What to look for when buying a
tablet

Quality and Performance

Graphics speed

Your tablet will need to work much harder if you are playing games with lots of fast movement so if your budget can stretch look for a model with fast graphics speed.

Latest model

Like most electronic devices, tablets are being upgraded regularly. Latest models tend to have better features but you can often find that an older model will do everything you need and has been discounted giving good value for money.

Performance

When using your tablet some things will be more demanding on the technology inside than others. If you are likely to do multiple things at once, stream lots of movies or play fast moving games then tablets with higher performance will really make a difference.

Screen quality

Screen quality can make a real difference if you browse quality photos, watch high definition movies or read a lot. Lower quality models can be duller and slightly blurry up to the higher end models where the richness of colour and sharpness of text really stand out.

Camera

Camera quality in a tablet tends to be on the low side - the decent cameras are usually only in the more expensive models - for most other models the quality of your smartphone may produce better results.

Video

Most tablets come with a rear camera and can shoot video. However the quality can be relatively low compared with a dedicated camera or your smartphone. Most are ok for general playback on your tablet but if you want to play on a TV you need to look at better quality models.

Features

Keyboard connect

If you are looking to do some serious work using office applications you should consider tablets that reliably connect to a keyboard. Whilst most tablets can connect wirelessly with a Bluetooth keyboard they can sometimes be unreliable. We rate Keyboard connect tablets that have a special connection, often magnetic, so they are more reliable.

Operating system

Controlling everything you do on the device there are 4 operating systems to consider and its mostly a personal preference. Apple's iOS - consistent, lots of apps and easily updated. Google's Android - available on lots of devices with great apps. Amazon Fire - easy access to your Amazon books and videos. Windows - if you're replacing your laptop and using office apps.

Storage

If you are mostly browsing the internet then smaller models will be ok but if you are likely to play games, watch movies on the go or working then consider larger models. You can manage with less if you use 'cloud storage' which lets you keep your files online but be wary this may incur monthly charges.

Innovation

We keep track of tablets with the very latest technology innovations. Innovative features tend to be in the higher end models.

WiFi

Whilst all tablets come with WiFI built in, if you are streaming movies it is worth considering tablets that can cope with a faster connection.

TV connect

You may want to connect your tablet to a TV or PC monitor. Most tablets now come with a method for you to do this however it can be tricky to setup. Some require a special cable that you will need to separately purchase. Others will connect using wireless but this will need a device plugged into your TV or your TV to have wireless display built in.

Expansion

Using lots of apps or taking lots of photos can soon eat up your storage space. Tablets with expansion can plug in memory cards giving you more storage and an easy way to transfer your photos and files. If you aren't sure how much storage you will need, a model with Expansion can give you the peace of mind. Note that Apple iPads do not include expansion.

Fast charge

If you need to give your battery a quick boost without having to wait too long, tablets with fast charge are worth considering. You will need to ensure you have a compatible charger and cable to get the benefit. Tablets with fast charge tend to be found in the latest models and can charge up to 4x faster.

Network

Tablets have two ways to connect to the internet. The cheaper option is WiFI which can only connect via WiFi, great for at home or for working from public hotspots. Cellular models use WiFi too but also connect using a SIM card just like your smartphone so can be used anywhere with a data signal - great if you can afford the higher price (plus a data contract).

Pen

A pen lets you write and draw on the screen as well as your finger. If you need to take handwritten notes or make quick sketches then its worth considering. Pens are included in a few high end models or often have to be purchased seperately. As each new model has improved it's best to opt for the latest model but be wary most can only be used with the tablet they are designed for.

Size and styles

Dimensions

The dimensions of the device takes into account its height, width and depth. Some models can have a similar screen size but be bulkier. The latest models tend to be slimmer and have less edge around the screen.

Screen size

Think about how you will use it - at home a large screen will give you comfortable browsing and a better movie-watching experience. If you are on the move a smaller screen will be more portable and easier to carry around in your bag.

Weight

If you will be carrying or holding your tablet a lot then weight will be an important factor. Lightweight models are around 300g (similar to a smartphone) whilst heavier models can be closer to 600g (similar to a hardcover novel).