Back in the day, a tablet was simply for reading ebooks and, yikes — with a black and white display. Today with millions of apps to choose from, a majority of Brits over age 16 own a tablet, taking it from a luxury to a much-loved necessity in more than half of homes.

Operating System

This iPad model has a high-quality 8MP back camera, stereo speakers and Apple’s famous retina display. Apple

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Tablets and their applications run on different operating systems, just like computers run on Apple iOS, Windows or Linux. Apple — the company that also makes the iPhone and Mac computers — was the first company to sell a tablet, and their iPad runs on Apple’s iOS operating system. If you are already a Mac and iPhone user, it may make sense to buy a tablet that runs Apple iOS too, for easier sync and full compatibility between your devices.

Cellular and WiFi

This Samsung has a Kids Home mode that automatically protects documents, photos and settings from being accidentally changed by swiping children. Samsung

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Tablets can connect to the internet either via WiFi (from a home, office or public modem or using your cell phone as a mobile WiFi hotspot) or cellular, like a cell phone does. Not all tablets can do both so be sure to check specs! The nice thing about a cellular-equipped tablet is that you can go online no matter where you are or whether you have your phone with you; but this connectivity isn’t free — it costs money, just like your cell phone data plan does. WiFi-only tablets can only connect to the internet when a WiFi signal is available. If you’re ever out of range or unable to find an open WiFi signal, these tablets won’t be able to connect.

Storage space

This Microsoft Surface Pro model has 128GB of memory, compared to 16GB or 32GB in many entry-level tablets, and can be used as a full-feature laptop with a keyboard cover accessory (not included). Microsoft

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One of the most important things to consider when buying a tablet is how much memory you need. If you’re mostly going to be browsing the web, emailing, using social media and watching a little streaming television, a tablet with 16 or 32 GB of memory may be plenty. But if you have a lot of applications or use complex apps for work or entertainment (like graphics-heavy games) you may fill up that space quickly and get frustrated. Also consider whether you’ll be downloading and saving video, photos or large documents such as PDFs. All of those take up space and require more GB of storage.