Mobile gaming is big business — and it’s on the rise.
The tablet industry is booming, and devices are improving at a rapid rate. With every new model released, we see faster, more responsive and streamlined features.
The tablet craze began after Apple released the iPad in 2010. The laptop computer shed its cables and weight, to become the mobile tablet. With a touchscreen interface, people could surf the net and check emails faster than ever before.
It’s no surprise that hardcore gamers are turning to tablets instead of handheld consoles, to play their games. And manufacturers are responding.
Hard-core gamers spend hours a day playing games.
With the gaming tablets, they can also take them on-the-move. Not just for the serious gamer though, many gaming tablets are available for simple entertainment.
Games can be played both on and offline. Online gaming uses a computer network - where devices communicate with each other. The most famous global network, of course, is the internet.
They therefore need the most of same components that we see in desktops and laptops. This is no less-so when playing video games. Obviously due to size, they lack internal space for components that their larger counterparts have.
This is what makes them such incredible pieces of engineering. What would normally fit under a spacious shell, has been re-engineered to slip into tiny chips and slots.
Let’s now take a closer look at five features every gaming laptop should have.
1. The Operating System
The operating system (OS) is the brains of the gaming tablet. Like all computers and tablets, every gaming tablet needs one to function.
Once your tablet is turned on, the operating system is the first program your device loads.
Computers and tablets are made up of hardware and software. Hardware is what you can physically touch. Operating systems are software; a virtual world consisting of complex codes and numbers. The operating system integrates with the hardware of the gaming tablet to give us a working device in our hands.
Many different manufacturers design operating systems. These then determine which games and applications the gaming tablet uses — and this is where they really start to differ. Therefore, the first feature to look for in a gaming tablet is its operating system.
The two most well-known operating systems which gamers choose from are Apple and Google Android.
Apple’s proprietary operating system is called iOS.
Due to its popularity, there are thousands of applications available through the Apple store — including games. Some consumers will only use Apple devices because they love its operating system.
Apple’s main competitor is Google Android, which is an open-source operating system. Used by different manufacturers, it can function on both low-end and high-end devices. This explains why there is an unlimited range of applications with Android products.
The Android OS is also hugely popular with consumers, as the products are simple to use.
2. The Processor
Every gaming tablet has a processor, which is the driver of the system.
The speed of the processor, and the number of cores it has, determine how effective its processing will be. Most high-end tablets utilize dual-core processors, to double the amount of processing. Some tablets have even more, e.g. quad-core.
Many gaming tablets use processing architecture made by a company called ARM (Advanced RISC Machines). There are many variations of ARM processors on the market. Companies like Qualcomm, Nvidia and Texas Instruments re-design the processors and then sell them for use in tablets.
Like with their operating system, Apple develops its own processors. They call their chip the AX chip, and use it in all its iOS devices.
Android products use what is called the system-on-a-chip (SoC). Inside the SoC is where you will find this processor. It’s also called the central processing unit (CPU). The CPU controls the function of the tablet.
Within the SoC you will also find the graphics processing unit, called a GPU, or graphics card. The GPU is especially important for gaming tablets. It contains hundreds of processors working on data simultaneously, at incredible speed. For gaming tablets, you need a powerful GPU, so you can enjoy high quality graphics and 3D games.
Nvidia graphic chips are highly recommended for gaming tablets, as they can handle the graphic load required.
3. Screens: Size, Resolution and Touchscreens
Display quality is an essential criteria when buying a gaming tablet.
The best Android gaming tablets today use the AMOLED display technology. AMOLED is short for “active-matrix organic light-emitting diode.” It is found in all Samsung devices, but very popular among other Android manufacturers.
Images are superior, offering great performance, even in direct sunlight. This type of display screen is perfect for gaming tablets that need finer images and richer graphics.
AMOLED pixels turn on and off super fast, making them especially suited for fluid video images. They offer fast response time, high refresh rates, and are power-efficient, which are all must-have features of any gaming tablet.
Other terms you will see for similar high-tech screens include retina display and organic light-emitting diode (OLED). These are both used with Apple products. Liquid crystal display (LCD) is another commonly found type of tablet screen.
The Apple iPad Pro is renowned for its gaming capabilities. Its retina display shows games in incredible detail with great colour reproduction — features that gamers want to look out for.
Screen sizes for gaming tablets will measure between five to twelve inches. Obviously, larger screens makes interaction easier.
The mid-sized tablets are approximately seven to eight inches. These are a popular choice as they are easily portable, but large enough to see the images.
Gamers should pay attention, not only to screen size, but to the screen’s resolution as well. The higher the resolution (measured in pixels), the more detailed the visuals will be. This is a really important feature for the gaming tablet user.
Smaller, seven-inch sized tablets have about 800 by 400 resolution. At the other end of the scale the latest high-end products have resolutions as high as 2224 by 1668.
Generally speaking, you will see gaming tablets with average resolutions around 1200 by 800. For avid gamers, it pays to compare screen resolution between products, to make the best choice.
Since tablets do not use a mouse or keyboard to function, touchscreen capabilities are also an important feature of the screen. All tablets use capacitive touchscreens with multi-touch capabilities. The higher the multi-touch capabilities are, the more efficient it is to interact with the tablet.
Depending on which model of gaming tablet you are using, the processor can handle two to ten points of contact at once. Ten points of contact means users can have all of their fingers on the screen at one time. This is a highly beneficial feature for the serious gamer.
4. Video Random Access Memory (VRAM)
This is another must have feature of the gaming tablet. VRAM is memory — a type of RAM used in computer display cards.
A gaming tablet must have enough VRAM in its GPU to handle the video requirements of most games.
You need at least 4GB of VRAM to use modern tablet games. More VRAM is needed when playing a high resolution game, especially if playing at the game’s maximum settings.ž
RAM, in general, impacts on how efficiently the computer processes information, and makes devices run faster. A gaming laptop with 2GB of RAM will run much slower than that with 8GB of RAM. This is something that a gamer will want to take into consideration.
When looking at the features of a gaming tablet, check out how much RAM and VRAM it has. This is really important - as it makes a big difference to how well you play the game.
5. Battery Life
Since gaming tablets are portable units, battery life is of major importance. Three things affect the life of the battery. The size, brightness of the backlight, and how long the tablet is running.
No one wants their device to shut down mid-game, so having a tablet with enough battery life is essential.
One of the iPad’s strongest selling features is its long battery life. With up to 12 hours of usage, no wonder it’s highly sought after for gaming use. Android is also well-regarded for having long-lasting batteries.
Batteries get drained very easily on gaming tablets. This is because the system is running full features, and multi-tasking at the same time. The battery is also quickly drained by the touch-screen, and the powerful GPU.
This is definitely an important feature to look for in gaming tablets. Serious gamers will want a longer-lasting battery. Otherwise, it’s a case of plugging in while you play, and recharging often.
Other Features of Gaming Tablets
The idea behind the gaming tablet is be able to play higher-end games. Now that the main features have been covered, let’s look at a few others important considerations.
In addition to the above, these will help ensure a top-notch gaming experience.
Due to their small size, most tablets have limited storage space. This means that they fill up very quickly, especially with larger games.
Ideally you’ll want a tablet that allows for expanding the storage capacity.
For adding storage, it’s best to look for the gaming tablets that provide an SD or microSD slot. These are most often found with Android and Windows 7 tablets. Apple iPads do not have expandable storage, so with these it’s important to choose a model with the most storage already built in.
Another important thing to consider is portability. With tablets, there is usually a tradeoff between weight and quality screen display. A larger gaming tablet means it will be heavier, but smaller means you will have a less impressive screen.
Points to Remember
From its humble beginnings in the 1990s, gaming has stretched beyond anyone’s wildest imagination. Back in the day, setting up at the local LAN party for interactive play took hours. These days, the gaming tablet can be used instantly, anywhere, and at anytime.
Whether it’s a low, mid or high-end product, there are several features that gaming tablets have in common. They all have an operating system and a processor—which are the brains of the device. Your choice of operating system will ultimately determine which games you can play.
Screen size and resolution are definitely important components of any gaming tablet. You will undoubtedly have VRAM in your device - another must-have feature in a gaming tablet. Battery life and storage are also points to consider.
Whether you want to play for casual entertainment or you are a serious contender, there is a product to suit your needs.
We have given you the rundown of the five features that a gaming tablet must have. Use this information when shopping for your next gaming tablet.
This will help you get the most for your money and have the best gaming experience.