How to Buy a Tablet

Four Parts:Understanding Your NeedsChoosing Based on Operating SystemDeciding When to BuyPicking a Place to Shop

Tablets are expected to make up half of the personal computer market in 2014.[1] In such a competitive industry, it is easy to become confused by the hype. There is no such thing as a one-size fits all tablet, so compare brands closely before choosing. Then, price shop extensively to increase the value of your tablet purchase.

Part 1
Understanding Your Needs

  1. Image titled Buy a Tablet Step 1
    Understand how you want to use the tablet. Different tablets excel with eBooks, movies, music, work/productivity, play games, check emails and browsing. As you go through the process of choosing, make sure use is at the forefront of your mind.
  2. Image titled Buy a Tablet Step 2
    Consider the device’s memory. For most people who plan to listen to music, watch videos, download apps and view photos, the biggest storage size is better. Storage can start at 16 gigabytes (GB), but can go as large as 128 GB.
  3. Image titled Buy a Tablet Step 3
    Compare displays. Generally, the newer the model, the sharper the display. The pixels per inch will make a big difference when playing games, viewing photos, watching videos and more.
  4. Image titled Buy a Tablet Step 4
    Pick a size. 7 to 8-inch screens are considered small, while 8.9 to 10-inch tablets are considered large. At the small end is the Galaxy Note 2 and 3, a “phablet” that counts as both a phone and a tablet between 5 and 6.9 inches.
    • Screen size is measured diagonally from the top right corner to bottom left corner. This is similar to computer screen and TV screen measurements.[2]
  5. Image titled Buy a Tablet Step 5
    Establish a budget. You can expect to pay between $200 and $1,000 for a tablet. Few people can buy any tablet on the market, so get a good idea of what you can afford before you go searching through models.
    • Included in the budget conversation is the monthly charge. If you only plan to use it from home, a Wi-Fi only model doesn’t require an extra charge per month.
    • However, a cellular service that provides data around the clock will cost $80 to $100 per month.

Part 2
Choosing Based on Operating System

  1. Image titled Buy a Tablet Step 6
    Consider Android tablets if price, form factor and Internet browsing are high on your list of needs. The Galaxy Tab, LG G Pad 8.3 and the Google Nexus are top Android tablets that come in a variety of sizes. After Apple, Google Play has the largest list of apps available. [3]
  2. Image titled Buy a Tablet Step 7
    Look at Apple if you want apps, better form-factor, sharp display and you are flexible on price. The Apple Store has the most apps available on tablets. The new Apple iPad Air is the lightest and slimmest model yet.
    • Following up close behind are the iPad mini 2 with Retina display and iPad mini, which are smaller tablets if you don’t need a 10-inch display.
  3. Image titled Buy a Tablet Step 8
    Compare Kindle for eReaders and surfing. If eBooks are your goal, then a Kindle paper white is cheap and easy to use. If you want an amazing display, eReader capabilities and high functionality for apps, music and videos then the Kindle Fire HDX 7 is at the top of its class for a relatively low price.
  4. Image titled Buy a Tablet Step 9
    Review the Microsoft tablets running Win 8. Tablets like the Microsoft Surface Pro 2 are excellent for people looking to work heavily on their tablet. You can use Microsoft’s Office suite and use it as a laptop or tablet. [4]
    • Microsoft tablets come in several different sizes. The Surface is heavier and may not be the best option for commuting or plane travel.
  5. Image titled Buy a Tablet Step 10
    Consider a phablet like the Galaxy Note 2 and 3 if the iPhone or Samsung Galaxy does not have enough storage, browsing power or display. Although phablets only account for two percent of data usage[5], they may be gaining in popularity thanks to their portability, usability and performance.
    • If you need to get a mobile plan to cover your tablet for travel, combining your phone and tablet in 1 device may outweigh the disadvantages of a smaller display.

Part 3
Deciding When to Buy

  1. Image titled Buy a Tablet Step 11
    Don’t purchase a tablet between November and January. This is when prices are highest for the Christmas season. You are less likely to see manufacturers offering discounts, especially on the newest models.
  2. Image titled Buy a Tablet Step 12
    Consider waiting three to four months after a new model comes out to purchase it. One study showed that most PC tablets drop by about 27 percent during that time. Apple tablets drop by 4.5 percent.[6]
  3. Image titled Buy a Tablet Step 13
    Expect to get a bigger discount or deal on a non-Apple iPad. Apple has garnered up to 70 percent of the market share, although that number seems to be dwindling. Prices are a lot more flexible with Android, Microsoft and other models.
    • Kindle prices are also more inflexible; however, the Kindle has released models across several price points that stay fairly steady.

Part 4
Picking a Place to Shop

  1. Image titled Buy a Tablet Step 14
    Purchase a tablet direct from the manufacturer, such as Apple, Google, Microsoft or Amazon, if you want to buy the newest model on the market. When a device is new, the manufacturer offers the lowest price for several months to a year.
    • An added advantage of purchasing from Apple is that they will engrave your device for free.
    • Look for discounts on shipping or free accessories when you are buying from the manufacturer.
  2. Image titled Buy a Tablet Step 15
    Try eBay or another auction site if you are open to purchasing refurbished tablets or models. If price is your largest factor, then these sites will offer cheap prices. You must take some risk by not being able to vet the seller before you buy.
  3. Image titled Buy a Tablet Step 16
    Shop at a cellular network provider if they are offering special financing when you sign up for a monthly plan. If you want Internet on the go and not a Wi-Fi model, chances are you can tie your tablet to your phone plan and snap up a tablet at a cheaper price.
    • Avoid purchasing tablet accessories at a mobile wireless outlet. You can find accessories online at far cheaper prices.
  4. Image titled Buy a Tablet Step 17
    Try supermarkets, like Tesco, Costco, Walmart or Argos, if you are shopping for an older model. Before new models come out, they may deduct $20 to $50 from the purchase price.
  5. Image titled Buy a Tablet Step 18
    Go to a shop only if you want your tablet immediately. Use a store like Best Buy, Apple Store or Currys to compare different brands. Then, make sure you compare the purchase price to the manufacturer’s price before you pick up your tablet from the store.[7]
    • Don’t compromise your tablet purchase based on what they have in stock. Ask the store to order it in or purchase it online from a trusted seller.

Article Info

Categories: Tablet Computers