Finding the perfect 4G Tablet for my Dad

My mother called me a few days ago with a simple question:

“What kind of tablet should I buy for your father’s Christmas present?”

Should be easy to answer, right?  But, she had a few requirements:

– Must be 4G
– Large, bright screen
– Easy to use
– less than $400

And with that list, the pool of qualified applicants dwindled significantly.  However, this list of “must-haves” might also need some examination.  First off, we’ve explored previously in this blog that 4G doesn’t always mean “faster”.  I explained to my mother that, while dad may want the fanciest new technology, it might not actually provide a tangible benefit.  Unfortunately, I could hear her shrug through the phone; “Well, you know your father!”

So, check- 4G.  This rules out the iPad family (as does the price), which is unfortunate as the iPad is, by far, my favorite tablet – mine gets a daily workout.  With the iPad out, a few options jumped out from the pack.  For instance, the Samsung Galaxy Tab has great buzz, and can be purchased very affordably at $199 for a refurbished model.  Unfortunately, the 7.48-inch screen is small for a tablet, and might not work as a laptop replacement.  The Galaxy Tab 8.9 has a larger screen and seems ideal- however, the larger, improved screen comes with a larger price tag.  Comparably, the Acer Iconia shares many of the same features as the Galaxy Tab, and boasts a 10.2-inch screen.  At $329.99 through AT&T wireless, it’s a better value and satisfies most of my mother’s checklist.

Another option is the Motorola Xoom, which my mother already has and loves.  The 4G LTE model can be purchased with a contract for $299, which is on the low-end of the tablet pricing range.  However, if you haven’t purchased one yet, it may be hard to pick one up for the holidays – they’re sold out in many areas of the country.  So, I advised my mom that if she doesn’t want to duplicate her Xoom, or if she can’t find one, the Iconia might be the way to go.

One last note on purchasing refurbished equipment:  some may worry that refurbished equipment = lower quality.  However, I always purchased refurbished whenever I’m offered the option.  It’s not only for the lower price; it’s that refurbished items are usually guaranteed to have been checked out by an actual human being before being approved for resale.  So, the chances are high that the unit is working well and has been through rigorous quality control.  Not a 100% guarantee, of course, but so far this policy has held me in good stead.

Happy holiday shopping!