Tablet buying tips

When someone asks me which tablet they should buy, there are few questions that I usually ask in order to help determine what they should buy. I’m going to run through them here with the hope that it helps you decide what to buy.

A few things to note:

  • This is my personal view of things, so don’t blame me if you still end up with the wrong tablet.
  • This guide is written in Q4 2014, so things might have changed by the time you read this.
  • I wrote a tablet buying guide back in Q4 2012. Some things have changed then, but the core concepts have not changed, so there will be some overlap.
  • I’m going to try and keep things as simple as possible, so if it sounds short, it’s by designe.
  • I wouldn’t say the tips below are definitive, but I intend for them to get you thinking about certain key points before you make your purchase.

So here are the few things you should look at:

  • Price
  • Usage pattern and purpose
  • Operating system
  • Your mobile phone and computer
  • Your apps
  • Support

Price

To put it simply, the cheap tablets are horrible. I’d skip them. If your budget supports it, check out Apple’s iPads and the higher end Android tablets.

Usage pattern and purpose

How do you plan to use your tablet? If you’re always on the go, it might be a good idea to consider a smaller tablet and one that also supports a data SIM card. If you’re using it as a desktop replacement, you might want a larger screen size.

Operating system

Do you have any specific preference for Android or Apple’s iOS? If you prefer one platform over the other, then it’s best you stick to it and not deviate due to price or promotion.

Your mobile phone and computer

Devices are increasingly connected with each other, with the caveat that they’re on the same ecosystem (Apple’s, Google’s, or Microsoft’s). So if your mobile phone and computer are already on the a unified platform, you might have some additional benefits to one ecosystem. Perks I’m talking about include better photo syncing, file transfer, etc.

Your apps

Do you have any essential apps that are key to your workflow? It may not be available or works terribly on other platforms. Make sure you check through the respective platform’s application store first.

Support

Who do you usually go to for support? The Apple Store? Your neighbour? Me? It’s good to make sure that whatever you buy, you have someone to help you when you need support.

In conclusion:

Buying a tablet isn’t that hard. I would recommend you decide on a platform first (i.e. iOS or Android), and then see which tablet hardware to buy.

Good luck! Leave me a comment below if you found this helpful or need further clarification.

Published by matt

A tech enthusiast who spent his first paycheck ever on a mobile phone. Over a decade later, he's still throwing all his money at mobile technology, much to the chagrin of his wife.

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3 Comments

  1. I think you forget one thing. Which platform to use, for most people depends on what platform your friends and family are on. For instance: my COMPLETE family is on the iOS/OSX platform, which makes it very easy to share things like calendars etc. Since we have to pay for every phonecall here in the Netherlands, FaceTime is very populair among us.

    About the iCloud webapp environment: It’s way too slow. Although it has some great features, platforms like Google and Microsoft are much more useable because it’s fast. Apple should invest much more in its web environment, because that’s where the future is. In the future the desktop operating system won’t be that important anymore. Only a web to log in to your “cloud”.

    1. Hi Jan, you’re very right. The platform and devices that you and your family members use plays a big part in the decision making process. I briefly mentioned that under the “mobile phone and computer” section, though I should have named that section better. As you say, FaceTime is incredibly useful, especially for saving money and if you’re traveling.

      I agree that iCloud on the web still has a long way to go. I don’t think iCloud is useful as a web application yet, but hopefully Apple can improve it over time.

      Thanks for reading. Hope to see you around.

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