We see tablets everywhere. We’re asked to do surveys on them in the street, we see people catching up on yesterday’s TV on the bus and they’re even popping up in restaurants as a new way to order our food. Just the other day our director took his children to have their feet measured in a well known high street shoe brand, the sales assistant inserted a tablet into the measuring device to take the measurements and keep the kids occupied at the same time.
TechReport.com recently wrote that in the second quarter of 2015, the worldwide tablet market reduced by 7% from the same period in the previous year. From the first quarter of 2015 to the second quarter, the two top tablet makers, Apple and Samsung, saw a reduction in their gross share of the tablet market from 45% to 41%. Is this the beginning of the end for the tablet? Well no, probably not. During this time there was little new hardware. These numbers probably show people hanging onto their old tablets longer, not a decline in the use of tablets.
If you’re a business and thinking of going paperless, tablets are a great investment.
You must first decide whether your business would be best suited to a tablet that runs Android, Windows or iOS (Apple’s operating system). This is a decision that is highly individual to your business needs, but it is worth bearing in mind that Windows tablets are generally more powerful, and can run more like a laptop than either Android or Apple tablets. But for the pleasure of a laptop-like performance you can end up paying laptop prices. Apple have always sat at the higher end of the price scale but the millions of Apple fans across the world would say that you get what you pay for. You can pick up an Android tablet for less than £100 which has led to Google's Android platform putting up a formidable fight against iPad's monster market share. Once you’ve decided between the big three, there is a wide range of tablets out there that will suit your needs.
The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 is a great choice for Windows users. This tablet really is a laptop replacement and you can even buy a keyboard cover as an optional extra. If you’d prefer a tablet that can turn into a more traditional laptop, then the Dell XPS 12 could be the way to go. It’s hingeless keyboard dock is included in the price. Alternatively, the HP Pavilion x2 is a tablet that can turn into a netbook, with a removable keyboard.
For iOS users, Apple’s iPad Pro is a great choice for business use. It’s the biggest tablet Apple has made to date, specifically made with business use in mind. Again, you can purchase a keyboard cover and stylus to go with it. The keyboard cover and Apple Pencil stylus make the iPad better for business, especially for creative users. It also debuts Apple's new split-screen multitasking which is great for business owners trying to tackle their to-do-lists.
If want your business to run on Android tablets, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 is a great iPad alternative. This tablet is very similar to Apple’s iPad Air 2 but also includes a microSD card reader, which makes it very easy to expand the capacity of your tablet. The Samsung Multimedia Dock accessory improves at-the-desk productivity and it’s defence-grade mobile data security from Samsung KNOX™ means you can keep corporate data secure.
If your business requires you to be out in the elements then you may well want to invest in one of the water resistant tablets. The Sony Xperia Z4 is a great choice if you’re after a more sleek design, but if you want something a bit more robust then the Samsung Galaxy Tab Active has a rubber shield around it. It’s a great choice for those who have to travel a lot on business - connect the keyboard dock and Sony Xperia Z4 is a versatile tool for writing emails and documents on the go.
But what about if you’re after a tablet to use at home? First consider which operating system you want to run on. It’s worth bearing in mind that whilst Android and Apple tablets are essentially large smartphones, Windows tablets actually have the same power as your laptop and can perform tasks as such. If you want something that does everything your laptop can do, but in tablet form, then Windows tablets are the way to go.
The iPad mini and the Nexus 7 both have relatively small screens (about 7”) but are light and easy to carry around. Perfect if you want to watch TV or films when you’re out and about. If you want a bigger screen then you could go for an iPad or Samsung Galaxy tablet (about 10”), but these are heavier and bigger if you want to put them in your bag to take out with you. The Windows Surface Pro 4 and the iPad Pro both have even bigger screens. You could also try the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact or the Nexus 9 if you want something in-between the two screen sizes (8 or 9”).
Make sure when you’re looking for a tablet that you know what you want to use it for. If you want to watch a lot of films on it, then a widescreen tablet could be better for you, whereas if you intend to use it for web browsing you may want a screen that’s more square in shape - this is called aspect ratio. Also, make sure you get a decent amount of pixel density (screen resolution) - how much you need, again, depends on what you want to do with your tablet. Whether you want to just browse the web (less pixel density is fine) or watch films (the more pixel density, the better).
When you’re purchasing a tablet, make sure you understand what you need it for and what you need it to do. This will be a major factor, whether you’re buying for business or pleasure.