Tablet PCs have many advantages for businesses, particularly their portability, lower cost, and increasingly advanced technical capabilities. As file storage increasingly moves to the cloud, it is becoming as easy to access important materials from a small, portable tablet as it would be from a much larger, desktop computer. Similarly, tablets’ lack of direct printer connections is no longer a disadvantage, as it is now possible to print directly from the cloud, as well. You can even connect a portable keyboard to many tablets, if you prefer that to the on-screen option.

Tablets can also be used not only by a business’s employees but offered as an option to customers. For example, in a restaurant, menus can be placed on tablets and used for self-service, allowing patrons to order food at their own pace. Similarly, they can be used to enhance the shopping experience, allowing customers to research different options when they are re-decorating their home, or trying to purchase a new outfit.

Although the iPad probably continues to be the best-known tablet, there are strong rivals on the market, including the Samsung Android tablets, the Kindle Fire, and several more, including tablets that incorporate Windows 8. There are several factors businesses need to take into consideration when deciding which of these options will best help them to connect with their clientele. These are somewhat inter-connected and include:

  • Size
  • Display (resolution)
  • Apps
  • Price

Tablets range more dramatically in size than many people might expect, from 7 to 13 inches. Future tablets may extend this contrast even further, creating some degree of confusion as tablets get smaller while smartphones get larger. However, there is an obvious trade-off between the convenience and portability that comes with the smaller range of tablets and the comfort level that many users may associate with having a larger device to use for work.

Therefore, consider whether your business involves a lot of travel, or even a lengthy commute. In that case, your employees may prefer the smaller-sized tablets. On the other hand, if you want tablets largely to be used in the office, or even for your customers to use while shopping, you may prefer something more substantial. You also want to ensure that the screen is large enough to enable the use of whatever apps you need for your business.

As above, the disadvantage of the smaller, more portable tablets is that their display capabilities may not be as advanced as those that come with a larger screen. Not all tablets come with HD resolution – if you plan to use your tablet for a lot of video display or to read PDFs, you may prefer a tablet that does. Again, a larger tablet is more likely to come with a more advanced display, although there are exceptions like the Nexus 7. Nonetheless, for many businesses the difference between HD and standard resolution may not be important enough to offset the other advantages of a popular tablet like the iPad Mini that doesn’t come in HD.

Apps are a huge part of the tabloid experience. Many businesses will prefer the tablet that allows them to use the apps that they are most familiar with. You want to purchase the tablet that will be most comfortable for your employees and customers to use. Often, this may depend to some extent on your industry. Design-oriented businesses are often inclined to use the Mac line of products, while tech companies may lean toward the Android-based tablets.

Make sure to carefully research which apps are most important to your particular business, and also which system allows you to access them both existing and new apps in the least cumbersome fashion. You might also consider special features like the stylus pen that comes with some of the Samsung tablets, as well as which tablets allow you to utilize a portable physical keyboard.

Particularly for smaller businesses, price is a consideration that must be heavily-weighed against the other factors listed above. There is a fairly substantive difference between the extremes in terms of cost. While the Kindle Fire can cost as little as $200, the iPad is $500 and the Microsoft Surface Pro is $900, with other products coming in at various points along the spectrum. Even more variation is possible depending on customization and add-on features.

Again, it is important to consider your particular business’s needs. If you only intend to purchase a smaller number of tablets, it might be worth it to spend more for the high end of the product line. Cost might also enable you to decide between the larger and smaller tablets. If you’re committed to getting an Apple product, but feel that the iPad is too expensive, the iPad Mini may be a positive alternative. Similarly, the Nexus 7 could be an alternative to the larger, more expensive Android products.

In the end, although it’s important to read consumer and professional reviews of these products, you have to decide which tablet to buy based on which will give you the best value and the best performance when the specific needs of your business are taken into consideration.