Which tablets can I compare with Broadband Genie?
Our range of tablet deals changes regularly, but you can usually find a selection of Apple iPad deals - including older but cheaper models as well as the latest hardware - and packages with Android tablets. We also list refurb deals for all tablets, when they are available.
What should I look for when comparing contract tablets?
Aside from deciding on a network and device, there are several important things to consider when comparing tablet deals.
Data limit: If your usage is quite light (web browsing, email and some audio streaming, for example) then 1-5GB will be sufficient, however if you regularly download apps, play online games or stream video you need to look at the higher caps of 10GB or more. If you’re unsure we’d highly recommend checking out our guide to mobile broadband data usage for further detail.
Setup fee: This is the initial cost of the tablet you’ll have to pay when signing up. Cheaper monthly contracts will normally be offset by a higher ‘pay now’ price, and vice versa. Getting a free or very cheap tablet and splitting it over the life of the contract is a good way to spread the cost, but if you can afford it paying more right now may be better value in the long run. Even with "free" tablet deals you’re still paying for it somewhere, so always take the overall cost into account.
Contract length: Tablet contracts, like other mobile packages, run the gamut from one month, 12 months and 18 months up to 24 months. PAYG is also available, but with these packages you’re simply buying the tablet with one payment and receiving a SIM.
Monthly price: Just like a mobile phone contract, this is the standard monthly fee paid to the network for the mobile broadband service. This price should not change month to month unless you incur extra data charges. You’re committed to paying this amount for the entire length of the contract, so don’t sign up if you’re not sure it’s going to be affordable.
Is there anything to watch out for with pay monthly tablets?
The most important factor to consider when purchasing a tablet deal is checking that you’re getting value for money. Add the upfront expenses to the monthly fees and see how much it’s going to cost for the life of the contract. In many cases you’ll be paying significantly more than buying the tablet outright.
Of course, with a contract deal the cost of the tablet is spread out, which is appealing if you can’t or don’t want to pay the full price in one lump sum.
Will I need to buy a SIM card for my tablet PC?
If you purchase a tablet deal from Broadband Genie, you are buying a package which includes a tablet and SIM card for the chosen network.
Already own a tablet? You can pick up a SIM only deal, but only if your tablet has a SIM card slot. Many tablets are Wi-Fi only and do not have a slot for SIM cards.
How do I decide which tablet is best for me?
Tablet shopping means digging through reams of specifications. Here are the most important details to look out for:
Display size: Most tablets have screens of between 7 inches and 12 inches. Smaller displays are more portable and can be more comfortable to hold, but obviously offer less screen real estate. Bigger screens are nice for movies, and useful if the device is intended to be an alternative to a laptop. Choose a display size appropriate for your intended usage.
Display resolution: The resolution is the number of pixels on the display. Higher res means sharper and more detailed images. A high resolution is usually preferable as it provides the best quality, but keep in mind that cramming loads of pixels on a screen can make text appear very small.
Storage: The amount of storage dictates how much you can save to the tablet’s memory. Keep in mind that a significant proportion will be unavailable as it’s used for the tablet’s operating system. We would recommend 16GB as a minimum, but that is very little if you’re planning to download lots of apps or store large files, such as videos. A memory card slot can make up for limited storage space, but not every tablet has this feature.
Processor: The processor is important if you’re planning on using a tablet for power-hungry apps, particularly games, high-res video playback and productivity tools. Otherwise, it’s probably not something to be too concerned about; powerful dual and quad-core processors are now standard issue even on cheaper models.
RAM: Random Access Memory is used for temporary storage while the device is being used, and has an impact upon multi-tasking and demanding apps, affecting the overall performance. We would aim for at least 2GB RAM, but more never hurts (unlike a computer, the RAM in tablets cannot be upgraded).
What are the pros and cons of Apple iPads and iOS?
The single most popular brand, the iPad offers ease of use, gorgeous design and an excellent software library. But iPads are not the cheapest option, and power users may balk at the restrictions built into the operating system.
- Easy to use
- Powerful specifications
- Huge app library with many tablet-specific apps
- Considered to be very secure
- Interface and software is less flexible and customisable than Android
- Only made by Apple so there’s little variety in the hardware
What are the pros and cons of Android?
Anyone can make an Android tablet, and while that’s great for giving us a huge choice of devices and a highly competitive market, it does mean that there’s no consistency in terms of the build quality and software updates. Choosing a big-name brand is usually a safe bet to ensure you get at least a couple of years of support.
- Modify the operating system and interface to suit your tastes
- Vast choice of hardware across all price points
- Strong selection of apps
- Security patches can be slow to arrive
- Long-term manufacturer support for OS updates is lacking
- Quality of hardware and software is inconsistent
What is the cheapest tablet?
The deals on our comparison table can be sorted by upfront price or monthly price to view the current cheapest deals, but it is always important to calculate the overall cost for the entire length of the contract.
Some of the cheapest deals may include affordably-priced Android tablets, but the sheer popularity of iPads also means that’s usually a special offer or two available for the Apple devices too.
How do I choose a mobile provider for my tablet?
The most important consideration when choosing a network is signal strength. Poor signal means slow internet (or none at all!). Click the logos below to access the official coverage check tools and find out which providers have the best coverage in your area.
Can all tablets access the internet?
Yes, any tablet will offer internet access, but not necessarily mobile internet access. In order to use mobile broadband the tablet must have a SIM card slot, otherwise it will be Wi-Fi only.
If you already own a Wi-Fi tablet and don’t want to buy a new device, a Wi-Fi dongle can provide mobile internet access.
Do all tablets support 3G and 4G?
Not every tablet has a SIM card slot and the necessary hardware to access mobile broadband. All of the deals you see listed on Broadband Genie will support 3G or 4G, but if purchasing elsewhere you’ll need to check the specifications.
Whether or not they support 3G and 4G, or just 3G, will vary too. Most new tablets should handle both, but older hardware may be 3G only.
How much data will I need?
How much data you need is dependant on what you’re planning to do with the tablet. Web browsing, social media and email may not need more than a couple of gigabytes per month, but streaming video and music can use a great deal more. Our guide to mobile broadband data usage has more information on this topic, including a guide to the data used by common activities.
What is the biggest tablet?
The biggest tablet currently listed on Broadband Genie is the 12.9-inch Apple iPad Pro. This is a high-end device with support for a stylus, aimed at creative and business users who want a tablet capable of standing in for a laptop.
What is the most powerful tablet?
As well as being the biggest, the iPad Pro 12.9 is also the most powerful tablet we offer right now. It has a 64-bit quad core processor, 4GB RAM, up to 256GB storage and a high resolution display.
Should I get a laptop instead?
Tablets are wonderful gadgets, but in many ways they are a poor replacement for a laptop.
Laptop computers are often much more powerful, and the operating systems are vastly more flexible. Both Windows and Apple Mac OS have a massive library of software, and tablet versions, when they exist, may be missing crucial features. Laptops also have the advantage of a proper keyboard and mouse, and can support many other peripherals. It is often possible to upgrade laptops too, even if that’s just limited to the RAM and hard drive.
But laptops can be bulkier and have a shorter battery life. Lightweight ultrabooks, such as the Microsoft Surface Pro and Apple MacBook Air, go some way to alleviating these issues - but at a very high cost.