Tablet Buying Guide

Though the concept is decades old, it’s arguable tablet computers hadn’t reached mainstream appeal until Apple released the first iPad in 2010. Since then, numerous competitors have entered the market with their own take on the concept, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. This guide will help you wade through the market and help you make an informed purchase.

What are your needs?

First and foremost, what is it about tablet computers that SheSpeaks appeals to you? Luckily, many features have become standard in most tablets, but differences still remain: do you need HDMI output? A large app ecosystem? What about memory? Do you want your device to be a walled garden or infinitely customizable?

Nailing down what you want from a device goes far in helping you actually find the perfect tablet for you.

E-ink e-readers

Who needs multimedia? E-readers are special enough to warrant their own section; what they lack in capability, app support and raw processing power, e-readers make up in elegance and performing their dedicated task exceptionally well.

Be on the look out for refresh rate; e-ink displays emulate the look and visual texture of actual paper, and thus have no glare in direct sunlight – however, the nature of the technology means the screen updates much slower than traditional display. Although most users become acclimated to any refresh rate, others may be annoyed by something very slow.

Also, some e-readers are not backlit, meaning they are impossible to see in a dark room. If you enjoy reading in bed, look into those that feature a built-in light.

Popular choices include: Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble Nook, Sony Reader

Size and display

You’re going to be staring into this device for hours, so might as well look good, right? Tablets, like smartphones, range in screen size from device to device, and bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better.

How good image quality actually is is determined by pixel density: be on the hunt for the “pixels per inch” or “PPI” statistic when researching. Also, rarely you’ll come across cheap tablets with screens that don’t feature multitouch recognition. Don’t fall into this trap.

Manufacturer and OS

Operating system and manufacturer choice is not solely a matter of subjectivity. Things like customer service, market ecosystem, and how rapid updates and patches are deployed all should play part in your purchase decision.

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