Large or small?
Many tablets offer a larger and a smaller version, such as the Apple iPad Air and the iPad Mini with Retina Display. The sweet spots are 7 and 9 or 10 inches, although you might like an 8-inch tablet that straddles both sizes.
Think about a smaller one if you’re planning to take pictures with the tablet; a larger tablet makes it more pleasant to read magazines and other publications.
Remember that you’re going to be holding the tablet for long periods, and carrying it around. If you want the very lightest, stick with a smaller size. But even a 10-inch tablet can be quite light. The Sony Experia Z2 Tablet has a 10.1-inch display and still weighs under a pound (and it’s waterproof!).
There are even larger models, like the Microsoft Surface Pro 3, which features a 12-inch screen. Sure it’s great for watching movies, but it’s also bulky to hold for long periods. Of course, the adjustable stand that’s built-in really helps.
Budget or all-out?
The Apple iPad Air starts at $500. But the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 beats that, starting at $650. What do you get with these higher-end tablets? With the Apple, you get a great, cutting-edge app market and a top-performing tablet. The Samsung is also a top performer, the Android app market is catching up to Apple’s, and it’s designed to be more of a worker bee, with included office software and a stylus.
Then again, Windows tablets can also be costly. That’s often because they have great Intel processors, such as the Core i7, powering them, making them more like a laptop.
But for those just looking for a tablet on a budget, you don’t have to make a lot of sacrifices. If you don’t mind a smaller tablet, Windows users can choose the Acer Iconia W4-820-2466, an excellent performer (so you can play the toughest gaming apps) that starts at $300. For Android users, there’s the HP Slate 7 Extreme, also an excellent performer, starting at just $170.