Get to know your tablet


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Get to know your tablet

a tablet displaying the time and date

What's coming up?

In this activity, you’ll discover what a tablet is, the basics of how to use it and learn about some of the different parts of a tablet.

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What is a tablet?

A tablet is a portable device that allows you to watch TV shows and movies, access the internet, and use apps while you’re at home or out and about. A tablet doesn’t have a keyboard or mouse like a computer, but instead uses a touchscreen.

a tablet showing the home screen with apps
reading the news on a tablet

What is a tablet used for?

A tablet is designed to sit in your lap or be held in one hand, while you use the touchscreen to open apps, browse websites or play games. Tablets are designed to be portable, so they’re generally smaller than a laptop. However, tablets are larger than a smartphone, making it easier to see things on the screen.

The touchscreen

The touchscreen takes up almost the entire face of the tablet. The frame surrounding the screen is called the bezel. The touchscreen shows what’s happening on the tablet and allows you to use taps and gestures to control it. You’ll learn more about the touchscreen and gestures later in this course.

tapping an app icon
highlighting the volume controls

The volume controls

The volume controls are usually located on the side of the tablet. Simply push the up button to increase volume and push the down button to decrease volume.

The Power button

The Power button is usually located on the edge of your tablet. It may have a circle with a stroke through it.

If your tablet hasn’t been used in a while, the screen may switch off. This is known as Sleep mode. To turn the tablet back on, push the power button once.

To turn the tablet off completely, hold down the power button until some options appear on the screen. Find the option that says turn off or power off then tap or slide your finger along the control.

highlighting the power button
a locked padlock

eSafety tip

If you have an Apple iPad or certain models of Android tablet, your tablet might also have a physical Home button. This is located on the bezel at the bottom of the screen. Instead of pressing the power button to turn on your tablet’s screen, you can press the Home button instead.

highlighting the front and rear cameras

The camera

Most tablets come with one or more built-in cameras which allow you to take photos and film yourself while making video calls with friends and family.

One camera is on the front of the tablet, and it looks like a small hole in the bezel around the screen.

The larger camera on the back has a better lens for taking photos.

Charging a tablet

All tablets have a charging port on the side, into which you can plug a USB cable. You can then attach the cable to a charger and plug that into mains power.

If you choose an Apple iPad as your tablet, you may need to use a Lightning cable instead of a USB cable to charge it.

highlighting the charging port
tablets with USB and wall chargers

Charging a tablet (continued)

Smaller tablets can be charged with a mobile phone charger, and the cable that comes with the tablet. Larger tablets need more power and require a special charger, which will come in the box with the tablet.

a locked padlock

eSafety tip

Not all tablets are sold with a power brick and charging cable included. Many models of tablet only include a USB cable, or a Lightning cable in the box.

When you purchase a tablet, it’s a good idea to ask the shop if everything you need is included, or whether you need to purchase extra charging equipment.

The Home screen

The Home screen on a device is the main screen, or first screen you see when you turn it on. You can go back to the Home screen at any time by tapping on the tablet’s Home button.

The Home button is located near the bottom of the screen.

highlighting the home button
swiping up from the bottom of screen

The Home button

Many tablets don’t have a Home button. Instead, you can drag your finger up the screen in an action called swipe up, to get back to the Home screen.

You can find out more about the touchscreen and gestures, later in this course.

Well done!

This is the end of the Get to know your tablet activity. You’ve learned what a tablet is, what it’s used for and some of the features that make it work.

In the next activity, you can learn all about The difference between a tablet and a computer.

a tablet displaying the date and time