Tablet Shopping: 7 Tips To Avoid Buyer's Remorse - InformationWeek

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11/28/2014
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Tablet Shopping: 7 Tips To Avoid Buyer's Remorse

From 8-inch Windows 8.1 slates to iPads to phablets, tablet shoppers have more options than ever this holiday season. Follow these tips to avoid a mistake.

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Shopping for a new tablet used to be easy. There was the iPad, some nice Android tablets from big companies, and some cheap Android tablets from companies you'd never heard of. That was about it. But that's not the case anymore.

Today, you can choose from five iPad models if you buy new, seven if you are willing to consider a refurbished one. At the top of the line, the iPad Air 2 costs more than $800, but with the iPad Mini now available for less than $250, the range of iPads is not only the biggest ever but open to a wider range of budgets than before.

In the meantime, the iPad's main competitor, the Android tablet, has also exploded in number of choices. Android slates now come in all shapes and sizes, from inexpensive 7-inch tablets to pricey models with laptop-size screens. The nicest Android tablets come with fancy technology and extra software to rival the iPad.

[Will your smartphone become drop proof? Read Gorilla Glass 4: Better Smartphone Drop Protection.]

The increasing diversity of Windows tablets further complicate your decision. Early Windows 8 two-in-ones, a.k.a hybrids, such as the original Surface Pro, were expensive and clunky. Now, budget Windows two-in-ones cost less than the cheapest iPad. Expensive hybrids are thinner, lighter and more powerful than ever, challenging the notion that tablets and laptops need to be separate devices. Hybrids not your style? Windows 8.1 tablets with 8-inch screens sell for less than $200.

Apple's iPads set the tablet standard, but some Android tablets have caught up.
Apple's iPads set the tablet standard, but some Android tablets have caught up.

The options are dizzying -- and we've barely scratched the surface. But fear not. We've outlined the big points you need to consider before pulling out your credit card.

1. Cost isn't everything.
Most people shop with a budget in mind, which can make it tempting to go for the biggest discounts or cheapest devices. But beware; if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Rather than letting the lowest price tag guide you, consider what you want to get out of your purchase.

If you're in the market for a single, do-it-all device, you might be tempted by one of the new fleet of cheap Windows 8.1 two-in-ones, several of which run well $300. Some of these devices will handle light productivity just fine, but few of them, despite their support for desktop apps, offer the computing power of a traditional PC. A $200 tablet can complement your existing PC or provide entertainment for the kids. But if you're hoping a budget tablet will give you the

Michael Endler joined InformationWeek as an associate editor in 2012. He previously worked in talent representation in the entertainment industry, as a freelance copywriter and photojournalist, and as a teacher. Michael earned a BA in English from Stanford University in 2005 ... View Full Bio

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Angelfuego
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Angelfuego,
User Rank: Ninja
1/30/2015 | 11:05:43 PM
Re: The purpose of tablet ?
@Kelly22: If it makes you feel better, I just got an iPhone4 . It is a hand-me-down from a friend.
Kelly22
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Kelly22,
User Rank: Strategist
1/29/2015 | 3:18:53 PM
Re: The purpose of tablet ?
@angelfuego I'm on your side with this one. Phablets are an awkward size and too big to serve the same purpose as a smartphone. Personally, I like my phone to fit in one hand and my iPhone 4 (prehistoric, I know) does the job just fine.
Angelfuego
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Angelfuego,
User Rank: Ninja
1/29/2015 | 2:39:40 PM
Re: The purpose of tablet ?
I guess it is a matter of preference. I prefer something that fits in my pocket or can easily fit in the grip of my hand. Phabletsare too big for me. They are like the size of a book. A phablet can't even fir in my purse. I rarely use purses. I usually pick up my keys, debit card, identification, phone, and leave the house. The only purses that I own are clutch bags, which are too small to stuff a phablet in.
WaqasAltaf
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WaqasAltaf,
User Rank: Ninja
12/7/2014 | 11:45:37 AM
Re: The purpose of tablet ?
Li Tan, in my opinion there is no need of a tablet when we have 5-6 inch smartphones available because they are not bad either. The operating systems in tablets and smartphones are the same. Do you think in today's circumstances, purchase of a tablet is justified or it is just an impulse buy?
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
12/5/2014 | 11:14:49 AM
Re: amazing...

@Gary_EL  @Anelfuego       It certainly does seem to be a fundamental constraint that makes increasing battery very difficult if not nearly impossible to improve.

Gary_EL
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Gary_EL,
User Rank: Ninja
12/5/2014 | 12:58:36 AM
Re: amazing...
The lack of progress in batteries is probably the biggest technological disappointment of the 21st Century so far.
Angelfuego
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Angelfuego,
User Rank: Ninja
12/4/2014 | 2:47:09 PM
Re: Phablets
@Kristen, I agree with you about how tablets are convenient for traveling. I can remeber a time when I thought that laptops were convenient for travel, but not anymore. Boy, how things have changed. I think tablets and phablets are way more convenient. I still think the mimi-laptop by Acer is a good alternative as well. 
Angelfuego
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Angelfuego,
User Rank: Ninja
12/4/2014 | 2:44:08 PM
Re: Phablets
@Kristen, With the struggling economy and the pressure of buying Christmas gifts, I guess people are obliging to purchase lower-end tablets from drug stores with the hopes that they won't get what they pay for.
Angelfuego
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Angelfuego,
User Rank: Ninja
12/4/2014 | 2:41:10 PM
Re: Phablets
@Paul, I must confess that the first time that I heard the term "phablet," I had a good chuckle. I, however, think that it would have been a great marketing term for Samsung to use. I think it is a cute, catchy term. Personally, I don't care to own a phablet. I still prefer the thin and more compact phone style. I think that will eventually will come back in popular demand, once the phablet-craze dissipates.
Angelfuego
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Angelfuego,
User Rank: Ninja
12/4/2014 | 2:35:15 PM
Re: amazing...
@Technocrati, I agree with you about how ideal it would be if our tablets had an increased battery life. The short battery life of phones also is a concern of mine. I am surprised that we are still dealing with battery life issues, despite how far we have come in terms of technology.
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