Updated on: Feb 26, 2021

Some people do not use their tablets as much as they use their smartphones and laptops. However, tablets are still useful. No one enjoys carrying a laptop everywhere they go. 

Tablets are portable. Portability is the key feature that gives tablets an edge over laptops. Again, they can be quite useful for watching movies while you are in bed or during long flights. 

For first time tablet buyers, this guide x-rays the important features you must consider before buying a tablet.



1. Display

things to consider when buying a tablet

On lower-end tablets, a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels is common – this isn’t the best, though. We recommend 1920 x 1080 pixels or higher. On high-end tablets like the iPad Pro 12.9 (2048 x 2732 pixels), iPad Air 2 (2048 x 1536 pixels) and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 (2560 x 1600), you will find crisp and colourful displays.

You need not worry about screen glaring when you buy tablets with high resolutions as most higher-rated tablets have displays with anti-reflective coatings that take care of reflections during the day.

2. Screen Size and Weight

things to consider when buying a tablet

Typically, you would find tablets with screen sizes ranging from 7 inches to 10 inches. If you consider this size range small, then there are brands with larger screen sizes. Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (12.9 inches), Microsoft Surface Pro 6 (12.3 inches) are good alternatives.

Portability is a key factor you should keep in mind. You don’t want a tablet that’s too large. If the tablet is going to be used by a kid, try getting a small one. A 7-inch tablet is a lot easier to hold and carry. Holding and using a very large tablet can be an unpleasant experience. 

The weight of a tablet contributes to user experience and productivity. There are very good lightweight tablets on the market. The best tablets tick the boxes with regard to portability and productivity. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4, Amazon Fire HD 8, and Apple iPad Air are portable tablets you may want to give a try. Remember, when the tablet is too big, it is no longer a mobile device. 

3. Operating System

things to consider when buying a tablet

Always choose an operating system (OS) that gives you a lot of flexibility. Some operating systems do not allow you much in the way of flexibility, while others do not have many apps.

If you want a tablet with features like a PC, then go for one with Windows operating system(OS). If you are accustomed to using iOS devices, then opt for Apple tablets. Aside from Windows OS and iOS, Android OS powered tablets are common these days. 

If you do not like restrictions, and enjoy tweaking things to suit your needs, then we recommend getting Android-based tablets. Android tablets give you access to a wide array of apps and are highly customizable. 

Be warned: If you elect to get an iOS tablet, you may have limited tablet models to choose from unlike users of Android-powered tablets. Again, iOS tablets do not allow much with regard to customization. Apps that run on iOS tablets are more expensive than Android apps. 

On a positive note, tablets running on iOS offer a lot of apps accessible on Apple App Store. 

When it comes to quality, Apple tablets are still the best. Android tablets are second, while Windows tablets are a few miles behind Apple and Android tablets.

One good tip you must never forget is this: opt for tablets that are running on the latest OS. You don’t want a tablet with an OS that would become obsolete within a short period. With a nonupgradeable OS, some applications may stop functioning well with time and you may not be able to download or run the latest version. This applies to Windows, Android, and iOS tablets.

4. Connectivity

things to consider when buying a tablet

You do not want a tablet that cannot connect to the internet. Some tablets can connect to the internet via Wi-Fi only. Others have both cellular and Wi-Fi for internet connection. Wi-Fi only tablets are less expensive than tablets with cellular and Wi-Fi option.

The best option is a tablet with cellular and Wi-Fi features. With this option, you can easily connect to the internet when you go to places with free Wi-Fi.

With Wi-Fi enabled tablets, you may not need to worry about coverage, when you are in locations with poor cellular networks. 

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Many tablets on the market with cellular connection are 3G complaint. You may also find tablets that are 4G- and 5G-enabled.

If you use a dual band wireless router, be sure to check if the tablet you intend buying supports 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz radio bands – this is important. Make sure your preferred tablet has one or two ports that can enable you to connect to other devices. 

5. Storage Space

things to consider when buying a tablet

Tablets do not have as much storage space as laptops. You can get a tablet with storage space as high as 64GB or 256GB . In fact, most premium laptops are known for their large storage spaces which can be as high as 512GB. In fact, Apple iPad Pro 12.9 has a variant with a whopping a 1TB storage.  These days, most tablets have at least 4GB to 8GB storage. 

If you intend to store a lot of media and games, then look out for tablets with a lot of storage space. For this category of users, we recommend getting a tablet with storage space not less than 32GB. If it is for surfing the web, sending mails, and reading books, you may not need one with little storage space – 8GB or 16GB will be just fine.

Some tablets like the Huawei MediaPad M5 8.4, Samsung Galaxy Tab S4, and Microsoft Surface Pro 6 have provisions for memory slots (i.e., SD card readers) which give you an extra storage space for files. Others allow you store files in the cloud. The downside of cloud storage is that you need an internet connection to access your files.

6. Brand

things to consider when buying a tablet

If you have a preferred manufacturer, then making a choice is a lot easier. However, if you are new to tablets, look out for leading brands like Apple and Samsung. Manufacturers like Microsoft and Huawei produce decent tablets, as well. 

7. Budget

things to consider when buying a tablet

Of all the tablet brands out there, iOS powered tablets are usually the most expensive. They are more expensive than Android tablets. If you’re on a budget, consider less expensive tablets made by Huawei, Microsoft, and Amazon.

Generally, the amount you pay for a tablet depends on its features, storage capacity, model, and make.

8. Performance

Many high-end tablets are synonymous with great performance. Most times, very cheap tablets do not offer the kind of user experience and results that premium tablets are known for. Nevertheless, there are good mid-range slates on the market with decent performances.

Some cheap tablets perform better than expensive ones.

Most premium tablets can handle some PC-related tasks effortlessly.

Consider getting tablets with decent processors. Here are good examples of laptops with good processors: The Samsung Galaxy Tab is shipped with Snapdragon 835 processor, Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2018) comes with Apple A12X Bionic chip Intel Atom and Apple iPad Air (2019) has Apple A12 Bionic chip as its chipset.

9. Battery Life

Your tablet’s battery life will most likely depend on what you do with it day in, day out. Video streaming, playing a lot of games, and surfing the web at all times, will always take a toll on your battery life. With these activities, you will never get as much battery life as specified by the manufacturer.

That said, most modern tablets are now designed to serve you throughout the day without having to charge every hour. A good tablet should last at least 8 hours or thereabouts on a single charge. We do encourage buying a new tablet that can go seven hours without a charge.

If you need a tablet with outstanding battery life, you may consider Apple iPad Pro 12.9, Samsung Galaxy Tab S4,  Apple iPad 9.7, or Apple iPad Air.



Final Thoughts

These tips will help you make the right decision with regard to getting a tablet that suits your needs and budget. Feel free to look at the best tablets on the market right now.