How to Choose a Tablet
When you are looking for a tablet, it could be that you suddenly feel a need to own a tablet or you already own a tablet but are looking to get a replacement. But before proceeding to choose a suitable tablet, you would need to ask yourself what you want the tablet to do? Or rather, what you want to use the tablet for?
Common usage includes:
Connecting to social networking sites
Reading online news/magazines
Making phone calls
As always is the case, it’s best to think of what you want the tablet to do for you and, if possible, make a checklist before choosing your tablet. It will make your search more targeted and easier as you can probably eliminate a large categories of tablets.
Ok, I’m assuming you had completed your list and are ready to jump into the sea of tablets! Here goes…
When I’m choosing a tablet for my needs, the followings are the factors/features I will look out for:
1. Operating System
There are 4 operating system for tablets to choose from, namely Apple iOS, Google Android, Microsoft Windows 8, Microsoft Windows RT. Currently Apple iOS and Google Andriod are more popular choices for tablets. Read HERE for more information.
2. Screen Size
Screen size of tablets ranges from 6 inches to 12 inches with the 7 inches and 10 inches tablets being the more popular choices. As for those who opted for Apple iOS, screen sizes are limited to iPad sporting a 9.7 inches screen or iPad mini sporting a 7.9 inches screen.
The processor is the brain of any computer systems, including tablets, that processes all the operations from the operating system and applications. Generally, the higher the clocked speed, the faster the the tablet will run, and with most software now written to take advantage of multiple processors cores, higher number of cores in a processor will help to improve the overall operation speed of the tablet. These multi-threaded softwares and the operating systems can allocate tasks to be run in parallel between two different cores within a processor to help speed up the performance compared to running on a single core. In addition to having multiple cores help speed up a single task, it can make an even bigger difference when the tablet is used to
multitask. A good example of multitasking is using a tablet to listen to music while also surfing the web or reading an e-book. Read HERE for more information.
Tablet data capacity is the total internal capacity of the tablet, the operating system and bundled applications typically takes up a few GB(gigabytes) of space. Common tablet capacity are 4GB/8GB/16GB/32GB/64GB. Most tablets comes with an option to add on additional capacity through a slot for micro-sd card. Adding on up to 32GB/64GB more depending on the tablet’s maximum supported capacity and the micro-sd card that you added in. In general, the bigger capacity, the better, albeit with a higher price tag.
Memory refers to RAM or “Random Access Memory,” that is the special memory where the data is stored temporarily. When files are requested by the operating system or applications, they are placed in the RAM to be processed. A bigger sized RAM means the tablet can store more files requested by applications at the same time, thus improving the speed of operations. After the power for the tablet is turned off, whatever data stored in the RAM is deleted. RAM improves the tablet’s performance and is faster than internal storage, but it is more expensive. Similar to storage, bigger capacity RAM are preferred.
Batteries in tablets are measured in terms of mAh (milliamp Hour), generally the higher the number, the longer the tablet will last on battery. But bigger screen tablets and more powerful processors consumed more power, thus reducing the overall runtime of the battery. Manufacturers typically includes standby time and runtime in their specifications. This is an estimation of how long a fully charged battery will last for the tablet. Though higher mAh are
preferred for longer runtime, weight becomes a factor to consider as higher mAh equates to bigger sized battery which in turns add on to the overall weight of the tablet.
Most new tablets comes with IPS (In-plane switching) LCD. What you need to look out for is the resolution and PPI (pixels per inch). As a general guideline, higher resolutions and higher PPI are preferred, and of course, cost more as a result.
Typically, you would want to know if your tablet comes with a camera, and if it does, whether its dual (front and back) or single (front or back) camera. Next on the line is the maximum resolution of the camera. And the rule of thumb? The higher megapixel, the better.
9. Mobile Data 3G/4G
Many people wants to use their tablets on the go, thus tablets that supports 3G/4G connections are preferred. What you would want to take note is whether the 3G/4G connection slot is built in or you need to use an external dongle for the mobile data connection. Most will prefer a built-in slot so their tablets won’t have “something sticking out”.
10. Wifi – Wireless Connectivity
Most, if not all, tablets come with wifi connection. Generally, look for wireless protocol : 802.11 b/g/n. If its only 802.11 b/g, without the ”n”, you won’t benefit from the greater performance, more range, and improved reliability as boasted by the 802.11n protocol. Then again, you would need a wireless ”n” router to really benefit from it.
You may also want to look out for the supported languages, if you are looking for a tablet that supports your native language. Other features like multi touch,HDMI interface, USB ports, ultra slim, etc, might be important for some, and, the overall net weight of the tablet and warranty period matters to most as well.
The above are what you need to know when looking for a tablet, but note that it doesn’t mean you get to mix and match the components that you like and get a perfect personalized tablet for yourself. The fact is that all tablets come pre-made with whatever features already integrated in them. You would probably only get to choose the amount of internal capacity of the tablet and probably a few color choices for the same model. Of course, if you are looking at different models and comparing the features, the above provides you with a better idea of what to look out for before making a decision on the most suitable tablet for yourself!
Check out these recommended tablets from Amazon below:
Alternatively, you can visit the Amazon Tablet Store for more choices.