If you haven’t spent very much time with a tablet, it can be hard to figure out where it fits in your tech life. Is it a larger version of your phone, or a smaller, more portable version of a laptop? The truth is, depending on your needs, a tablet can be either (or both!)
A tablet’s flexibility is its best asset. If it’s paired with “professional” accessories like a stylus or keyboard, it can be used for writing or sketching. When used on its own, a tablet is basically a large screen for web surfing, video streaming and gaming.
More from Rolling Stone
- FILA Drops New Sneaker Collaboration With The Notorious B.I.G.
- 10 Places You Can Find Hand Sanitizer Right Now Aside From Amazon
- ESPN+ is Streaming Michael Jordan's Best Games, After Success of 'The Last Dance'
It may seem redundant, but a tablet can slowly take over certain tasks that you used to do on your smartphone or computer. You may even begin to favor it over either device for certain tasks like photo editing, or reading and responding to e-mails.
We’ve rounded up some of the most popular and versatile tablets. Whether you’re looking for a better way to watch movies in bed, or don’t want to lug a laptop around every time you need to get work done, you’ll find what you’re looking for here.
What You Need to Know Before Buying a Tablet
There are many factors to think about when choosing the right tablet for you; below are the most important ones, which we considered while we were researching this list.
Screen Size and Resolution: A tablet’s screen is its most important feature: The larger the screen, the more information you can see at once. Its resolution (how many pixels the screen has) determines how sharp videos, pictures, and text will look. The tradeoff to consider is that the larger the screen, the larger (and heavier) the tablet.
Storage: If you plan on downloading a lot of media or apps, you’ll want to get a tablet with a lot of storage. Some tablets let you upgrade their storage down the line, but that’s not always the case. All of the tablets we’re recommending have at least 16GB (gigabytes) of storage, which is enough to hold thousands of songs, dozens of apps, and at least 10 hours of full HD video.
Operating System: Like phones and computers, tablets run an operating system, which determines its features, and the types of apps it can run. You should make sure the software you need is compatible with the tablet you want before making a final decision.
Battery Life: A tablet’s tech specs don’t matter if its battery only lasts a couple of hours. We made sure to choose tablets that get at least seven hours of battery life — some get over 10 hours per charge.
Creation vs. Consumption: The big debate in the tablet world is whether they’re meant for consumption (watching videos, reading articles, using apps) or creation (making videos, writing articles, building apps). Think about how you want to use your tablet; is it a device you want to pick up when you’re hanging out after work? Are you using it to get work done? Or is it a little bit of both?
Cellular: All of the tablets in our guide support the two big wireless technologies: WiFi, to connect to the internet, and Bluetooth, to connect to accessories like keyboards, headphones, speakers, and styluses. But some tablets also support cellular connectivity, which allows them to access the internet through a cell phone provider’s wireless network, like a smartphone.
Cellular connectivity can be activated through any major US carrier, and requires a monthly fee. If you often find yourself working out of the house, but don’t want to be confined to a coffee shop (or deal with hotel WiFi), it may be worth the extra cost.
See where your favorite artists and songs rank on the Rolling Stone Charts.