Best Tablet to buy from a Store

Lets get down to it, sometimes you just got to go to your nearest store and get the best tablet you can find.
Although I typically recommend buying used/refurbish, sometimes I am tasked to get something new.
So this challenge would be to find the best entry or mid range tablet you can buy at a store right now, brand new.
Lets start with the latest you can get… well ‘new’ for September of 2017.

Almost all of the prices here will reflect WiFi models and entry or one option storage option.
Also since I’m going to look at new store prices, this could get dated quickly..

Flagship – Top Sellers

Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i5 model – $999 MSRP | $899 Best Buy |

  • CPU – i5-7300u – 2.6GHz to 3.5GHz, 3MB Cache – Passmark 5121
  • Display – 12.3-inch, 3:2 aspect ratio, 2736 x 1824 pixels – 267 PPI – 1080p video will be thick letterboxed, 1.4x of 1080p
  • 128GB SSD BGA (Soldiered, non-upgradable)
  • 4GB RAM – Soldiered on, $300 for a 8GB RAM upgrade (SSD upgrades to 256GB)
  • Intel HD 620 Graphics – Passmark 942
  • 8MP Rear Camera, 5MP WebCam, 1x USB 3.0, MicroSD card slot, Mini Display port, KickStand, Optional Pen doesn’t slide in.

Microsoft went the unservicable route, a lot of the parts are soldiered on, unlike previously, you can upgrade the SSD.
At least the specs are pretty good, that’s if you want to plop 1K on a tablet.
This isn’t the cheaper m3 model, nearly same specs but slower processor at $799…

iPad Pro 12.9″ 64GB Base – $799 WiFi MSRP | $699 Best Buy | $779 Fry’s | $799 NewEgg | $929 For Cellular

  • CPU – A10X (m10) – 2.38GHz ‘quadcore’ – Only 3 cores run, one core for powersaving
  • Display – 12.9″, 4:3 aspect ratio, 2732‑by‑2048 pixels –  664 PPI – 1080p video will be letterboxed like old laptops, 1.4x of 1080p
  • 64GB SSD soldiered on, $150 upgrade to 256GB, $350 upgrade to 512GB
  • 4GB RAM – More than needed for iOS & Stock Android
  • 12MP Rear Camera, 7MP WebCam/FaceTime, only one lightning cable, Optional Apple Pen doesn’t slide in

Apple decided to go bigger on their flagship, this is in direct competition of M$ Surface.
I’ve yet to really feel the real performance of this, my real gripe is how the apple pen needs to charge.
There isn’t really much difference from the smaller model, just a bigger screen.
Amazon sells the ‘old’ 12.9″ iPad pro for $645, because of this, the 2017 iPad Pro’s might be called the iPad Pro 2… :O
The main difference is that the old Pro model has a 1.2MP FaceCam, unlike the 7MP, much better selfies <3

iPad Pro 9.7″ 64GB Base – $649 WiFi MSRP | $549 Best Buy | $598 Fry’s | $649 NewEgg | $619 New eBay | $779 for Cellular

  • CPU – A10X (m10) – 2.38GHz ‘quadcore’ – Only 3 cores run, one core for powersaving
  • Display – 10.5″, 4:3 aspect ratio, 2224-by-1668, 264 ppi, 1080p video will be letterboxed like old laptops, 1.5x of 1080p
  • 64GB SSD soldiered on, $150 upgrade to 256GB, $250 upgrade to 512GB
  • 4GB RAM – More than needed for iOS & Stock Android.
  • 12MP Rear Camera, 7MP WebCam/FaceTime, only one lightning cable, Optional Apple Pen doesn’t slide in, Apple Botnet.

For 2017, Apple added a little bit more size the new iPad Pro.
Amazingly, the entire size is half an inch bigger than the older model, so not too shabby 😀
I’m not sure about Apple’s decision about this model, its $150 less than the bigger model, and it has the same specs and battery life.
For most people who want a “pro” tablet, I recommend this one, and I do want to get this tablet :O.
The only difference from the two is screen size, which I presume meticulous digital artists would want this for precise compositions, or people who just want bigger screens… because bigger equals better.

Standard & Previous Generation
Microsoft Surface Pro 4

This is the older 2015 model that is still being sold

Entry Model – Core M3 – $899 MSRP in 2015 | $529 NewEgg Refurb | $749 Fry’s | $530 ‘new-ish’ eBay

  • CPU – m3-7Y30 – 1GHz to 2.6GHz, 4MB Cache, fanless – Passmark 3647
  • 128GB SSD NVMe (can be upgrade but not from factory)
  • 4GB RAM – Soldiered on, too low IMO for Windows 10 (Windows 10 uses at least 1GB at idle)
  • Intel HD 615 graphics – Passmark 717
  • 8MP Rear Camera, 5MP WebCam, 1x USB 3.0, MicroSD card slot, Mini Display port, KickStand Optional Pen doesn’t slide in.
  • 8 hour battery

Base model – Core i5 (4GB) – $999 MSRP | $799 w/ keyboard Best Buy | $921 Fry’s | $780 NewEgg Refurb | $639 eBay

  • CPU – i5-6300U – 2.4Ghz to 3GHz, 3MB Cache, Fanless – Passmark 4370
  • 128GB SSD NVMe (can be upgrade but not from factory)
  • 4GB RAM – Soldiered on, too low IMO for Windows 10 (Windows 10 uses at least 1GB at idle)
  • Intel HD 615 graphics – Passmark 717
  • 8MP Rear Camera, 5MP WebCam, 1x USB 3.0, MicroSD card slot, IMini Display port, KickStand, Optional Pen doesn’t slide in.
  • 7 Hour battery

Budget & Entry $300 – 400

Apple iOS Devices

Apple iPad (2107, 5th Generation) – 32GB $329 MSRP | 128GB $429 | Cellular Models – 32GB $459 MSRP | 128GB $559 MSRP

Gotta start with the original, this iPad replaces the iPad Air 2, but it isn’t a direct replacement, some features were stripped. Don’t expect anything amazing at this device, at $329 it is a very very cheap, considering the original iPad in 2010 cost $499 for a 16GB model, and the 4th gen 2012 16GB model cost $399 when new. But the praise of the praise of the price also has its downfalls. One complaint is the screen is super glossy and it is reflective, too reflective for outdoor use. For me this isn’t an issue, as you can buy that antireflective coating for the price of popcorn. With all that said, $329 is a very attractive price. 32GB might be too small for that person who only wants one device, given how media and movie streaming, this would be good. You can save a decent amount of photos, but if you’re going to download movies, you’ll run out of space soon, then 128GB model is recommended. Oh yeah, the selfie cam is on par with 2012 laptops. Also they say that Apple’s smart keyboard doesn’t work, but like any bluetooth keyboard will work.

  • CPU – A9 1.84GHz
  • Display – 9.7″ 4:3 Aspect Ratio, 2048 x 1536 pixels, video letterboxed at 1.1x of 1080p
  • 2GB RAM
  • 8MP rear camera, 1.2MP webcam, Apple pen not supported
  • 10 Hour battery life

Best Buy – 32GB – $289 Refurb | $249 Refurb w/ WiFi
eBay – 32GB $299 | $399 |

Apple iPad Mini 4 – 32GB $399 MSRP | Cellular Model – $529 MSRP

The iPad Mini is a 2015 model, so it is a bit dated, I wouldn’t pay premium for this in 2018. Apple had dropped their 16GB, 32GB & 64GB models to only focus on selling their 128GB model. As a matter of fact, the 128GB model today costs the same as the 16GB model when first intoduced in 2015! The iPad mini is the cheapest Apple device other than a iPod, and Apple doesn’t make much in profit margins of this device, sales supposedly pull away from the iPhone Plus models… This is probably the best device for kids because its small, seriously, never log onto iCloud or App store on your account if you’re giving this to your kid. Your 4 year old will find a way to charge your credit card $500 in dumb fucking tokens. Although this comes with 128GB storage standard, Apple really wants the 9.7″ iPad to sell, which is why they dropped all other storage options for this model, yet this has an antireflective coating which the standard iPad does not. If you compare the 128GB $429 iPad model to this, is it worth paying $30 more for slightly better performance but dealing with seeing your reflection?

  • CPU – A8 1.5GHz
  • Display – 7.9″ 4:3 Aspect Ratio, 2048 x 1536 pixels, video letterboxed at 1.1x of 1080p
  • 2GB RAM
  • 8MP rear camera, 1.2MP webcam, Apple pen not supported.
  • 10 hour Battery life

Apple iPad Air 2 – $499 MSRP in late 2014

The iPad Air is discontinued officially from Apple, as the 9.7″ iPad essentially replaces it. However, refurbished and new models still exist until stock is replenished. The main difference is that this model is thinner, has four speakers instead of just two, it has been reviewed with critical acclaim. Although the newer iPad has a slightly better CPU, this would have better sound and it has an antireflective coating on the screen, like the iPad mini.  I couldn’t find many models for sale, mostly because its out of reach

  • CPU – A8X 1.5GHz
  • Display – 9.7″ 4:3 Aspect Ratio, 2048 x 1536 pixels, video letterboxed at 1.1x of 1080p
  • 2GB RAM
  • 8MP rear camera, 1.2MP webcam, Apple pen not supported.
  • 10 Hour Battery Life

Best Buy – 32GB – $289 Refurb | $249 Refurb w/ WiFi
eBay – 32GB $299 | $399 |
Target & Fry’s Out of Stock

Samsung Android Devices

Samsung Galaxy Tab E – $250 MSRP

This model is an entry device for 2015. Now it might be very dated for most people. I can’t seem to get a right price on these, supposedly there is a “Lite” model too.

  • CPU – 1.2GHz
  • Display – 9.6″, 800 x 1250 – Sub HD
  • 1.5GB RAM
  • 7+ Hour battery life

Best Buy- 16GB $219 Refurb |
Target – 16GB $179 |
eBay – 16GB $120

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