Buying a Tablet in 2014

Matt Blowes April 14, 2014 Technology

The tablet market is highly competitive and flooded with options. There are $200 devices and there are $2000 devices. They can weigh 330 grams or over a kilogram. Working out what to buy isn't easy. Here's our take on how to approach buying your new tablet and what you should consider.

Why do you need the new device?

We have a diverse range of devices around the office and we asked why people had made the jump and chosen their device. The answer was never "because the Surface replaces my laptop" or "the iPad is easy" or anything close to what manufacturers would love to hear. The answer was "I had this need and this device met it". This is how you should approach buying a tablet. Don't compromise your needs for a device, make the device work for you.

Our team's experience

The wonderful client services team have weighed in on this approach and given their experiences.

ipad air-miniRob is a no-nonsense kind of guy. He wanted an easy-to-use tablet with dedicated mobile connectivity (none of that "fiddly" tethering from a mobile phone) and could be useful for work at the office and to enjoy at home. These requirements pointed him straight to the devices suited to him (he went with an iPad).

Christine wanted her device to serve her work needs. Already sporting an iPad she was looking for something more business focused, a device where she could have the same experience using her work documents as her notebook. She chose the Dell Venue Pro, giving the benefit of a tablet form and a full version of Windows and Office.

Others looked for expandable memory, wide range of accessories and something lightweight.

What to features to consider?

Now you know what you want your device to do. Looking at the specifications and features of the tablets on the market will quickly let you eliminate the devices that don't fit your needs. What should you consider? (in no particular order)

  • Price
  • Weight
  • Battery life
  • Screen size
  • Actual size
  • Physical keyboard & Stylus
  • Ports (USB, HDMI, Etc)
  • Expandable memory
  • Mobile connectivity (3G/4G)
  • Operating system (fully featured OS or mobile OS)
  • Available Apps
  • Cloud features (Backup, photo & file sharing, etc)
  • Accessories
  • Business compatibility

The most important test? Try before you buy.

Nothing written here can compare to going to a store and giving the device you've been eyeing off a test drive. Getting a feel for a tablet can quickly help you separate the ones you like from the ones you don't. Reviews have benchmarks, photos and videos but without holding a tablet in your hands you'll never appreciate the screen quality, weight and knowing whether it just fits you. Plus if you buy your tablet from Apple or Microsoft directly, you can return it within 14 days for a refund if you aren't satisfied.

Being prepared can turn purchasing a tablet into a rewarding experience without the regret of buyer's remorse.

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