and I would point out that this is a fairly bad example of a spec list)

spec3Item type: yep, it is a tablet

Tablet Data Capacity: this refers to the storage capacity of the tablet; it includes the space taken by the operating system

Network Communication: list of the ways this tablet can communicate with other devices and the internet. In this case, available technologies are Bluetooth, WiFi and external 3G.

Screen Size: measured diagonally across the screen

Extend Ports: What can be plugged into the device.
DC-Jack for power. Check if it comes with an outlet plug that suits your country. Earphone jack (not good for little kids). HDMI is useful for family viewing. A Mini USB (smaller than normal size USB), OTG port is useful for making a physical connection to other devices. The TF card is more correctly a slot which can carry an SD card.

Supporting Language: The Android Operating System can support a number of languages in its interface for the user. The list shown here is truncated.

Brand Name: Chuwi is a Chinese made brand.

Processor Manufacture: Manufacturers of the tablet can decide on the brand of processor that they build the tablet around. Rockchip is regarded as a good brand.

Touch Screen Type: Capactive. Much better than resistive which is an obselete technology.

Processor Main Frequency: This refers to how quickly the processor can cope with instructions/operations. This should be a number in GigaHertz e.g. 1.2 GHz, not a description of the processor core type.

Feature: MultiTouch, HDMI, G Sensor, OTG, UltraSlim, Dual Cameras

Memory Capacity: The capacity of the working space for instructions carried out by the device. In this case it is 2 GigaBytes. 1 GB and 2 GB are common specs for tablets (as of July, 2013). Anything less than 1 GB is not really enough.

Operating System: The version of Android that is directing the functioning of the device. The most recent version is 4.2.2. In use versions include 4.0.x, 4.1.x an some older tablets are running versions 2.x or 3.x.(as of July, 2013). This is important as it will determine how tablet will function and which apps it can run.

Display resolution: This is a measure of the granularity of the image displayed on the screen. It is measure in pixels. 1024×768 means 1024 pixels across and 768 means the number of rows of pixels. In general, the higher the number the better. Although, higher numbers also mean more processing power is needed to manage the display.

Cell Capacity: This is a measure of battery power. The higher the number the stronger the battery. It measured in milliAmps per hour (mAh). Many cheaper makes of tablet scrimp on the battery specs, hence only last a short time between charges, especially if the user is using video or complex animation.

Model Number: The manufacturer’s designation for this model.

Processor Model: See CPU explanation below.

Display: IPS is important for colour reproduction and fast response time. See above for the explanation of 1024×768. Multitouch –  see above

CPU: The quality of the chip determines the capacity of the device to process materials. Keeping track of which model of which manufacturer is both technical and time consuming. (Sorry!)

Camera: Most tablets have at least one camera. One at the back can be used as a regular camera. The front facing camera is used for video communication e.g. Skype or Viber. The resolution of the cameras is measured in MegaPixels(MP). AF stands for Automatic Focus.

I am having a few technical issues with my ISP, so will be back late next week with the next chapter in the specs topic.