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For this comparison, I set aside raw hardware specs. Processor speed, RAM, and ports certainly matter, but a tablet can have great specs and still be awkward and unpleasant to use. What makes or breaks a tablet is its operating system, which determines whether answering e-mail, watching video, and surfing the Web will be a pleasure or a frustration.

Several tablet operating systems are poised to battle it out. While most tablet OSs come on only one brand of tablet each, Google’s Android 3.0 is the choice of a growing number of manufacturers, some of which add their own custom interface as HTC does with Sense UI and Samsung does with TouchWiz.

For this article I tried the iOS 4.3-based Apple iPad 2, the BlackBerry Tablet OS-based RIM BlackBerry PlayBook, and the Android 3.0-based Acer Iconia Tab A500, Motorola Xoom, and T-Mobile G-Slate. I didn’t have a final version of the WebOS-based HP TouchPad (due out this summer) for unlimited testing, but I was able to spend some time with a preproduction unit.

Home Screen

Advantage: BlackBerry Tablet OS, Android 3.0

You’ll go to your tablet’s home screen again and again, so it’s critical for the screen to look good and work efficiently.

Android 3.0‘s home screens (you get six of them) are very different from the BlackBerry offering, but perfect for people who want detailed control over how their tools are organized and presented. The new home-screen design is cleaner than that of previous Android versions, and it makes moving app icons and widgets across the six screens easy. Widgets are a compelling addition to Android, too: Google and app developers can use them to put regularly refreshed information–such as your calendar, your most recent e-mail messages, or the latest weather–directly on your screen. Tap the widget, and you’ll proceed directly to the related app itself. These shortcuts are finger friendly, but the frequently winking updates could become more clutter than convenience.

Oddly, the back button doesn’t behave as you might expect: Nowhere does Android note that using the back button exits an app entirely, but that’s the action it performs. The button for recently accessed apps, often erroneously referred to as the multitasking button, brings up thumbnails of the five apps you’ve used most recently; but even though this is intended as a shortcut, it can make your finger travel more, not less, to return to an app.

The Apple iOS home screen is way behind the competition in many respects. It’s staid and consistent, but not at all dynamic. The bottom area has room for a maximum of six docked apps, while the rest of your apps spread across one of the multiple (up to 11) home screens. App icons are static, and unlike Android 3.0, iOS doesn’t allow for widgets. iOS has no set location for notifications, either; instead, it passes along alerts in intrusive pop-up boxes. Organizing apps on different screens or into folders is tiresome, whether you’re trying to do so on the iPad itself or in the iTunes desktop software. And unlike other mobile OSs, iOS buries oft-used settings under the layers of the settings menu; you’ll find no shortcut here.

Mail

Advantage: Android 3.0

Although Apple’s Mail app looks good and is easy to navigate, it annoyingly behaves in a different way based on whether you’re holding the tablet in landscape or portrait mode: In landscape, it shows you two panes, while in portrait it has a pop-up pane for moving through messages and inboxes. Compared with Android, iOS puts many more limitations on what you can download, and what you can do with a downloaded file. It will save JPEGs, PDFs, and Microsoft Office documents, but you can open those files only in specific apps that are written to hook into the Mail app (for example, Pages, iBooks, or Evernote). And you can’t attach a file directly to a message; to send a photo, for instance, you initiate the message from the image in the Photo Roll, not from the e-mail app.

BlackBerry Tablet OS stumbles due to the fact that it lacks an integrated e-mail app. The BlackBerry Bridge feature lets you pair a BlackBerry phone with the tablet, so you can view your phone’s BlackBerry Messenger e-mail, contacts, and chats on the PlayBook’s larger screen. When you decouple the tablet and phone, the Messenger data disappears from the PlayBook–a feature that might frustrate consumers but should appeal to corporate IT honchos who want to limit the spread of sensitive information.

The PlayBook ships with icons for AOL Mail, Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo Mail (along with Facebook and Twitter), but these icons are misleading since they don’t bring you to actual apps–they’re merely shortcuts to those services in the Web browser. The browser interface for the mail services is a poor substitute for a mobile-optimized app. For example, I couldn’t add an attachment in Gmail, though I could do so–with some graphics issues–in AOL Mail. I could save attachments from Web-based e-mail, but finding those documents again was difficult, and sometimes they didn’t open properly.

Web

Advantage: Android 3.0

In comparison, iOS 4.3 and BlackBerry Tablet OS feel stuck in the dark ages of Web browsing. Since their respective native browsers access only one Web page at a time, you must exit one page before you browse to another. Switching among pages is much faster and smoother in Android’s tabbed design than it is on either iOS 4.3 or BlackBerry Tablet OS. And neither of those OSs updates a page dynamically.

The WebOS browser on the TouchPad works much as it does on WebOS cell phones. Each browser window behaves as its own activity card, and you can stack those cards together or view them individually.

Multimedia

Advantage: None

I didn’t pick an outright winner simply because no one mobile OS gets enough right in this respect. Which mobile OS you deem best for media management will depend in part on your shopping habits and on how you plan to use your tablet.

The iPad’s tight integration with the iTunes store makes buying new audio and video on Apple’s tablet exceedingly easy. Love it or hate it, iTunes is the dominant marketplace for digital media, and the iPad benefits greatly. iTunes desktop software remains fairly good at organizing and tracking your media, as well as at syncing that media onto your tablet. However, although you can add your own videos and music–as well as photos–to the iTunes library on your PC, in order to play that media on your iPad you have to sync the tablet with your PC’s iTunes library. You can’t just do a quick drag-and-drop file transfer, as you can with Android 3.0. Nonetheless, if you already have an iPod or iPhone, and you shop in iTunes, the iPad will fit in perfectly with how you buy music and video.

Unfortunately, since Android 3.0 lacks a dedicated video player, your videos are meshed into the Gallery with your photos. And the version of Android 3.0 that ships on all of the tablets I tried has a major imaging bug: Android 3.0’s Gallery app doesn’t render images clearly–images look unsharp, and fuzzy. A Google rep told me that the company was aware of the problem, but offered no timeline for a fix. Sure, I like how the Gallery lets me view image EXIF data, but that information doesn’t do me much good if I can’t tell whether the image is actually sharp.

BlackBerry Tablet OS’s media handling is a mixed bag. It does some things extraordinarily well: For example, the OS can power two different graphics activities simultaneously, so you can output 1080p video via HDMI to a TV and still surf the Web on the PlayBook. In my hands-on tests, Flash video played fine inside a Web page, though it occasionally had sizing issues that made it difficult for the in-browser Flash player on YouTube (and chúng tôi video) to resize to the PlayBook’s screen.

You can buy music on a PlayBook through 7digital, the same DRM-free store you can use via a BlackBerry phone. RIM plans to offer a video store, but it isn’t ready just yet.

RIM makes getting content onto the PlayBook fairly easy. You have to install an app on your desktop, and then use it to transfer files to the device wirelessly (it acts as a wireless hard drive) or use the app’s guided sync and transfer options. Impressively, it grabbed music from my iTunes library, skipping over some songs only because those tracks were protected by digital rights management. The music player built in to BlackBerry Tablet OS looks fine and operates smoothly, though its layout took a little getting used to and building playlists on the fly wasn’t as easy as I’d like.

Apps

Advantage: IOS

RIM says it launched BlackBerry Tablet OS with 3000 apps in its AppWorld store. Unfortunately none of the apps I downloaded particularly impressed me–some appeared to be simple, almost DOS-like in their design. RIM says the PlayBook will be able to run Android 2.x apps, but not 3.0 apps, sold via its AppWorld store; but the Android Player emulator that will enable the function, as well as the emulator that will run BlackBerry phone apps, won’t be available until later this summer. At launch, the PlayBook lacks compelling apps to complement its (mostly) compelling hardware and mobile OS.

Best Overall Impression

I find a lot to like among all the contending tablet OSs, and wish I could cobble those appealing elements together into a single, awesome mobile OS.

But barring that, I believe that Apple’s iOS remains the best tablet operating system overall. That may be a surprise to you, given that I prefer other OSs for many of the individual functions I looked at. On the whole, however, iOS delivers the best-formed environment for both productivity and entertainment.

Meanwhile, businesspeople who already depend on BlackBerry phones should value the way those handsets will interact with the PlayBook, as well as the built-in security of the platform–and for that audience, such capabilities will outweigh many of the PlayBook’s other weaknesses.

Hardware Options

Galaxy Tab: Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 Android 3.0 slate is 0.2mm thinner than the iPad 2. This 10.1-inch model, due in June, costs $499 for a 16GB Wi-Fi unit (an 8.9-inch one is coming too). I like its thinness–and many of Samsung’s interface tweaks.

PlayBook: RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook gets a lot right, but it also feels like a work in progress. For now it’s constrained by a limited app selection, software glitches, and choices in functionality or design that might reduce the tablet’s popularity among consumers.

G-Slate: Also called the LG Optimus Pad, the 8.9-inch, Android 3.0-based G-Slate tablet for T-Mobile stands out thanks to its two rear cameras. The cameras enable 3D video capture; you can view the videos through the included anaglyph video glasses.

Flyer: HTC’s upcoming tablets–the Flyer for Best Buy and the EVO View 4G for Sprint–were unveiled with Android 2.3, but Sprint has hinted that its slate will carry Android 3.0. Support for HTC’s Scribe pen lets you capture notations digitally.

Iconia Tab: In early demos, Acer’s Iconia Tab A500 Android 3.0 tablet seemed promising. The Wi-Fi-only tablet has an aluminum build and carries familiar-sounding specs, including Adobe Flash 10.2 support and a 1280-by-800-pixel display with a 16:10 aspect ratio.

What About Windows?

Neither the default Windows interface nor the applications are finger friendly, and battery life is an issue. But the appeal of Windows on a tablet remains, as much for its novelty as for its interoperability with the software on a laptop or desktop.

The longer Microsoft waits on providing tablet optimization, the more ground it will cede as tablets steal the thunder from traditional PCs and consumers come to rely on mobile OSs instead of on Windows.

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Best Tablet 2023: Which Tablet Should I Buy?

Here we compare the best of Apple’s devices with the top Android models from the likes of Samsung and Xiaomi as well as any worthy Windows tablets – likely from Microsoft’s Surface range – and other alternatives.

Best Tablets 2023

1. Apple iPad Air (2024) – Best Overall

Pros

Great design

Large display

Compatible with Pro accessories

Cons

Awkward Touch ID placement

A little pricey

Thick bezels

Best Prices Today:

While only featuring small tweaks compared to its 2023 predecessor, there’s little that really needed changing to make the best tablet on the market even better.

The main upgrades come in the form of a move to Apple’s M1 chipset, there’s a new 12Mp front-facing camera with the company’s face-tracking Centre Stage tech for use in video calls and the cellular variant now supports 5G speeds.

Beyond that, it offers up the same premium design in an array of colours, Touch ID and compatibility with Apple’s Magic Keyboard and second-generation Apple Pencil. All Apple’s really done is given its best tablet an even longer lifespan.

If you want that 120Hz ProMotion tech or thinner bezels, consider the 11in iPad Pro instead, but you’ll pay quite the premium for these extras.

Read our full

2. Xiaomi Pad 5 – Best Android

Pros

Stunning display

Good performance

Slim design

Cons

Lacklustre selfie camera

MIUI not for everyone

It’s been a while since Xiaomi offered up a slate on the global stage but its return to the tablet space in 2023 – in the form of the Xiaomi Pad 5 – is pleasingly compelling.

The tablet boasts a thin design that’s fronted by a gorgeous 2.5K 120Hz display and comes backed up by great stereo speakers and solid performance to boot.

Just as with its phones, Xiaomi’s tablet-optimised take on its MIUI user experience won’t suit everyone but it’s wholly usable, and while the added connectivity found on the Chinese models doesn’t make it to most markets internationally, there’s still little else on the Android side of the fence we’d highly recommend, especially around the Pad 5’s asking price.

Read our full

3. Apple iPad 10.2in (2024) – Best Value

Pros

Affordable

Large display

Great performance

Cons

Dated design

Lacklustre cameras

Middling speakers

Best Prices Today:

If you’ve got the seventh or eighth-gen iPad, there might not be enough to tempt you, but there’s a lot to love here if you’re coming from an older device or want to dip your toe into the iPad experience.

It’s got everything you need from a tablet to do all the daily things you’d want, featuring a 10.2in TrueTone screen, A13 Bionic chip and 64GB of storage as standard.

Apple has since launched an updated 2023 model with refreshed 10.9in design, but we think the 10.2 is the better value buy with its much lower price.

Read our full

4. Apple iPad Mini (2024) – Best Small Tablet

Pros

Compact design

Apple Pencil support

Superb performance

Cons

A little pricey

No Magic Keyboard support

Best Prices Today:

The sixth-gen iPad Mini ditches the old form factor for something more akin to the iPad Air and Pro ranges; with an angular design, stereo speakers, Centre Stage technology and much smaller bezels than before.

The Mini’s 60Hz display has jumped to 8.3in, but without changing the physical size of the tablet – allowing for more display real estate without affecting its portable nature. It’s a gorgeous display too, with the highest pixel density of any iPad right now, even if it is a bit on the small side for true split-screen multitasking.

It’s powered by the same A15 Bionic silicon as the iPhone 13 range, making it more powerful than the iPad Air at a similar price.

The Touch ID sensor has been moved to the Power button – like with the iPad Air – and there’s support for the second-gen Apple Pencil to boot. However, the lack of a Smart Connector on the rear means that it doesn’t have its own Magic Keyboard; a real boon for the iPad Air and Pro ranges, and the only real chink in the Mini’s armour.

Read our full

5. Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 – Best with Stylus Included

Pros

Excellent flagship performance

Long-term software support

Slim, lightweight design

S Pen stylus included

Cons

LCD display

No charger included

No 5G option in the US

Best Prices Today:

Those looking for a premium Android experience should seriously consider the Galaxy Tab S8. It’s expensive but still the most sensible option compared to the Tab S8+ and Tab S8 Ultra.

You get a lot for your money including a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, plenty of RAM and storage making it more powerful than the rest of the Android market. It’s also one of the only ones to come with a stylus included in the form of the S Pen.

As well as Samsung’s trademark high standard of design and build, you’ll benefit from long software support with no less than four years of OS updates. One of our main gripes is the lack of an AMOLED screen, especially at this price, but this will only bother serious creatives and cinephiles.

Other caveats include Samsung not including a charger and 5G is a tricky situation as you can’t get it in the US and in the UK it’s a sizeable upgrade in terms of cost.

Read our full

6. Apple iPad Pro 12.9in (2024) – Best for Creatives

Pros

Unmatched performance

Excellent range of features

Mini-LED screen

Cons

Expensive, especially in the UK

Similar to previous-gen

Best Prices Today:

The latest iPad Pro in the larger size is the most capable tablet on the market, sporting Apple’s desktop-level M2 chip that provides unmatched power, one of the best displays around with a 120Hz refresh rate and mini-LED backlighting that allows it to compete with OLED displays while being much brighter.

The experience is improved even more with the Apple Pencil and Magic Keyboard, with the latter turning the tablet into a fully-fledged laptop replacement. However, those are optional extras when the tablet has already gone up a whopping £250 in the UK for the cheapest model.

If you really will use all the raw power and creative features such as Hover mode on the Apple Pencil, then you may be able to justify it. Otherwise, look to the 2023 model or another iPad from the range.

Read our full

7. Microsoft Surface Pro 9 – Best Windows Tablet

Pros

Solid battery life

Premium design

Great keyboard cover and stylus

Excellent webcam

Cons

Poor performance on ARM models

Limited ports

Expensive

Best Prices Today:

If you rely on Windows or want a great tablet for productivity, the Surface Pro 9 is the best choice – provided you go for an Intel model.

A move to 12th-gen chips is the only upgrade of note (aside from removing the 3.5mm headphone jack), but that’s easy to forgive after the big upgrades introduced on the Pro 8. It maintains a sleek, premium design, with the 120Hz display the star of the show.

Other highlights include solid battery life, a great webcam and excellent accessories, even if the latter are still sold separately.

You might have see that there’s a new ARM-based model for 2023, which improves battery life, adds new video calling features and brings 5G to the Surface Pro for the first time. But the effect on performance and how some third-party apps run simply isn’t worth it for most people.

Read our full

8. Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 (2024) – Best Budget

Pros

Nice design

Good battery life

Impressive audio

Cons

Underwhelming display

Limited internal storage

Slow charger in-box

Best Prices Today:

The Galaxy Tab A8 makes an impressive return to Samsung’s tablet range, sporting an attractive design and other standout qualities, including impressive audio chops.

The display and the limited internal storage are its biggest shortcomings, holding it back from being an instant affordable media player recommendation, but it still offers respectable battery life and offers a fairly balanced all-round experience, especially for the price.

Read our full

9. OnePlus Pad – Best Speakers

Pros

Stunning 144Hz display 

Superb speakers 

Impressive performance 

Solid battery life

Cons

Hit-and-miss software

Only one storage option

No cellular option 

80W charger sold separately in UK

OnePlus took its sweet time launching a tablet but the wait, on the whole, was worth it.

We like the fetching premium design and, more importantly, it’s top-notch screen even if it isn’t OLED, it has a 144Hz refresh rate outpacing rivals.

Combined with amazing audio and reliable battery life, the Pad is an excellent choice for all forms of entertainment. It’s not so good for productivity, though.

Only one storage capacity is a shame, as is the lack of a fingerprint scanner, but many buyers won’t notice these downsides. Overall, the OnePlus Pad is a solid first effort if you want a mid-range Android tablet.

Read our full

10. ReMarkable 2 – Best E-Ink

Pros

Thin, light and stylish

Excellent pen input

Powerful companion app

Continued software updates

Cons

Pen not included

Subscription unlocks all features

Very occasional software gripes

No backlight

For something a bit different to your traditional tablet, the ReMarkable 2 is well worth a look. This E-Ink slate might look like a stylish rival to the Amazon Kindle but you can do a lot more than read books on it.

The stunningly thin design is a highlight here and the custom OS makes tasks like note taking very easy indeed and there’s clever cloud syncing, screencasting and online storage too.

On the downside, you have to pay for a subscription for everything to work and sadly ReMarkable doesn’t include a stylus and the screen doesn’t have a backlight for using the tablet in the dark.

Read our full reMarkable 2 review

Your buying guide to the best tablets in 2023 FAQ

1.

What should I look for when buying a tablet?

When buying a tablet there are lots of things to consider including build quality, design, size, core specifications, operating system, features, performance, battery life and more.

Which elements are important to you depends on what you need a tablet for. For entertainment, you’ll likely want to prioritise a large, colourful screen and good speakers but for productivity performance, battery life and accessories like a keyboard case are probably top of your list.

We have ranked the tablets above but that doesn’t automatically mean the one in first place is the best suited to your needs.

You’ll also need to decide how much to spend and devices can go beyond the $1,000/£1,000 mark if you buy a premium device in a high-spec model.

Of course, you can spend a lot less than that and we’ll often have cheaper models in this chart but also have a dedicated list of the best budget tablets if you have a tight budget.

2.

Should I buy an Android, Windows or iPadOS tablet?

In the tablet world, you’ve got four main choices for operating systems: an iPad, an Android tablet, an Amazon Fire tablet or a Windows tablet.

If you have an iPhone, then it’ll also be very familiar. This is valuable when you buy accessories that require apps – mainly smart home or fitness gadgets – as you may not be able to control these from a Windows (or Fire) tablet.

And that’s why most Windows tablets come with a keyboard (or at least offer one as an optional accessory) they’re really a hybrid of a laptop and tablet. But as you’ll find out in most of our Windows tablet reviews, this is rarely a case of getting the best of both worlds. One exception is the Surface Pro line, from Microsoft.

The fourth option is Amazon’s Fire tablets. These are based on open-source Android but are locked into Amazon’s own ecosystem, running on what’s called Fire OS. As such, you won’t find any Google services or apps on them natively, so bear this in mind. They are very affordable, though.

Bear in mind that some tablet makers use their own custom OS, such as the ReMarkable 2.

3.

What is the best brand for tablets?

As already alluded to, Apple is probably the brand most people think of first when it comes to tablets thanks to the dominance of the iPad. If you can afford one and it ticks your boxes then great, but there are reliable alternatives.

As mentioned, Amazon makes its own Fire Tablet range but when it comes to Android and Windows slates there are almost too many to choose from – although we are big fans of Microsoft’s own Surface devices, many of which are tablets.

Many of the top brands make both Windows and Android tablets and we’d recommend looking at devices from the likes of Samsung, Lenovo, Asus and Xiaomi. Other brands include Huawei, Nokia, Realme and others.

Which Is The Best Spotify Premium Account For You?

We’ve compared the four different Spotify Premium options – Individual, Duo, Family and Student – to help you choose the right subscription to suit your finances and listening habits. We also have a similar guide on which Netflix plan is the right one for you, and you can also find out how much mobile data Spotify uses here. 

If you’ve not done so already, you can sign up for an account for free over on the Spotify website, and then pick the plan you want from there.

The lowdown on Spotify plans

If all that sounds like too much of a compromise then Premium is absolutely the way to go. You can see a more detailed comparison between Spotify Free and Spotify Premium here.

To be clear, every Premium account on Spotify offers the following:

Ad-free music listening

Offline play

Unlimited skips

All of the plans also offer one month free trials, so you can try out the benefits of Spotify Premium without having to part with any money whatsoever.

Though Spotify offers joint accounts, you can only register one payment option. Therefore be sure to think about how you’d like to split the cost of your chosen Spotify Premium account. You can either get people to set up a simple standing order, pay via PayPal and split the cost through here, or use something such as Monzo. The max amount of people you can have one one account is six.

In addition, all these people will need your registered email address and password – so be certain these are details you’re comfortable sharing. For example, don’t use a sensitive password, such as one you use for internet banking.

We’ve also totted up the annual equivalent cost of each plan to help with your financial concerns. Most plans are monthly rolling and can be cancelled anytime – with the exception of Spotify Individual which offers both monthly and annual options (though paying for a year’s worth doesn’t get you any discount).

It’s worth noting that we’ve seen customers be emailed about these prices changing from 30 April, with most plans jumping up by £1 per month, and £2 per month for the Family plan. For existing customers, these prices will kick in from June onwards. 

Spotify Premium Individual Cost: £9.99/US$9.99 per month (adds up to £119.88 or US$119.88 per year)

Best for: Working professionals who don’t want to share an account

Don’t want to share your account with anyone and aren’t a student? Go for the standard Premium plan. With ad-free listening, unlimited skips, the ability to favourite and curate playlists and of course download tunes, you can keep this account all to yourself.

If you’re thinking about sharing your Premium benefits with a friend, then think again. Spotify detects when someone is logged into two devices, and will log you out if you try to listen simultaneously.

If you can coordinate your music time, then it’s worth trying. But if not, consider some other alternatives.

Spotify Premium Duo Cost: £12.99/US$12.99 per month (adds up to £155.88 or US$155.88 per year)

Best for: Couples or a pair of roommates – excluding students

Premium Duo is the newest Spotify account on the block, and is primarily geared towards two people living at the same address such as couples or close friends. Not only do you get a profile each for your own personalised tastes, but you also gain access to Duo Mix, a regularly updated curated playlist which incorporates both individuals music tastes.

Premium Duo only works for two people living at the same address, so don’t get a shared account with someone who you aren’t living with. Spotify conducts random GPS checks, and if it finds you flouting the rules you could be banned from your account.

Spotify Premium Duo is the natural cost-saving choice if you and another person you live with both want Premium, as it’ll only cost you £5.99 per month each rather than £9.99 each. The exception to this rule are students – who still fare better with their own dedicated Premium Student subscriptions.

Spotify Premium Family Cost: £14.99/US$14.99 per month (adds up to £179.88 or US$179.88 per year)

Best for: Families and between three to six roommates – including students

If you’re under a roof with up to five others, then the Premium Family option is by far be the most cost effective Spotify subscription. Like Spotify Duo, you get numerous accounts (up to six), an automatic Family Mix with mixed curated tunes as well as access to Spotify Kids. Spotify Kids is for children up to age 12, and includes an entire library that is family-friendly and free of expletive music.

It’s only worth getting Premium if you’re planning on splitting the account between three or more individuals, or if you desperately want access to Spotify Kids. Otherwise, Spotify Duo is the more cost-friendly alternative between two people. Again like Duo, this account is only for people living in the same address – not friends outside of it.

If you split this account evenly, at most you’ll be paying £4.99 if you’re in a team of three, and at the least £2.50 in a group of six. Therefore, the more sharers you can get on a family plan, the more cost-effective it will be. This plan is also a cheaper option for groups of three-to-six university roommates rather than individual student accounts.

Spotify Premium Student Cost: £5.99/US$5.99 per month (adds up to £71.88 or US$71.88 per year)

Best for: Individual university students

If you want to share, weigh up how many people you’re thinking about splitting with. If it’s more than two other people, go for Spotify Premium Family. Spotify Premium Duo isn’t worth it if you’re both students.

To get a student account, you’ll need to verify your status with your university email address and a document with proof of your enrollment status – see more in Spotify’s terms and conditions.

Which Spotify account is the best?

If you’re in a group, then it depends how many of you there are. For between three to six people in the same household (students or not), the Spotify Premium Family account is by far the most cost-effective option. If you’re in a couple, then you should only go for Spotify Duo if you’re not students – as otherwise two individual student accounts still costs marginally less.

Global Vs. Local Websites: Which Is Right For You?

When you run a business globally, your website is one of the most powerful tools to reach and communicate with your target audience.

If you are conducting business offline in various countries, you already know how different the audience is from country to country.

Each country also has different business-related policies and rules. With a website, you also need to consider these and online regulations.

From an international SEO viewpoint, there are some critical aspects that the site owners must always keep in mind, including geotargeting, different search engines, and differences between each local audience.

There are additional factors to consider when deciding to have a global site or separate local sites – a place for each targeting country or language – including maintenance costs and the availability of local teams to maintain the sites.

In this article, I will explain four areas that greatly determine whether a global or local site is better for you.

Data & Privacy-Related Laws & Regulations

It is impossible to list all laws and regulations to do business in different countries around the globe. But two of the most important sets of laws and regulations for website owners to pay attention to are:

Privacy and Data Protection.

Website Accessibility.

As mentioned above, each region, country, or state can set its own, and it can be a broad policy, guidance, law, or any other type of regulation.

Some are applied to all websites, while others are applied to websites for specific scopes, such as government and public sectors.

In the European Union (EU)

It regulates the processing by an individual, a company, or an organization of personal data relating to individuals in the EU.

In California

The State of California has passed the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and many companies expect other states to follow suit and enact similar privacy laws shortly.

Some sites have already responded by showing the cookie consent message to everyone regardless of the access location.

In Japan

The Act on the Protection of Personal Information was first set up in 2005 in Japan, drastically amended in 2024, and has been in full force since 2023. It mandates Japanese websites to post a privacy policy and other requirements.

Ecommerce sites must also post the information specified in the Commercial Transactions Law.

Even if the website is managed in the U.S., your Japanese website must meet these regulations, especially if you have a physical presence in Japan.

The above images are from the footer on Apple’s websites in the U.S., U.K., Japan, and China.

In addition to a standard privacy policy, the U.K. site has a page about using cookies about GDPR.

The Chinese website indicates the website registration number below the footer links as required by Chinese regulations.

Accessibility-Related Laws & Regulations

Last month, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) made headlines when a federal lawsuit against Taco Bell was filed. While it was against the restaurant, this got many website owners’ attention.

Currently, there are IT accessibility laws and policies for U.S. federal agencies and several guidelines and standards to be considered in general, including the Information and Communication Technology Standards and Guidelines.

ADA applies to both public and private sectors, including websites. In terms of website accessibility, many points will improve overall user experiences for not just people with disabilities but all website users.

For many countries and regions, including Canada, China, the EU, Japan, and the U.K., accessibility to web content is often a mandatory policy.

W3C has an excellent overview and country-specific information on web accessibility laws and policies.

Like the data and privacy laws and regulations, each country has different requirements for accessibility.

It’s a growing task for website owners to keep up with these rapidly changing requirements, especially for global site owners. Failure to adhere to them can be costly financially and negatively impact brand image.

Local Trends & Competitors

I work closely with websites targeting the Asian market, so I can usually tell if the site is a local company site or a global company’s local site from the design and content.

The difference is not caused by the design skill but by how much they understand the local market and the target audience.

The easiest way to show this difference is to compare the website’s design. The layout, color scheme, and images are also other telltale signs of where the site was created.

For eCommerce sites, how people expect to pay for the orders differs from country to country. The exchange and return policy are another difference among countries.

While these differences don’t impact the entire site, they can cause customers to abandon the shopping cart.

The differences in the local interests are reflected in website content, too. Often, global sites’ content is determined by the HQ country, while local competitor websites have content designed to satisfy the specific interests of the local audiences.

The inability to satisfy the local searcher’s intent can cause a considerable business opportunity loss to the global website.

As Google improves the algorithms to present the best content for each searcher, poorly localized content that is not particularly written for local audiences won’t be competitive in the search results.

One Global Website vs. Multiple Local Websites

(Product images reflecting the local interests: U.S. and Japan “mug cup” Google search results)

If you have global sites under one domain using the same webpage templates for all country websites, create a list of must-meet regulation points from all concerned countries, and implement them regardless of the target country.

While it seems like an enormous task, if you have a smaller team or don’t have a team in each country, this is the best option for you to cover all bases.

In this case, having someone responsible for reviewing and keeping up with laws and regulations would be helpful as these are updated from time to time.

You may want to consider creating a separate website for each target country if you have:

A good number of team members in each local country manage the website.

Enough budget to support it.

Even if you separate the sites by regions with similar laws and regulations or user and cultural trends, it would give you more flexibility, be better compliant, and be appropriately designed for local audiences.

For example, instead of setting up multiple country and language sites within the EU under one domain set up for the EU market, it is probably easier to manage the website design and content for a specific audience in each country in the EU.

Central and South American countries may be another target market that works with one domain with multiple country sites.

Considering the multiple characteristics of the Chinese market – from Baidu’s capability and algorithms to connection speed, website registration policy, and cybersecurity law (a.k.a. “Great Firewall of China”), it may make sense to create a separate Chinese website for many companies that consider China as one of their important markets.

When you have a particular website, you can host it in the country to help improve the download speed.

It is easier to obtain ccTLD with the website registered with the Chinese government and provide the content designed specifically for the Chinese audience.

Final Thoughts

Having a separate website for each target country offers many more options and the flexibility to comply with local laws and policies and reflect local interests in the content and website design.

These are also great for geotargeting in SEO, which is one of the biggest concerns for many global website owners. However, it comes with an increased overhead cost.

It is not impossible to meet the local laws and policies with one global domain website.

As Apple and other global corporations do, you can provide unique local content even with different website designs.

Using the same domain doesn’t mean having the same design or using the same CMS. It is possible to have the localized content on the same CMS and add local-only unique content using a different CMS on the same domain site.

When deploying global or local sites, meeting local regulations and accommodating local audiences’ interests are essential.

Once you set up websites, track the performance data from each local site and content and make adjustments as needed.

Suppose the data indicates that having a global site limits the business potential due to different local interests and requirements or that having local sites is too costly. In that case, you need to reconsider the options.

More Resources:

Featured Image: AOME1812/Shutterstock

Roku Vs Chromecast: Which Streaming Platform Is Right For You?

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

While there are a lot of media streaming devices on the market, the chief rivalry in the budget space is arguably between Roku and Google’s Chromecast. You can have a great experience with either platform, so here’s what you need to know before making the leap.

On the surface, Roku seems to have a gigantic lineup compared with Google, but most of its standalone devices (we’re ignoring integrated Roku or Google TVs, here) are just variants of a few core products.

Roku streamers

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Roku Express (Amazon): The cheapest model at $30, it comes with an infrared (“simple”) remote, and lacks support for 4K HDR. You can’t do Dolby or DTS audio unless you use HDMI passthrough, and it lacks volume leveling or night mode options.

Roku Express 4K: This one is increasingly hard to find, but it’s the cheapest with both 4K and HDR, the latter in the form of HDR10 Plus. Audio format support is largely the same, but you do get volume leveling and night modes.

Roku Express 4K Plus (Amazon): The only difference versus the regular Express 4K is the addition of Roku’s voice remote, which makes search easier and includes its own power and volume buttons.

Roku Streaming Stick 4K Plus (Amazon): Going with the Plus gets you the Voice Remote Pro. That includes a headphone jack for private listening, customizable shortcut buttons, and a finder function if you lose it in the couch cushions. The remote is rechargeable too, so you won’t burn through batteries.

Roku Ultra LT (Amazon): The main reason to go with an Ultra is performance — you get Roku’s fastest processor, its best Wi-Fi, best HDR compatibility, and an Ethernet port if you want maximum bandwidth. The Ultra LT only comes with Roku’s standard voice remote, though you do get the option of private listening through Bluetooth or the Roku mobile app. The LT is harder to find these days, but if you’re determined, you can still get one via Amazon or Walmart.

Roku Ultra (Amazon): This is the top of the line if you don’t want integrated speakers. Upgrades over the LT include the Voice Remote Pro, Dolby Atmos surround sound, and private listening via the remote as well as Bluetooth and the Roku app. If you’ve got media on a USB drive, you can plug it directly into the set-top.

Roku Streambar (Amazon): The Streambar is effectively an Ultra built into a soundbar, upgrading your TV’s audio and streaming tech simultaneously. Accordingly there are HDMI, USB, and optical ports, as well as improved audio options, namely speech enhancement and Dolby Audio processing. There are some odd sacrifices — you don’t get Dolby Atmos, and HDR is limited to HDR10 (not HDR10 Plus). You also only get Roku’s standard voice remote, limiting private listening to Bluetooth and the Roku app.

Roku Streambar Pro (Amazon): The major upgrade here is sound quality. Whereas the regular Streambar uses four 1.9-inch drivers, the ones in the Pro are sized at 2.5 inches, giving them more punch. An upgraded remote adds a headphone jack to private listening options, as well as customizable shortcut buttons and a finder function through the Roku app. Oddly enough the Pro doesn’t expand HDR support, or enable any form of surround sound. At least without buying additional Roku speakers, that is, but that’s true of the regular Streambar too.

Chromecast streamers

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Chromecast with Google TV HD (Amazon): Google TV is an enhanced version of Android TV. The base $30 Chromecast dongle limits resolution to 1080p, but does support HDR in the form of HDR10 Plus and HLG. Its remote offers built-in Google Assistant.

Chromecast with Google TV 4K (Amazon): Largely identical to the HD, this upgrade adds 4K and Dolby Vision for the best possible picture. You can also buy it in “sky” or “sunrise” colors, not just the “snow” (white) of the HD.

Roku vs Chromecast: Software

Roku

Roku devices are based on Roku OS, which is relatively simple-looking compared to other streaming platforms, but that’s actually a benefit — it’s easy to learn, and runs smoothly on any recent hardware. There are several key features:

The Channel Store is where you go to find apps, since Roku refers to everything as “channels” regardless of whether it involves video, audio, or gaming. Confusion aside, the Store hosts over 4,000 titles, covering most major services and many niche options.

Voice search is deeply integrated into the platform, using either the Roku app or compatible remotes. It shows an array of viewing options in results, including subscriptions, purchases, and rentals.

In the US, UK, Canada, and Mexico, The Roku Channel offers a mix of live and on-demand programming, most of it free but ad-supported. In some cases you may be able to subscribe to outside services (like Showtime or Shudder) through the Channel, which are then centrally billed to your Roku account.

The Roku app serves many purposes, including finding and installing channels, and controlling devices connected to the same Wi-Fi network. It’s your best friend if you can’t find your physical remote.

In the US, Roku has partnered with Wyze to sell smart home accessories like lights, security cameras, and video doorbells. While you can use an app, Amazon Alexa, or Google Assistant for control, the novelty here is support within Roku OS. If someone rings the doorbell, for instance, you’ll get an alert on your TV and the ability to tune in directly.

There’s a limited amount of streaming control through third-party platforms including Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and Google Assistant. If you link an Echo speaker to a Roku device, for example, saying “Alexa, open YouTube” will both turn the Roku on and launch the YouTube app.

A Live TV Zone directs you to live programming. New with Roku OS 12 is a US-only Local News option, and a Premium Subscriptions section for signing up to paid live services.

Another Roku OS 12 addition is an improved Continue Watching row (under What to Watch) that makes it easier to resume viewing titles on services like Netflix, Max, and Prime Video.

The homescreen automatically groups movies and shows according to your habits, likewise offering recommendations.

There’s a centralized watchlist, which makes it easy to add items from multiple services for later viewing. Roku has an equivalent feature called the Save List, but Google still has the edge, not the least because you can add items from any device signed into Google Search on the web.

Google Assistant is a big one. While Roku devices offer limited integration with Assistant, Alexa, and HomeKit, you get full control of a Chromecast from any device with Assistant installed, including smart speakers and displays. Accordingly, that maximizes possibilities in smart home automation — imagine a “Hey Google, it’s movie night” command triggering a search for action movies while simultaneously lowering the blinds, cranking speaker volume, and dimming the lights to a faint orange glow.

Google Cast was the original Chromecast’s raison d’être, and while that technology is now present on many other devices (Rokus included), you’re guaranteed to get full compatibility with Google hardware, including moving media from room to room with your voice.

Extensive parental controls will only matter to some people, but through tools like Family Link you can limit app and media activity, including setting bedtimes to keep kids from streaming all night.

As you’d expect, Chromecasts are designed with hooks for Google services such as Google Photos and YouTube TV. In fact they’re the only way you can get a dedicated YouTube Music app on non-Google TVs, though you can always just play tracks in the primary YouTube app.

Roku vs Chromecast: Content

Most things you want to watch on Roku can be found on a Chromecast, and vice versa. There are some notable exceptions — Twitch is available on Android/Google TV but not Roku, for example — but you’re not going to be wanting for major services like Netflix, Max, or Spotify. Check the availability of your favorites before committing to a purchase.

Both platforms have access to YouTube, YouTube TV, and YouTube Music, though as we indicated, listening to Music on Roku involves using the main YouTube app. Roku only really sets itself apart by way of the Roku Channel, as well as host of extremely niche apps for content like church services or old cartoons. You probably won’t miss those on a Chromecast, and even the Roku Channel can be hit-or-miss, sometimes forcing you to sift for a while to find quality material. We wouldn’t depend on it as our only source of video.

Neither platform is good for gaming. Google killed off Stadia cloud games in January 2023.

Responsive Website Vs. Mobile App: Which Is Best For E

Due to the majority of the online shoppers that are making mobile phones for browsing, research, and buy any product, e-commerce is taking the place of m-commerce. When almost 50% of the e-commerce sessions are seeking a place on your smartphones, the mobile app or site is indispensable for the online merchants. You are in confusion about what is best for your responsive website or mobile app for your online store.

Advantages of Mobile Application User-friendly

Increase loyalty

By displaying the icon of your brand consistently, mobile apps will enhance the dedication of the customers towards your e-commerce store. The app will collect the data of the customers like shopping time, location, etc., and will offer a more personalized shopping experience. Rewards and expertise of the client will make the continued use of your mobile app. You can also implement loyalty programs to boost loyalty and will increase repeat purchases by online shoppers.

Conversion rate increased

It collects the customer data and gives the push notification quickly. The push notification will help you in recovering the 70% of abandoned carts.  The online merchants can send notifications about the new offers, discounts, and few pieces left in their stock to grab the attention of the customers towards them.

No internet access

Once the app installed, the mobile apps will make it easy for the customer to browse the products, even offline. It will permit the online shopper to view the products and the details without the internet.

Drawbacks of mobile application Cost of an app development

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Benefits of Mobile Website Cost-effective

E-commerce mobile app is that they need money for implementing a native or hybrid app on different platforms. It will also give solutions to these problems by providing cost-effective development. You can contact the top and reputed e-commerce website designing company for getting the mobile e-commerce site created with all functionalities at a reasonable price.

Access in smart devices

Mobile websites are also providing the all-device accessibility. You do not to be downloaded or installed on your device and do not require storage on the mobile even that it can be loaded anytime in the browser. The customers can browse the e-commerce site anywhere, be it on their Android phone, iPhone, or even on their laptop or tablet, the site will be easily accessible anywhere, anytime without any prior installation required.

Search Engine optimized Slower Loading

In comparison to mobile apps, responsive websites can be more reluctant to load. E-commerce websites have loaded with high-quality images and extensive descriptions, which will make the page slower while loading it. Almost 75% of consumers will be stating that a slower page load will create a negative impact on your website and drop down the sales.

No offline Accessibility

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Maintenance

You have the requirement of the skilled professional expert for constant maintenance & support. Images & videos of the product need to be optimized, require a monitored continuously, and SEO for the promotion of your site. There are multiple teams for the maintenance, which will cost a lot for the e-commerce merchants.

Elements Responsive website Mobile app

Compatibility Mobile version of a site is viewable on all browsers, despite the device model Need the development of several applications for the different platforms

Audience All types of device required an internet connection Only tablets and smartphone

Cost Payment for domain & hosting Require developer licenses in the app store

Ease of use Do not require installation & download Installation & downloading is a must

Offline work No, it supports on all gadgets It works offline also

Support, update and fixing It is easy to update, maintain and repair the bugs It is complex to update & monitor the application after download also. Bugs are set only in the next version

It is usage Average Better in compare to responsive website

Conclusion

By the benefits and drawbacks of the responsive site and mobile apps have their unique functionalities and features. Online vendors cannot substitute one another. For expanding your business, increasing sales, repeat purchases, a mobile app solution, and a responsive site is a must. The mobile e-commerce site will get you more customers, and the app will help them to turn into loyal and will fetch more sales.

Jitendra Kalal

I’m Jitendra Kalal, Digital Marketing Strategist working with Addon Solutions – An Mobile Application Development Company in India, I spend my spare time on the web to learn about the modern online internet marketing and love to share my knowledge with others through my content.

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