Tablets Buying Guide
Light, compact and simple to use, tablets strike the perfect balance between the portability and efficiency of smartphones and the processing power of laptops. Our tablets buying guide will help you to decide the type of tablet that's right for you, as well as any extra tablet features or accessories that may come in handy.
How do you plan to use your tablet?
The type of tablet you should purchase will depend on your main use for it
College or university students will need to use their tablet for everyday applications, such as checking emails, using social media sites and browsing the web, and perhaps for reading documents and basic research. Look for full screen size tablets with good battery life. An external keyboard may also be a useful addition.View our range of student tablets.
If you require a tablet for casual use at home, a low or mid-range tablet should be sufficient for your needs. If you will be using your tablet more frequently, however, or playing games and watching movies on it, opt for a model with a larger screen and greater processing power. Families with small children may prefer to shop around for a tablet that features parental controls, to restrict any unsuitable content.View our range of home/family tablets
If you're working on the go, having a higher powered device that will enable productivity is essential. A tablet for business or office use should have processing power that supports multitasking and more RAM to ensure your programs and applications run smoothly. You may also consider a larger screen to be beneficial, particularly if you'll be looking at reports or other detailed documents.View our range of office/business tablets
Film lovers, TV show addicts and gamers demand the very best from their technology, so if you'll be watching a lot of movies or even reading eBooks on your tablet, look for a model that will run large media files efficiently and give you an immersive experience. This may include features such as more RAM (or memory), a larger screen, better screen resolution, and enhanced audio quality.View our range of multimedia tablets
- Having worked with multiple partners, the Windows operating system is available on tablets from a range of different brands It therefore offers plenty of choice for those who might be after more varied designs.
- Windows 10 is both dynamic and customisable, allowing users to tailor the interface according to their preferences
- This OS is a great option if you want the processing power of a desktop to support the applications and programs you'll be using on a tablet.
- This is the operating system available on iPads. It's an ideal choice for Apple users who already own an iPhone or iPod touch, as the operating system is the same.
- This OS is very popular, due to its intuitive menu and navigation, clean design and overall user-friendliness.
- It offers access to hundreds of thousands of apps on the App Store, which are specifically designed for the iPad, and syncs up well with other Apple devices.
- If you like customising your devices, it may be better to look at another operating system, as iOS isn't particularly versatile in this area.
- Quick and easy to use, Android is an operating system that is constantly evolving and uses widgets to help users customise their preferences
- Android comes installed on tablet devices from a number of different companies, offering plenty of choice in terms of hardware.
- While initially there were only a small number of Android apps formatted for a tablet's larger size, more of these apps are rapidly becoming available to Android tablet users. Android's multimedia selection in particular, including movies, TV shows and games, are increasing in quality and quantity.
When choosing your tablet's screen size, it's important to determine how you will be using the device. A larger screen can improve productivity, as you'll be able to view more at once and operate the onscreen keyboard more easily. If portability is a significant factor, however, a smaller screen might be more appropriate.
Tablets with screen sizes that are around 7 to 8 inches are easy to stow in your bag or even pocket and fit comfortably in one hand, which makes them perfect to take with you wherever you go. If you're looking for a device where you can browse the web or read an eBook on the commute to work, this is the ideal size for you.View our range of 7-8"tablets
If you'll be watching movies and TV shows or playing games regularly on your tablet, 10-12 inches is preferable as this screen size will provide a superior viewing experience. You may also prefer a larger screen if you'll be using the device for business purposes, to view reports, spreadsheets or other documents.View our range of 10-12" tablets
Other things to look for
Processor and RAM (Memory)
The processor is what powers your tablet and its functions, and the RAM dictates how well your tablet multitasks when you have different applications running. The more processing power and RAM you have, the better your device will operate.
Processors come in three forms: single-core (which is suitable only for the most basic tasks), dual-core (offers a faster and smoother performance), and quad-core (designed for more sophisticated applications, such as photo and video editing and advanced gaming).
RAM is measured in gigabytes (GB), and more RAM means your applications will perform more efficiently when there are multiple ones open at once
This refers to the amount of internal storage your tablet has to hold all your image, video and audio files and other documents. If you prefer to download and/or store a lot of information on your device, be sure to look out for a tablet that has a large storage capacity. Otherwise it may be worth investing in a model that features a slot for a microSD card, which will allow you further storage while not infringing on the space you already have for apps.
Whether you'll be using your tablet for business or entertainment purposes, staying connected to the internet wherever you are is crucial. All tablets can connect to WiFi, so there's no issues if you're within range of a network you can connect to, such as your home, school or work internet. If you know you'll be frequently out of range, however, consider a 3G enabled tablet, which will allow you to use a SIM card to connect to the internet.
You can also use Bluetooth technology, USB cables and HDMI ports (if your tablet has one) to connect to other devices and transfer files.
Screen resolution, measured in pixels per inch (PPI), dictates how high quality the visuals on your tablet screen are. The higher the PPI, the better the screen resolution, and the sharper and clearer images, videos and text will be on your device. If you're intending to watch a lot of movies and TV shows on your tablet, or even edit photos or videos, shop around for one with a high screen resolution.
This will be an important factor if you intend on making the most of your tablet's portability and carrying it around with you during the day. You should also consider the main use of your tablet – is it mostly to check emails and occasionally browse the web, or will you be regularly consuming multimedia such as films, TV shows and games? Keep in mind that these kinds of activities can drastically shorten your battery life.
Putting your tablet on sleep mode can help to save battery life when the device is not in use.
Front and rear cameras
Front-facing cameras on tablets are ideal for video calling through apps such as Skype and Viber, and rear cameras ensure you can capture great photos of your friends and family. If photo and video quality is important to you, look for a tablet that has front and rear cameras with a high megapixel count.
If you like the portability of a tablet but require the functions of a laptop, a two-in-one or convertible tablet may be the ideal compromise. These hybrid computers can be used as a tablet for when you're reading or watching something (lying flat on your lap or any surface) or as a laptop for more dedicated tasks (sitting upright with a keyboard attached).Convertible tablets
If your tablet has a memory card slot, you can increase the internal space for your documents using a microSD card. Otherwise, consider investing in a wireless storage drive, where you can access your files by WiFiView memory cards
Cables and adapters
Transfer big files, play music or project videos onto large screens by connecting your tablet to televisions, speakers and computers with different cables and adapters.View cables and adapters
Bags and cases
Protect your tablet from general wear and tear with a tablet bag or case. Some cases also double as a stand, so you can sit your tablet upright on a table or desk.View bags and cases