Tablet Buying Guide

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A lot of people own a phone and a computer, but sometimes you’ve just got to have a third screen. A good tablet handles a lot of the tasks you might do with a laptop—browsing the web, catching up on email, watching movies—but in a more comfortable package. Sure, you can curl up on your couch with a computer, but a flat, lightweight tablet is much easier to hold. And for many people, a tablet may be all the computer they need or want.

It can be difficult to how much to spend on a new tablet, with prices ranging from less than $100 to more than $1,000. Pay too much and you may be wasting money on advanced features you don’t care about. Pay too little and you might find yourself with a tablet that requires too many compromises: a mediocre display, paltry built-in storage, or poor cameras.

Below you’ll find some of the major questions you should ask yourself while shopping for a tablet, and you can also check out our tablet  Guides ratings, which are based on lab testing of products we buy at retail using a team of secret shoppers.

What to Ask Yourself

Is Portability a Priority?
Most tablets with displays 8 inches or smaller weigh well under a pound. Many are very thin, and most have at least 10 hours of battery life. Some top 15 hours. But of course larger displays can provide a better experience for watching movies, reading, or using productivity and art apps.

What’s Your Budget?
Some small tablets sell for less than $100, but cheaper models come with compromises. There are a number of very good 7- to 8-inch tablets starting at under $200. Tablets with larger display sizes and premium features cost more.

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