August 17, 2021

Article
9 min

Tablet Buying Guide

Finding the right tablet can boost productivity and efficiency while expanding your workspace endlessly. Use this tablet buying guide to find the perfect device for your needs.

What's Inside
  • How to Choose a Tablet

    The first thing to consider when you purchase a new piece of technology is how you will use the device.

  • Common Tablet Features

    Once you know how you plan on using your tablet, you can start looking at features and seeing how they will affect your workflow and productivity.

  • Summary

    Tablets' unique combination of portability and power makes them ideal for many uses, ranging from schoolwork to professional design and media creation.

Tablets are small, yet powerful portable devices that can perform many useful tasks for both work and leisure. There are a wide range of tablets on the market today, with many options from which to choose. Determining what you will be using the tablet for is the first step in finding the perfect device for you. Some tablets are lightweight, affordable, and great for kids or school. Other, more powerful options can serve as workstations for all kinds of professionals. Finding the right tablet can boost productivity and efficiency while expanding your workspace endlessly. Use this tablet buying guide to find the perfect device for your needs.

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How to Choose a Tablet

The first thing to consider when you purchase a new piece of technology is how you will use the device. Tablets are no different. Specific features may be more desirable for different tasks. You can even save money by not overpaying for excessive add-ons or features. Tablets are versatile devices by nature and can serve multiple purposes. That's why it is important to learn all you can about a tablet before making a purchase. Read below for some standard questions you can ask yourself to determine which tablet is right for you. 

How Will I Use the Tablet?

This is arguably the most critical question to ask yourself before purchasing a tablet. The tasks you need to perform on your tablet will help to narrow down your choices. Photo editing or any kind of design will require a powerful device and supported stylus or drawing pen. E-Ink displays, or E-Readers, are excellent when you only need to view content on your tablet and can be much more affordable than feature-rich alternatives.

If you plan on using your tablet for varying tasks, think about finding a good middle ground between the two where your tablet can still benefit both without negatively impacting either. You will probably be using your new tablet for the foreseeable future, so make sure to take your time and think of all the ways you could benefit from daily use of the device. 

Where Will I Use the Tablet Most?

The answer to this question will be straightforward. Think about your most common workspace and how it can benefit from the use of a tablet. If you move between workspaces, take that into consideration and think about how factors like screen size or battery life could further affect portability. Extra features, like cellular network support, can play a significant role in where the tablet is effective. 

Do I Need to Use Accessories with My Tablet?

Peripherals, such as attachable keyboards, stylus pens, or portable chargers can help your tablet be even more useful. Different brands and variations of tablets support different add-ons. Some may excel in certain areas compared to others. If there is a particular accessory you need to use with a tablet, there is probably a device designed with that equipment in mind.

Some tablets may excel in video communications and support high-quality microphones, while others may prioritize durability and battery life. Finding a tablet that supports the accessories you need will help to improve productivity and make using the device more enjoyable. 

What About Connectivity? (Wi-Fi vs. Cellular)

One of the most considerable benefits of using a tablet is the device's portability. Tablets are essentially smaller portable computers that can be taken anywhere while still being able to perform more tasks than a smartphone. There are two major distinctions in tablet connectivity. Understanding both is crucial to finding the proper device and not overpaying.

Typically, you will find Wi-Fi tablets and cellular + Wi-Fi tablets available in any brand. Wi-Fi only devices are more affordable, but limited in their functions, because some apps or features may require an active wireless internet connection to use. Cellular + Wi-Fi tablets are more expensive, but offer a reliable, constant connection to the internet, much like cell phones. Cellular tablets also have recurring costs, because the mobile data will be billed monthly from an ISP, just like with home internet or cell phones. 

Common Tablet Features

Once you know how you plan on using your tablet, you can start looking at features and seeing how they will affect your workflow and productivity. While some tablets may have features designed to tackle specific issues, most devices will have a standard set of specifications you can use to compare the different brands and models available. Read below for a list of standard tablet features and how they may affect your future purchase. 

Screen Size

The most self-explanatory of specifications is screen size. Tablets come in different shapes and sizes, but typically screens will range from 7.9" to 11" or even larger in some specific cases. Factors to consider when choosing a screen size are resolution, battery life, and color accuracy. The larger the screen on a tablet, the faster the battery will drain. Large screens can be desirable for viewing media or editing photos. Although as screen size goes up, the price of the tablet quickly follows. Color accuracy is more of a niche feature. However, design professionals often require the most color-accurate display possible for finalizing content creation and distribution.  

Resolution

As with monitors, the resolution of your tablet is how clear the images on the screen will look. Full HD is considered 1080p and is viable for most office or school-based tasks. Higher resolutions, such as 1440p or 4K are helpful when regularly using the tablet to view media or play games. Just like with screen size, the higher the resolution, the quicker the battery will deplete. This is because it takes more power to create high-quality images. 

Storage Space

With the implementation and availability of cloud-based storage, local device storage has become less of a deciding factor, but is still relevant to consider. Tablets typically come in a range of 32GB to 256GB or higher. The larger the capacity of the tablet, the more expensive the device. However, all tablets have some way to migrate data between the device and a PC, making devices with smaller local storage still viable. When looking at tablet storage, consider the number of apps you will need to install on the device or if the tablet will need to store large amounts of photos or videos. 

Processors

Desktop processors or CPUs are a bit more straightforward than tablet processors. Both devices serve the same function of acting as the brain of the device. By working with other internal components, they determine the overall power and capabilities of a tablet. Unlike desktops or laptops, however, the CPU of a tablet may not be easily distinguishable or mentioned in the name of a device. More often than not, the processor available on a tablet can be determined by the year and model of the device.

Tablets receive frequent revisions among all the top brands. Each new device will come with added improvements, such as a more powerful processor. For most users, any tablet processor will be able to handle standard office tasks. Although, specific activities, such as gaming or media editing may require a more powerful processor.   

Memory

Like processors, memory or RAM is a standard specification you can find in tablets and other computers. RAM works with the other components of your tablet and is the part responsible for multitasking or running complex programs. You will want a minimum of 2GB of RAM in any tablet, as that will allow it to perform all essential work or school tasks. Some users may require more memory in their tablets if they plan on using multiple apps on the device simultaneously. As with screen size and storage, when memory goes up, so does the tablet's price.

Accessory Support

As mentioned earlier, tablets can benefit tremendously from the implementation of certain accessories and add-on hardware. Suppose you plan on using the device for any kind of drawing or editing. In that case, a stylus is a must and can greatly improve efficiency. Keyboards are another popular tablet add-on that can turn devices into ultra-lightweight laptops, which are great for writing or note-taking anywhere. Remember that each specific tablet will have unique accessories the device supports, so make sure that your next purchase can use the peripherals you need. 

Operating System and App Store

One feature that is unique to tablets is app stores. These programs are pre-installed on the device and are used to download all other apps, programs, or media to the tablet. Most major apps support all tablet platforms, but apps can be operating system-specific in some rare cases. This is another reason why narrowing down how and what you will be using the tablet for will help you make your decision. Brand also plays a large part in determining the device's operating system, so if you find a tablet you like that lacks the features you are looking for, you can explore other options within that same brand.  

Tablets for Kids

Now more than ever, children are using tablets all the time for both school and play. Handing a child a sophisticated portable computer can be risky, so many brands and companies offer tablets specifically designed for use by children. These devices are more durable and less powerful than other tablets. However, they can be given to children without significant monetary risks involved.

Added features, such as parental controls or monitoring software can also be installed on these devices to further protect the child using them. Another vital factor to consider when purchasing tablets for kids is the device's supported accessories. Rugged cases or detachable keyboards can help to protect and increase the longevity of a child's device. 

Summary

Tablets are more popular than ever due to their size, compatibility, and portability. No longer do you need to tote a large laptop around to share documents, give presentations, or do any kind of remote work. Tablets' unique combination of portability and power makes them ideal for many uses, ranging from schoolwork to professional design and media creation. On top of that, the many accessories supported by tablets help to further blur the line between them and laptops.

As time goes on, tablets become more viable, and purchasing one for yourself will see benefits in both your professional and personal life. Like computers, tablets are sophisticated pieces of technology that come in almost endless configurations and price points. Remember to consider all the ways you wish to use a tablet and the device's features before making a final purchase. We hope this tablet buying guide helps you find the best tablet for you!

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