Tablets, Laptops & E-readers Buying Guides | Go Argos

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Getting to grips with technology can help make your life more independent, invigorating and fun. Read our buying guides to find out more about how technology can enhance your life, and how to pick the right piece of tech for you.

e-readers
tablets or laptops

An E-reader lets you keep a library full of your favourite reads in an electronic device smaller and lighter than your average hardback book.

Read on to find out more about the benefits of E-readers, the different types available and the key considerations you need to make before you buy.


Benefits of E-readers

Although some people prefer to turn the pages of a paper book, there are many benefits to reading from an E-reader.

Saves space on your bookshelf

With a whole library of books available in one compact device, you save plenty of space on your bookshelves to decorate with photos.

Magnify the font size for easy reading

Most E-readers let you increase or decrease the font size of what you are reading, meaning you don't have to squint and strain your eyes to read tiny print. Some also feature adjustable lighting to help you read clearly, even in dim conditions.

Access millions of free and paid-for books, magazines and newspapers

There are more than just books available to read on your E-reader, you can also download or subscribe to magazines and newspapers. Many books are available to download for free and electronic versions of new releases are often cheaper than their paper counterparts.

Lightweight and compact

The compact design of most E-readers make them perfect for reading on the go as they can be easily slipped into a bag. This slim design and light weight also makes it much easier to hold in a comfortable position for long periods of time.


Considerations before buying

Consider these points before you decide which E-reader is right for you.

What online store do you want to download your eBooks from?

The brand of E-reader that you buy will dictate what online store you can download your E-books from. With a Kindle you will be able to browse and download eBooks, magazines and newspapers from a huge selection available at Amazon.

Other brands such as Kobo will also have stores you can purchase books from, but the ranges of books available may be smaller. Compare stores before you buy to check that the books you want to read are available, and at what price.

What file formats do you want your E-reader to display?

As well as eBook files, most E-readers are compatible with a range of image and text files, including PDF. This means there is a wide range of content that can be viewed on your device. If there is a particular file type that you need to be compatible with your E-reader, for example if you want to view CBZ files for comic books, it is worth checking before you buy that the E-reader supports this type.

Many eBooks are made available as ePub files, and so many E-readers, including Kobo, are compatible with this file type. This means you can download content from any digital bookstore offering ePub files and view them on your e-reader. The biggest exception here is the Kindle, as Amazon uses a Digital Rights Management (DRM) system to ensure only eBooks bought from the Amazon store can be viewed on a Kindle.

What internet connection will you use to download eBooks?

To purchase and download any eBooks or articles, your E-reader will need to be connected to the internet. If you have access to Wi-Fi, most brands offer an E-reader that allows you to use your wireless connection to access the store straight from your device.

No access to Wi-Fi? Certain E-readers will let you access the internet via a 3G cellular network. The cost of accessing this 3G network is usually factored into the price of the E-reader and means you can download new books whenever you have network coverage.

Do you want to browse the net or listen to music on your E-reader?

If you are looking for lots of extra functionality it may be worth considering a tablet. Their LCD screens are not as suited to reading from, however these offer a much wider range of functions and it is possible to download apps that let you store and read books.

How much memory space will you need?

More memory space means more room for your downloaded books. Most E-readers come with an internal storage space of 4GB. This is enough room for around 3000 books, depending on their length

If you think you will need more room, or you also want to store music on your device, look for models that come with a memory card slot, as this will allow you to store more books on a microSD card.


Different types available

Differences between E-readers and the features they offer depends on which brand you choose. The main E-reader brands available in the UK are the Amazon Kindle and the Kobo. In addition to E-readers, most electronic tablets also offer the functionality to read e-books.

Kindle

Kobo

Tablets

Kindle

Possibly the most established and well-known of the E-reader brands is the Kindle by Amazon. Generally priced between £50 and £230, Kindles offer the main benefit of having a huge range of books, newspapers and magazines available to download via the Amazon store.

Main features

  • All models feature a 6 inch e-ink screen, which replicates the texture and reading quality of ink on paper.
  • The e-ink screen on all Kindle e-readers means that there is no glare, even in direct sunlight, making it ideal for indoor and outdoor reading.
  • Kindle Paperwhite and Voyage models also featuring an adaptive light that adjusts the screen brightness depending on how light your surroundings are.
  • All Kindles have 4GB of internal memory- enough for 1000s of books.
  • Kindles are able to increase or decrease the text to up to 10 different sizes.

Where can you download content from?

Books, magazines and newspapers can be downloaded from the Amazon book store online. With over 4 million Kindle books available to download, Amazon offers one of the largest selections of E-reader content, including fiction, non-fiction, reference, bestsellers and classics.


What file formats are supported by this device?

Kindles support eBooks bought through their book store as well as PDF and other image files. This means you can download PDF files of instruction manuals, guides or leaflets from the internet, straight onto your device.

Many bookshops now sell E-reader compatible books in the form of ePub files through their online websites. However, unlike other brands of E-readers, Kindles are not compatible with ePub files, so you are restricted to purchasing eBooks from the Kindle store.


How do you connect the device to the internet?

Wi-Fi enabled Kindles are available, which let you access the internet to browse the Amazon bookstore and download books via a wireless connection. If you do not have access to Wi-Fi, there are also Kindles available that let you access the internet via a 3G cellular network, which are more expensive but give you unlimited 3G network coverage included in the price.

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Kobo

Kobo is another large brand of E-readers. Although their bookstore is not as big as Amazon, they have a large collection of books available from a wide range of genres and authors, as well as compatibility with ePub files available from other stores.


Main features

  • All models feature an e-ink screen which, like the Kindle, replicates the texture and reading quality of ink on paper and avoids glare.
  • Both 6 inch and 6.8 inch screens available. Also all Kobos have the functionality to change the font style and size to make reading more comfortable
  • Range includes a waterproof, dustproof and sandproof E-reader, the Kobo Aura H2O, ideal for reading on the go, on the beach or by the pool.
  • All Kobo E-readers have 4GB of internal memory. In addition to this, the Kobo Aura also features a microSD memory card slot which lets you increase your space to up to 32GB - enough to store tens of thousands of books.
  • Kobos have 'ComfortLight' technology incorporated into their screens which illuminate the screen with a soft, adjustable lights, so you can read comfortably, whatever the conditions, without any glare.

Where can you download content from?

Kobo have their own eBook store that has millions of books and magazines available for free and paid-for download. As Kobos are compatible with ePub files, you can also access content from book retailers that are increasingly offering ePub books for purchase on their online shops. This means you can compare prices between stores, look out for special offers, and have a larger variety of books available to download to your E-reader


What file formats are supported by this device?

Kobo E-readers are compatible with ePub files, which means you can access and download content made available by online bookstores and public libraries. Many file types including PDF, image files, text files and comic book compatible files can all be displayed on Kobo E-readers, meaning there will be plenty of content for your device.


How do you connect the device to the internet?

Kobo E-readers are not 3G enabled, and so to browse the bookstore and download book using your device, you will require either access to Wi-Fi. Alternatively you can connect your E-reader to a computer or laptop via a USB cable, download books from an online book store and transfer the file to your device in a few simple steps.

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Tablets

If you are looking for lots of functionality from your device, such as listening to music, browsing the net and accessing thousands of apps, you may want to consider a tablet rather than an E-reader. Take a look at the comparison table below to help you decide if an E-reader or tablet is more suited to your needs.

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E-reader Tablet
What can it do? Allows you store and read thousands of books. Some models also let you subscribe to magazines and newspapers. Allows you browse the net, listen to music, watch TV and access a host of other games and functions via downloaded apps.
Screen type E-ink display replicates reading from paper and is designed for comfort and to avoid eyestrain. However E-readers do not offer a colour screen Tablets have an LCD screen which is much closer to the experience of reading from a computer screen. They do have a colour display however reading from an LCD screen is much more tiring for the eyes.
Storage space Generally E-readers are available with 4GB of internal storage space, enough for 1000s of books. Some also have space for a microSD card so space can be expanded to up to 32GB. Most tablets have more internal storage space available than E-readers, with models ranging from an 8GB to 128GB allowance. However, music, films, videos and images take up much more room than books.
For indoor or outdoor use? The e-ink screen available on all E-readers means there is no glare even in direct sunlight, making them ideal for use outdoors. Many models are also available with adjustable lighting so that you can continue reading comfortably even in dim conditions. The LCD screens on tablets provide clarity and definition indoors however are not as well suited for use in sunlight as their screens are prone to glare. Anti-glare screen covers are available that reduce this effect, however if you plan to read on your device, you may find an E-reader more comfortable.
Weight E-readers usually weigh between 180g-300g and are generally lighter and more compact than tablets. As tablets have more complex functions, they are usually heavier than e-readers, with many weighing upwards of 800g.
Battery life E-readers are very energy efficient as they have few functions. Many can be used for upwards of 1000 hours on a single charge. Due to the increase in functions and LCD screen, tablets have a much smaller battery life than e-readers, with 10 hours per charge as the average.

Accessories

Don't forgot your handy E-reader accessories.


Delivery & payment

If you've settled on which type of device to buy, then you're ready to shop. Still not quite sure? Our customer services team will be happy to give you more information and advice.


Fast Track in-store collection

Pay online and enjoy super-fast collection at our dedicated Fast Track counters in-store. Subject to availability.


Fast Track same day delivery

Buy before 6pm and we'll deliver by 10pm the same day for only £3.95, 7 days a week. Subject to availability.


Standard delivery

We'll deliver your order for as little as £3.95.


Reserve online

Reserve your E-reader online and collect and pay for it in store.



Useful information & advice

If you have an E-reader, or are considering purchasing one, here are a few top tips to help you get the most from your investment.


Get a protective case

A case will help to protect your investment from any of those 'oh-no' moments and keeps it clean when you're on the go, especially if you keep it in your pocket or in your bag.


Backup your books

If you purchase books from an eBook store using your E-reader, these will be stored 'in the cloud' which means servers controlled by the bookstore. This is convenient as it means you can download these purchased books onto any compatible device. However it is a good idea to protect any books you have purchased by saving copies to your own personal computer.


Keep your reads organised

Many E-readers let you easily create folders so that you can organise your purchased books. Placing all the books you have finished reading into one folder will let you keep track of what you have left to read. Why not organise your eBooks by author or genre or make a folder of all the books you would recommend to a friend? This personal library will make it easy to retrieve the title or author of your latest read the next time someone asks.


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Tablets and laptops are great for portable computing, but both have their own unique benefits. This guide will help you compare the two so that you can find the perfect device for all your needs.


Considerations before buying

You'll need to think about a few different things before you decide which laptop or tablet is right for you.

What will you use your device for?

Tablets and laptops have different strengths and knowing how you will mostly use your device will give you an idea of which is more beneficial. Tablets are great at simple, day-to-day activities and entertainment, but for working, studying and more demanding jobs, a laptop could be more suitable.

What size is most suitable?

Tablets can be as small as 7" long - great if you want to take it everywhere, but not so great if you want to watch a movie. Larger models, however, will be heavier, so holding them for long periods might be uncomfortable.

Laptops are heavier and designed to be used on a flat surface. That's perfect for when you need to work, but not ideal if you want to curl up with a book on the sofa or check emails if you're standing up.

What add-ons might you need?

Laptops come with hardware built-in, but tablets don't. Will you need a keyboard or mouse? A USB stick for more storage space? For both devices, a case is recommended to keep them safe during transit.

What's your budget?

Devices are available for all budgets. Tablets are available from as little as £50 and laptops from £150. To spend more isn't necessarily better - a well-made device will offer a lot for its price tag, although a budget device will have its limitations. A great device is ultimately one that suits your needs with as few compromises as possible


Comparing the two

Here's our run down of the pros and cons of each device.

Top Tip:
If you can't make your mind up, you could choose a 'hybrid' laptop, one that can offer some of the best of both worlds.

Tablets Laptops
Tablets are great for the things you do every day, like check your emails, browse the web, watch videos, and more. Laptops are portable and fairly light, and have more hardware built-in. The extra power means fewer limitations and they're much better for more serious work.
Tablets - The pros Laptops - The pros
Complete portability You can take a tablet anywhere and hold it in a position that's comfortable for you. Screen sizes are around 7" to 11". They weigh only 1 - 2lbs and are just 5 - 10mm thick. They can do more Laptops are much more powerful. They can run more complicated software and several programs at once. Tasks like designing or editing photos, film and music is easier, as is printing documents
They're more comfortable to look at Tablets use a more detailed screen which is easier on the eyes over long periods and more comfortable for you to hold up close. Keyboard and mouse built in A proper keyboard and mouse are much more comfortable to use over longer periods and more suitable if you're doing more serious and complicated activities than web browsing.
Huge app selection There's an app for almost everything. From recipe ideas to learning a new language, doing your accounts, booking a taxi and more - the selection is unbelievable and many are available for free Storage space Laptops typically have a lot of storage space, although ultra slim models, like Chromebooks, may use online cloud storage instead of internal memory.
Tablets - The cons Laptops - The cons
There's no keyboard Touch screen typing can get uncomfortable quickly. Keyboards are available separately and you can buy cases with one built in. But you will ideally need a table top to work on. They're bigger Laptops aren't nearly as light and compact as a tablet. You can't just slip them in and out of a bag and use them any place, any time. Some hybrid laptops, however, allow you to detach the keyboard and use the laptop like a large tablet.
Harder to do serious work Tablets are better for casual activities and light work. For anything more serious, they can be limiting. Using a spreadsheet, for example, without a keyboard or mouse can quickly become frustrating. Printing can also be awkward. Less apps While there's a huge range of software available, it tends to be more expensive and not as readily accessible. With a tablet, you can just visit an app store, find what you need and start using it in moments.
Multi-tasking is slower Tablets are really designed for one job at a time. If you want to do several things at once, or run programmes in the background, your tablet may struggle. You can't get up close You can't really curl up in bed and read a laptop, and if you want to look closer at the screen, it's not easy to lift up to your eyes. The screens are also more straining on the eyes over long periods.
Less storage Tablets don't have much storage space. There are ways around this - USB sticks, SD cards or online cloud services - but this means not having all your files together and always accessible. Shorter battery life If you're taking a long journey, a tablet is more likely to last the distance. The average battery life for a laptop is around 3 - 5 hours, while the tablet average is 9 hours. Laptop chargers are also heavier and bulkier.
shop all tablets Shop all laptops

Understanding the specs

Once you have an idea of which device to choose, you can start comparing models. To do this you'll need to look at the specs, which can be confusing. Here's a rundown of the important features and what they do:


Processing power

Processors are the brain of your device. The more powerful the brain, the more you can do. If you're just after the basics, more power might not be important. But having more prevents you from getting frustrated if your needs become more demanding.


Tablets

You've a choice of three processors.

Single core - Low power, for basic tasks like web-browsing, email and simple apps.

Dual core - The most popular processor. Great all-round performance.

Quad - More powerful for complicated tasks and apps.


Laptops

The selection is larger and more complicated. In brief:

Intel Core i3 and i5 - Popular processors that offer strong performance and good value for money, i5 offering the best of the two.

AMD A - Less common, but can compete with i3 and i5 processor performance.

Intel Core i7 - Faster, higher performance processor for more complex tasks.

Intel Pentium and Celeron - Lower cost processers that offer basic performance.

AMD E - Offers the same level of performance as Pentium and Celeron processors.

Intel Atom - Performs the same as above, but offers more battery life


Intel Core m3, m5 and m7 - Designed for lighter laptops. Offers performance just less than the equivalent Intel Core models.


Storage

Storage is measured in gigabytes (GB). Laptops typically come with a lot of storage. Tablets have much less and while a lot of entertainment content can be streamed from the web, you'll still need space for apps, documents and photos. 16GB is recommended to avoid frequent space struggles.


RAM

RAM is the memory used for performing tasks. The more you have, the faster your device performs and the more it can multi-task. Most laptops offer at least 4GB, which is recommended for general, uninterrupted use. 8GB or more offers high performance. For tablets, at least 1GB is recommended.


Battery life

More is better - you never know when you might need it. Tablets tend to have much better battery life than laptops.


Cable ports & CD/DVD drives

Smaller devices have less space for cable ports, which might mean you can't connect it to other devices without buying an adaptor. Some tablets now only have one port, for both charging and connecting. Always check what a device comes with, so you know if you need to buy extra cable adaptors.

CD/DVD drives are no longer common. Only laptops of 15 inches and above typically have a disc drive.


Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity

All tablets come with a wireless router installed. If you want to go online outside a Wi-Fi area, you'll need a tablet that is cellular compatible. This means it can use a phone signal like a smart phone. If you do choose a cellular tablet, you'll need a data plan from a phone provider.

Laptops only have Wi-Fi built in, but you can make them cellular by purchasing a dongle.


Accessories

Don't forgot these essential accessories for your laptop or tablet.

Cases

A case protects your device on the go, which is essential for tablets as you'll need to protect the screen. Cases may also have pockets for essentials like a charger, and tablet cases sometimes include a keyboard.

Shop laptop cases > Shop tablet cases >

Keyboards

For tablet users, a keyboard will help to adapt your device so it works more like a traditional desktop or laptop computer.

Shop tablet keyboards >

Cable adaptors

A huge range of adaptors are available to help you connect your device if it doesn't have all the cable ports you require.

Shop all cable adaptors >

Dongle

Made for laptops, a dongle will help you get online on the move using a 3G or 4G signal, just like a mobile phone or cellular tablet.

Shop all Dongles >

Hard drives, USB sticks and micro SD cards

These are great for extra storage and transferring files. Hard drives offer huge capacity but USB sticks are more portable. SD cards are great because they're used in other technology like cameras and camcorders. Many devices have an SD slot, so transferring files is fast and very easy.

Shop USB sticks & hard drives > Shop SD cards >

External CD/DVD drive

Typically only larger laptops now have a disc drive built-in. If you wish to access files or entertainment from CD, DVDs or Blu-ray you'll need a plug-in USB disc drive.

Shop CD/DVD drives >

Want to know more?

Still not sure which is for you? You can find out more in our laptop buying guide and tablet buying guide.


Alternatives to laptops and tablets

If tablets and laptops aren't quite what you are looking for, there are some other options that you may want to consider.


2-in-1 Laptops – A flexible choice, 2-in-1s let you detach the screen from your laptop to use as a screen, meaning you get the best of both. Take me to the 2-in-1 Laptop buying guide


All-in-1 Computer – Compact and ready to use straight out of the box, with an all-in-1 computer you get all the benefits of a home computer, without the wires, cables and hassle! Take me to the All-in-1 computer buying guide


Desktop Computer – Traditional desktops are ideal for a home office and can offer powerful performance. Choose the monitor and tower you want, setup at home, and you're ready to go. Take me to the desktop computer buying guide


Delivery & payment

If you've settled on which type of device to buy, then you're ready to shop. Still not quite sure? Our customer services team will be happy to give you more information and advice.


Fast Track in-store collection

Pay online and enjoy super-fast collection at our dedicated Fast Track counters in-store. Subject to availability.


Fast Track same day delivery

Buy before 6pm and we'll deliver by 10pm the same day for only £3.95, 7 days a week. Subject to availability.


Standard delivery

We'll deliver your order for as little as £3.95.


Reserve online

Reserve your tablet or laptop online and collect and pay for it in store.



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