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A 12-Step Beginner’s Guide to Buying a Tablet

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Woman viewing map on tablet

Woman viewing map on tablet


Tablets are becoming more popular every year. Perhaps you think now is the time to jump on the bandwagon and start yourself off with one this year. Or, you may just be looking for a cooler laptop replacement that won’t break the bank.

Man using tablet at table

Man using tablet at table

No matter why you’re getting one, the most important thing to understand is which one to get. In this beginner’s buying guide, we will go over the different tablet operating systems, performance, battery life, and other factors that you will need to consider when buying your first tablet.

White tablet

White tablet

1. Why Do You Need A Tablet?

The first thing to think about when considering to buy a tablet is what you will be doing with it. Are you planning on watching movies? Reading through blogs? Or perhaps even looking for an impressive photo editor?

Man using tablets outdoors

Man using tablets outdoors

No matter what you plan to do with it, make sure the tablet you’re looking for can perform all the tasks you need.

User with tablet in bed

User with tablet in bed

2. Android Operating System

One of the most popular operating systems among devices is Android, which is developed by Google. Including in this operating system is a list of services and apps such as Google Now, Google Assistant, along with Maps, Calendar, Chrome, Play Music, etc.

Tablet in black case

Tablet in black case

This is one of the most customizable interfaces on the market and runs on the majority of Samsung, LG, and Motorola devices.

User holding tablet at desk

User holding tablet at desk

In addition, Android supports a variety of logins which is perfect for larger families who want to share devices. One of the most current versions of Android is 7.0.1 Nougat and includes an AI assistant to help out with everyday tasks.

Woman using tablet

Woman using tablet

So, whether you need the operating system to help you with school, chatting with friends, or answering a general question, it may be the perfect fit for you.

Tablet on bench in park

Tablet on bench in park

3. iOS

iOS is arguably one of the best operating systems created and supports over 725,000 apps running on their exclusive iPad line of devices. If you’re looking for a simple and clean interface with everyday computing with combined Facetime and iMessage, along with Apple’s word processors such as Pages, iOS might be a great alternative.

Tablet sitting on laptop

Tablet sitting on laptop

Although, one thing to note is that iOS is definitely one of the most expensive operating systems since it only runs on Apple devices which are plenty expensive, to begin with. But, if you’re not the customizing type and looking for an easy to use system, you should give iOS a try.

Tablet sitting on open book

Tablet sitting on open book

4. Windows Operating System

Windows UI comes on all windows tablets and is the closest service to a modern computing software. On this operating system you can use Microsoft Office, Skype, and other Microsoft programs to the best of their ability. In addition, there are over 200,000 apps collected in the Windows Store to use with your tablet for more functionality.

Tablet with Windows Operating System

Tablet with Windows Operating System

Unfortunately, Windows tablets have shown to be slightly less powerful than iOS or Android tablets and far more expensive than either. But, if you’re looking for a full computer squashed into a small tablet, Windows is a great choice for you.

5. Storage Space

You can usually choose the amount of storage space your tablet has. Storage ranges from 16GB all the way up to 256GB. Some models support extra, expandable storage with a microSD card. You may also consider a cloud storage service.

Woman with dog using tablet

Woman with dog using tablet

6. Battery Life

The battery life of tablets varies greatly and can be anywhere from five hours to 14 hours. In general, when it comes to battery life, the longer the better. Try to find a model that will stay charged for at least ten hours.

Tablet charging

Tablet charging

7. Wi-Fi Only or Cellular

If you want your tablet to be functional, you will need to think about its connectivity ability. With some tablets, you can only access the internet via Wi-Fi and others can be used with a 3G or 4G LTE connection.

Woman on phone using tablet

Woman on phone using tablet

If you need to use your tablet on the go a lot, opt for the data connection. If not, then choose the just Wi-Fi model as they are less expensive.

Tablet showing chart and graph on screen

Tablet showing chart and graph on screen

8. Camera

IF your main reason for buying a tablet is to take photos, this is probably an important feature. You will also want to pay attention to the front camera, especially if you need to use video chat for work.

Woman smiling at tablet screen

Woman smiling at tablet screen

9. Keyboard

If you are going to use your tablet for work or as a substitute laptop, the keyboard is an incredibly important feature. There are a number of tablets that are compatible with keyboards. Some tablets can dock into a keyboard, making typing easy and acting like a stand for your tablet.

Tablet with stylus pen

Tablet with stylus pen

There are also Bluetooth keyboards that can work with any Bluetooth compatible tablet. Make sure you keep this in mind when you are looking for your new tablet.

10. Size and Weight

Tablet screen sizes generally range from seven inches all the way up to 16 inches. Screen size is all about preference. If you plan on using your tablet for watching movies during your morning commute, a smaller screen will do nicely.

Tablet on books

Tablet on books

If you are using your tablet as a replacement for a laptop, you will probably want a larger screen. The thickness of the screen varies from 0.2 inches to 0.5 inches. Thinner tablets look sleeker and are more portable.

Woman looking at tablet screen

Woman looking at tablet screen

Tablets also vary in weight, though most will be under three pounds. Smaller and simpler tablets usually weigh less than a pound. The more complicated tablets with larger screens will weigh more. No matter what size tablet, all of them are fairly lightweight and portable.

11. Screen Resolution

The resolution will tell you how sharp and clear the images on screen will be. Look for a tablet with a high resolution of 1080p (1920×1080 pixels) or higher. Another important measurement to keep in mind is the pixels per inch, or PPI. This also contributes to the sharpness of the onscreen image.

Social media screen on tablet

Social media screen on tablet

12. Brand

Another key thing to think about is which brand you want to buy. There are numerous tablet brands in the marketplace. There are some brands which are more reliable than some in terms of durability, value for money and after-care service. I would suggest that you do a quick research on the brand before you invest your cash in a new tablet.

Woman sitting down with tablet in her hand

Woman sitting down with tablet in her hand


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