Our dream tablet: 10 things we want

The perfect tablet may never be built, at least not one that appeals to everyone. Using these 10 components would create the best there is.
By James Kendrick, Rest in Peace on
1 of 10 CNET

Pen for handwriting

Touch tablets are useful gadgets, but they can be real productive tools with the inclusion of a pen. The pen can be used to write on the screen, making it good for taking notes in meetings and similar functions.

The Microsoft Surface Pro has such a pen, and it turns that tablet into a nice note-taking machine. The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 also has a pen and it extends the usefulness of that tablet.

Only a few other tablets have a pen with handwriting capability (and a popular phone) and our dream tablet needs it to appeal to many.

2 of 10 Amazon

Retina display resolution

Anyone who has worked with a laptop with a true high-resolution display knows how much better they are than standard resolution models. Apple started the Retina display thing with its MacBook Pro laptops, and recently Google joined in the fun with the Chromebook Pixel.

Our dream tablet needs a screen with the same high-resolution technology used on the two laptops mentioned. These displays make text particularly crisp, and reading is a common usage for a tablet.

The higher-resolution display also makes eye strain a thing of the past for those who use their tablets for hours at a time.

3 of 10 Samsung

Exynos processor

Our perfect tablet needs lots of oomph to drive graphic-intensive apps, especially games. That means an 8-core processor like the newest Exynos from Samsung with good graphics-handling capability.

This processor and good graphics handling will make our tablet handle even the most demanding task with ease. Single tasking or multiple tasking will not matter; this tablet will be a screamer.

4 of 10 Microsoft

Thinner and lighter

As tablets have become thinner and lighter, they have become easier to carry and — more importantly — easier to use in the hand. The most current tablets are pretty thin and light, but there needs to be even less of our dream tablet to make it perfect.

Most 10-inch tablets are about 1.5 pounds, and while this is not bad, they can still get tiresome to hold for very long. We have used tablets as light as 1.3 pounds and these have been a big improvement over the heavier slates. We would like to see our perfect tablet to come in at 1.2 pounds on the scale. Any lighter and it might just float away.

One of the reasons the iPad was adopted so quickly was due to its insane thickness, or, rather, thinness, compared to anything that came before it. This makes it more comfortable to hold for extended periods, and keeps it from being too bulky when you add a case to the package. Our dream tablet needs to come in at around a quarter inch on the thickness scale. This will take it down a notch in size and just make it better than anything else.

5 of 10 James Kendrick/ZDNet

Super cameras

Tablets usually have two cameras, one on the front for video calling and another on the back for taking pictures and shooting video. Typically the front camera will be less resolute than the one on the rear, as a web cam isn't considered to be a high-resolution need.

We'd like to change that on our dream tablet with a 1080p web cam on the front. Video calling is a great function on the tablet and we want ours to send super video to our call mates.

The rear camera should be even higher quality than the web cam for shooting those photos/videos. Sure, it looks goofy to hold a tablet up to do those things, but in a pinch it's good to have that camera available. That's why we want our dream tablet's rear camera to be at least 12MP.

6 of 10 Verizon

Fast 4G, and that means LTE

We plan on using our perfect tablet everywhere we go, so that means good connectivity outside the world of wi-fi. We're talking fast 4G of the long-term evolution (LTE) variety.

LTE can offer speeds as fast as many wi-fi hotspots, and that's what we want on our tablet. It's our dream after all, right?

7 of 10 James Kendrick/ZDNet

Battery life

We're the first to admit that battery life has gotten pretty good on tablets, with 10-12 hours now commonplace. That's not good enough for our dream tablet, though, as we want to be able to use it a couple of days without hitting the charger.

That desire means a solid 15 hours of usage on a single charge. It's not that big a stretch over current tablets. And it's our dream, so there.

8 of 10 iFixit.com


Tablets are perfect for catching tunes on the go, whether the music is stored locally or streaming from the cloud. We plan on doing that a lot on our perfect tablet so we need some killer audio onboard.

That means good speakers, and not just those with a fancy brand name. No, we're talking good stereo speakers with decent audio playback that will make us tap our feet and annoyingly play air guitar.

Sure, we can plug in good earbuds to get decent audio, but sometimes you need to crank up the volume on the tablet and blast the room.

9 of 10 Apple

Lots and lots of storage

The killer audio coupled with the enhanced video capability of our dream tablet means we will want lots of storage capacity. We'll do our share of keeping things in the cloud, but we want the option of stashing lots of music and video.

This means a solid 64GB of internal storage on our perfect slate, and a memory card slot to add more when needed. A microSD slot or even a full SD slot will suit just fine and let us add another 64GB of storage.

10 of 10 Google

Dual-boot OSes

Since we're building the perfect tablet we might as well make it as flexible as possible when it comes to both platform preference and the greatest number of available apps. The best way to do that is to put the ability to have two operating systems (OSes) running side by side.

We especially want to get the most utility out of our dual-booting magic slate so we're thinking of starting with Android, with a second OS installable by the user. Android has a huge app library to suit anyone. We don't think Apple would be open to letting us put iOS on our perfect tablet.

The second OS could be Chrome OS, since Google seems to be reluctant to merge it with Android. That would put a desktop-quality OS (Chrome OS) within reach, while allowing the hundreds of thousands of Android apps to work just fine.

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