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5 things to think about before buying a tablet

A tablet is somewhere in between a smartphone and a laptop: it offers more screen space for reading, but is still more portable than a computer. If you're thinking of getting a new one, there are a few things to consider before you click 'Buy.'

1. Android, Apple or Windows?

Tablets

When you choose a new smartphone, you decide between Android (HTC, LG, Samsung and so on) and Apple (iPhone). For computers, you decide between Mac (Apple) and PC (Windows). For tablets, it's a combination of the two: your choices are Apple iPads, Android tablets, and Windows tablets.

Which one is best for you will depend on a few things. Firstly, which system are you most used to? If you have an Android phone, you might prefer an Android tablet because it'll feel familiar. Same with iPhones and iPads. And if you use Windows on your PC or at work, you'll be able to find your way around a Windows tablet.

But if there are specific apps you want to be able to use, make sure they're available on the type of tablet you're choosing. If you have an Android phone but want an app that's only available on iOS, you could get an iPad and have the best of both worlds.

Generally, iPads are the best-known tablets, and you'll probably have an easier time finding accessories for them. However, they can also be the most expensive, depending on what you need.

2. How much screen space do you need?

How much screen space do you need?

Tablets go all the way from slightly larger than a big smartphone, to full-on laptop size. To decide how big yours should be, think about how often it'll be in the same place (say, at home) and how much you'll need to carry it around. Smaller means more portable, but larger means more space for gaming and reading.

It can be tempting to get a smaller tablet because it's cheaper, but consider how much extra space that will realistically give you over your smartphone. Also think about whether you'll often have a big enough bag to carry a tablet the size of an A4 pad.

3. What will you use it for?

What will you use it for?

If you're mostly using the tablet for basic activities like reading your emails, internet shopping, looking at photos and watching YouTube videos, you won't need as much processor power and RAM as you will if you'll be gaming and editing video.

For those activities, you'll want a higher-end tablet, say with 8 or 16GB of RAM (memory) rather than 4GB, and a high-speed processor, preferably with four (quad), six (hexa) or eight (octa) cores. If you're stuck, ask one of our in-store experts for help choosing the right one for you.

4. What extras will you need?

What extras will you need?

Typing on a touchscreen can be tiresome, so you might prefer a convertible laptop like the Lenovo Yoga 710, or one with a good keyboard accessory, like the Surface Pro 4 and its keyboard cover. You can also get Bluetooth keyboards for all tablets, but they're not quite as convenient as tablets designed with typing in mind.

If you're going to use the tablet for drawing, sketching or editing, you might prefer one with a stylus, like the Galaxy Tab S3, which comes with an S-Pen stylus.

And if you'll be watching lots of videos or films, consider one with a kickstand, like the Lenovo Yoga Tab 3.

5. How much storage do you need?

How much storage do you need?

If you plan to keep lots of large files like videos and high-quality photos on your tablet, you'll need more storage than you would otherwise.

Consider getting a tablet with a large storage allowance, like this 128GB iPad, or go for a lower one with the option to expand storage later through microSD (memory) cards, like the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2.