The best tablet? Nate Freeman reviews the Apple iPad

Recently, I was asked by my Aunt to recommend the best tablet.

Aunt: We are looking at buying a tablet and when I’m looking at all of the different ones, I’m blown away at how little I know. We would like a more portable “computer” but bigger than our phones that can access email, Facebook, Google info, Word processing ability and can hold at least 32GB.

Nate: So, I’m going to recommend the Apple iPad.   This might make your defenses come up initially, but I’ll tell you why and you may agree with me afterword’s.

Pros: (for buying iPad)

  1. They WORK.  Every time, all the time.   I’m around so many tablets and the number of idiosyncrasies users face with stuff not working is dizzying.  I take my iPad into meetings every time and have never had a crash or glitch in front of a customer.   However, my $2000 ThinkPad with touchscreen continues to have glitches in front of customers at average of 1 per month.  (Doesn’t make the ThinkPad bad, it’s just much more complex and drives me crazy at times.)
  2. Battery life is superior.  I get 12ish hours out of my iPad on one charge.  I can not use it for 4 days and still get 12 hours.
  3. Size matters.   I don’t want a big phone.  I don’t want a heavy computer.  I won’t read off of most tablets because they are 3 lbs. (try lifting that through a good novel).  The iPad is 1 lb. and is excellent quality.  Light enough to take on any trip or into any conversation and take notes.
  4. Good investment.  The iPad sounds expensive but I would argue that it is cheap.  I’ve used mine (that I bought off Amazon for $550) for over 5 years.  I didn’t extend the warranty.  I never need support or service on it.  It just works.  That’s $110 per year it has cost me and it’s still going strong.
  5. I’m not an Apple user but I love the iPad.   Note that all my computers are PCs.  But using a tablet is not a Mac vs. PC question.  It’s a question of what system will give reliable performance and be simple to use.  Though I have no care to upgrade to a Mac computer, I love the iPad.  It’s different.  Easy.  Macs are not easy for PC users to get used to.  I caution everyone about that.  iPads are easy because if you can operate a phone, you can operate an iPad.
  6. With Apps, it’s more than a tablet.  The number of amazing apps available for the iPad makes this tool sing.   I got it for meeting notes.  However, the clarity of the screen makes it amazing for magazine subscriptions.  WSJ, INC., Fast Company, and many more have apps for iPad that are simply BETTER than having the physical paper in your hands with links, notes, graphs, color, video, etc.  there are over 1 million apps, literally.   Even if you only like 5 of them, it makes the iPad an incredible tool.   My top apps are: email, google, banking, brokerage trading, Evernote, Word, magazines.   Apps will surprise you though.  When we wanted to remodel, I downloaded an architecture app and drew the plans for our house.  This was the basis for the ideas used by the architect.   The app cost my $5.   Amazing.
  7. Bluetooth helps.   You can buy a Bluetooth keyboard to make word processing easier.  You can also connect Bluetooth headphones.  You can even use it as a backup phone if you have an iPhone.
  8. Knowledge sharing.  Lots of people know and love the iPhone and iPad.  That means that every person you meet with one, can make for great conversation and provide tips or even tech support.   Don’t buy a knock-off tablet that no one has heard of.   You’ll be on a deserted island with no help, ever.


  1. It’s an Apple.  Every accessory that you purchase that has “apple” on it will cost more.  There are many other brands that make cost affective accessories.
  2. You need to get used to IOS.  This is the operating system.  If you have an iPhone already, you are golden.  Otherwise, this will take learning curve.  I would argue no more than any other tablet.
  3. Repair is expensive.  I have a $15 case and have never had an accident.  However, if you drop it wrong, you could be looking at $200 repair.   This is same for most any tablet but is a factor.  Use the 1 year warranty but don’t extend it unless you are accident prone.

Finally, here are a few other tablets and my opinion on them:

  1. Lenovo & HP tablets.   Expensive, require support, tend to be glitch mainly because it’s complex.
  2. Kindle.  Not even!  Don’t buy unless your only goal is books and streaming.
  3. Surface.  Love it.  As long as you have $1500 and are willing to navigate complexity.
  4. Cheap knock-off brands.  Don’t go there.  They’ll end up un-used and you’ll end up in a sea of regret.

So, that’s my recommendation.   Hope it was helpful.    -Nate Freeman