By Marc Saltzman
IT’S ONE OF THE hottest segments in the technology world: tablet computers.
Usually referred to as simply “tablets,” these
ultra-thin, lightweight and wireless devices let you
perform tasks you might be accustomed to using
your computer for—such as surfing the Web, reading email, playing games or getting work done—but
rather than requiring a mouse and keyboard they
allow you to tap or drag your fingertips on an 18 to
25 cm (7- to 10-inch) touch screen.
I’m looking to buy my
husband a new GPS unit.
Tablets resemble an electronic book reader, and
they can be used to download and read e-books and
magazines, but they can do much, much more. And
once you use one—be it in the kitchen as a digital
cookbook, on the couch while you curl up with a
movie or on a long plane ride as you solve a crossword puzzle—it can be very tough to put down.
MY FAVOURITE is the
Garmin nüvi 3790LMT, a
top-of-the-line GPS navigation unit that’s only 9 mm
So it’s no wonder tablets are poised for explosive
growth this year and next—and there are many different tablets to choose from.
Marc Saltzman, a leading high-tech reporter,
contributes to more than three dozen prominent
publications, appears on radio and TV, and is
the author of 13 books.
Tablets have a few key advantages over conventional computers, including the following.
Because tablets are ultra-thin (mere millimetres
thick) and lightweight (usually between 0.36 and
0.68 kilogram (0.8 and 1. 5 pounds), they’re perfect
for toting around outside the home—and they make
ideal travel companions, too. No, you can’t fit the
larger models in a jacket pocket or clutch purse, but
they’re certainly a more comfortable alternative to
lugging around a 3 kilogram (7-pound) laptop in a
(. 33 inch) thick. It has an 11
cm ( 4.3-inch) touch-screen
display, supports voice
commands (so you can say
an address aloud instead of
typing it) and offers free
lifetime traffic updates in
select cities. (Tip: All
Wait no more
Unlike computers, tablets require no waiting
time to boot up. Tablets go into a sleep mode when
unused for a few minutes, but they wake up the
moment you press the power button. This is incredibly handy when you’re out and about. Compare this
to a laptop or desktop, which could take a while to
load the operating system and a handful of programs.
Garmin nüvi GPS models
that end in the letter “T”
offer free traffic updates.)
They’re an all-day gadget
Touch is natural
While battery life is (finally) getting better with
laptop computers, they don’t hold a candle to tablets.
Depending on the model, tablets can last up to 12
hours on a single charge, which is about three to
four times longer than some laptop batteries (and
long enough to fly from Montreal to Vancouver and
back again). Some tablets can charge up when
plugged into a computer’s USB port.
Using your fingertips to swipe through websites, tap through games or pinch and zoom in on
photos feels incredibly natural and intuitive. There’s
nothing between you and the tablet—no mouse or
keyboard. That said, some tablets let you dock the
device into a physical keyboard when you’re in one
place for a while, if you prefer, but you’d be surprised
how easy it can be to type on a tablet’s virtual
The 3790LMT also features integrated Bluetooth
technology, so you can
make hands-free calls via a
nearby cellphone or tap a
point of interest to call the
establishment. When a call
comes in you can see the
name or number of the person calling, as well.
Question for Marc?
Send your technology and
computer questions to:
Software is super simple. Using a Wi-Fi connection (or, in some cases, cellular connectivity),
most tablets will let you download thousands of
applications (“apps”) from an online store. Apps are
programs that customize what your tablet does.
There is no complicated installation process
required: Simply tap on what you want to download and install, and the app will appear as an icon
on your screen.
or mail to:
The bottom line?
Q&A with Marc Saltzman
The Costco Connection
Tablets are a convenient, comfortable and personal way to interact with your digital life. While
they’re not a true computer replacement—they’re
better at consuming media rather than creating content—they might just be your favourite new high-tech companion. C
415 West Hunt Club Road
Ottawa, ON K2E 1C5
or fax to 425-427-3019
The Costco Connection
Costco warehouses and Costco.ca carry a variety
of tablets and GPS units.
More in archives
On Costco.ca, enter “Connection”;
at Online Edition, search
“Marc Saltzman Q&A”
in the subject line. Marc
will answer selected
questions in his column.
He regrets that
cannot be answered