Tablets are wonderful to have handy, but they are not absolutely necessary. A excellent tablet may serve as a portable TV screen throughout the house and a workspace for doing simple tasks. They're also a fantastic way to express your artistic side as there are so many apps available for painting, creating music, and drawing.
For the majority of people, the iPad is the obvious choice due to its simplicity of use and best-in-class software, but there are alternative devices available. Recently, Android tablets have experienced a slight resurgence, and Google has refocused its efforts on enhancing the tablet user experience.
As long as you don't mind their limits, Amazon's Fire tablets are also an economical option to obtain the essentials like watching movies and browsing the web. The best option for a tablet that can also function as a laptop is either an iPad or a Windows 2-in-1. Your choice may be aided by our selection of the top tablets.
Finding a tablet that works as smoothly as Apple's iPad is surprisingly difficult. The iPhone 11's A13 Bionic chip, which powers the ninth-generation device, outperforms slates with comparable prices. Sure, it has large screen borders, a traditional home button, and Touch ID, much like an iPad from five years ago, but maybe that's what you want. Now that the audio jack has been added, it is the only iPad left with this design.
The 12-megapixel selfie camera with Center Stage support is the model's finest new feature for 2021. When you're cooking and FaceTiming with mom, the camera will make sure you're always in the picture. Additionally, you receive Apple's industry-leading ecosystem of tablet-optimized apps, which truly transforms this slate into a device for both work and play.
In particular, the latter is accurate if you connect Apple's Smart Keyboard (or a third-party alternative). Although this is the only iPad with a bigger air gap between the glass and screen, it also supports the Apple Pencil from the first generation. The iPad feels a little less natural to use than its brothers since you can see the space between your fingers and the real pixels. Get a new iPad if you require a slate for sketching.
Every time I turn on the Tab P11 Plus, I take a few minutes to attempt to understand how Lenovo was able to produce this tablet for less than $300. Even games like Dead Cells work smoothly on the P11 Plus because to the MediaTek Helio G90T CPU, which is inside. The 2K resolution makes the 11-inch LCD panel look sharp, and it also gets very bright. While yet being large enough to watch TV, it is portable and slim, and the quad speakers produce excellent audio.
Lenovo's Productivity Mode activates when it recognizes a Bluetooth keyboard, or you can purchase the keyboard and kickstand cover set for for $60 if you need to get some work done. Here, apps enter a resizable windowed mode that gives the impression of being on a laptop. You can work on it briefly, but it's not at all a laptop substitute.
It took me around seven hours to get rid of it when I tried to do so all at once. However, if you use it daily for a few hours, you'll only need to recharge it every third or fourth day. The two main drawbacks? Lenovo has promised to update this slate to Android 12 (but not Android 12L), and you will receive two years of security updates. Additionally, there is no headphone jack, necessitating the usage of Bluetooth earphones or a USB-C adaptor.
The Fire tablets from Amazon aren't for everyone. Although they heavily promote Amazon Prime, these services and applications are fantastic for relaxing activities like playing games and watching movies. There isn't a Google Play Store (although a workaround exists), and not all Android apps are easily accessible.
The 2021 Fire HD 10, our favorite Fire Tablet, is still difficult to beat for $150. If you purchase the "Productivity Bundle" that Amazon sells, which includes a Bluetooth keyboard case and a year of Microsoft 365, it has enough power for the majority of chores, including some light work. It features a USB-C port so you can use the same connection to charge it as your laptop or Android phone, and it supports hands-free Alexa so it can also function as an Echo Show. The Fire HD 10 Plus variant comes with wireless charging and an additional gig of RAM.
Reminder: Amazon offers significant discounts on their Fire tablets on Prime Day and Black Friday (as well as frequently throughout the year).
The Fire HD 8 and Fire HD 8 Plus tablets from 2020 don't differ significantly from the Fire HD 10 tablet. They work well, offer hands-free Alexa, stereo sound, and a USB-C charging connector. You receive all of that in a portable 8-inch size. This is the greatest tablet you can buy without spending a lot of money, despite the fact that the screen isn't as good and it can be a bit difficult to view images and text well outside. There is a workaround that gives you access to additional apps even though there isn't a Google Play Store as of now.
Spending the extra $20 for the Fire HD 8 Plus is a smart move because you get wireless charging and more RAM, which is useful while navigating the web or switching between several apps. You may also use Amazon's wireless charging dock, which supports the tablet while it charges and transforms it into an Echo Show. In either case, think about purchasing Amazon's magnetic cover to keep the tablet steady while binge-watching TV.
The Tab S7 FE (Fan Edition) is a nice compromise if you want a large-screen Android tablet experience but don't want to spend a lot of money on it (and it regularly goes on sale). The speakers are excellent, the screen is a generous 12.4 inches, and Samsung even throws in the S Pen stylus, which magnetically attaches to the back of the slate. It's not an Apple Pencil, but it works fine for simple doodling and document annotation.
If you wish to text on this tablet, Samsung also sells a keyboard cover separately, and its DeX mode provides a usable desktop-like experience. This tablet's extensive software support is what makes it unique: It will receive three updates to the Android OS and five years of security updates. Sadly, there isn't a headphone jack.
Even though I wasn't happy with its performance—it stuttered occasionally too much for the price—I was still able to run all of the programs and games I frequently use without any problems. This is probably because the 5G variant I tested only had 4 gigabytes of RAM.
The Wi-Fi model employs the faster Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G processor, while the 5G version use the Snapdragon 750G. Odd, I say. I advise purchasing the Wi-Fi Tab S7 FE, which should increase the RAM to 6 and 8 GB, respectively, depending on whether it has 128 or 256 gigabytes of storage.
Want an OLED screen on your iPad so badly? The display technology is a substantial improvement over LCD screens, giving you gorgeously deep blacks and bright colors. It is combined with a 2K resolution on Lenovo's P12 Pro, and it is fantastic. The tablet's internal Snapdragon 870 chip keeps it from losing performance, and a stylus is included. (If you wish to use it for work, you can get the bundle with the keyboard cover.)
There is even a fingerprint sensor, unlike the Tab S7 FE! Unfortunately, it will only receive one Android OS upgrade (Android 13) and two years of security upgrades, unlike the Tab S7 FE. Additionally, it lacks a headphone jack.
On it, I've been using a beta version of Android 12L, which improves interface optimization for the bigger screen size. Although there is still a long way to go, it is an improvement over the current situation. Later this year, it will receive this update.
You want something sturdy and affordable when presenting a tablet to a child. So, if it breaks, replacing it won't be too expensive. The Fire HD 8 Kids Edition from Amazon hits the sweet spot between being a kid-friendly size and a wallet-friendly price. Amazon offers kid-friendly versions of all its Fire tablets. The Fire HD 8 is exactly the same, but for an additional $50, you can purchase a big case to secure the tablet and a two-year worry-free damage protection.
That means you may send it back and Amazon will send you a replacement for free if your child smashes it. Additionally, you receive a year of subscription to Amazon Kids+, which gives you access to kid-friendly books, movies, games, and applications with parental controls. After the first year, it costs $3 each month.
The larger Fire HD 10 Kids Edition, which is available in two variations, is another option. Kids Pro Edition for children ages 6 to 12, and one for children aged 3 to 7. Both are more expensive and can be too big for little children to utilize without discomfort. For more suggestions, see our list of the Best Kids Tablets.
Want something a little larger than your phone but is yet portable and convenient to carry with you on trips? You should enjoy the 8.3-inch iPad Mini. You receive a little tablet with an updated, contemporary design akin to the iPad Pro. It boasts Touch ID built into the power button and the most recent A15 Bionic chipset, which also powers the iPhone 13 series.
In addition, it has USB-C for charging and Center Stage in the camera, just like the aforementioned iPads. It's incredibly little and adorable, and you can attach the second-generation Apple Pencil to it for sketching while on the road.
The GrandPad is your best option if you have a family member who struggles with technology and you want to stay in constant communication with them. The cost of the yearly subscription is high, but you receive LTE access right out of the box, ensuring that the gadget is always online without the need to configure Wi-Fi.
The tablet itself (an Acer 8-inch tablet) has outmoded specs, but it has a sizable, streamlined interface, hearing-aid compatible speakers, ad-free music streaming and radio stations, limitless photo and video storage, and games like Solitaire. The business will deliver a replacement if the device is ever broken or misplaced.
The GrandPad excels at one-to-one video calls and is portable, so they can take it with them and still be able to accept your calls. It is also extremely simple to use. Your loved one won't have to deal with cables because it is placed on a wireless charging cradle.
Since I've been using the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 for a while, it's been difficult to find many issues with it. Although it is LCD, the 11-inch screen is perfectly sized, sharp, vivid, and brilliant. It has excellent speakers, almost perfect performance, and a stylus that magnetically adheres to the slate's back. It's a good feature that Samsung's DeX mode allows you to enter a desktop-like environment and complete some light work. However, because of its high cost, it's preferable if you can find it on sale.
The enormous 14.6-inch Tab S8 Ultra and the 12.4-inch Tab S8+ are also part of the Tab S8 series. The greatest distinction is that the larger tablets have OLED panels, which will result in deeper blacks and richer colors (I haven't tested these). I simply don't see a scenario where purchasing $900+ Android tablets makes sense. You won't have access to as many tablet-specific apps as an iPad Pro does (in general, there are more and better tablet apps for creative pros on iPads too).
Not to mention, if you want to do some serious work, you can spend that money on a fantastic laptop or two-in-one (see below). These tablets will at least last a while since they feature some of the longest software support available on Android, with four years of version upgrades and five years of security patches.
Who says operating systems created for smartphones must also run on tablets? The Surface range from Microsoft is a good option for demanding, desktop-grade workflows because it runs Windows. Your best option is the Surface Pro 8: It is strong, features a huge 13-inch screen, and refreshes at 120 Hz.
The built-in kickstand, which enables you to set it down on virtually any surface, is the best feature. Although Windows 11 includes larger touch targets that make it easier to operate, it is not as polished as an iPad in tablet mode. Our biggest issue? The battery life is subpar.
Similar battery issues are present on the Surface Go 3, but it is a less expensive model. Because of its lower power, it works better for less complicated tasks like sending emails, surfing the web, and watching Netflix.
For the majority of users, we suggest the Surface Pro 8 with an Intel Core i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM, and a 128 GB SSD.
Every year, we test hundreds of tablets. Here are a few more that we enjoy, though not quite as much as our top choices.
The $250 Nokia T20 Android tablet was almost given our top Android tablet place above. I had a great time using it. My experience with the Lenovo P11 Plus, which offered better performance and a nicer screen for not much more money, was what ultimately caused it to fall short.
However, the T20 has a good 10.3-inch screen that is neither too big nor too little, and it features a headphone port. It can handle the majority of apps and games. The screen and speakers are only fair. In contrast to Lenovo, HMD Global guarantees three years of security updates and two OS upgrades. Try to purchase it at that price as its price has decreased and is now as low as $175.
$380 for a Lenovo Yoga Tab 13 Android tablet: This was formerly a pricey tablet, but the cost has significantly decreased. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 inside makes it powerful. When the backlighting on my TV failed, I briefly utilized this device as a replacement. It was quick and fast.
The 2K-resolution screen is vibrant, clear, and vivid, and the quad JBL speakers have excellent sound quality and volume. The best part is that this tablet is one of the few that has a built-in kickstand and a Micro-HDMI port so you can use it as an additional display for your laptop. The only drawback? The charger must always be close at reach. Even when the tablet is not in use, the battery drains amazingly quickly.
$400 for a TCL Tab Pro 5G Android tablet: I believe Lenovo's P11 Plus is the superior option unless you absolutely need 5G connectivity and are willing to sign up for a monthly data-only contract with Verizon. The 2K LCD screen on this TCL is good, but it's not as vivid and contrasty as our top Android option.
Its speakers are great, and it performs well—all the common apps operated without any issues. But even with a vertical layout, certain apps can't be split into two columns on a 10-inch screen (not the case on the P11). You at least receive a fingerprint reader.
$240 for a Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Android tablet: If you want to stay with Samsung, the A7 is a good Android tablet to choose. Although the performance of the Nokia is superior, this device has a nicer screen and better speakers.