The tablet PC is a must for those who want lots of functions from one small, lightweight and versatile gadget. Smaller than a laptop but bigger than a smartphone; the tablet puts the art of computing on the go in your hands. The technology is constantly evolving and updating but don't give yourself a headache wondering what to look for in your tablet - this guide should cure your concerns.

The Knowhow

A tablet PC is a wireless, portable personal computer with a touch screen which is easy to hold in one hand. Smaller and less bulky than the laptop it's a good option for business users or those who want entertainment on the go.

tablet pc

Why buy a tablet:

  • Small and lightweight
  • Long battery life
  • Good for email, web browsing and shopping online - if you're on the move or simply want to carry your online activities from the comfort of your armchair, a tablet is ideal
  • A good entertainer - lets you watch films, listen to music, store photos, take pictures and video

Features to look for


Sizes vary from approximately 5" up to 13". How big the screen is should depend on whether playability or portability is your priority. You also need to look for a bright screen that displays rich, vibrant colours so you have the clearest picture when watching videos. Many touchpads are "multi-touch" sensitive.  This allows you to perform actions like pinching to zoom and allow a much better level of control than single touch "resistive" screens.

Battery Life:

As with most devices, battery life is a key point as no one wants to have to keep charging their cherished tablet PC. Some tablet manufacturers boast a 10 hour battery life, but you have to take in consideration what features you'll be using, for example; watching videos and playing games, and using apps will significantly lower your battery life.

Wi-Fi versus 3 or 4G:

Connecting your tablet PC to the web can be done by 3 or 4G or Wi-Fi. The benefit of having mobile connectivity is that you have constant connectivity but you'll need to take out a data plan with a mobile phone provider for this service. However, if you don't mind finding Wi-Fi hotspots for internet usage or just want to connect to your home network, a tablet with just Wi-Fi should be fine.

Hard-drive space:

Tablet PC's can store a range of items including documents, photos, apps, videos and music - so you'll need a fairly good sized hard drive. Sizes vary from 512MB to up to 500GB, with the option to have a memory card as well. The average tablet normally comes with 16GB which is a good start for most regular users.

Other things to consider

  • Easy to use with a responsive touch screen
  • How heavy is it and is it easy to carry around
  • What comes with it - it's always great to get added extras like headphones, headsets, cleaning kits or software
  • Audio: look for built-in speakers, headset adaptor, microphone input and the facility to attach external speakers
  • Memory: You might want to browse lots of websites and play tons of games but you have to make sure your tablet can keep up with you. A processer speed of 1.0GHz should suit most buyers.
  • Flexibility: can you use a digital pen, stylus or a mobile keyboard. Also is it able to switch from tablet to notebook function easily

Apple iPad versus Android and Surface tablets

Until recently the Apple iPad was the best known tablet on the market and the most popular, but it does lack a few features which can be found in other tablets:

  • No Adobe Flash support so some web videos will not be available
  • No USB ports. This means you cannot transfer files from flash drives. Instead you must use iTunes or cloud storage to access files. Alternatively you can purchase an iPad camera connection kit to transfer pictures and video directly from your camera or SD card

When you've made your choice we're sure your tablet will give you a new lease of life.

Updated On:

Oct 23, 2013

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