Apple, Android or Windows – what's right for you?
Do you go for the iPad and iOS or a Google-optimised Android tablet? There’s Windows 10 to consider too. Check out our guide…
What is an operating system?
An operating system, or OS, is a piece of software that’s preloaded onto your tablet. It manages your tablet’s software and hardware.
Should I buy into an ecosystem?
Already have an iPhone or an Android smartphone? Work on Windows or MacBook?
Opt for a tablet that runs the same operating system for a more familiar experience and the ability to share contacts, calendars and files between your devices.
Apple – iOS
iPad brought the tablet to the masses. And iPads run iOS, an operating system designed specifically for iPads and iPhones way back in 2007.
Apple makes both the iPad and the software that runs on it, so everything is super-smooth. It is easy to set up, and very simple to use. Everything feels logical and natural. Whether adding an event to your contacts or calendar, or scrolling through screens and menus.
The current version is iOS 10, which became available in September 2016.
Best bits of iOS
- App Store – find all your favourite apps from Facebook to Netflix and iPlayer to Spotify. Choose from over 1.5 million Apple-vetted apps. Browse the top apps
- iTunes and Apple Music – get your hands on everything from cult indie albums to No1 singles, and browse over 85,000 films and over 300,000 TV programmes
- Built-in apps – stay organised with Calendar, speak to friends with FaceTime, browse the web with Safari and find your stuff with Spotlight
- Sync your iPad, iPhone and MacBook – start an essay on your MacBook and finish it on your iPad
- Video calling – tap the FaceTime icon to make video calls to friends and family with a MacBook, iPhone, iPad or iMac
- Send animated emojis like flying balloons and fluttering hearts, and write messages in invisible ink that only reveal once swiped
- Talk to your iPad with Siri digital assistant. Ask it for your next calendar appointment, to see ph -otos from your weekend in Paris, or to set a reminder to pick up milk
- Raise to wake - pick up your iPad and it'll wake automatically with your notifications visible - Facebook, WhatsApp, football scores etc
- Easy messaging - respond to messages from directly in the notification
- Smart home - control compatible smart lightbulbs and thermostats from your iPad with the new Home app
An operating system designed by Google to run on tablets and smartphones made by many different manufacturers. Google makes its own Android tablets called Nexus. But Asus and Samsung make popular Android tablets.
The version of Android you find on one tablet isn’t always the same as on another. Different manufacturers can tweak the design by running their own software on top of it. This is known as a ‘skin’.
But you’ll get the best of Google’s services built-in. The latest version is Android Nougat. Select Nexus and Motorola phones and Google's new Pixel phone already have Nougat
Best bits of Android
- Sync your Android tablet and phone to share calendars, contacts and documents across devices
- Get latest sports scores, calendar updates and traffic information based on what you’re doing and where you are with Google Now on Tap
- Google Play – find all your favourite apps. From Facebook to Netflix and iPlayer to Spotify, browse over 1 million apps. Check out the top apps
- Movies, Music and mags – get your hands on everything from the latest Blockbuster movies and critically acclaimed box-sets to the classic albums and the latest releases at Google Play
- Essays and spreadsheets – write essays and reports in Google Docs, and spreadsheets in Sheets by adding a wireless keyboard to your tablet
- Make it your own – change colours and layouts and remove things to create your perfect home screen. Add Widgets for Twitter or BBC Weather for updates on your home screen. Top free widgets
- Battery saving: When you’re not using your tablet it goes into a low-power sleep mode while the apps you rarely use are put into standby
- Multi-window support - quickly switch between apps by running them side-by-side
- Bundled notifications - group multiple messages by theme or topic for better organisation
- Direct reply - respond to messages from within the notification rather than loading the app
What Android Tablet?
With an incredibly sharp screen, fast processor and super-slim design, we love the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2. Run multiple apps at once without any lag, and work on the go with the incredibly thin 5.6mm-thick design.
Windows 10 works on tablets and smartphones, as well as laptops and computers. It’s designed for both keyboard and mouse and touchscreen controls.
Windows tablets are designed to work like a PC. Some, known as 2 in 1s, can switch between laptop and tablet modes.
Windows 10 on a tablet looks and feels the same as on a laptop, but resized to fit your tablet screen with full-screen apps optimised for control with your fingertips.
Best bits of Windows
- Office apps for Word, Excel and PowerPoint for working on the go – apps are optimised for touchscreen control
- Sync with your Windows laptop to share files across devices – save your work online in OneDrive. Combine with a Windows smartphone for seamless connectivity
- Annotate webpages – researching a presentation or planning a holiday? Scrawl your notes on your tablet screen with a stylus pen then save as a PDF
- Talk to your Windows tablet – Cortana is your own personal assistant. You can ask her questions, and add new appointments to your calendar with your voice. She’ll even search Netflix…
- Skype video calling – stay in touch with your friends and family or dial into conference calls with built-in Skype
- Windows Store – find all your favourite apps from Facebook to Netflix and iPlayer to Spotify
What Windows tablet?
Stay productive on the go with the built-in Office apps on the LINX 1010B tablet. You can write reports, emails or compile spreadsheets on the magnetic keyboard that’s included.
Chosen your operating system? Now choose your tablet