Wi-Fi or 3G and 4G tablets: which is for you?
Buying a tablet, much like a mobile phone, should be a very personal experience. Some tablets do certain things better than others, so choosing the right one is important.
On the whole, there are two types of tablet - ones that can connect to the internet through Wi-Fi, and those that connect using mobile internet (as well as Wi-Fi).Wi-Fi tablets are limited in where they can get online. They will work everywhere, but you will only be able to access the internet in places that have a Wi-Fi network, or a hotspot, like most coffee shops. 3G/4G tablets let you get on the internet anywhere - because they use a data SIM card.
This means that you don’t need to hunt around for Wi-Fi hotspots or wait until you get home to send that hilarious tweet you thought up over lunch. You can check out our top 3G and 4G tablet deals right here, and if you need a new SIM card, there's some more information here.
Which operating system do I need?
Will suit you because...
- You have an iPhone. An iPad uses the same software, so it's easy for them to work together.
- iOS has the most apps that are optimised for tablets.
- iPads have excellent battery life.
Will suit you because…
- You have an Android phone. Android tablets use the same software as Android phones, so they can work together.
- Choice of body size, screen size and price range.
- Software is easily customisable so you can make it look how you want.
Will suit you because…
- You have a Microsoft or Nokia phone. Windows tablets use the same Microsoft-powered software on its phones, so they can work together.
- Excellent Skype integration - great for video calls.
- Microsoft Office built in.
What screen size do I need?
Smaller tablets (7-inch - 8.5-inch)
Smaller screens mean the whole tablet is smaller, so they fit easily in bags or large pockets. They also weigh considerably less than larger models and are more manageable for those with smaller hands. If you’re looking for a tablet for a child, a 7-inch one is ideal - like the LG G Pad 7.0.
Smaller tablets are also perfect for reading eBooks as they're about the same size as an actual book. They also generally cost a little less than their larger counterparts.
Larger tablets (9-inch - 12-inch)
Smaller tablets have spacious screens, but if you want a tablet to watch movies on or play games with, a larger screen gives a better experience, like the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5, for example.
The larger screens are also better suited to typing if you need to work on it. Normally bigger tablets have the best hardware, with faster and more powerful processors and sharper screens. If you’re a gamer, for example, the power of a larger tablet will suit you better. Also, if you want to carry around lots of documents, music or movies, bigger tablets normally have more internal memory.
How much storage or memory do I need?
The amount of memory in your tablet determines how much you can store on it. The most common memory capacities are 8GB, 16GB and 32GB, and some tablets also come with a microSD card slot. This means you can buy a microSD card and add more memory when you need it.