What’s the right tablet size for you

Besides technical specifications, the operating system, the design, battery and the type of the screen, the size is an important factor that weighs heavily in the balance of decision, whenever customers want to purchase a new tablet. The size of the slate is automatically assumed to different tasks, with larger tablets being used for some purposes and tinier tablets for others. Today, we are going to speak about the importance of this factor, the advantages and disadvantages of the most well-known sizes and eventually, why do device manufacturers choose to market distinct sizes.

Dell Streak: the first sign that consumers needed something more

There are plenty of reasons for why do big companies like Samsung, Asus, Motorola, Amazon and even Apple, choose to sell different sized-tablets, but one strikes us to be very important: their use. Let’s roll back to the days when the slate market was very young and only a few models existed, and where smartphones kept their standard size below 4-inch. In this age, the first compromise between a phone and a tablet appeared: the Dell Streak.

Dell Streak was launched in June 2010 and besides its innovative specs at the time, it brought a 5.0-inch wide display. For me personally, it seemed as a madness to even take a call and put the large device besides my head, because it was huge. But at the time, I did not need flexibility and a bigger display, which would accommodate my needs for reaching out to various people using SMSs and phone calls, while checking a Twitter account or viewing a movie on the train.

Galaxy Note, Galaxy Tab: smaller, but still big

The fashion caught, and Samsung released the Galaxy Note a couple of months ago, a smartphone with a 5.3-inch wide display that was marketed as the perfect solution for designers, photographers and Photoshop junkies. It also arrived with a stylus, to clear the doubt of having or not one.


The same principle applies for tablets. Those that need a larger viewing area can opt for a 10-inch wide tablet (the iPad) with a big resolution, while those that need something to carry inside their back pockets can opt for 7-inch device (the Galaxy Tab). It’s all about the needs, and this factor varies from one person to another. Device manufacturers have the obligation and privilege to supply products that fill all our needs.

Size, Demand and Price

Where there’s demand, offer must follow, but at an attractive price. Of course, the real demand and sales numbers are very difficult to be found, with companies actually misleading investors by bragging with higher sales numbers (Samsung did that with the Galaxy Tab saying it sold 2 million units, instead of 20.000), but we can rely on the opinions of some analysts fond of the domain. You might be curious as to find out how exactly device vendors cash in from the tablets and smartphones they make.

iPad Mini to become reality?

Apple is rumored to introduce a smaller version of the iPad, presumably called the iPad Mini or Mini iPad. This model is said to have a 7.85-inch wide screen, or something around the 7-inch mark, and should market for an “attractive price”. Although officials have stated that the model will monetize lower than the new iPad model, which costs $399, speculations place the iPad Mini around $199.

And for this price, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo from KGI Securities predicts that Apple will sell about 1.8 million units in September (the first month of launch), followed by a stronger demand in the upcoming months, probably influenced by the arrival of Holydays.

7.85 inch iPad Mini or 7 inch Nexus?

Although the numbers may not surprise all of use, Ming-Chi Kuo also claims that the sales for the smaller iPad will surpass those of its bigger sibling. Think about it: besides the needs of every individual, we are bond to making compromises in order to save some money. Now, a regular consumer that would only use a tablet to browse the web (researches advice that this is the main use of the iPad) will be presented with two options: the fourth iPad generation, costing $399 or more, and the iPad Mini, at $199. Of course, the first option is wider with two inches, but how many of these regular consumers will pay $200 for 2 inches?

Moreover, people that have never considered buying a tablet because it’s too pricy will probably do that now, with prices slashed in half. And the main reason why we, and so many analysts out there, believe that the price of the iPad Mini will be around $200 is the competition. Google already has a device in the same niche that can be purchased with $199: the Nexus 7.


There’s no winner in the size battle

Each and every size has its benefits and disadvantages. For instance, the smaller 7-inch tablet usually costs way lower than a full-size device, and has the advantage of a lower battery consumption rate because of the smaller display and dimmer internals. Speaking about internals, the smaller space also means there’s not enough room to accommodate high-end specifications or other interesting features. Now, leaving all the technical gimmicks aside and speaking only about form factors, a smaller tablet is easier to carry, usually weights between 100 and 200 grams lesser and as some commercials suggest, you could carry one in your back-pocket and without a protecting cover / case.

Those purchasing a bigger slate, usually found with a 10-inch wide display, will have more room for games, viewing movies and doing their work. Moreover, a larger tablet usually (it’s not a rule) has better specifications and can run some tasks that cannot be performed on its smaller sibling. A larger space can also accommodate a LTE friendly battery, which allows higher traffic consumption.

What’s your take?

How much does the tablet size truly matters to you? Is it more than the price, than the features? Is it everything? Considering the fact that more and more vendors choose to market a whole range of sizes (Amazon is actually rumored to release 5 tablets in the near future), what’s your pick?

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Graphic credits: Fast Company

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Feature Writer

Alex holds an engineering degree in Telecommunications and has been covering technology as a writer since 2009. Customization is his middle name and he doesn’t like to own stock model gadgets. When he’s away from the keyboard, simpler things like hiking, mountain climbing and having a cold drink make his day.