Table of Contents
A few years ago, buying a tablet was simple. You went to an Apple store and bought an iPad. However, things have changed in the last five years, with just about every computer and smartphone company developing tablets of their own. There are a few things to consider when looking for your perfect tablet, all of which can narrow down your choices, ensuring that you end up with the tablet best suited for your needs and your lifestyle.
What will you use your tablet for the most? Determining the most frequent uses for your tablet will narrow down your possibilities considerably. Will you use your tablet primarily for checking email, surfing the web, or video streaming? Or will you use your tablet to create and edit documents, much like you would use your computer? Answering these questions will determine what type of operating system you need, which is the main difference between the all available tablets.
Image via Flickr by [ebayink]
Choosing an Operating System
There are three main operating systems (OS) to choose from when buying a tablet:
Apple iOS for iPad was the first on the market and is still the front-runner in many areas. Due to their processing speed and high screen resolution, iPads are superior when it comes to gaming and media streaming. The iOS is very simple to use, even for the technologically inexperienced. Syncing your information from your tablet to your phone and even to your computer could not be easier. With over one million apps, you won’t be at a loss to find what you need in Apple’s app store. The biggest downfall to an iPad is the price.
Google Android OS is the most widely used OS on the market. The Android OS doesn’t need to be hooked up to a computer to back-up your data, since all of your data is stored online. Android allows for more customization of its tablets, like the powerful new 8-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab 4, for those who like a little more control over their devices. Android offers a wider variety of hardware, as several different companies make Android tablets. This allows for a solid choice in terms of tablet size and price.
The greatest advantage to Microsoft Windows is that the format is so similar to the PC Windows OS that so many are familiar with. The Microsoft Surface Pro 3 tablet is a workhorse, running full Microsoft Office software, such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. As a laptop replacement, it is probably too much for the average tablet user, but if you’d like some serious computer power to work or to game, this Windows tablet is for you.
Size Really is Everything
After choosing your operating system, your next choice is size. The standard sizes for tablets are seven and 10 inches. Again, the size that you need will depend on what you will be using your tablet for. Seven-inch tablets are great for reading eBooks and browsing the Internet. They are lightweight, portable, and have a longer battery life. If you are going to be using your tablet on the go, consider the convenience of a seven-inch tablet.
Ten-inch tablets are great for watching movies, and for reading newspapers and magazines. They are great for long work periods, especially when paired with an external keyboard. However, due to their bigger size, they have a shorter battery life and they are much more expensive than smaller tablets. They also aren’t as convenient on the go. But if you want a tablet to work almost like a laptop, a 10-inch tablet is the way to go.
Technology changes every day. Consider what you will need your tablet for—both now and in the future. Once you decide your basic needs, compare prices and models. Buy the tablet with as much storage as you can afford. Make sure to buy a newer, if not the newest, model. Buying an older model with too little storage will just ensure that you will be buying another tablet sooner than you would like. Have questions? Let me know in comments.