A.In the face of ever larger smartphones and ever lighter and more flexible laptops, the question arises: does a tablet offer any advantages over these devices? And if so, which ones?
Sebastian Klöß from the IT industry association Bitkom is certain that the tablet still has a right to exist. “The tablet’s strength is clearly the large screen, but it’s compact and light,” he says. Compared to laptops, they also often have a significantly longer battery life.
You should also keep in mind that even a small 13-inch notebook is still heavier and thicker than a tablet, says Alexander Spier from the specialist magazine “c’t”.
A tablet cannot do anything that laptops or smartphones cannot, says Sebastian Klöß. But: “The tablet can do a lot better.” And this applies both privately and professionally.
“The tablet is the perfect sofa computer,” says Klöß. It is simply more handy and comfortable than laptops. Streaming films and series on tablets is particularly popular.
Tablets for the household
Smartphone screens, on the other hand, are often still too small, says Klöß. That also applies to reading. Tablets, on the other hand, are ideal for e-paper.
Further fields of application could be found in the household or in the smart home. The tablet could be the control center for light, heating, etc. or help with cooking. Reading recipes on the smartphone is often tedious. And a laptop usually blocks too much space.
Tablets are particularly advantageous for those who have little experience with computers or smartphones. This applies in particular to senior citizens and children, says Klöß. Tablets are easy to hold, not so overloaded when it comes to applications and are intuitive to use.
The tablet market is more and more divided into cheap and expensive devices, and the mid-range range is getting thinner and thinner, as Alexander Spier has observed. While inexpensive devices are available from 40 to 50 euros, devices at the other end of the price range can cost around 1,000 euros. “But there are fewer and fewer models between these two extremes,” says Spier.
With the inexpensive devices, however, you clearly have to cut back on the screen and performance: “The quality of the screen is marginal for devices in this price range, even compared to smartphones,” explains Spier.
Invest at least 200 euros for a tablet
Tablets from around 200 euros can be used sensibly, says Klöß. These are entry-level devices. The middle class starts at around 400 euros, which is absolutely sufficient for most.
The price is mainly determined by computing power, screen quality and storage capacity. “With a tablet, I would always look at the screen first,” says Sebastian Klöß. In the end, this largely decides whether you enjoy the device or not.
Alexander Spier recommends displays with at least Full HD resolution. Tablets over ten inches diagonal should go beyond Full HD. You should also take a look at the PPI value (pixels per inch) in this context. It indicates the pixel density, explains Klöß. A good PPI value starts at 220, top models come to 260 and more.
And the brightness? In top models, the luminance of the display, given in candelas per square meter (cd / m²) or nits, is around 400, but values from 300 are okay, says Klöß. And how much memory (RAM) should it be? Devices in the middle price segment usually have three or four gigabytes (GB) of RAM, which is usually sufficient.
Cellular yes or no?
Spier recommends that you make sure that the processor has at least four cores. The storage capacity of the tablet is also important. More memory never hurts, but it almost always costs a considerable surcharge.
In any case, Spier strongly advises against storage capacities below 16 GB: “Then you have to constantly delete apps or photos in order to still be able to use the device.”
Another fundamental question: cellular yes or no? If you use your tablet mainly at home, where WiFi is available, you can do without a cellular module and save money, says Klöß. If you want or have to be on the go with your tablet a lot, you should choose a model with a cellular module.
When deciding on Android or iOS, clarifying the question of what exactly you want to do with the tablet can help, explains Alexander Spier. Because not all apps are also available for both operating systems.
And regardless of whether it is new or used: The expert advises against buying a device that is more than three years old. Simply because its battery is usually too weak.
The tiresome tablet updates
And two other restrictions: Android tablets, which are offered very cheaply, are usually no longer updated. This not only means a security problem, but also that newer functions are no longer available, explains Spier. At Apple there are longer updates, but here you have to pay attention to whether the performance of an older device is still sufficient for demanding apps.
Used tablets could also be a good option, says Sebastian Klöß. But you should pay attention to where you buy a used device. Specialized dealers are a good address here. “The devices there are then often checked and sometimes even available with a guarantee,” says Klöß, explaining the advantages.
It is also worthwhile to see whether the previous model is still available in stores: “These devices are still technically in a good state, but mostly significantly cheaper than the current models.”