Today’s tablets are far from just larger smartphones and dumber laptops. With the best devices, you can get the productivity of a two-in-one laptop with a portable design, stunning screen, and all-day battery life. Especially now that many of us are working from home or going back to school virtually, tablets make for an excellent addition to your office setup or to just use for streaming and browsing the internet. Whether you’re looking for a productivity or entertainment device, you should consider one of these six capable tablets—some may even be able to replace your old laptop.
Check out the quick reviews below of our top five tablets, othen scroll deeper for buying info and full reviews of those models plus other high-ranking options.
Tablet Features to Consider Before You Buy
Generally, Android users may want an Android tablet and iPhone users may prefer an iPad, but this is no longer a rule. Apple iPads may reign at the top of the list, but Android users, and even some Apple users, can now enjoy powerful iPad alternatives.
No matter which operating system you go for, considering how you plan to use your tablet before you buy is most important. Those who plan to work on-the-go or replace a laptop will require a large screen, fast processor, more storage, and long battery life, which can all be found on the premium (and expensive) iPad Pro. However, if you only plan to use a tablet when the work day is over or on occasional travels to stream media, then a (much) cheaper and smaller option like the Amazon Fire may work for you.
There are plenty of devices in between these options in terms of price, size, and power. Storage options generally range from 16 to 256 GB; battery power extends up to and sometimes over 10 hours; screen sizes range from the mini 7.9-inch to a full 13-inch display, and weight can land anywhere between a half to two pounds. We narrowed down the best devices you can buy this year, so you can find the perfect fit for your intended use and budget from the list below.
How We Selected and Rated Them
We researched 12 expert sources and 18,000 consumer reviews to select the best six tablets. To determine the Total Expert Score, we calculate the ratings from trusted publications such as Tech Radar, CNET, and Digital Trends, and convert them to a 100-point scale to make it easier for you to weigh the best options. Our Consumer Score represents the percentage of customers who rated the product at least four out of five stars on retail and review sites like Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart.
Apple iPad 10.2-Inch
Total Expert Score: 85/100 | Consumer Score: 96% give it 4 stars or more
One of the most versatile tablets you can get for around $300.
Chip: A10 Fusion | Storage options: 32, 128GB | Screen: 10.2-in. retina display | Weight: 1 lb. | Battery: 10 hours
While Apple certainly isn’t known for its low prices, the most recent 10.2-inch iPad is worthy for those on a budget. It’s got all the power and features you’d expect in an Apple device, such as an A10 Fusion chip, retina display, 10-hour battery life, and compatibility with an Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard. An upgrade to the 128GB storage option or to the model with cellular capabilities will run to over $500, however. But the 32GB version with Wi-Fi is more than capable for everyday streaming and browsing, and powerful enough to use for work when paired with the keyboard cover to turn into a laptop. The 10-inch size is just the right amount of screen real-estate for many users too, whether you just use a tablet to read e-books, watch videos in bed, or take notes with the pen during online lectures.
Apple iPad Pro 12.9-Inch
Total Expert Score: 85/100 | Consumer Score: 96% give it 4 stars or more
The iPad Pro has unrivaled performance for anyone needing more processing power.
Chip: A12Z Bionic with Neural Engine | Storage options: 128, 256, 512GB, 1 TB | Screen: 12.9-in. liquid retina display | Weight: 1.4 lb. | Battery: 10 hours
For those looking for a more legitimate laptop replacement, the iPad Pro is it. The 12.9-inch edge-to-edge screen is huge, but the design is still slim at six-millimeters thick and weighing just over a pound. Living up to its “Pro” title, it’s powerful enough to handle tasks like video editing, digital art, and other business thanks to its fast processor and compatibility with the redesigned Apple Pencil and smart keyboards. Like other iPads with the iPadOS operating system, its Split View and Slide Over features are also excellent for productivity. Though its price tag rivals many true laptops, its advantage is its versatility to use as a large-screen tablet when working on-the-go, instead of having to switch back and forth between two separate devices.
—FOR ANDROID USERS—
Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite
Total Expert Score: 76/100 | Consumer Score: 91% give it 4 stars or more
This small Samsung tablet offers Android users a portable, 2-in-1 experience.
Processor: 8-core (4x2.3GHz + 4x1.7GHz) | Storage options: 64 or 128GB | Screen: 10.4-in. LCD | Weight: 1 lb. | Battery: 13 hours
If you’re looking for a standard tablet that’s not an iPad, consider the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite. It’s lightweight and reasonably priced for its size, with a fair amount of productivity features, though it doesn’t include Samsung’s DeX that can turn it into a true laptop. But Androids users will love that the Tab S6 Lite has a few perks over the standard iPad, just as an included S-Pen and longer 13-hour battery life. There’s also an optional keyboard cover, but if you’re looking for an Android laptop that’s a more suitable two-in-one, you may want to check out the full Tab S6.
Microsoft Surface Pro 7
Total Expert Score: 79/100 | Consumer Score: 82% give it 4 stars or more
Our Editors’ Choice winner for laptop-tablet hybrids.
Processor: Intel-Core i3, i5, or i7 | Storage options: 128, 256, 512GB, or 1TB | Screen: 12.3-in. touchscreen | Weight: 1.7 lb. | Battery: 10.5 hours
The Surface Pro 7 earned our Editor’s Choice award for a plethora of reasons, but mainly because it’s a two-in-one device that doesn’t sacrifice functionality in either modes. It actually adds back a USB-C port in addition to USB-A ports, and it improved on the i5 chip with a fan-less design. The pen may not be quite as good as the Apple Pencil for creatives who mostly use a tablet to draw, but it’s still functional. The Surface Pen and Signature Type Cover aren’t included, but a built-in kickstand is, unlike many other tablets.
Amazon Fire HD 8
Total Expert Score: 78/100 | Consumer Score: 85% give it 4 stars or more
A great, affordable tablet for you or your kids’ daily entertainment needs.
Processor: 1.3 GHz quad-core | Storage options: 32 or 64GB | Screen: 8-in. HD | Weight: 12 oz. | Battery: 12 hours
Amazon’s Fire tablets have been changing the market with their combo of inexpensive price and quality. At well under $100, the Fire HD 8 is an excellent option to keep kids occupied or for when you want to stream media in bed or when traveling. Especially for Amazon Prime subscribers, this tablet makes streaming Prime movies, TV, and music easier, since members can download content and stream without having to be connected to Wi-Fi. Despite being designed to prioritize Amazon’s content, the tablet works with plenty of your other favorite streaming apps, including Spotify, Netflix, Disney+, and Zoom—but Google Play isn’t supported. If you’re looking for a tablet that’s specifically designed for kids, Amazon also offers the Fire HD 8 in a kid-proof case with a two-year worry-free guarantee, so you can be sure it’ll last through all of their virtual schooling needs this year.
iPad Mini 7.9-Inch
Total Expert Score: 80/100 | Consumer Score: 96% give it 4 stars or more
Don’t be fooled—the iPad Mini is still a powerful device.
Chip: A12 Bionic with Neural Engine | Storage: 64 or 256 GB | Screen: 7.9-in. Retina | Weight: 10.6 oz. | Battery: 10 hours
While the standard 10-inch iPad offers the best balance between price and performance, some tablet users want a smaller, more portable option for casual everyday use—which is where the iPad Mini comes in. It’s not much cheaper than larger versions, but that’s because it’s just as powerful, with its A12 Bionic processor and 10 hours of battery life. On Amazon, one reviewer claimed, “The new A12 chip makes this iPad so fast and fluid, it’s honestly more power than I will ever need in my day-to-day use.” While we’re not fans of the large bezels, the 2019 Mini remains one of the best tablets in the compact size category. PC Mag even went as far to claim that it’s the only small, premium tablet you should consider buying.
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