2017 Tablet Buying Guide – Get the Right Mix of Portability and Performance
Looking to get a new tablet? Apart from looking out for the one which fits your budget, you should also get one that best suits your needs. Let us get down to explaining the common questions that you should be asking yourself.
What Type of Tablet Do You Want?
Tablets are not just a bigger and more powerful version of a mobile, but also a tinier version of a laptop. The first decision is whether you need a standalone tablet or a 2 in 1 which also serves as a laptop.
Standalone: This is the tablet that can be described as the grander version of a smartphone. Standalone tablets typically do not come with a detachable keyboard. It will sport a touchscreen input and is available in different sizes and shapes, ranging between square and rectangle. There is a possibility of connecting a standalone tablet with a bluetooth enabled keyboard, but you will have to purchase it separately.
2 In 1: This is also called a hybrid laptop, it comes with a detachable or adjustable keyboard, and can be used as a laptop as well as a standalone tablet. This is available in multiple sizes, and looks much like a laptop, only sleeker, and with touchscreen functionality.
Identify Your Usage Patterns
Before you buy a tablet, you need to first identify your usage patterns. Typical usage can be classified in the following categories.
Home Usage: This involves using a tablet for basic purposes like surfing the net, replying emails, using social media, and some media consumption. This can be done even with the most basic tablets available in the market, and you do not need a high end tablet for this purpose.
For Work: If you’re using it mainly for work (or school), chances are you’ll require a better processor and greater memory since you’ll be using more advanced operations like making presentations, use of software/apps etc. This will require you to increase your budget a little.
What Is Your Preferred Operating System?
After deciding on the type and primary usage of your tablet, you need to narrow down on your preferred operating system. This will be based on your usage patterns. The most common options include the following:
Android: After mobiles, Android operating system is the most commonly used in tablets. This provides the user with maximum flexibility for customizations and personalizations. The majority of tablets in the market are based on Android, and these keep on updating regularly as new editions of Android get launched.
Windows: This is the second most preferred choice of operating system for your tablet. It also offers multiple options to choose from, available in different versions of Windows. Most tablets are currently running Windows 10.
iOS: This one is certainly a very efficient platform for running your tablet, but you should know that using an Apple device will limit your options for connecting it with other devices, as it is for the most part only compatible with Apple products.
Key Specs For The Perfect Tablet
Once you’ve thought about the operating system you’re going for, you’ll need to understand some of the technical specifications for tablets.
Processor: The processor of your tablet should be decided on the basis of your usage. An advanced processor is mainly needed for gaming purpose and for office use (heavy excel work/collaboration/running of software and apps). The most advanced processor for Apple is A8, A8X; for Android, its Snapdragon 800 series; and for Windows its i7.
RAM: The greater the amount of RAM in a tablet, the faster will be the performance. Usually, in-built RAM is sufficient, especially if you do not do exceedingly complex tasks on it. You can opt for increasing the RAM, but that will cost you. Higher processors are usually accompanied with greater RAM.
ROM This refers to the storage capacity of the tablet. Depending on your needs, you might need one with 16 GB, 32 GB, 64 GB or 128 GB. In-case of an iPad, you cannot expand the storage capacity on your own. Expandable storage works best with an Android tablet. It is advisable to either buy one with an expandable storage slot, or one with greater un-expandable storage.
Screen Size: Apart from the internal specs, you also need to focus on the external specs, and the most important one is the screen size. If you do not need one with a big screen, you can buy the one between 6-8.3 inches. For bigger screens, your choice will be between 8.9 – 10.1, you can also opt for a few ones which are more than 10.1 inches, but most of these will be 2 in 1s.
Screen Resolution: After you have finalized the screen size, you also need to decide the screen resolution. The higher the resolution, the sharper will be the screen images. Maximum resolution currently available in tablets is 2560 x 1600, although this should be used mainly for advanced usage. I would recommend that you do not go for anything below 1280 x 800.
Battery Life: This is one of the most important specification you should focus on, many tablets promise a full day battery life, in one charge, but can barely last for half a day. The minimum battery life of your tablet should be at least 7 hours after a full charge so that you can use it on the move having to constantly worry about the battery running out.
Select The One According To Your Budget
The price range of tablets available in the market vary greatly, you can find one above $1000 as well as one below $100, so depending on your usage and the necessary specs needed, you can select one ranging between $100 – $1000. Given below are the details of tablets available in the different price range.
Below the $100 Mark: The 7″ Amazon Fire Tablet, available for around $50, can offer you basic features, which you can use either for home usage or for kids. This tablet sports a 7 inch screen, low end processor, storage, RAM and a weak screen resolution. There are other tablets mostly from Chinese manufacturers in this range but their quality may not be as good.
Below $200: If you want to buy something that is between $100 – $200, you can opt for the Samsung Galaxy Tab A (or the Galaxy Tab range). There are also similar products from Lenovo (Lenovo TAB2 A10) or ASUS (ASUS ZenPad 10). This range can offer you devices with ‘average’ performance. They will have a screen of 7-10 inches, and storage capacity of 16 or 32 GB.
Below $300: For somewhere around $270, you can get an Apple iPad Mini 2. Apart from this there are multiple other Android tablets you can get between $200 – $300 which can offer you an above average performance. These will have larger screen sizes and better screen resolution.
Below $400: If you are buying something between $300 – $400, you can get access to many high tablets like the Apple iPad Mini 4, Apple iPad Air 2, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2. In this range you can find tablets with an even greater screen size, and better internal specs.
Above the $500 mark: If you enter this range, you can get hybrid laptops or 2 in 1s, which will not only give tremendous performance but also act as substitutes for laptops. In this range you can get the best of processors, screen resolution, greater memory, and all things advanced.