If you’re looking to buy a tablet, you’ve probably already thought about why you need one. Choosing the best tablet for entertainment is different than choosing an all-in-one tablet or one that means you can work well on the go.
While tablets for entertainment will still be reliable for other purposes, such as if you need to get some work done, surf the web, or check email, all the best tablets each will have their own unique benefits and uses.
That’s why we’re here to explain the key things to consider when buying an entertainment tablet. This way, you’ll get the most out of watching Netflix, listening to music on Spotify or other services.
1. Screen quality
Tablets generally come in roughly three different sizes. There are sub 10 inches, around 10 inches, and ones that are much larger, bordering on the same size as laptop screens.
It might seem like choosing the largest is the most important consideration, but it’s a bit more complicated than that. In addition to considering how portable the tablet needs to be, not all screens are created equal.
For example, there’s the Apple iPad Pro 12.9 with its 12.9-inch display that offers a 120Hz refresh rate and uses MiniLED technology to ensure images look sharp at all times.
The high refresh rate means it can handle fast-moving images on the screen better than a standard 60Hz refresh rate. If you enjoy watching sports or high-octane action movies, this will change your viewing experience.
It is also important to consider the peak brightness level. Generally, the brighter the screen, the better the display looks where there is a lot of ambient light – ie. if you are outdoors and it is sunny. If you plan to use your tablet outdoors a lot, it’s worth focusing on. Do you mostly plan to watch snuggled up on the couch or in bed? Don’t worry so much about it.
As with TVs, it’s a smart move to focus on a tablet that has an OLED panel rather than an IPS panel. OLED means that each pixel you see can be lit individually, rather than working en masse. This way you get deeper blacks and vivid colors. If you like to watch your favorite shows and movies in the best picture quality, you need this level of technology.
2. Sound quality
Sound is something that’s easy to overlook when buying a tablet, but it makes a huge difference if you want to enjoy a truly immersive experience while watching streaming services or if you want to listen to music.
Look for tablets that offer dual or quad speakers. From there, tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 and Apple iPad Pro have Dolby Atmos support, so supported audio sounds exceptional. Both tablets offer clear sound even at higher volumes, but you can always enable Bluetooth and connect them to other speakers if you prefer.
If you’re on a budget, go for dual speakers rather than a single.
All tablets have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, but not all have cellular connectivity.
If you want to use your tablet while traveling, not every place has Wi-Fi. In this case, having 4G or 5G options on your tablet can come in handy. Streaming shows or music over a cellular network means you’ll need to sign up for a data plan tied to a SIM card inserted in your tablet, but it can be convenient.
Aim for 5G if you can, as streaming can require a fast connection, although 4G should still be fine if you don’t mind being patient sometimes.
Some data plans let you pay for a month, so if you don’t plan on needing data all the time, this can be useful for occasional trips away from Wi-Fi.
4. Battery life
If you want to stream a lot of great entertainment to your tablet, you probably plan to do so for extended periods of time. If so, you don’t want to drain your battery anytime soon.
So look for a tablet that offers 10-12 hours of battery life. Many are designed with video playback in mind, so they’re optimized for the task.
We can’t see many people needing to watch more than half a day of streaming content before going anywhere near a power source, so the vast majority of good quality tablets will suit your needs.
Most people stream entertainment from online sources these days, but that doesn’t mean a slow tablet will suffice. While even the cheapest and slowest tablets will still run the likes of Netflix and Disney Plus, apps can be slow with a tablet with poor performance.
Usually, if you’re looking for good picture and sound quality, you’ll get a fairly powerful tablet anyway. That way, you won’t be disappointed by how slow it is to navigate between apps.
Also, watch out for little wiggle room with storage. While you may be streaming most of your content, you may occasionally want to download shows to watch offline (especially if you don’t have a cellular connection), so it’s helpful to have enough free space to do so.