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Home > New Gear > Guide: How to choose your Android tablet?
Guide: How to choose your Android tablet?

Guide: How to choose your Android tablet?

By  Adeline Belluz 2019-06-04 134 0

Buying a touch pad can be a real headache. The quest for the best quality/price ratio is not without problems, especially since some manufacturers do not hesitate to skimp on the components of their equipment to maximize their profit. What are the pitfalls to avoid? Here are some buying tips for those who have not yet taken the plunge and would like to get their first slate under the Android operating system without further delay.

Many points need to be checked to avoid ending up with a tablet that is not very efficient or that does not correspond to its uses. Screen quality, processor type, recent version of the Android operating system, battery capacity and so on... are all criteria to be examined before deciding for good.

The screen

To begin, let's look at the screen. Several points need to be inspected.

The format

Obviously, there is no right or wrong format. In the tablet segment, you will have to make a choice to your conscience between the classic 7/8 inches or 10 inches. The 7-inch shelves are even easier to transport than the 10 inches, with a generally very light weight, and are therefore to be preferred for exclusively mobile use. However, it will be more enjoyable to play videos in a 10 inch format that is more comfortable for the eyes! Most surveys of slate users confirm this: 10-inch shelves tend to stay at home, on the coffee table in the living room or on a bedside table.

If you buy your tablet on the Internet and not in a store, do not hesitate to check the weight displayed by the device, and even its thickness. The whole grip can be played in this type of detail. Think that above 400 to 600 grams, chances are you'll never take your tablet in your bag.

Also be careful, some tablets are in 4/3 format (the iPad for example), others in 16/10 or 16/9. The choice of this format will depend exclusively on what you plan to do with your tablet. For example, a video will play much better on a 16:9 screen.

Screen technology

Each tablet is equipped with a very specific screen technology. Generally IPS, it can also be of type PLS or AMOLED... No matter if it is not of type TN! In addition, sometimes the screen technology is not even indicated. If this is the case, it is a bad omen that probably heralds an outdated technology. It should also be noted that you will generally find "capacitive screen" on the device description, which is much better than the resistive screen, but not very present on the shelves anymore. Remember to look at the viewing angles of your screen, but also to take a look at the reflections... Even in store, you will quickly realize this.

Note that AMOLED displays get the palm of the deepest blacks, since the pixels are simply off, often with bright colors (or even too bright). The IPS is a good compromise in terms of colours, often realistic, but you will need to examine the maximum brightness indicated on the technical data sheet of your tablet. This is often the point that entry-level tablets lack... And think of IPS as a good technology, now improved via S-IPS (Super IPS), just as AMOLED is now replaced by Super AMOLED. Take a good look at which generation of screen your tablet is equipped with!

The resolution

The resolution of the screen is an important criterion to which great care must be taken. Today, we will expect at least 1,024 x 600 pixels. That is to say, the last tablets are 1,280 x 800 pixels. Today, the best screen resolutions are back on Google's tablets with 1,900 x 1,200 pixels for the New Nexus 7 and 2,560 x 1,600 pixels for the Nexus 10. With such resolutions, forget the problems of overly pixelated icons. The content displayed is clear, clear and with a good level of detail.

To summarize, the standard is 1280 x 800 pixels. Below, beware of visible pixels; of course, the definition is to be related to the diagonal of the tablet. 720p HD will be acceptable on a 7-inch tablet, much less on a larger tablet, especially as Full HD is beginning to become more popular.

Nevertheless, not all applications are "UltraHD" Ready, you might have some surprises on tablets with high resolutions. It should also be noted that screen resolution has a significant impact on the autonomy of the tablets. Yes, sometimes you have to compromise.

Concerning touch technology. In 2013, don't buy any more resistive touch technology. These are old technologies still used on GPS. Today, capacitive touch technology makes it possible to manage several contact points, it also makes it possible to have a real reactivity of the screen.

The processor and memory

Unless you are a keen connoisseur, it is very difficult to distinguish between different types of processors. There are still several manufacturers known to offer very good processors. For example, tablets powered by a Nvidia Tegra 4, Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, 600 or S4 Pro processor promise good performance.

However, the machine must also be well optimized for the tablet to rotate properly. In short, we cannot recommend any particular processor. However, you may be advised to look at the heart side. Their role is to be taken into account within a processor, since they divide up the tasks that require more or less energy. On a tablet, we prefer the quadruple heart, unlike the simple heart. In addition, the dual core will provide sufficient performance, but will not necessarily open the doors to all kinds of tasks offered by the most complex applications.

I know that this is certainly not the easiest way to advise you. In short, the only advice you need to give yourself is to choose recognized processors (Qualcomm, NVIDIA) or check (at least) if the processor is based on at least one ARM Cortex-A9. This last point is the minimum to ensure proper performance.

In addition to the processor, RAM is also one of the criteria to look at when talking about the tablet's performance. Please note that 1 GB is currently the standard in terms of RAM for touch tablets. You can go down to 512 MB if you have a relatively basic (not to say rustic) use of the device; this will be enough to run the latest versions of Android Jelly Bean without too much trouble. RAM is not to be confused with internal storage memory. The latter is generally 8, 16 or 32 GB depending on the version. Choose at least 8 GB of internal memory, it is the minimum to install greedy applications.

The processor is to be taken into account, as is the graphics chip (GPU), which is particularly relevant for players. Among them are the Adreno (including the latest generation 330). Overall, if you are a gamer, you are obviously familiar with these components, and will need to pay special attention to them to make games that are particularly resource-intensive. If you generally settle for Temple Run et al, don't worry, just about any configuration will work for you.

If you have a limited budget, with a fairly basic use, you can fall back on a model that does not necessarily reach the maximum number of GB possible. If you have a microSD card reader, you will be allowed to store your heaviest files in it.

The Android version

It is crucial to check under which Android version the tablet you plan to buy runs. Indeed, the older versions are not interesting. I recommend those from Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. The newer the version, the more sophisticated and suitable for touch tablets. As I write these lines, the latest version released is Android 4.3 and Android 5.0 could arrive by October. Also note that some devices are regularly updated, so it may be a good idea to monitor this side as well. The manufacturer of your tablet is a good indication: if you want to keep your tablet for more than a few months, check that the brand you have chosen ensures a regular update of its terminals; the main manufacturers do (Sony, Samsung, Acer, etc.), but more confidential brands are sometimes less dependent on updates.

Google Play and Google Apps

It is important to know if Google Play and Google Apps are on your tablet. Why? Why? Simply because the presence of these applications allows you (in general) to guarantee that your tablet has most of the components (compass, GPS, accelerometer, etc.). The Google Play portal must be automatically installed on your tablet, you will avoid the problems associated with installing unofficial applications from "unknown sources".

Google Play eliminates the need to tinker with your tablet to install applications. This is a big plus, more than 700,000 applications at your fingertips.

No name tablets

We do not recommend "no name" tablets, you know: forgotten or unknown brands. They are sold at very competitive prices, but the rates of returns to after-sales service are very high and performance is rarely achieved. There are tablets at about 100 euros which are recommended, from manufacturers who have a street address and a reliable after-sales service. In short, beware of these no name tablets sold on importers' websites, in supermarkets or in correspondence catalogues (yes, they still exist) and good deals websites.

Connectivities

Before purchasing your tablet, you will need to check which ports it includes. Let's start with a must-have, the microUSB port. This slot is very important as it will be used to recharge the battery of your device. However, it is not possible to connect a USB key to it, unless you purchase a microUSB - USB cable. This type of cable can be very practical because only very few slates have a USB slot on them.

In addition, the microSD slot can be very valuable. It is used to increase data storage. More and more tablets are equipped with it. If this is not the case, make sure that the internal storage capacity of the device is sufficient for your needs. If you want to store movies and music on your tablet, 8 GB won't be enough for you for long!

It is also interesting to have a word about the microHDMI port, not always present. It is useful for displaying the screen of your tablet on your TV. That's a plus, but his absence is not rhedibitual.

The networks

Wi-Fi or 3G? This would almost be a cornelian dilemma that must be considered before the purchase. A simple Wi-Fi version is quite sufficient if the tablet is used mainly at home. If not, you can wear a tablet compatible with 3G, but you will have to pay a fixed price, with or without commitment. In addition, it should also be borne in mind that 4G will gradually become more popular on the shelves, allowing comfortable viewing of streaming videos on the move, for example.

Finally, remember to check if the slate you are looking for is compatible with Bluetooth. This technology is essential to easily transfer files from one device to another. It can also be used to add speakers or keyboards connected via Bluetooth.

The keyboards

Let's just talk about keyboards. Users increasingly imagine their tablet as a second computer, hence the need to complete it with a spare keyboard. Indeed, even if you can settle for the virtual keyboard integrated into your device, or download another one, you can also choose to have a physical keyboard. There are some wireless devices that connect via Bluetooth, so it is important to check that your tablet is compatible with this technology. Some keyboards are very practical, with the possibility of even converting into a base or case.

The uses

You absolutely must ask yourself for which uses you want to buy a tablet. On the market, there are a multitude of touch tablets, each one as attractive as the next. It is therefore not a question of which tablet is the best, but which one will best suit your needs. Indeed, some high-end tablets such as the Sony Xperia Tablet Z are well in every respect, but their high price is in line with their range. If you have a relatively traditional use of the terminal, there is no point in exploding your budget. Above all, you must have common sense and focus on the criteria that are important to you. For example, if you plan to carry your tablet around all day long, choose a light weight and a very good range. Be careful about the pitfalls to avoid regarding this criterion, if the battery capacity is not indicated it does not bode well! Also, if you want to take pictures with your tablet, make sure it incorporates at least one 5 megapixel back sensor, not to mention the front webcam, which can be very useful for videoconferencing. Multimedia enthusiasts will check the storage space included in their tablet, players will check the raw performance of the processor/graphics chip pair it integrates, not to mention its RAM.

Conclusion

In summary, be careful before purchasing your touch pad. Compare the technical specifications with those of other devices on the market. In addition, you can refer to our tests carried out on our site. We rate each device we receive in our hands and evaluate its quality/price ratio.

Let's summarize:

▪ The screen is the most important element: it must be bright, responsive and precise.

▪ The processor also, favour a processor based on Cortex-A9 and at least 1 GB of RAM memory

▪ Do not go below 8 GB of internal memory

▪ Buy a tablet equipped with Google Play!

▪ Below 100 euros, go your way!

▪ Do not neglect connectors and accessories

Unfortunately, you will have to favour brands that are well established: Asus, Acer, HP, Samsung... With few exceptions.

We can never advise you enough to go to the store, take the tablets in your hands (if it cracks, it's a bad sign), test the screens, check if the Google Play is installed, look carefully at the features, compare the prices... In short, it's not a pleasure but it's necessary. Think that this is an investment that it would be a shame to regret after a few months!

 

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