31 Jan Tablets: How to find the perfect device
WHAT IS A TABLET?
Tablets are a great compromise between a phone and a laptop. They can do a lot of the things a mobile phone does, some of the things a laptop does and a few things that only a tablet can do. They’re ideal devices if you all you want to do is consume media and if your usage is lmited to browsing the Web, check e-mail, or streaming content then almost any model will suffice.
Pros: Tablets combine web browsing, video watching, ebook reading, photography and emailing – and all in a mobile device with the dimensions of a magazine.
Cons: Chunkier and less mobile than a smartphone, but with less power than a laptop – tablets may give you the worst of both worlds. If you already own both of those other devices, you may consider a tablet an unnecessary luxury.
SMALL 7-INCH TABLETS ARE GREAT IF YOU’RE ON A BUDGET, OR IF PORTABILITY IS VITAL.
Pros: If you are looking for a cheap tablet that is good for web browsing and reading ebooks, a smaller tablet could be just the thing – 7-inch tablets tend to be cheaper with good devices nearer the £100 mark.
Cons: It’s not just screen size that 7-inch tablets tend to lack. More often than not, they also have less generous onboard storage, weaker processors and worse batteries.
LARGE 10-INCH TABLETS ARE IDEAL IF YOU REGULARLY TYPE DOCUMENTS AND EMAILS, OR IF YOU PLAN TO WATCH A LOT OF FILMS
Pros: Generally speaking, larger displays are better for video watching and doing work. Bigger devices are more likely to have better connectivity too, with some hosting full-sized USB ports.
Cons: If you want a good 9 to 10-inch tablet you’ll have to pay around £250 for the cheapest, with most premium models costing more than £300. They also tend to be heavier, which can make your wrists ache when holding them up to watch or read for more than 10 minutes.
Tip: One thing most people don’t consider is age: a tablet that’s been replaced by a newer model will find its price reduced so presents a great opportunity to scoop a bargain.
THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
Software and operating system
Most tablets sold today run one of the three mobile operating systems (platform): Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows 10. Android and iOS are the most popular two, with Windows 10 playing catch-up. Both Apple and Google have over a million apps available for download with Microsoft trailing with around 250 000 apps.
When it comes to a tablet’s display, the more important figure is pixel density. This is a more useful figure, because unlike resolution it gives you an absolute measurement of screen sharpness, independent of screen size. Generally the higher this figure, the better the display.
With a tablet’s processor, it’s a case of the faster with more cores, the better. Speed is measured in clock speed (GHz) and combined with the number of cores a processor will give you a good indication of overall tablet speed.
Storage is much easier to understand. You should aim to have as much storage as you can afford. The more storage you have, the more apps, games, movies and music you can store locally. It’s worth looking for a tablet with a microSD slot, as this provides a way of cheaply expanding storage with external microSD memory cards.