How to choose the best tablet

The first criteria, is what platform you choose. We recommend that whenever possible, all your devices be from the same platform. So if you have an iPhone, then get an iPad for your tablet.  Even Ubuntu has a full platform of phones, laptops/computers, and tablets.

The highest rated tablet is consistently the iPad; they have great features!

Android Tablets

We start with Android (going alphabetically).   This is the largest platform, by the number of installed devices.  There are both 7″, 8″, and 10″ models from various manufacturers; you can learn more at Android.com.  Due to the high volume of these, they are the least expensive alternative.  Early models were of low quality but the build quality now on the best Android Tablets is very good.  They are thin and easy to hold, long battery life, and great displays.  When you shop, look carefully at your needs so you have the right ports and amount of storage.  You can buy not only nice stands, such as for watching a video on the tablet, but there are wall mounts so your tablet can be like a ‘picture frame’.   The Android ecosystem is large, so not everything works together seamlessly; and this platform is the least secure – hackers focus more on Android than other platforms due to the larger installed base.   A great place to start shopping is at Amazon.

Apple iPad

The iPad started the whole tablet revolution, and continues to hold the top spot.  But as mentioned above, you should first consider staying with the same Platform as your phone and/or computers.  You can learn more about all the iPad models at the Apple website.  For most people the iPad will have a smoother, more seamless experience.  It has less risk of a computer virus, and the hardware is as good as it gets – including the cameras.  Apple also offers a 12″ iPad now, the largest size of a tablet.   But many feel that the 9.7″ iPad Pro is the best of the iPads, and very likely the best tablet made.

Amazon Fire Tablets

Amazon Fire tablets are not necessarily at the top of the list but they are least expensive.  Amazon continually is building out their ‘Amazon Prime’ ecosystem, and Fire Tablets are an important part of that.  You can learn more at Amazon’s Fire Tablet page. They start at only $49, so that is a great price for a solid performer.  They have Android at their core but its heavily modified by Amazon, so you use the Amazon appstore; there are far fewer apps for Fire tablets than for Android tablets in general.   They offer a music streaming service too, though it has fewer songs than some of the other services.  Unfortunately, their tablets also have less resolution than the better tablets on other platforms.  Amazon gives great value, if you can accept the small drawbacks.   For a family in particular, this might be a great choice for kids.  You can see some prices here.

Ubuntu Tablets

Ubuntu is a Linux-based platform.  These devices are more efficient than other platforms, and have fewer viruses. But there are fewer apps, at least right now for Ubuntu.  You can learn more about Ubuntu tablets at Ubuntu.com. Their main tablet offering is a 10″ tablet, Multitouch screen, full HD camera, only weights 1 lb, and has storage expansion via an SD card slot.  So the drawbacks of Ubuntu are few models to choose from, less apps, and it won’t match what most of your friends have.  They are particularly good for more technical people.   You can buy them from the Ubuntu website.

Windows Tablets

The Microsoft Surface tablets are very high quality, running a Windows OS.  The original Surface tablets had their own, non-Windows OS which greatly slowed down their acceptance in the market.  Now they are fully compatible, and you can add a keyboard – making it like a Windows laptop.   There is even a desktop Surface so it really is a Platform.  You can learn more about their models at the Microsoft website, however we feel the best Surface prices are at Amazon.   Surface computers have strong specs and are ideal for the business market.  But for the home user, if you have an Android phone or an iPhone, Surface is probably not your first choice.

Conclusions

If a specific platform is not required, and you have the budget, then the clear winner is the iPad.  However, if your budget is constrained, then go with Android – they have some of the best overall value.   Business users might prefer a Windows device.  The most secure and most efficient devices are probably Ubuntu, being based on Linux.  While Fire tablets come in last, they have their uses and are the least expensive.  You can learn more about tablets and their history at Wikipedia.

Its often a good idea to get the same platform in technology as your best friends have, in order to share tips and help each other, and recommend apps.

Finally, for all tablets, we recommend you get an extended warranty.  Any portable device is at more risk then stationary (desk only) devices.  You can find some good deals on extended warranties, such as from Square Trade.