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Customize your new tabletJust bought a tablet? Here are CNET Senior Editor Scott Stein's tips for getting the most out of it and finding some free content right out of the box.
Hey, I'm Scott Stein, senior editor at CNET.com and hey just bought a tablet for the holidays? Maybe you got an iPad 2, maybe you got a Kindle Fire or you got an Android Tablet or another tablet. Well, if you bought an Android or an iPad, there are a lot of similarities in the ways you might set them up and here's some tips for some ways to optimize your iPad as you begin to use it. Now, setting up your tablet is easy. I mean a lot of these are made to just start up and work, but customizing them takes a little bit of time. The first bit of advice that I like to go by is to dress your tablet. Dress it up nicely. If you have an iPad you wanna get the right case, an for a lot of people that's going to come to using like, something like the smart cover because Apple sells it, people like the fact that it attaches with magnets, it looks cute but it doesn't really protect the iPad. What you're gonna want is something like a back case. Now a lot of companies make for about 30 or $40, some nice back shells that combine with that smart cover provide... for me one of the best solutions for covering the iPad 2. Other people might prefer folio type case. Other people who do a lot of writing might prefer to get a keyboard case. This Belkin one for instance has a comfortable keyboard and it's highly customizable with a variety of angles but it is a bit bulkier as most keyboard cases are compared to standard folio or smart cover cases. If you're buying an Android tablet, there are similar solutions as well. Now, the next thing you need to look for probably is a good Cloud service because the capacity on most tablets is just not enough to carry everything that you wanna put on it. So it's gonna mean clever app management, deleting things that you're not using and storing things out there on the Cloud. Now, if you're an Apple user, there's iCloud but you have to know its limitations. Namely that it doesn't store or transfer videos as far as home videos that you record. You will be able to redownload television episodes but not feature films. For photographs there's photo stream. So it does back up and sync between your iPhone and iPad and show you all the photos that you're looking at and there are some nice back up features as well that works with music but you have to be able to download it as opposed to stream it and so there's some complications there. If you're an Amazon Cloud user or a Google Cloud Services user, you might get the best bang for your buck in the Android platform although some of those services do work on the iPad, and you could also consider something like a home storage solution. There are devices like the Pogo Plug or NAS, Network Attached Storage hard drives that you could store a lot of your data at home and then stream it online as you need to. The third thing you wanna consider when you have an iPad or an Android tablet is how to get free stuff. There's a lot of stuff out there that you can get for free that you may not know about but you might already be paying for it somewhere else... What I'm talking about here found on 3 main categories in terms of how I get free content on my device. One, our universal apps. On the iPad platform particularly, there are a lot of apps you may have already bought in your iPhone that have secretly gone stealth and gone universal without you realizing it. If you go into the downloaded apps area on the app store and you take a look at what you purchased you may be surprised to what you find that something you can download and get for free. The second is television. There's a lot of TV content out there, and I'm talking about apps, that you could probably get to give you a lot of bang for the buck if you're a heavy cable user. There's a lot of cable providers like Time Warner and FiOS that have apps that allow you to user your iPad as a second TV in your home and then not to mention other streaming video services like Netflix, like HBO Go, if you can get it in your area or Hulu Plus. All of those make sure that if you're resubscribing, obviously use them on your iPad. The third area in terms of print content, magazine subscriptions and newspaper content. You may have a lot of print magazines that you already subscribe to that you can get all that stuff for free on your iPad or your Android or your Kindle Fire. There are a ton of free apps as well that give you a lot of bang for your buck needless to say. Finally, have some patience... My dad set up is iPad and even though it seems incredibly simple at first, customizing and getting all your content on and updating software takes a lot more time than you think. Give it a good day to work out all the kinks and get all the software uploaded and all the music and photos uploaded that you want... It may not always be pretty but... don't expect it to be done in an instant if you want everything to work perfectly. Well hopefully that'll will give you a few starter tips and good luck with your tablet. I'm Scott Stein with CNET.com.