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
12/4/2014 | 2:32:10 PM
Re: Tablet buying
@ Kristen, Cost isn't everything, but it certainly does help.
Angelfuego
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Angelfuego,
User Rank: Ninja
12/4/2014 | 2:30:55 PM
Re: Tablet buying
One way around doing "real work" on iPads, is to put yor work in an iCloud or email your work to yourself. The you can open it up on a desktop or laptop at work and can continue to work on the document. Since iPads do not have USB ports, that is one way I try to circumvent that issue. For those of you that still prefer to work off of a more traditional keyboard, they sell special cases with keyboards that make this preference possible.
Li Tan
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Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
12/4/2014 | 9:13:53 AM
Re: The purpose of tablet ?
Yes that's true - I think tablet and laptop can complement each other instead of one replacing another. For example, for document editting, laptop is still much better than tablet, even if you have mini-keypad. MS Surface may be an exception - it can transform into a laptop.
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
12/1/2014 | 12:22:03 PM
Tablet buying
This was the first Thanksgiving weekend where I heard people discuss the wisdom/lack of wisdom in buying cheap tablets at drugstores. The electronic kind of tablets.
WaqasAltaf
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WaqasAltaf,
User Rank: Ninja
11/30/2014 | 9:27:46 PM
Re: amazing...
Technocrati, yes it is games and videos that consume the power more than anything. I think there has been tremendous development in the world of technology but that same effort has not been given to the battery aspect. It is usual for people to be experiencing a low battery in times when they urgently need the device.
WaqasAltaf
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WaqasAltaf,
User Rank: Ninja
11/30/2014 | 9:18:35 PM
Re: The purpose of tablet ?
Mak 63, ok that's a genuine use of laptop but for a specific group of society. Generally we still have to find a use which laptops and smartphones can't deliver.
WaqasAltaf
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WaqasAltaf,
User Rank: Ninja
11/30/2014 | 9:15:58 PM
Re: The purpose of tablet ?
Kristin, I personally feel that it is a luxury product and such products which do have a dire need, can't last long. Some might disagree since they have tried to overcome the laptop use through tablets but there are certain limitations in the tablets which laptops don't have.
mak63
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mak63,
User Rank: Ninja
11/30/2014 | 8:46:05 PM
Re: The purpose of tablet ?
There are many people in the US and in the world with vision problems; where a phone, a phablet or a 7" tablet are just way too small to enjoy media in it. Laptops are ok, but not that easy to handle. I believe, a 10" tablet would be ideal for this particular group of people; which counts for millions.
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
11/30/2014 | 6:38:59 PM
Re: Phablets
I hate that term too -- always made me think "faux tablet" when I first heard others throwing it around.
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
11/30/2014 | 6:37:57 PM
Re: Phablets
Agree on the travel point. A lot easier to transport and lug around than a laptop.
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