Phablet, Tablet or E-reader?

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According to the Pew Research Center, more than 50 percent of Americans now have a tablet or an e-reader. And IDC reports that, by 2015, phablet shipments will outnumber portable PCs and tablets.

Chances are you either own or want to own one of these must-have devices. But choosing between them can be overwhelming because there are so many details to evaluate

Six points to help simplify your decision

The following six points (and links) may help you pare down your options and (hopefully) save you a little time in the decision-making process.

1 – Features
If you’re not interested in the robust feature sets of phablets or tablets, an e-reader is the obvious choice. Otherwise think about how much you’ll be using email, surfing the net and shopping online. These are typically easiest using a larger screen. The same is true for reading e-books. If you care more about capturing stunning photos and video, you’ll want to opt for a phablet.

2 – Size
Out of the three options, phablets are the smallest and offer screens as large as 5.7 inches. Reviews on findthebest.com show that most of the top-rated e-readers offer 6-inch screens while most of the site’s top-rated tablet screens are roughly 9 or 10 inches in size (a few are larger).

3 – Price
According to CNET, you can pick up a no-frills e-reader for under $100, while most cost between $100 and $150. The tablets on PC Magazine’s top ten list range in price from roughly $200 to $500. And findthebest.com shows that the top-rated phablets are priced between roughly $400 and $750.

Don’t forget to check your wireless plan. Some providers offer phablets and tablets at reduced prices when you renew your contract.

4 – Apps and operating systems
While some apps for phablets and tablets are available across iOS, Android and Microsoft operating systems, many are not. If you’ve purchased apps on one platform, you may have to purchase them again if you opt for a phablet or tablet that runs on a different system.

5 – Storage
Do you want a device that will hold a huge collection of apps, music, photos, video and e-books? Or are you happier leveraging the cloud, and streaming music, video and document services? Either way, you’ll want to consider how much storage will fit your needs.

From what I’ve seen, phablets and tablets offer storage that ranges from 8 to 64GB and up, while the top-rated e-readers on findthebest.com can hold from 1,000 to 3,500 e-books, depending on the device you choose.

6 – Wi-Fi vs cellular
If you want to connect via your device while you’re on the go, you’ll want to choose a device that doesn’t limit you to Wi-Fi only. You’ll need to add the device to your wireless plan to leverage your cellular signal.

While there are a number of other areas to compare and contrast (battery life, etc.), these three types of devices. The six points shared here were my top in evaluating my options.

What matters to you when evaluating whether you’ll opt for a phablet, tablet or e-reader?