The tablets market is growing so rapidly that it has now become the hottest product category in gadgets world eventually threatening to unseat traditional computing devices like PCs. The ones that are greatly affected by this are netbooks. And, the credit for all this popularity of tablets goes to the Apple iPad and the Android operating system. While, Apple iPad introduced the entire world to the tablets, Android being an open source OS, enabled manufacturers to release tablets at a lower price. As a result, the current tablet market is flooded with a lot of tablets from various manufacturers, making it difficult for buyers like you to find the best tablet to suit their needs.

This is where our tablet buying guide comes at rescue, trying to explain the options available and what you should look out for to get the best tablet satisfying all your needs.

You may also check out Best Tablets 2013 page for general tablet buying advice.

Things to Consider

Display Size

The tablets are mainly available in 7 inch and 10 inch display size. If portability is your concern, then tablets having 7 inch screen size will be a better option for you. Due to their smaller size, they are more convenient for carrying around allowing you to read and watch videos on the go. Otherwise, 10 inch tablets are a better option specially for gaming, web browsing, and watching movies. Due to their larger display, the overall experience of gaming, web browsing and watching movies is way better. However, this comes at a higher price as 10 inch tablets are usually priced higher than 7 inch tablets having similar technical specifications.

Operating System

Just like with a full-fledged PC, the tablets also comes with an operating system. Right now, the most popular options available are Apple iOS, Android and newly released Windows 8.

iOS

The Apple iOS powers various Apple mobile devices like the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. With Apple iOS, you are guaranteed to have very intuitive, usable user interface and the availability of wide selection of high quality apps which can be bought right on the tablet. However, the only way you can get the tablet powered by iOS is by buying an iPad.

Android

Android is an open source operating system by Google with the latest version, Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, officially running only in the Nexus tablets. The Android 4 Ice Cream Sandwich (succeeded by Android 4.2 Jelly Bean) currently powers a lot of tablets available in the market for as low as $70. Due to its significant improvements over previous versions, its recommended to buy tablets that have at least Android 4 ICS OS. Also, the tablets using Android are much cheaper due to the open source nature of Android. So, tablets powered with Android should be an obvious choice if your budget don’t allow you to buy Apple iPad.

Windows 8

Windows 8 is the latest operating system by Microsoft having a completely new user interface. The new user interface has a steep learning curve, but once, you get used to it, you will find it elegant and powerful tablet user interface. However, the unavailability of  variety of apps and the paid nature of the OS makes it less obvious choice compared to Android.

Storage Space

If you intend to store lots of large files like gaming apps and movies on your tablet, then consider the tablets having large internal storage space. Nowadays, tablets comes with 4GB, 8GB, 16GB, 32GB or 64GB of internal storage space. Most of them also supports microSD cards of up to 32GB for expanding storage space further. Always give preference to the tablet having higher internal storage space along with an option to expand storage space by using Micro SD card. Also, be aware that the tablet’s OS also takes up a good amount of storage space. So, a tablet with 4GB of storage space, will not have exactly 4GB of usable storage space.

Display Technology – Capacitive Vs Resistive

Do you prefer to use stylus with your tablet pc? If yes, then tablets having resistive display is a right fit for your needs. But, if you are a fan of multi-touch gestures input like pinch to zoom in, spread fingers to zoom out then, go with tablets having capacitive display. Not only, capacitive displays supports multi-touch gestures, they are far more responsive than resistive displays.

Therefore, if you are not planning to use stylus with your tablet pc, you should buy only tablets having capacitive displays for better touch experience.

Wireless Connectivity Options

For connecting to Internet, most tablet pc usually comes with dual connectivity option- WiFi and WiFi + 3G . Always look if the device has support for new and better WiFi 802.11n standard, as WiFi 802.11n is much faster and an improvement over the previous version of WiFi i.e. WiFi 802.11b/g. 

Along with WiFi, the tablets can also have 3G support either internally or externally. If the device comes with a SIM card slot, then 3G support is internally, allowing you to make even phone calls and also access data on an EDGE/3G network when a WiFi hotspot isn’t available. However, not every tablet has SIM card slot for providing 3G support specially low budget tablets, instead, they support 3G via USB dongles. Such tablets, generally have an OTG compatible USB port, allowing you to connect USB devices like 3G Dongles, USB keyboard and mouse to them. Thus, providing 3G support externally.

What’s Next?

Firstly, congratulations for going through the tablet buying guide. We do hope that, by now you are equipped with all the information that you will find very helpful when buying a tablet.

Still, if you are wondering what to do next? Then, start reading some tablet pc reviews, or check out Best Tablets 2013 page to see the best tablets available on the market currently. Happy buying!

Have you found this tablet buying guide useful? Still have any doubts?  Let us know about it by posting a comment! Also, if you feel that we have missed to mention something which we should have mentioned in our tablet buying guide, then post a comment and let us know about it!

  • Clueless

    Halleleujah! Finally the ANSWERS to most all my questions. Thanks so much!!!