iPad or Android tablet? Find the right gadget for you by comparison

Before the iPad launched in 2010, most people had never even heard of tablet computers, let alone considered buying one.

But Apple worked its magic and created a vibrant, competitive market full of different tablet devices from to choose.

This does make it somewhat difficult to come to a decision about which one is worthy of your investment, particularly since there are not only different models but different operating systems and user experiences that need to be compared.

So should you sell your old iPad online and switch to an Android tablet? And which platform should new users opt for when buying this type of gadget?

Hardware

The iPad range consists of two main models, with the full sized iPad offering a 9.7 inch Retina Display while the iPad Mini has a smaller 7.9 inch panel with a lower resolution.

Both versions run the iOS platform and offer compatibility with a wide range of applications and services, many of which are exclusively created for iPad.

Android tablets come in all shapes and sizes and rather than being built and branded by one manufacturer, they are instead created by many different companies.

Screen size can vary from five to ten inches and there is also a lot more variation when it comes to the type of hardware which powers Android tablets – and this can impact the performance and app compatibility.

Software

The iPad range is intended to be very consistent when it comes to user experience, which is why the iOS platform behaves identically on all models.

You get a basic homescreen arrangement, which is essentially a list of all the apps you have installed, along with shortcuts to other services and settings, such as the camera app and FaceTime video calling platform.

Android offers a lot more freeform as a software solution and because it is open source, manufacturers can add their own interfaces and entirely restructure the way it works.

This also means that users have a greater degree of liberty when it comes to customising and personalising the look and feel of the interface. Homescreen widgets, app shortcuts and other elements can be moved, added and downloaded at will, which can be a blessing or a curse – depending on how good you are at organising.

Price

Apple positions the iPad as a premium product, while the iPad Mini is intended to cater to an audience that has a bit of a tighter budget available.

Pricing of Android tablets is as varied as the specs of the devices on offer, with some matching the full sized iPad while others are much cheaper than the iPad Mini.

The Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire HD are good examples of the bargain basement prospect provided by certain Android tablets.

As long as you do your research and check reviews, you should be able to find a tablet that meets your needs, whether from the Apple or Android families.