Where early tablets were largely considered to be primarily intended for content consumption, modern devices are much more capable. There are more and more users for whom a tablet could conceivably replace their laptop or desktop and become the primary computer in their life.
Update - The Surface Pro 7 and Surface Laptop 3 are currently discounted by 15% as part of this year's Australian end of financial year sales. Click here for more details.
In 2019, not everyone can get away with using a tablet instead of a laptop - but some people can. If that’s you, here are some things to consider:
Depending on what you want to use your device for, screen size is definitely something you’ll want to consider before buying your next tablet.
If you want to prioritize the portability of your new tablet, it might be worth looking at something smaller in size. For example, around 8-inches. Alternatively, if you’re looking to do more multitasking, a larger sized tablet like the 12-inch iPad Pro or Surface Book 2 might be the best way to go.
iPad sizes: 7.9-inches, 10.2-inches, 10.5-inches, 11-inches, 12.9-inches
Surface sizes: 10-inches, 12.3-inches, 13-inches,
Samsung Galaxy Tab sizes: 8.1-inch, 10-inch, 10.5-inches
Another thing you’ll want to look at when choosing your next tablet is the ecosystem of accessories involved and whether or not you’re willing to pay extra for them.
The Apple Pencil might make for add-on to the experience of an iPad but it also adds an extra $145 onto the price-tag. In contrast, the S-Pen that comes with Samsung’s Tab S6 is free. Don’t forget to calculate the cost of these accessories - as well as things like wireless keyboards or display-out docks - when it comes to calculating which tablet is going to offer your the most value.
As with buying a smartphone, storage size is one of the more important considerations when it comes to buying your next tablet.
If you’re planning to put your tablet at the center of your content consumption experience, you have to make sure that the tablet you buy has an appropriate amount of storage space for your must-have apps plus any media content you plan to consume on it.
More specifically, it’s also going to be worth assessing whether you want or need a tablet that allows you to break free of your device’s storage limits via a MicroSD slot. If you do, Apple’s iPad range is going to be out of the question.
Regardless and even in a time where cloud and streaming based services become more and more dominant, storage size remains an important consideration.
iPad storage: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
Surface storage: 64GB (Surface Go only), 128GB, 256GB, 512GB or 1TB
Samsung Galaxy Tab storage: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
If you’re keen to get the most out of your tablet, poor app support is one of the harder hurdles to overcome. At the end of the day, the absolute limits of what you can and can’t do with a tablet are as much set by the software as they are the hardware involved.
Some software is only available on certain platforms. If you need an app that’s exclusive to iOS or Windows, you’re going to want a tablet that runs on that operating system. What’s more, just because a certain app is on the platform you need it to be on doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to offer feature parity with other versions of itself.
There are no shortcuts here. Do your research.
If you’re planning to get the most out of the mobility that tablets offer, you’re going to want to make sure you consider getting a tablet with cellular connectivity.
Making use of that connectivity does come with a cost to battery life but it can also allow for a compelling experience that blends together the on-the-go capabilities of a smartphone with the more advanced applications and workhorse grunt found in a laptop or tablet.
A fun wrinkle to this can be found in the fact that select cellular-enabled tablets have support for phone calls and features like call forwarding. If you’re planning on using your tablet for work, this can allow you to create some distance between business and non-business hours.
iPad Pro vs Samsung Tab S6 vs Surface Pro 7
Reasons to buy an iPad Pro?
You can get your work done using iPad apps (or via a web browser)
You want a tablet that integrates well with an iPhone
You want to watch Apple TV+ content and other Apple services
You can live without a headphone jack
You don’t need expandable storage
You want a tablet with the best processor
Reasons to buy a Samsung Tab S6?
You can get your work done using Android apps (or via a web browser)
You want to save money
You want to take phone calls or call forward using your tablet
You don’t want to spend extra on a stylus
You want a tablet that’s integrated with Google Assistant
You want expandable storage
Reasons to buy a Surface Pro 7?
You can get your work done using Windows apps or (via a web browser)
You want a tablet with a built-in kickstand
You want a tablet with real ports on it
You want a tablet that’s not too different from a laptop
You want to be able to customise the specs of your tablet