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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Nemos
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Nemos,
User Rank: Strategist
11/28/2014 | 7:16:06 PM
amazing...
I think is one of the best guides about tablets on the internet I have ever read. Although I believe that nobody should spend more that 500$ for consuming technology as the quality of today products are not as it was before 20 years, therefore a 2 year old device is too old and you "have" to replace if is not already broken.
PaulS681
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PaulS681,
User Rank: Ninja
11/28/2014 | 6:55:57 PM
Re: It comes down to how you plan to use it!
It does come down to what you want to accomplish with the device. I get people asking me if this is a good tablet.. or this one... etc...

My answer is usually it depends what you are going to use it for. One tablet might be the cheapest and might fill the needs of that person where someone else needs to do more and then would need a better one.

 
PaulS681
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PaulS681,
User Rank: Ninja
11/28/2014 | 6:51:44 PM
cost isnt everything
I like this tip, cost isnt everything. Beware if it looks like to good of a deal it just might be.

I have a little experience in this... A year ago I bought my daughter a tablet for her bday. I found one on sale and it looked like it woiuld do what she wanted.

I got it home and tried to run netflix on it. That tablet wouldnt run netflix. I found a bunch of posts on it after doing a search. I should have known better. I took it back and got a galaxt tablet for her.
asksqn
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asksqn,
User Rank: Ninja
11/28/2014 | 5:10:44 PM
Buy Now Pay Later
Tablets are like any other device that enables internet connectivity - you're going to get ripped off  if you insist on buying brand new because the same tablet will be 1/2 price three months later.  As informative as this piece may be, the fact is, it is wiser to buy a manufacturer refurb rather than paying full price for technology that is obsolete the moment you take it out of the box. 
PedroGonzales
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PedroGonzales,
User Rank: Ninja
11/28/2014 | 4:04:02 PM
Re: It comes down to how you plan to use it!
This is a very informative article.  Many people asked me about tablets. I referred a friend to this article because of the in depth analysis on buying a tablet and other factor which I haven't thought( constant internet connectivity).  I agree it all comes down to the type of use you will give the tablet.
Stratustician
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Stratustician,
User Rank: Ninja
11/28/2014 | 1:44:21 PM
It comes down to how you plan to use it!
It's easy to get caught up in the price war game and think "hey, it's on sale for a great price, sure, I'll just pick one up" and then end up with devices that really aren't used.  As beautifully stated in the article, if you keep in mind what you really want to use the device for, that should guide your decision.  I personally have both an iPad, but also get amazing use out of a Windows tablet.  Both for different reasons, but they both have great features as already covered in the article.  If you want a productive device, look for something with those features.  if you want a device that is more for basic web surfing and apps, look for which devices deliver better experiences there.
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