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Buying Smart: All You Need To Know When Buying a Tablet

Here's everything you need when buying a tablet.

There are some features that you may want to consider and keep in mind when buying a tablet: operating system, app availability, size and resolution, the specs, and battery life. Let’s discuss each feature to help you decide.

Hello everyone and welcome back to another round of Buying Smart where we give you tips and guides on the latest gadgets and other cool stuff! For today’s installment, we’ll be talking about everything you need to know when buying a tablet.

Sounds fun? Read on to find out more!

Since the launch of the first consumer-friendly tablet in 2010 courtesy of Apple (ah, how time flies!) there has been an onslaught of tablets from different brands that competed for the market’s attention. And though the tablet admittedly went through a slump in the more recent years with the market questioning their relevance in this smartphone-driven world (Read: Buying Smart: 5 Best Smartphones Under ₱10,000), it still manages to retain most of its charm through its compact design and ease of use.

There are some features that you may want to consider and keep in mind when buying a tablet. Here, let’s tackle a few:


1. The Operating System

One of the most important – if not the most important – feature that you’d want to consider when buying a tablet is the operating system. You can narrow down your choices quite easily once you’ve determined which OS you prefer among the ones available in the market right now.

Currently, you have three choices: iOS, Android, and Windows.

Let’s go ahead and take a quick look at those three.


apple iphone tablet desk when buying a tabletAdmittedly, iOS is the OG (original gangsta, for those who may not know) when it comes to the tablet industry and so far, its popularity is still unrivaled.

For those of you who value ease of use and near-zero learning curve, iOS is definitely the operating system for you. It is arguably the simplest and easiest to learn from the three choices – perfect for average consumers and technophobes alike.

When it comes to apps, iOS has a massive selection that caters to everyone’s needs. Apple is also famous for keeping a tight grip on the contents and quality of their app store so users don’t need to worry about the possibility of downloading malicious apps and contents.

Worth Checking Out: Apple iPad, Apple iPad Mini 2, Apple iPad Mini 4


If diversity of options and freedom to tinker are important for you, you’d definitely want to stick to an Android device. After all, Android is famous for its open-source nature that allows for better customization and personalization.

Its open-source nature also allows it to be used by a slew of brands, from juggernauts like Samsung and Xiaomi down to homegrown brands such as MyPhone and Cherry Mobile.

It is also important to note when buying a tablet that Android’s diversity in terms of options also translates to diversity in prices. A quick search in the market (Lazada link) will give you tons of results on various price range, from low-budget to midrange to flagship phones.

Worth Checking Out: Huawei Mediapad T3, Samsung Galaxy Tab S3, Lenovo Yoga Tab 3


Much thanks to its Surface tablets, the once old and graying line has experienced a comeback and it looks leaner and sexier than ever!

Whether packed with its full-fledged OS or its lighter version, a windows tablet definitely carries a lot of power – perfect for those who want something as powerful as a laptop minus the bulky size and all its inconvenience!

Lastly, if you’re using other devices that are run by the Windows operating system, you’d be glad to know that Windows-run tablets will be fully compatible with your other devices. 

Worth Checking Out: Microsoft Surface Pro (2017), Acer Aspire Switch, HP Spectre X2


2. The App Availability

All three operating systems mentioned above offer their own digital stores where you can get various applications either for free or for a fee.

As mentioned earlier, Apple keeps a tight grip on what applications can run on their iOS operating system; hence you can only download their apps via their own App Store. This works for most people as this ensures the quality of their downloads and keeps any malicious apps and contents at bay.

However, this also poses some restrictions especially for people who prefer customized or open source applications. This, then, is Android’s turf.

With Android devices, you have a free reign on what and where you want to get your apps. It does, however, have its own storefront, the Google Play.

As for Windows, apps are available for download via the Windows Store. Here you can download apps, music, movies, and even books. The good news is, it also follows the same principle that Android does, in that you can still download and install apps even from outside the official store.


3. Size and Resolution

For most people, yes, (screen) size does matter when buying a tablet – and the resolution too, as well!

Tablet sizes are very diverse, thankfully, catering to a wide range of needs and preferences. From a demure 6 inches on the low-end to the massive 18.4 inches courtesy of Samsung’s Galaxy line. As for the average, though, you will find that most tablet sizes fall within the range of 7 to 10 inches.

Smaller tablets offer more portability at the cost of screen size and resolution, while larger tablets may not be as portable but definitely offer better viewing experience.

It ultimately boils down to how you’d want to use your tablet. If you’re planning to use your tablet to watch movies or play games on the go, small is probably not the way to go. But if you’re planning to use it simply for work, social media, or to do some recreational reading, a smaller tablet may suffice.


4. The Specs

Since the tablet is more often used for convenience rather than performance, the specs are usually viewed as a less-important afterthought. Still! Getting your hard-earned money’s worth means diving through the nitty-gritty of hardware specifications.

Apple, for instance, uses custom-made chips for their A-series processors. You will find variations of this in all of their iPads. Android tablets, on the other hand, use processors from different manufacturers – from Snapdragon to Nvidia to Rockchip CPUs.


As for memory (or RAM), it is important to note that due to the tablet’s smaller form factor, its RAM options are limited at best and cannot be upgraded. There are a few RAM options to choose from, however, ranging from 1GB to 16GB.\


5. Battery Life

Battery life is one of the most important (yet often forgotten) feature. Most devices can run anywhere from 7 to 8 hours on a single charge with the mobile data/WiFi running. There are some, such as the Lenovo Yoga Tab A3 that can run up to 15 hours on a single charge.


Buying a tablet usually involves careful measurements of what you want and need versus the price range that you are going for. Hopefully, though, with this guide, you are equipped to make an informed decision and hopefully ready to buy your own!

Good luck and happy shopping!

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