Tired of being the only guy in the room with a book or watching a movie on your laptop? If it’s time for you to buy a tablet, the market is overflowing with options for you to consider. For the sake of your sanity, don’t just go out and start picking up tablets at your local electronics store. Choose the right one for you by asking yourself the right questions.
What Does it Need to do?
Firstly, consider what you will be doing on it. Forget what you’ll be watching or playing for now. Do you want to edit pictures or videos? Will you be writing documents or editing spreadsheets? If you have special projects or tasks you expect to accomplish in part or in whole on your tablet it will eliminate a large part of the market since many people who use tables use it for social media sites, games and reading.
What do you Need to see?
Will you be watching funny videos online at Break.com? Because they and many other sites use flash video. Do you want to read books from a specific vendor? Will you be connecting a camera to view pictures? If you need to see a certain kind of content, that will be next on your list to research. Do you want to display what’s on your tablet on your television?
What do you Want to Hear?
Do you use a specific website or streaming service to listen to music? Most will be supported on all devices at this point, but if you have something you can’t live without write it down and use it to narrow the field further.
What will you Sync With?
What operating system do you use at home? How much syncing do you want to do between your devices? Do you want your calendar to automatically update whether you change an entry at home, from work or on your phone? If you don’t mind your tablet being a stand alone device (getting updates online only) this won’t make much difference.
If you like automated updates and a seamless transition between your devices, you’ll need to research what interfaces well with your mobile phone, home operating system and any work needs (like Outlook calendar, etc).
How will you Connect to the World?
Will a Wi-Fi connection suffice for you or will you need a cellular connection? If you’re a frequent traveler and often download or stream media, you may need more than Wi-Fi. Or you might need to buy a cellular Wi-Fi hot spot separately from your tablet. More free Wi-Fi connections are available everyday (except, it seems, at airports where you could use them most). Will you want to use a Bluetooth keyboard from time to time or play music to your car through Bluetooth?
How Much Storage will you Need?
Books and documents tend to take up very little space, but if you’re embarking on a two week road trip where you’ll be watching a different movie everyday your storage needs will be wildly different. Movies, music and apps can eat up storage space quickly, so take a tally of the factors you considered above and make sure you purchase a device with adequate storage or room to expand.
What Have you Ruled out?
By now you should have been able to wipe out a large number of options on the market. Use product reviews, message boards, tech websites and real people to help you do this. Feel free to take this information to your local electronics store to ask for help. Once you’ve narrowed it down start handling the options and see what feels good in your hand, appeals to the eye and sounds right. Best of luck!