You'd better take REALLY good care of the battery in your tablet, because it's the only one it will ever have.
Starting our fourth decade: Al Fasoldt's reviews and commentaries, continuously online for 30 years


Tablets 101: Care and feeding

This column was inadvertently omitted from the newspaper on the day of publication. It was rescheduled. Note that all Technofile columns appear on this website, whether or not they are in print that day.

February 3, 2013

By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2013, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2013, The Post-Standard

Over the last two weeks, here and here, we've looked at where to get tablet apps and which apps were the best. This week, in the third and final session in our three-week class on Tablets 101, we'll consider the best tips on the care and feeding of your new tablet. Pay attention, and please don't chew gum or send text messages while in class.

Alas, you've probably already realized that tablet batteries are no-touch, no-see and no-replace models. This should tell you two things:

1. Tablet manufacturers should be ashamed, which you already knew.

2. You'd better take REALLY good care of the battery in your tablet, because it's the only one it will ever have.

So heed this advice: Keep your tablet away from heat, which ruins batteries, and keep it plugged in and charged up while you are using it at home. (No, that won't hurt it.) Battery life is determined by the number of drain-and-charge cycles, not by hours of use or how long the charger is plugged in.

To clean the screen, wet a soft cloth -- use distilled water if possible -- and wipe the screen. Do not use Windex or similar products. They will ruin the screen.

To protect the screen and to help keep fingerprints from sticking, don't buy some sort of super-expensive screen protectant spray. Just buy a spray bottle of Rain-X where auto parts are sold. Make sure you get the original formula.

Shake the Rain-X bottle, spray some on the screen and wipe it with a soft cloth until it's totally dry. Then do the same thing again. (Yes, two applications.) Be sure to wipe thoroughly. You're polishing it into the glass. Fingerprints will wipe right off with a dry cloth, and dirt will be repelled.

Warning: Don't use Rain-X on plastic. It should be used only on glass. Don't worry if you get some on the plastic bezel of your tablet -- the plastic used there is tough. But never use Rain-X on plastic screens, lenses or screen protectors.

Note: I've heard from readers who asked about screen protectors. Your tablet's screen is tough enough for normal use, but a screen protector might be a good idea if the tablet is used by kids or careless teens. (Yes, I'm a father. Grandfather, too. Great-grandfather, soon. So I do understand how kids and teens can be careless.)

One reader pointed out that spraying any liquid on a tablet screen is a bad idea, since the liquid can get into gaps around the bezel. Good point. Be safe and spray carefully, or just spray onto the cloth and then wipe the screen.

Don't cart around a naked tablet. It needs a case. Get any case you want as long as it actually offers impact protection. Foam padding under a vinyl skin is a good idea, and thick leather is even better. Expensive cases don't offer more protection than cheap ones. Padding is what counts.