The Tech Specs That Matter

The Tablet Specs That Matter

Today's Best Tech Deals

Picked by PCWorld's Editors

Top Deals On Great Products

Picked by Techconnect's Editors

The Tech Specs That Matter

Show More

Tablets are new and so it's easy for manufacturers to throw out a blizzard of specs. The ones that really matter, though, are those that determine how quickly a tablet will respond to your input and how well images and text will display on its screen.

Tablets: Specs That Don't Matter


Photograph by Robert Cardin
This Space Intentionally Left Blank": At the moment, there’s very little you shouldn’t be paying attention to when buying a tablet. Fortunately, manufacturers have refrained from filling tablet specs lists with confusing jargon. Here's hoping things stay that way. Related: How to Buy a Tablet

Tablets: Specs That Sometimes Matter

Ports: With tablets, integrated ports are a double-edged sword. If the ports are built in, you don’t need a dongle to add HDMI, an SD Card, or a USB device. Ports add weight and thickness to the tablet, though. For many people, the port-free Apple iPad 2 and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 are capable, attractive choices; and if you want to add (some) of the aforementioned ports to one or the other, you can easily do so via extra-cost dongles. However, if you plan to buy a tablet and use it for productivity tasks (not just media consumption), find one that has the ports you’ll want on board. Related: iPad 2 vs. Xoom vs. Galaxy Tab: Which Tablet Works Best?

Tablets: Specs That Always Matter

Screen resolution: The higher the resolution, the sharper the display--that's a rule of thumb you can count on. While many tablets have crisp 1280-by-800-pixel displays, some--such as the Apple iPad 2 (1024 by 768) and the abysmally low-resolution Dell Streak 7 (800 by 480)--fall shy of that. Because the screen is such an integral and unchangeable part of a tablet, don’t skimp on the resolution. Related: High-Res Tablet Display Saves Energy

Processor speed: Most bargain-bin tablets cut corners on the processor, and carry a sub-1GHz CPU. Single-core models, especially those with CPU clock speeds less than 1GHz, are slow. Stick with a dual-core CPU, or a single-core CPU that's at least faster than 1GHz. Related: Your Next Tablet May Have a Quad-Core Chip

Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate link policy for more details.
Shop Tech Products at Amazon