Here are 5 handy tips for tablet users.
- Hate screen smudges and fingerprints? Me too. To clean the screen easily and without a separate cloth, use the side of your hand (under your pinkie finger) as a squeegee. Drag it across the screen horizontally in rows (like mowing a lawn), then turn the screen to the other orientation and repeat the squeegee process. That part of your hand has very little in the way of skin oil, and the screen looks cleaner, faster, than using an actual microfiber cloth. (If you prefer a cloth, you can buy one of those small eyeglass-cleaning microfibers from the optical dept of large discount stores.)
- Battery longevity: Many laptops have a battery-saving protocol that most people never discover or utilize. Part of the process is to initiate a recharge before the remaining charge reaches 20%, and to only recharge up to about 85%. To prolong the longevity of your tablet battery, follow this process yourself.
- Free Apps: Recent tests have shown that the free versions of apps are often the main drainers of battery. Tracking your whereabouts, fetching and running all those ads are pounding your wifi/data. If the paid versions of the apps are low cost (and many of them are only about $1 US), and if it seems like you’re always charging your battery, try installing the paid app versions.
- Screen Brightness: Another big battery user, usually the biggest, is the screen. If your screen does not automatically adjust to ambient light, try out an app called QuickProfiles (or search for one like it, if you prefer). It can be set up to switch screen brightness, radios (wifi, bluetooth, airplane mode, etc.) with just a tap. Other similar apps can be configured to do this automatically. Screen brightness can be turned way down once the sun sets, and I personally have tested tablets from major manufacturers that do not turn off wifi when they are put into sleep, so setting your tablet to airplane mode might save you some juice.
- Wifi vs 3G/4G … Pay-as-You-Go: I decided to get the wifi version of my Xoom tablet because I refuse to be tied to a contract for mobile service. But some folks feel that they need the connectivity of the 3G/4G equipped tablets in case they are not near a wifi hotspot. Well, I picked up a 3G Mifi broadband wifi hotspot for about $65 US, and I can use it to get 3G internet on a pay-as-you-go basis. I’ve been testing it the past month and it’s worked wonderfully well. So I have 3G data with my tablet when I need it, and only when I need it. Think about a solution like this if you know you will not be needing 3G with your tablet on a continual basis. (I can also use if with my laptop, or any other mobile device, something that might not be possible with a tablet with built-in 3G/4G.) Another option, if you already have a 3G/4G-equipped tabled, is to buy a sim card from a third party broadband provider (there are several) instead of one of the major carriers, and pay-as-you-go with them rather than getting bogged down by an expensive contract.