The tablet has a lot of applications, but it shows itself best where the smartphone is too small, and the laptop, on the contrary, is too large. Reading, watching a movie, surfing the net, working, organizing presentations, and doing many other useful things on a tablet computer is much more convenient than on a phone. At the same time, the tablet takes up less space than a traditional PC, does not weigh much, and usually lasts longer on battery.
Of course, we are not talking about professional models of graphic tablets for artists and graphic designers in this case – these are devices of a very special class that require a separate discussion. We probably won’t talk about super-tablets the size of a coffee table either. Let’s talk better about the goals of buying more traditional tablet PCs.
Purpose of buying a tablet
By and large, you can buy a tablet for one of two purposes: for work and for fun.
Work tablets are powerful and functional tools. As a rule, they are distinguished by a strict design, support for complete keyboards, stylus and special software. Usually tablets for business are much more expensive than their “household” counterparts.
Entertainment tablets are a much more general concept. They can be very different both in appearance and in filling. Simple Tablet PCs with low-power processors are essentially e-book readers with additional features. Game tablets are rare beasts, but they are powerful and beautiful devices. Separately, it is worth noting children’s tablets – with simplified versions of the OS and preinstalled games and tutorials.
Leading tablet manufacturers
Since tablets are not much different from smartphones and traditional PCs, it is not surprising that the best tablet computers are made by large and well-known manufacturers of phones and laptops.
- Apple – they were able to make tablets popular with their iPads. Beautiful, comfortable, and functional, but very expensive devices with their own problems.
- Samsung is the largest Korean company that confidently competes with Apple in the upper price segment, but produces tablets not on iOS, but on Android.
- HUAWEI is a Chinese giant that started the tablet business relatively recently but managed to crush a serious market share for itself thanks to its excellent value for money. Mediapad m5 lite is one of their best picks in recent times.
- Microsoft is famous for its line of Windows business tablets. Their models are also not cheap, but no one else has such functionality and quality.
There are many other brands, under which new tablet models appear every day, but it is the manufacturers listed above that are worthy of your attention in the first place.
If you do not take into account a variety of exotics, the tablets use three main operating systems.
- iOS is Apple’s proprietary operating system. The tidiest, prettiest, and most closed of all tablet operating systems. Either you love her or you hate her – as a rule, there is no third option.
- Android is the most popular smartphone and tablet OS in the world. Developed by the search giant Google and gives the user much more freedom to set up and install third-party programs than iOS. For this, you have to pay not so high speed and generally much less sleekness.
- Windows 10 is an operating system designed primarily for desktop PCs but modified by Microsoft to run on tablets. Of the undoubted advantages – the ability to work with specific programs and full-fledged desktop software. Of the minuses – high system requirements and general gluttony.
The choice of an operating system should be based not only on aesthetic tastes but also on the user’s goals. Let’s say Windows is better for work tasks, and Android is better for entertainment.
The three main characteristics of a tablet screen are diagonal, resolution and matrix type.
Tablets with a diagonal of 7 inches or less are now almost completely destroyed by smartphones with large displays. If you are choosing a tablet for yourself, it makes sense to look towards devices with a diagonal of 8 inches or more. The most popular size today is 9.7 to 10 inches. There are devices with larger screens, but 12 inches and further is the lot of professional models.
Screen resolution refers to the number of dots that make up the image. It is desirable that the resolution for a 10-inch tablet is at least 1920 x 1080 pixels. If it is higher, then the image will be clearer, but at the same time, it will respond to increased load on the processor and battery.
All tablets are equipped with rear and front cameras, but in practice they are rarely used for something serious. It just so happened that a tablet PC is not the most convenient replacement for a camera. Mostly cameras are used here to communicate via Skype and to take photographs of documents. Manufacturers are aware of this and rarely equip their devices with good camera modules. Apple iPad Pro, which we will talk about later, with its autofocus, optical stabilization and normal flash is almost the only exception that only confirms the sad rule.
Wired and wireless interfaces
The classic duo of wireless interfaces that any decent tablet should be equipped with: Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The first is used to connect to the internet. It is desirable that this revision is at least 802.11ax or at least 802.11ac. The task of Bluetooth is to exchange data with other devices. The version of this protocol should be at least 4.0, but it is desirable to have Bluetooth 5.0.
Of other wireless interfaces, tablets are equipped with NFC, infrared and other technologies, but their availability is not so critical.
With wired interfaces, things are usually even easier. Most tablets come with a USB port for data transfer and charging – and that’s it. There are fewer and fewer devices with a banal 3.5 mm jack for connecting headphones, let alone devices with HDMI or RJ-45 ports. But you can live without them. But a slot for memory cards is almost mandatory for a good tablet.
Battery life is a sore point for any portable electronics manufacturer. Large and bright tablet screens use a lot of energy, so their batteries usually do not last long on a single charge. It is best to choose a tablet with at least 4000-5000 mAh battery. Better – 10,000 mAh, but this is already a rarity.