Tablet Choices: 10 Factors for Picking the Model That's Right for You

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2013-02-12

Tablet Choices: 10 Factors for Picking the Model That's Right for You

The Microsoft Surface Pro’s entry into the tablet market has made it much harder for consumers and enterprise users to determine which product is right for them.

The device adds a new design and operating system to the mix, plus it has some extra features, such as a magnesium finish, that could actually get some tablet users to question their love for the Apple iPad. Choice was once the desire of tablet customers, but now, it’s hindering the decision-making process.

Unfortunately for today’s consumers and enterprise customers, trying to decide which tablet is right for their needs isn’t simple there days. There are more attractive models on the market than ever.

Unless you already have a favorite in mind, just taking a quick glance at the candidates won’t be enough to make an informed decision on what’s good, what’s bad and what needs some improving. Worst of all, there’s no single place for folks to consider all of the things they might care about before making a purchase.

Until now, that is.

Read on to learn about the factors that will ultimately help consumers and enterprise users determine which tablet is right for them:

1. Which operating system is best?

With the Surface Pro now in the mix, making the decision on which operating system is best for a tablet just became a bit more difficult. The Surface Pro comes with Windows 8 Pro, which might be good for enterprise users. Apple’s iOS is running on the iPad and iPad Mini, while Android is available on a wide array of products. The first step is to determine what there is to like and dislike about the mobile operating systems.

2. Screen size

Screen size has become a major concern for tablet buyers. There are smaller slates with 7-inch displays available, as well as 8-inch tablets. Apple’s iPad comes in at 9.7 inches, making it slightly larger than its 7.9-inch iPad Mini and slightly smaller than the 10.1-inch Galaxy Note. Simply put, tablet screen sizes are all over the map. And buyers need to choose which size works best for their needs.

3. 4G LTE or WiFi?

Going mobile with tablets is an absolute must for most people. That means choosing a device with 4G LTE support makes the most sense. After all, 4G LTE is extremely fast and is becoming easier and easier to find. Those who want to save a few bucks, however, can opt for WiFi-only tablets. Luckily, there are many of those devices available and they work well as long as you are always near a WiFi hotspot and you don’t worry too much about security in public areas.

4. Think about the apps

Not all tablets are created equal when it comes time to evaluate app availability. Apple’s App Store is filled with hundreds of thousand of applications for iPad owners, but the Amazon Kindle Fire has far fewer programs available. The Google Play marketplace is growing rapidly, which helps the search giant’s Nexus line. Samsung Apps running on the Galaxy Note and Galaxy Tab has most of what customers want. In other words, it’s a good idea to evaluate app stores before making a decision.

Tablet Choices: 10 Factors for Picking the Model That's Right for You

5. Security concerns

According to the latest security data from 2012, Android was attacked more by malicious hackers than any other operating system, including Windows. That can’t be overlooked when choosing a tablet. It’s also important to not overlook the fact that iOS is expected to be targeted heavily this year, as well. Security is a huge consideration when deciding on a tablet.

6. Business or personal?

Although the line between business and personal needs is blurring by the day, customers must decide how they are going to use a slate they buy. Will they be using the tablet in the office? Will the slate find its way into their homes? Making that decision isn’t so simple, and tablet buyers need to consider how they will use the device before they buy it. In the tablet world, not all models are equally well-suited for both corporate and consumer use.

7. Easy integration with other products

The nice thing about Apple’s iPad is that it seamlessly integrates all kinds of information and data, including e-mails, calendar appointments, and songs, across products. Samsung is attempting to create the same kind of “ecosystem” with its products. If having easy integration with other products matters, think about opting for an iPad or Samsung device.

8. Cost

Cost is obviously a major concern for tablet customers. Luckily, there are a host of options available. For example, the Kindle Fire can be purchased for as little as $159. Apple’s high-end 128GB iPad costs $929 with 4G LTE. In-between, there are all kinds of price points and feature sets for the best tablets on the market. Regardless of what a customer would want to pay, they’ll find something to fit their needs.

9. Storage

With the launch of the 128GB iPad and the Surface Pro, the storage options across the tablet market should fit any customer’s needs. For those who need a lot of storage, the high-end iPad or Storage Pro should do the trick. Those who want less storage, but more cloud storage capacity can go for the Kindle Fire. No matter what customers are after, today’s tablets can deliver.

10. Screen quality

An earlier discussion on the screen sizes customers are looking for didn’t cover another important consideration: display quality. Apple’s iPad, for example, comes with its Retina display, but the iPad Mini does not. The Surface Pro has a 1080p display, but the Surface RT can only muster 768p resolution. Other devices have even less resolution. When deciding on the importance of resolution, users must figure out what they want to do with the tablet. If watching videos or editing photos is important, choosing a device with a higher resolution is a good idea.

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