Which size tablet is right for you?

There is no shortage of new tablets being announced at this week's Consumer Electronics Show -- Acer Iconia B1-A71, Polaroid M7 and M10 and VIZIO 11.6" Tablet PC, among many others. Meanwhile, NPD DisplaySearch forecasts that global tablet shipments will surpass notebooks this year. But what's interesting is a dramatic shift in size preference, which is why I want to know: Which is right for you?

DisplaySearch predicts that tablets with 7-to-8 inch screens will overwhelmingly dominate the market, with 45 percent share. Meanwhile, 9.7 inches -- the size Apple popularized with iPad -- will fall to just 17 percent share. Yet many of the slates debuting at CES are in the larger categories, typically between 10.1 and 11.6 inches. Does size really matter that much, and is smaller better?

For me, it is. In November, I bought the Google Nexus 10, a quad-core 10.1-inch tablet with simply stunning high-resolution display. With a keyboard, I fancy Nexus 10 as laptop replacement. But as a tablet, the size just doesn't work for me because I want to interact with people online, and I find typing to be too difficult in the hands. But I can comfortably type one- or two-handed on the 7-inch Nexus 7. The size appeals so much, I used my Christmas money to buy another with 32GB storage (compared to 8GB on my old one) and HSPA+ radio. I'm undecided about keeping the larger tablet.

The 7-inch preference is strange juxtaposition for me. If you'd ask me before getting Nexus 7, I would have said something around 10 inches would be better.

On Google+, Eli Fennell captures my sentiment: "Having used both form factors, the 7-inch tabs are a better form factor in my opinion, much easier to hold in one hand or use while on the go".

On the other hand, a larger size seems the more sensible PC replacement. Microsoft chose 10.6 inches for Surface, which seeks to be tablet running a traditional desktop OS but optimized for touch. Based on most credible analyst numbers, many people displace PC usage with a tablet. But replace?

BetaNews reader Owilliams comments: "I have been amused over the past couple years by folks that continue to poo-poo the idea of tablets becoming the device of convenience and choice for a large audience, and yet the tablet market just continues to explode".

Reader mshulman: "That a family with 3 kids, it's far less expensive to give each kid their own tablet and have them share a computer than it would be to give them each computers of their own (of course this depends on the tablet and PC, but I'm assuming a lower cost tablet and a decent PC; not your $300 special)".

Please take the poll above and further explain in comments below which size tablet, if any, is right for you. I've included so-called phablets in the poll.

Photo Credit: Joe Wilcox

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