Is a 2019 tablet in 2021 a bad idea?
August 23, 2021 2:52 AM   Subscribe

I want to replace my current Android tablet with a Samsung one with S-Pen compatibility. Should I buy an older tablet that's the right size for me, or should I opt for a newer one that is bigger than I'm used to? Specifics inside...

My current tablet is a Huawei 8.4in one, released in 2016, bought by me in 2017. I really like the paper-back size screen, which is perfect for reading on the way to work, and I'd happily replace it with another Huawei if they weren't now without the Google Play store. It's getting on a bit, and I've also realised that the Samsung S-Pen would be extremely useful for me in terms of doing my Japanese homework for my online class, so I'm looking at Samsung.

The Tab A (2019) with S-Pen: right size, but older; only available through third-party sellers on Amazon and not elsewhere. Never came out in the UK so finding it new or used here is impossible (and I'm a bit wary of buying used for something I use so heavily). If they brought out a new version of this it would absolutely be my pick, but the availability and age has me unsure.

The S6 Lite - bigger screen at 10.4 , not sure how comfortable it will be to hold and do my reading/crosswords on, but newer and higher spec, including a much bigger internal memory. I want something primarily for reading/writing, not a laptop replacement. On the other hand, maybe this would be useful?

Cost is not so much of an issue - I have credit I was going to use to get it either shipped over to me in the UK or to pick up if I get to visit the US this year. I don't need anything other than wifi capability

The Tab A7 would have been perfect if a) it had S-Pen compatibility b) it allowed you to install apps on the SD card, as not being able to is a bit of a deal-breaker for me. I know there;s a new iPad Mini coming out, but I'd really like to stick with Android as I already have preferred apps, some of which are paid for.

Any experience with either?
posted by mippy to Technology (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The one thing that would worry me here is device support. Always liked Samsung hardware, but it seemed to me like Android updates stopped at about the two year mark back when I was still using Samsung gear (2011-2017.)
posted by transitional procedures at 4:50 AM on August 23, 2021 [3 favorites]

I'd happily replace it with another Huawei if they weren't now without the Google Play store

Google says you shouldn't sideload Google Play onto new Huawei hardware Because Security. Personally I'd put the roo fingers up to the Tr*mp Administration and do it anyway.
posted by flabdablet at 6:10 AM on August 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

I have both the Tab A (the LTE version) and the Tab S6. I tend to use them for different purposes: the Tab A more for reading, internet surfing, and notetaking, and the Tab S6 more for media consumption (streaming video and audio). Obviously, I could use either of them for any of these things, but this is the way it falls out for me. The A is a more comfortable size to hold, and easier to fit into my everyday carry bag. The S6 has better video and audio. The S6 will likely have more longevity in terms of software updates, but the A did receive the Android 11 update for what that's worth to you. I'm very happy with both of them, and haven't had any issues with either one. The smaller internal storage on the A is only an issue if you want to install a whole lot of apps. For me, the main drawback of buying older devices has been the limited options available for accessories (cases, screen protectors, etc.).
posted by Traymoon at 6:21 AM on August 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

I would recommend the S6 Lite. I have been a tablet skeptic since the launch of the original iPad, and it has won me over. The larger size does make typing awkward--even with the split keyboard option. However, the S-Pen experience is so nice that I just write everything. Also, transitional procedures' point about hardware support is a very good one. A 2019 Android Tablet is on the verge of not getting any more OS/Security updates.
posted by surferelf at 6:37 AM on August 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I don't especially care about security updates. Should I? Possibly. But my current tablet was released five years ago.
posted by mippy at 8:41 AM on August 23, 2021

My experience was that the jump from an 8" tablet to a 10" was that the device was a bit larger but also thinner and weight was fairly similar. If you shop somewhere with a good return policy you might be able to figure out whether the size is something you can live with before committing. Also, a good case will make any of these tablets easier to hold, and since the tablets with S-Pen support don't come with a storage slot for them anymore that I can tell, you'll probably want to get a case that provides one anyway.
posted by Aleyn at 2:01 PM on August 23, 2021

>>I don't especially care about security updates. Should I? Possibly. But my current tablet was >>released five years ago.

I understand updates do not seem important.

However, speak to anyone who has been hacked and they will tell you differently. In fact, they wish they had done everything possible to prevent a hacker / cyber criminal from group getting into their system.

For example, let's say that you have a fairly innocent app (like translation or weather app installed on your Android device which is (or has turned malicious). It can now potentially steal your email login details. It could even record your bank login details. Imagine the sickening feeling that you're locked out of your own email account or a substantial sum has been taken from your bank a/c.?
When you use an updated operating system, this can still happen, but the chances of it happening are lowered. This is because there is a better chance of the hole being plugged. I hope that helps!
posted by jacobean at 2:04 PM on August 23, 2021 [4 favorites]

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