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

NEWS ANALYSIS: Apple's iPad, Samsung's Galaxy Note, the Surface Pro? Which tablet is right for individual tablet customers? Here are the factors to consider.

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.

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger is a longtime freelance contributor to several technology and business publications. Over his career, Don has written about everything from geek-friendly gadgetry to issues of privacy...