How to Choose a Tablet?

How to Choose a Tablet


Tablets are still a certain trend in the current multimedia device market. Although the popularity of tablets in U.S households is not comparable to laptops or desktop computers, as of 2017, almost a quarter of U.S households had at least one tablet. Due to the wide range of cheap devices and, on the contrary, the very narrow range of more expensive ones, the choice may not be easy.

In the following article, we will discuss the individual specifications that you should consider when choosing a new tablet. It will always depend primarily on your preferences and the choice for which purpose you want to use the device. If you choose the ideal option for you from each chapter, overall you will be able to choose a device exactly according to your wishes at the end.

If you are going to use the tablet mainly for reading and you would not use a large number of functions, purchasing an e-book reader is also a possible alternative for you. In our article How to choose a reader , you will learn how to proceed when purchasing this useful device. ​


How to choose a tablet in brief:

Price - Get an idea of ​​the price and then choose according to your financial possibilities.

Purpose - Choose specifications according to the purpose of use.

Operating System - Select the operating system that best suits your requirements. Android is typical for its openness and customization options, while iOS offers a good match with the hardware.

Display – Focus on display quality . Technology and resolution are most important.

Performance – Choose sufficient processor performance , as well as sufficient RAM capacity .

Battery – The device is meant to be mobile, so focus on battery life .

Memory – Choose enough user memory , the memory of some devices cannot be expanded.

Camera – Expect a lower quality camera , it won't replace your smartphone.

User Experience – Always verify your choice with the user reviews available on the internet to learn a lot of important information.

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Operating system selection

The choice of operating system is the first decision you will have to make and from which all your other preferences will depend. There are currently three types of operating systems to choose from. Each of them has its indisputable advantages and disadvantages, and the following chapter will try to summarize for which purposes which operating system is suitable.


Google Android

Android is an operating system used primarily on smartphones. However, it also found its application in most tablets from manufacturers other than Apple. Its main advantage is considered to be a wide range of mostly free applications. The Android system is characterized by its openness compared to other operating systems, as it allows its users to make various adjustments to the settings.

The openness of the system is also related to the possibility of downloading applications from sources other than Google Play. However, caution is needed when using alternative sources because, just like on a computer, you can download an infected file. Due to the fact that Android has a large spectrum of devices with different components, jams and other problems can occur, especially with cheap products from less established brands.

In principle, it is not possible to determine the exact target group of users for whom this operating system is suitable. Therefore, if you do not yet have experience with any of the listed systems, we recommend trying them in person at one of the specialized stores.

Google Android


Apple iOS

The iOS operating system (iPadOS) is designed to run on devices manufactured by Apple. Compared to Android, iOS is significantly more closed and does not allow its users as many options to change settings. Tablets from Apple are suitable, especially if you already own another device from the same manufacturer (for example, a MacBook or iPhone), in which case you can connect individual devices at a significantly better level than Android offers.

In general, iOS is associated with devices of only the highest quality, so it is unlikely that you will come across a low-quality product in connection with this system. Tablets with this operating system are perfectly matched and offer fast and trouble-free operation . The high price of both the device itself and individual additional accessories is considered a disadvantage. The price of a new Apple tablet starts at around 10,000 crowns.

It is also often said that there is a smaller selection of applications than in the case of Android, however, almost all applications for iOS are of high quality and offer great comfort to their users. This operating system is thus particularly suitable for users for whom price does not play a decisive role and who want to pay extra for a perfect user experience.

Apple iOS


Windows

So-called Tablet PCs are a separate category on the market . These devices have the Windows 10/11 operating system. From the logic of the matter, they cannot be completely considered a tablet, since the control is identical to a computer. Also, the weight is always higher and you can choose from small diagonals to those comparable to notebooks.

The advantage of these devices is that they can fully replace a laptop, compared to which they are more compact. Compared to classic tablets, they have processors designed for laptops, which usually have multiple times higher performance than those in tablets. This is due to the completely different architecture of the processors. However, it is also necessary to pay attention to the type of processor in such a tablet. Processors of the Celeron or Pentium series do not provide much show and are used more for text editors and browsing the Internet.

In terms of system closure, Windows offers a compromise between the two alternatives mentioned above. Choose Windows for your tablet in a situation where you are used to this interface even from your computer and plan to use the same applications on your tablet as well. It can offer you comfort in the form of full-fledged applications, but if you are looking for a tablet to play movies or start music, for example, choose Android or Apple iOS.

Windows


Display

The choice of a new tablet is often made only on the basis of its size, which is directly proportional to the size of the display. However, we recommend not to limit your choice only to the diagonal, because you will surely confirm that a large TV does not mean a high-quality picture.

In the following chapter, we will first divide the tablets into two groups according to the size of the diagonal, and then we will focus on the individual specifications that are important to take into account in connection with the right display.

READ ALSO: How to choose a Smartphone?

Display size

The display size is given in inches and expresses the distance between the two corner points on the display. There is a general belief that tablets with diagonals of 10″ and larger are suitable for work purposes. It is more difficult to transport due to its size, on the other hand, it offers an almost full replacement for a laptop when a keyboard and mouse are connected. Of course, they cannot compete with a computer in terms of performance without embellishments, but for multimedia purposes or work with office programs, the performance is sufficient.

The second group are tablets with a diagonal of less than 10″, which are mainly intended for the purposes of multimedia entertainment and internet connection on the go. They are much more compact and often come with various leather or rubber cases to make them even easier to carry and hold. These tablets are thus more similar in use to smartphones than to computers.

Their disadvantage is that, due to their small size, it is not possible to work on them very comfortably. So, if you are looking for an office assistant for certain work tasks, choose a diagonal of at least 10″. If you're only interested in entertainment on the go and you use other devices at home for work purposes, buy a tablet with a smaller screen. It will not only be more compact, but also lighter.

Display size


Display technology

There are currently several display designs to choose from on the market. In the following paragraphs, we will explain the advantages and disadvantages of each type. There are of course many more technologies, but others not mentioned here are not commonly available on the market. We have also ranked the technologies from the highest quality to the lowest quality.


OLED, AMOLED, sAMOLED,

All of these technologies are fundamentally similar and are based on the approach that, unlike other technologies, the entire display is not illuminated, but each individual pixel separately. Thanks to this, a great contrast ratio of colors is achieved, but also an overall better color presentation . In general, it can be said that the picture of an OLED display will usually be "cleaner" than any other.


Disadvantages of displays based on OLED technology include, in particular, a shorter service life. This is due to the fact that organic materials (plastics) are used for production. They degrade over time. Over time, this aging of the material can manifest itself in "burned" spots, which these displays suffered from especially at the beginning, when they were just being introduced to the market.


IPS

Screens labeled IPS are based on liquid crystal technology. The interlayer of the display contains liquid crystals that orient themselves in space based on an electric current. The display is fully backlit, the light passes through the crystals and changes color based on the principle of light refraction.

The technology is particularly proud of its great viewing angles , but also its long life and low price. On the other hand, the color rendering is worse than in the case of AMOLED technology. This is because it can light up only partial parts of the display, so the place that should be black is really black on the AMOLED display (more precisely, it doesn't light up).


Retina

The Retina designation cannot be called anything other than a marketing phrase. Apple calls the displays used on its devices Retina, but it's not a different technology, just a different name. Compared to regular displays from other manufacturers, however, those sold by Apple tend to be a little better tuned, so you'll find minimal difference here.

For Retina display, Apple refers to IPS and for Super Retina (XDR) it refers to OLED technology. Apple does not manufacture displays itself, it only orders them from other manufacturers.


TFT, TN, VA

It is the lowest quality of all mentioned technologies, offers weaker color rendering, worse viewing angles, brightness and contrast. The choice of this technology is often preferred due to the low price, but you should definitely consider whether it is worth investing in some more advanced technologies.


Distinction

It is the total number of pixels that the display is able to display over its entire surface. A higher number of pixels means a higher resolution, but of course it also depends on the diagonal of the tablet. The resolution of 1024 x 1024 pixels will offer an extremely fine display on a 1.5″ smartwatch, while on a 12″ tablet you will see individual pixels with your eye as they will be significantly larger.

For the smallest tablets with a diagonal of around 7″, you need a resolution of 1280 × 800 or more. For tablets with a diagonal of around 9″, it is already necessary to choose a Full HD resolution of at least 1,600 × 1,200. The fineness of the display should be over 200 PPI. However, this value is often not indicated by sellers. You can easily calculate it using the calculator , in which you enter the resolution and the diagonal in inches.


Processor

The processor is the heart of the tablet and its frequency is key to the operation of the device. The frequency of the processor is indicated in GHz, and the more GHz, the more powerful the processor. However, more tech-savvy enthusiasts might argue that we are mystifying with this. The performance of the processor really depends not only on the frequency, but also on other characteristics that the manufacturers do not specify (IPC, Cache,...). In practice, however, we can say that if one processor has a significantly higher frequency than the other, it will definitely be more powerful.

The number of cores the processor has is also important. More cores means that the processor can perform several operations simultaneously, i.e. it uses so-called multitasking. We always recommend choosing a tablet with at least a quad-core processor and a clock speed of at least 1.3 GHz. For the most demanding operations and gaming, then 6 to 8 cores and a frequency of over 2.5 GHz.

Regarding the choice of processor manufacturer, it is very advisable to bet on one of the proven companies, such as Samsung (Exynos), Qualcomm, Apple, MediaTek or Intel, which supplies the same processors to tablets as to laptops, which enables the launch of computer applications. Processors from lesser-known companies are often a cost-effective option, which, despite their apparently high frequency at first glance, often does not provide adequate performance.

Processor


RAM operating memory

The size of the RAM memory expresses how much data the device can temporarily store in the cache and thus have quick access to them. The larger the amount of RAM, the more applications you can have running at the same time and they will run smoothly. Of course, size is not the only indicator, however, in the tablet category, other characteristics will not be significant.

Even in the case of RAM memory, it is first necessary to state that its performance is greatly influenced by other hardware and software components of the tablet. You will need a different capacity for the operation of a tablet on which you will exclusively play movies, another for one that will be used for gaming purposes.

For the least demanding tablets, you should stick to the lower limit of at least 2 GB of RAM when choosing. If you plan to use the tablet as a replacement for a computer, we recommend choosing a capacity of at least 4 GB. A separate category are devices from Apple, which are perfectly coordinated and it cannot happen to you that you buy a device with insufficient operating memory capacity. One GB of RAM can be enough in the case of a children's tablet, where the determining parameter is more the price.

RAM operating memory


RAM for Tablet PC

Tablet PCs that run Windows are very different. Here, we recommend completely omitting tablets with an operating memory capacity of less than 8 GB from the selection. The Windows operating system and applications designed for it need a larger amount of RAM to function. The only case for which 4 GB of RAM is sufficient is when you will only use the device for surfing the Internet and simple writing in Word or Excel.

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Types of operational memories

The type of operating memory will be of interest to you especially when buying a Tablet PC. The oldest and least powerful type of RAM is DDR SDRAM, sometimes retrospectively referred to as DDR1. Individual generations of RAM differ from each other in their operating frequency. Definitely avoid any variants of DDR1 or DDR2 and focus on DDR3, in the case of powerful Tablet PCs also on DDR4.


User memory

As already mentioned, user memory refers to the storage capacity of your tablet. The cheapest tablets currently offer 8 GB of storage, which is already a lower capacity at first glance. It is important to note that a large part of the memory can be taken up by the operating system itself, and many devices do not support the option of expansion with memory cards.

If you choose a tablet whose memory is not expandable, you should ask for at least 32 GB of memory, otherwise you can very soon find yourself in a situation where the tablet will be almost unusable because there will be no room in its storage to store files. Also, keep in mind that 32 GB of storage space is still quite basic rather than optimal.

While Android devices often offer a lower capacity (32 to 256 GB) and have a slot for an SD card, devices with a bitten apple on the back do not have this slot. We therefore recommend carefully considering the choice of internal memory.

User memory


Battery

Battery capacity is one of the main parameters determining the durability of a tablet, its capacity is expressed in mAh (milliampere-hours). However, a higher number of mAh does not necessarily mean a longer time between charges, as each device has a different energy consumption.

High-quality large displays in combination with a powerful processor are significantly more demanding than smaller diagonals with performance for basic applications. It can happen that you compare two tablets side by side, one with a capacity of 5,000 mAh and the other with a capacity of 7,000 mAh, and their endurance will be the same. Fortunately, most manufacturers list the battery life of their models in hours, so you don't have to worry about the mAh number at all.

Unfortunately, the battery life data is not entirely accurate, or takes into account battery life with minimal use of the tablet. You can traditionally get the closest to the stated endurance with Apple tablets, where the stated endurance corresponds even with normal tablet load. Real endurance is often between 50 and 85% of the stated one. Power banks, which we discussed in a separate article , can also help to extend battery life on the go .


Tablets with a duration of up to 6 hours

Such weak endurance can only be found in tablets of the lowest class. Their low price may be tempting, but these devices almost lose the original purpose for which tablets are intended, because they really only last a very short time without charging. For the purpose of multimedia use on the go, we definitely recommend choosing tablets with longer endurance.


Tablets with a duration of 6 to 10 hours

This endurance is standard for mid-range tablets. It offers a relatively convenient possibility of use without the need for constant power supply from the mains. They are suitable for short tasks outside the home, but for longer trips without the possibility of power, choose tablets from the next category.


Tablets with a duration of more than 10 hours

Durability of more than 10 hours is the dominant feature of tablets in the highest performance and price groups. They are suitable for use on the road, where you are without the possibility of connecting to an electrical supply for a long time. Tablets with batteries of the highest quality have an exceptional endurance of up to 20 hours in operation.

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Camera

Tablets used to have cameras that were comparable to those on smartphones. Today, however, the "train has passed" and you will have a hard time finding a quality camera on the back of "flat" devices. You can only achieve decent quality in the case of the most expensive tablets, but even here it is not a hit parade. The consolation may be that given the larger dimensions, you probably wouldn't be taking photos with a tablet anyway.

Although manufacturers often list only one characteristic of a tablet camera, which is the number of megapixels (MPx), this is the least important. Not to be confused, the number of megapixels is of course important, but only up to values ​​of around 12 to 16 MPx, when a higher resolution no longer brings real benefits.

Another important category is the aperture of the lens , denoted, for example, by f/2.0. The lower the number after the letter f, the better the camera will be in low light conditions. High-quality smartphone cameras have apertures up to f/1.6, high-quality tablet optics only f/2.0. Other characteristics affecting the quality are not mentioned by the manufacturers, but they are the quality of the optics and the size of the sensor.


Construction

The construction of tablets can be divided into 3 main types according to the material. The most frequently used and at the same time the cheapest variant are plastic constructions. We can often find devices with a metal structure on the market. At first glance, it may seem that plastic is the least quality material, but it depends mainly on the preferences of each customer. The following chapter will gradually analyze the advantages and disadvantages of individual materials.


Plastic construction

They are characterized by a low price, relatively high resistance to falls, light weight and comfortable holding. The generally biggest disadvantage is the cheaper appearance of this material and the fact that the structure wears and creaks after a period of use.


Metal construction

They are very strong and resistant to falls. However, they do record fingerprints on the surface, and if they don't have a surface treatment, they tend to be quite slippery and uncomfortable to hold. On the other hand, it has an incomparably more luxurious impression, and the construction is also often thinner.

Metal construction


Signal

In addition to being used for multimedia purposes, some tablets also offer connection to classic mobile networks, so it is possible to use them to make calls, just like smartphones, or to connect to the Internet via mobile networks.

When choosing a tablet to use to connect to mobile networks, it is very important to find out if and which mobile networks the device supports. There are currently four types of mobile networks on the market, and different devices only support certain networks. In the table below, we will focus on the available connection standards.

Signal



Other functions

The penultimate chapter is devoted to some technologies, the functioning of which can be of great benefit to your tablet. The following features offer great convenience and give you new options when using it.


Bluetooth

Bluetooth is a technology that allows two devices to connect wirelessly. In the past, it was mainly used to send files, today its use mainly consists in the possibility of connecting to the device, for example, a wireless keyboard , headphones or other hardware components.

The latest version is Bluetooth v5. When choosing a tablet, it is not necessary to insist that it supports this version, but at least the older version 4.0 should be standard for mid-range and higher-priced models.


NFC

NFC is a technology that is used for similar purposes as bluetooth. It requires almost immediate contact of both devices in which the data transfer takes place, on the other hand, compared to bluetooth technology, it is significantly more gentle on battery consumption.

It is mainly used in making contactless payments, which makes it a technology of the future. Your device can also serve as a payment card.


Wi-Fi

WiFi is an absolute staple that every tablet should include. However, you should focus primarily on speed. We recommend choosing a device with WiFi 5 (802.11ac) or WiFi 6 (802.11ax).


GPS

GPS can be a welcome addition for the average user. Tablets often have high-quality speakers and, thanks to their large display, they can offer a full-fledged replacement for GPS navigation. Navigations are usually part of tablets already in the middle price class, so they are affordable. However, a specialized device called GPS Navigation will always work better.


Connecting accessories

As mentioned several times, a tablet can become a full-fledged replacement for a computer or laptop. However, this requires the ability to connect hardware components. You will certainly appreciate it if you connect a mouse, keyboard or even a printer to the tablet.

These options are already offered as standard in mid-range tablets, and if your preferences develop in this direction, be sure to focus on them. If you are interested in the possibility of connecting a tablet to your TV, then you will certainly welcome the possibility of connecting an HDMI cable, which transmits the image and sound from the tablet to the TV. A USB-C connector can also enable this.

If you want to use wired headphones, don't forget to check that the tablet also has a 3.5 mm jack. Tablets with a USB-C connector can also be purchased with a reduction from USB-C to a 3.5 mm jack. Some manufacturers include these accessories in the package together with the tablet.

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Price

Price is a very important part of your purchasing decision. Before the selection process itself, you should first select a price category in which you will continue to search for a suitable device. Tablets can be divided into three basic categories according to price.

You can't expect any miracles in this price category, but there are tablets that will pleasantly surprise you despite the low price. Although the parameters may be pleasing at first glance and the device may seem fine for simple operation, you may often encounter problems while using it.

The most common ailment of cheap devices with decent parameters is poor compatibility of the operating system with the hardware, which causes the system to slow down and crash frequently. The cheapest tablets are also very susceptible to mechanical wear and often cannot withstand even a small drop.

However, if you still decide to choose a tablet from the lowest price category, insist on at least 2 GB of operating memory, a processor frequency of at least 1.3 GHz, the number of cores 4 or more and storage of at least 32 GB. Otherwise, there's really no point in buying a tablet, and any investment would be doubled later anyway, since you'd have to buy a more powerful device after a certain period of time.

They usually have 6 to 8 core processors (Tablet PCs can have 4 cores) with a frequency of more than 2 GHz, a RAM size of 4 GB or more and a storage capacity of more than 64 GB. Focus on the quality of the display and battery life, the best thing to do is to visit a specialized store and try the device.

The constructions of these tablets tend to be made of more expensive materials and thus make them more resistant to wear and tear or possible falls, but also give them a touch of luxury.


Frequently asked questions about tablets

How and which tablet to choose?

Before you start choosing a tablet, make sure for what purposes you want to use it. Devices can be divided according to the operating system into Android and Apple tablets. If a tablet will be used for children, focus on cheap devices. Some also have a rubber case in a child-friendly design. A large tablet may not be the right choice for small hands. Consider battery life for use on the go. You can find the best tablets in our comparison .

What are the purposes of the tablet?

Unlike smartphones, tablets have a significantly larger display area. Therefore, they are predestined for multimedia use, especially playing movies and videos, but also surfing the Internet. In the case of powerful and more expensive devices, a tablet can also replace a laptop. So-called Tablet PCs with the Windows operating system are most suitable for office programs.

What is the difference between a smartphone and a tablet?

Tablets are aimed at providing the user with a service especially on the side of a large display. On the other hand, phones for the same price are more powerful and have better cameras. The latter cannot be considered an excessive lack of tablets, because due to the larger dimensions, it would still be significantly worse to take pictures with a tablet than with a phone.

Is 1GB of RAM enough?

Tablets with 1 GB RAM are the cheapest and least powerful ones on the market. Freezing can occur already during the operation of application units, and it will not be possible to run more demanding programs at all. For purchase, we recommend tablets with at least 2 GB of operating memory.

Which operating system is best for a tablet?

If you are not looking for a laptop replacement for the office, then focus on the Android and iOS (iPadOS) operating systems, which are better tuned for mobile devices. In general, between the two, it is impossible to say which is better because what suits one user may not suit another. The Android system is more open, allowing downloads from alternative sources and the spectrum of applications is larger. The iOS system is better tuned, more closed but more secure, and the apps are of better quality.

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