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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PaulS681
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PaulS681,
User Rank: Ninja
11/29/2014 | 12:15:54 AM
Re: Phablets
I'm not a fan of the term phablets. I didnt start hearing that until the iPhone came out with the 6.

The note has been around for a while and i never heard that called a phablet.. and im glad.

 
anon7579905237
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anon7579905237,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/29/2014 | 1:58:22 AM
New Tablets for December
There's a few new Tablets available in December worth reviewing with high end features and great prices --  the new Ramos i9s ($239) -- powered by one of Intel's first 64-bit mobile processors, with a premium build quality and features that compare to the Nexus 9 at nearly half the price.

The X90 HD - Windows 8.1 tablet ($269)  is also a great option as the only 8.9" Windows tablet on the market to offer a Super AMOLED 2560X1600 display; plus comes bundled with a case and Bluetooth keyboard.

The Ramos i12 ($269) - is an ultra-size 12-inch tablet that includes an option for a case-keyboard to make a great tablet-laptop combo.

Also available is an iPad case with Bluetooth keyboard for $20 (regularly $59)

 

One U.S. source to offer these new models is TabletMaxx -- plus features low cost shipping worldwide.
WaqasAltaf
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WaqasAltaf,
User Rank: Ninja
11/29/2014 | 6:36:57 AM
The purpose of tablet ?
Last year I bought Samsung Galaxy tab with a lot of enthusiasm but the conclusion I drew from tablet use is that with 5-6 inch smartphones and 15 inch screen laptops available, couldn't figure out where to use it. For facebook, skype, whatsapp and ocassional video streaming, the smartphone did the job and for official work, laptop was convenient enough to not invite other options. So why to use tablet; couldn't understand.
WaqasAltaf
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WaqasAltaf,
User Rank: Ninja
11/29/2014 | 6:48:17 AM
Re: Phablets
PaulS, me too. Just the word 'phablet' doesn't sound sweet to my ears :) No other particular reason.
shakeeb
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shakeeb,
User Rank: Ninja
11/29/2014 | 9:33:09 AM
Re: It comes down to how you plan to use it!
 

@Stratustician – Usually most people get carried away from physiological pricing methods they use. As you clearly said sometimes we even forget the purpose of using this device.

 
shakeeb
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shakeeb,
User Rank: Ninja
11/29/2014 | 9:36:20 AM
Re: It comes down to how you plan to use it!
@PedroGonzales – Its not an easy task to select a good tablet to suite your requirement that fits your budget. We should always be careful especially with the low quality products in the market. Today you can see tablets for as low as 50USD on ebay which might not be the perfect fit. 
shakeeb
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shakeeb,
User Rank: Ninja
11/29/2014 | 9:39:33 AM
Re: Buy Now Pay Later
@asksqn – Compared to wifi only tablets usually 3G enabled tablets are much expensive.  As most of us have wifi at work and at home it's always good to get a wifi only tablet. 
shakeeb
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shakeeb,
User Rank: Ninja
11/29/2014 | 9:41:35 AM
Re: Buy Now Pay Later
@asksqn – Most manufacture refurbished devices are much cheaper and worth buying. Something that really frightens me is the durability of manufacture refurbished electronics. Have you had any negative experience on buying a manufacture refurbished item?
shakeeb
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shakeeb,
User Rank: Ninja
11/29/2014 | 9:44:58 AM
Re: cost isnt everything
@PaulS681 – What was the brand of the tablet you initially brought? Was it a Chinese unknown brand? Usually these Chinese manufactured brands do not have the specifications they claim to have. It's always wise to run a diagnosis and check before you buy it. 
shakeeb
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shakeeb,
User Rank: Ninja
11/29/2014 | 10:30:16 AM
Re: It comes down to how you plan to use it!
@PaulS681 – I have to agree with you on this, selecting a good tablet always varies from person to person. Have you noticed that most cheap tablets have very limited internal memory?
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