What can you save when buying a tablet

Tablets have become part of our life along with smartphones. But the latter are, first of all, phones, then everything else. Tablets are specialized gadgets for content consumption. The price range of these devices is wide enough. A natural question arises – is it worth taking a cheap model, which at first glance is in no way inferior to more expensive ones? Or is it still worth overpaying and taking a more expensive model?

To the inexperienced buyer, all tablets seem almost the same. Often the choice is made according to the principle “this one has a bigger screen”, “I like this color”, “this is Samsung, and this is Apple”, “this one is cheaper and that one is more expensive”. However, tablets have many different characteristics to consider when choosing a gadget. In this article, we will tell you how to choose the right tablet without overpaying for unnecessary options.

The “brain” of the tablet is the processor, or rather, the system on a chip (SoC). It integrates a central and graphic processors, an image processor, wireless and mobile communication modules, and interfaces.

The speed of the tablet depends on the model and speed of the SoC. The number of processor cores is no longer a decisive factor. So there is no point in focusing on him now. Eight cores can be found both in a budget device and in a top-end one. However, the difference between the total power and the speed of the processors will be multiple. The point is that the kernels themselves will be different.

Examples of SoC tablets

Snapdragon 400 series, Exynos 7000, Helio G20 / 30/70, Helio P10 / 20/30, UniSoC and others Low Weak or medium Weak There is enough power for watching videos and running most applications. May seriously slow down when using CPU intensive applications. You can only play comfortably in old or casual games with simple graphics.
Snapdragon 600 Series, Exynos 9000, Kirin 800, Dimensity 700/800, Helio G70 / 80/90, Helio P60 / 70/90 Average Medium or powerful Average There is enough power for watching videos and running any applications. It only slows down when you use several “heavy” applications at the same time. Demanding 3D games can be played at medium settings.
Snapdragon 800 Series, Exynos 900/1000/2000, Kirin 900/9000, Dimensity 900/1000, Apple A High Powerful Powerful There is enough power for watching video, for the simultaneous operation of many programs. Demanding 3D games run at high and maximum settings.

For the speed of applications, it is responsible, among other things, of random access memory (RAM). Its type and speed are dictated by the SoC used — the higher the class, the faster the RAM. But the amount of installed memory is left to the mercy of device manufacturers.

The amount of RAM depends on the number of simultaneously open applications or tabs in the browser. The larger it is, the higher these indicators are.

The table is relevant for Android OS devices. IOS devices use memory differently and require less RAM for the same use case.

RAM size
Price category
Simultaneously used applications in memory without restarting them
Simultaneously open browser tabs without refreshing pages
Features of devices with a given amount of memory
Less than 2 GB

Morally outdated and not recommended for using modern applications – only for playing video or listening to music.

It is recommended to run demanding applications by closing all unnecessary ones. Otherwise, after a while, the application or game may close spontaneously.

Demanding applications can be launched without unloading others from memory. When launching “heavy” 3D games or a browser with a lot of tabs, it is better to turn off all unnecessary things.

Demanding applications can be launched without unloading other Crashes or application reboots, you can not be afraid.
More than 4 GB

You can run any “heavy” applications at the same time without fear of crashes.
Built-in memory
The built-in memory determines how much data can be stored on the tablet. This is a really important parameter: modern applications can occupy tens of gigabytes. In addition, the cache of every modern browser or messenger takes 0.5-1 GB. The memory is also occupied by the firmware of the device itself. Modern models have a dozen gigabytes for Android OS – more the rule than the exception.

The choice of drive must be approached wisely. The microSD card is not a panacea: it is usually used mainly for storing media files. And Apple devices don’t support memory cards at all.

It is extremely small for full use of modern applications.

You can use a browser, Youtube and a couple of instant messengers. There is not enough memory for more. To store media files, a microSD card is a must.

Enough for a few apps and a small amount of media. For 3D gaming enthusiasts, it is recommended to purchase a microSD card.

Enough for a large number of apps and 3D games. There will be room for photos and music. But if you are going to store videos there too, buy a microSD card.

Enough for apps, games, and everything else.
In addition to size, the screen has four main characteristics – resolution, dot density, matrix type and refresh rate. Resolution is responsible for the size of the rendered image in points. The higher it is, the more information can be transmitted to the screen. The second parameter is inextricably linked with this parameter – the density of points. The larger it is, the smoother and more natural the final picture looks.

Let’s compare typical screen resolutions and dot densities.

Too small for some applications to work properly. Suitable for standard quality videos and children’s play.


The cheapest type of matrix. Of the advantages – repairs in case of breakdown are inexpensive. Poor viewing angles. Contrast is often mediocre.

Medium and high

Wide viewing angles, natural colors. Black is not perfect.


Wide viewing angles, perfect blacks. Matrices are subject to fading.
And finally, the last characteristic is the refresh rate. It determines how smoothly the interface will be perceived. The standard frequency is 60 Hz, the increased frequency is 90 Hz or higher. The increased frequency increases the smoothness of the interface. In tablets, it is mainly available only in premium models.

The battery capacity determines how long the tablet will last without recharging. The capacities are different for different diagonals. 7-inch models typically have a 3000-4500 Ah (mAh) battery. Batteries for 8-inch models have a capacity from 4000 to 5000 mAh, 10-inch and larger – from 5000 to 10000 mAh.


Of course, battery life does not depend on just one battery capacity. The energy efficiency of the SoC and the screen also plays a role. So, all other things being equal, a device with an OLED matrix will work longer than a device with IPS. But, in any case, the larger the battery, the better.

The tablet’s camera is more of an auxiliary device. It’s all about the convenience of shooting: smartphones are much better suited for this purpose. Most often, manufacturers use simple or medium quality cameras. Front cameras are also inferior to smartphones, but they are enough for video communication – in this, tablets are already much more convenient than phones.


Built-in modem
Cellular support comes in handy if you plan to use your tablet while traveling. The budget models are equipped with 3G modems. You should not count on high-speed Internet access from them. Mid- to high-end models boast 4G connectivity.

You can also make calls from some tablets. Mostly 7 and 8-inch models. There are also 10-inch exceptions. However, it is not very convenient to hold such a device near your ear – you will have to use a headset to make calls.

Almost all models have an accelerometer and a gyroscope – sensors that allow you to determine the position of the tablet in space. They come in handy for use in games where you need to control by changing the position of the device.


Magnetic field sensors ensure the operation of the compass on the device, and are responsible for detecting magnetic accessories by the tablet. A light sensor automatically adjusts the screen brightness to suit the lighting conditions. Common, but may not be available in cheap models.

The proximity sensor is most often installed in the middle (and higher) model with mobile network support. Used to protect the screen from accidental touches during a conversation.

Mid-range and higher models almost always have a complete set of sensors. Something may be missing only in cheap models, in which the manufacturer needs to save money.

Security systems
Standard security measures are available on absolutely all models – PIN-code, password and pattern. More expensive models have face recognition or a fingerprint scanner. The latter is either optical or ultrasonic (more expensive). If you want to make frequent unlocking convenient, you should consider a model with a fingerprint scanner. Otherwise, it is not necessary to overpay for the option.

Body material and quality
Cheap models always have a plastic case, most often with large frames around the screen. Models of the middle price category also have a plastic case (with rare exceptions), but the material there is of better quality, often has a pleasant texture. The frames around the screen are narrower. The cases of flagship devices are often made of metal. They are pleasant to hold in your hands and more difficult to break, but such devices are heavier than their plastic counterparts. The frames around the screen are the smallest in expensive devices. This allows you to get the most out of the front panel of your tablet.

Operating system
Another important component is the operating system. Everything is simple here: tablets are initially supplied with one OS, and it is impossible to change it. In general, there are only three options: Android, iOS and Windows.

Android devices have the largest assortment. You can choose a model to your taste and wallet. In addition, the OS is open and has a large number of applications for any need. Android is suitable for both entertainment and work.

iOS (for tablets – iPadOS) is a decent alternative to Android. There is, however, one “but”. All Apple devices are in the mid-high to high price bracket. With a limited budget, they are unlikely to be able to buy. Also, many are confused by the closed nature of the system. Because of it, there are many restrictions on file transfer and application installation. For all its drawbacks, iOS devices are among the fastest to work with.

Windows can be found mainly on devices with a diagonal of 10 inches or more. A desktop system in tablet mode is of two types: regular Windows and Windows RT. The first one supports all computer applications. It is installed on tablets with x86 processors – Intel Atom. The RT variant is a port for ARM processors. Such a system does not work with a number of desktop programs, relying on the Windows app store. Windows tablets are great for work, but competing operating systems are better suited for content and entertainment.

What is worth paying more for?
You should start choosing a tablet with the operating system. Then you can already look at the device you need from the point of view of “hardware”. The third most important item is the screen. Batteries and mobile communication module are slightly less important options. To overpay for them or not? It all depends on how the gadget will be used. For example, if the tablet will only be used in one workplace, you can save on battery power.

The rest of the characteristics are to your taste. Some people care about the quality of the camera, some don’t need it on a tablet at all. The same is the case with the fingerprint scanner and additional sensors. this also includes the presence of a stylus. Pay extra for these options only if you are sure you will enjoy their benefits.