How to check your tablet before buying

Not all equipment can be checked in detail right in the store, but this does not apply to mobile devices. Tablets, like smartphones, are immediately ready for full use. The user can only understand how the device is suitable for solving various tasks and whether it has significant drawbacks.

In stores: in 12 stores
Housing, controls and equipment
Ideally, the tablet should not be unpacked. In this case, the box will be in the factory film, or there will be seals in the form of unbroken stickers on it. If the box of the device was opened, then it is difficult to say what manipulations were performed with the tablet.

However, it may be a completely new device that was not even turned on or was turned on several times for verification and testing. However, in some stores, display cases may also be issued – sometimes photographs of visitors and sellers, as well as various files, SMS and a list of calls, remain in their memory. There are also cases when there are defects on the case of new packed devices, for example, scratches, but these are rather exceptions concerning mainly budget devices.

 

The protective film on the screen, if any, should be glued evenly and without bubbles, although some manufacturers sometimes get dust and various particles under the film, which form bubbles.

An example of a supposedly new tablet ordered from China. If there is a lot of dust under the factory film, then you should refuse to buy such a device.

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It is important to check the connectors. To do this, you can connect a charger, USB-OTG adapter and headphones / headset. The latter should be brought with you or purchased, since they are very rare in the delivery set of tablets. You can only count on the presence of an adapter from Type-C to 3.5 mm, if the tablet does not have a separate headphone jack. The power adapter and cable can also be checked in the store by connecting them to the mains.

The LED indicator of events (not all modern tablets have) should light up during charging, if the function is not disabled in the settings, and it should also blink when the screen is locked if calls, SMS or notifications from applications are missed. On tablets with an OLED screen, instead of a separate indicator, the Always On function is used, which, after locking the device, displays information about notifications on the screen.

 

To test the speakers, play audio and video files from the tablet’s memory. You can also bring files for verification on a microSD card to check at the same time how the tablet works with memory cards (if supported). Sound quality and volume from speakers can vary greatly depending on the tablet model.

Screen check
The backlight uniformity on tablets is generally lower than on smartphones, which is fine with larger screens. Therefore, regardless of the type of matrix (TN, IPS, OLED and their varieties), deviations in brightness are permissible. If the glare on the display is clearly visible even with the naked eye, it is worth asking for another copy – mass matrix defects are rare, but isolated cases are possible even from large manufacturers.

 

You should be especially careful when choosing tablets with a TN matrix: they often have the lowest price, but not every buyer will be satisfied with poor viewing angles (color inversion occurs and the brightness greatly decreases depending on the deviation of the gaze), dull colors and poor readability with a bright external lighting.

 

You can check for burnt-out pixels, which may cause the wrong color to appear on certain areas of the screen, as follows. Open the individual black and white images full screen. Problem areas (usually small dots) will have a different color. It is not always possible to fix this defect. An extended set of images , or Screen Check software and its numerous analogues, will help to check additional colors .

 

It is equally important to test the touchscreen for accurate operation. It is enough to press the display in different areas of the screen, type text or draw something in a suitable application . The greatest responsiveness is almost always achieved with tablets that support 5 or 10 simultaneous touches: the more, the better. A software for checking the number of touches supported is available here .

 

OLEDs have significant SHI modulation to adjust the brightness of the backlight, so such displays are not suitable for users who are sensitive to screen flicker. It is better to check this moment before buying by setting the minimum or close to the minimum level of brightness. This will make the flicker most noticeable. If OLED displays do not suit you, you should take a closer look at tablets with IPS matrices: if IPS has backlight modulation, then it is insignificant and is unable to negatively affect the eyes and health in general (in the absence of marriage).

Checking the screen ripple coefficient using the Radex Lupin device (the norm is considered to be no higher than 15-20%)

Operating system, software and sensors
If possible, we check the operation of the preinstalled software and the entire operating system. The speed of operation will largely depend on the used chipset, size, memory type and firmware version. You need to be prepared for the fact that in the case of budget and ultra-budget models, the software will start very slowly. Such behavior with expensive devices may indicate a marriage or problems with the firmware.

 

The set of sensors can be checked in the Device Info application by going to the “Sensors” section. In tablets, proximity and light sensors may not be available. If they are, they are almost always located on the body of the devices. They can also be replaced by software, for example, a screen that responds to pressing will be used instead of a proximity sensor.

The light sensor should change its performance depending on the ambient light and display the minimum performance if you close it from the light source (for some reason, this is not always 0 lux, maybe a little more).

The gyroscope can be checked by entering the query “360 degrees video” in the youtube search and opening one of the proposed options. The angle of the image will change with the rotation of the tablet in any direction, and the image should not constantly shake. However, if there is continuous shaking, then most often this is not due to a marriage, but to the use of a software rather than a hardware version of the gyroscope, which works only at the expense of other sensors.

An important sensor is the accelerometer, which must be in all tablets (not including e-books on Android). In the Device info app, when testing the accelerometer, the position of the ball on the screen should change depending on the tilt of the device.

 

Face recognition and especially a fingerprint scanner are not common in inexpensive tablets. If these functions are available, then you should check how the gadget recognizes a face at least in good lighting, and also find out from what time the tablet counts a fingerprint. You should count on the most stable recognition in flagship devices or in devices of the middle class.

Connection
It will be more correct to judge the quality of communication, stability of Wi-Fi and the accuracy of GPS navigation after the purchase, when it becomes possible to test the device for a long time.

 

In the store, you should call someone and check how the interlocutor is heard, at the same time, check if they hear you. To check the GPS, use the GPS-test application or an equivalent. The software will show whether the tablet sees satellites and whether it is capable of working with them, however, even for expensive devices it will be normal if it takes one or several minutes to first detect satellites, especially indoors and when Wi-Fi and mobile communications are turned off.