Tablets offer a nice middle ground between a smartphone and a laptop, and many people love them for it. And when it comes to choosing an upgrade for a tablet user, you want to make sure you choose the right one, so we searched for the best tablets available today to help you do just that.
What to look for in a tablet
There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing the right tablet.
- Operating system: This is great because there are a lot of tablet operating systems (or OS) out there. When it comes to which operating system you should prioritize buying, it is worth taking into account what the person you are shopping for is already using. And not just what is on their current tablet but also on their phone and computer. Someone with an iPhone will probably get the most out of an iPad, for example, while someone with an Android phone might appreciate a ChromeOS or Android option more.
- Size: A simple category, but it is extremely important. There is a good balance between a tablet being too big and too small, and it depends a lot on how a person uses their tablet. Frequent readers or travelers want something smaller and lighter because it is easier to carry, while those who mainly use their tablets as workstations or entertainment devices prefer larger screens.
- Performance: A slow tablet is quite frustrating to use, so we made sure that all the ones we chose for this list offer solid performance for their price tags.
- Features: Things like pen, removable keyboard and quick charge are all excellent bonus features that should be included in a tablet. Predictably, you will see more of these things when you go into advanced tablets, but options in the lower part of things may surprise you.
Best for most people: An iPad
The iPad line is what most people first turn to when considering a tablet and with good reason. Not only is iPadOS without a doubt the best surfing platform out there, but the line also covers several price ranges, use cases and all tablets in the line are of high quality. That’s why we can not just recommend one iPad – we must recommend three.
- iPad: The latest iPad is impressively powerful, but more importantly, it has one of the best tablets on the market at a low price. This device can do anything, and for most tablets it is the tablet to buy. The screen measures 10.2 inches, and the tablet is compatible with the first-generation Apple Pencil (Apple’s advanced pen, sold separately).
- Ipad Air: But what if the person you are shopping for wants more power under the hood? This is where the iPad Air comes in. With the A14 Bionic processor, this tablet is powerful enough for more intense loads such as video and photo editing, along with being smoother for general use as well. The screen is larger at 10.9 inches and shows colors more accurately. On the whole, the iPad Air is all that is good with the regular iPad but better. It’s even the first iPad not compatible with the second generation Apple Pencil and Magic Keyboard.
- iPad Pro (11 inches / 12.9 inches): The last iPad we will recommend, and this one aims to be more than just a tablet. The iPad Pro was built to be a legitimate laptop replacement, and on that front it is largely successful. The A12Z Bionic processor inside means it can handle the most intense apps in the App Store with grace, and accessories like the Magic Keyboard (11-inch / 12.9-inch) and Apple Pencil (second-generation) just cement its place as a laptop computer replacement even more. In turn, the iPad Pro is the most expensive of all iPads, but it definitely justifies the price if the person you are shopping for will take full advantage of all its features. There are two versions of the iPad Pro: one with an 11-inch screen and one with a 12.9-inch screen.
Best Android Tablet: Samsung Galaxy Tab S7
Android tablets can be hit or miss, but the Galaxy Tab S7 has proven to be a hit. While there is not much competition for Samsung in the advanced Android tablet arena, this is definitely the best Android tablet you can buy today.
Other than that, the S7 offers just a great tablet experience with solid performance and all the modern features you would expect like fingerprint search and fast charging. The tablet comes with Samsung’s S Pen, which is an advanced pen that is excellent for drawing, handwriting and general menu navigation. It even connects to the back of the S7 for easy charging and storage.
Overall, this is one of the best dedicated Android tablets we’ve seen in a while, and for avid Android users, it’s definitely the tablet to buy. The standard S7 screen measures 11 inches, but if you want to go a step further, the Galaxy Tab S7 + offers a 12.4-inch screen that also shows colors more vivid.
Best Android tablet
For Windows fans: Surface Line
Microsoft’s Surface line has always been known for its 2-in-1 computers – laptops that can easily switch to a more tablet-like form factor. But over time, these devices have only moved in the direction of being more and more full tablets, and these are the two worth considering as tablets this holiday.
- Surface Go 2: Go 2 almost hits a tablet that the Surface line has to offer. The keyboard / touchpad is easy to remove, and the 10.5-inch screen is perfect for portability. It is also the lightest surface on the market at the moment, so holding it in your hand for extended periods will not be a huge pain. While Go 2 starts at under $ 400, it can increase significantly if you choose processor or memory upgrades. The base model comes with 4 GB of RAM, which is a bit rough for Windows, so we recommend that you go with the 8 GB option as a general rule. While Windows is not built to be a tablet operating system, it really does work as one, and for diehard Windows users, the Go 2 gets a good balance between laptop and tablet.
- Surface Pro 7: Taking things a step up from Go 2, the Pro 7 has a 12.3-inch screen, a more powerful processor (with the ability to spend more on an even more powerful chip) and overall a design that takes things going closer to a laptop than a tablet. For Windows lovers in your life who also need something more powerful, this is the tablet to buy.
Best ChromeOS Tablet: Lenovo Ideapad Duet
We fell in love with the Ideapad Duet when we reviewed it, and the reasons are pretty simple: This tablet offers insane value. This 2-in-1 Chromebook can function as both a standard laptop and a tablet thanks to the easy-to-remove keyboard. The performance is phenomenal and the battery life also surpasses other ChromeOS devices. The screen measures 10.1 inches, so it is not troublesome to take out of the house.
While ChromeOS is still not perfect for tablets yet, it’s enough to be functional. And the support for various (but not all) Android apps takes it just one step further. It’s hard to find a better overall package for the price of ChromeOS, and for that reason it will be our choice as the best of the best.
Best on a budget: Amazon Fire HD 8
For many people, a tablet is a simple port for streaming or reading apps, and in that case, you do not need any of the more advanced options already presented. Fire HD 8 does not impress with cool features or powerful hardware, but rather it is a cheap tablet that specializes in entertainment. And for the price, it’s more than good – even good. Having an option in the lower part like this is great to see, and as long as the user is not looking for the hottest tablet on the market, they will probably be very happy with their new tablet.
If you want to take a step up, Fire HD 8 Plus has an extra gigabyte of RAM and introduces wireless charging (charging dock increases the price by about $ 30). The screen on both is the same size but eight inches.
Users looking for a larger tablet may prefer the 10.1-inch Fire HD 10, while the Fire 7 presents a bargain price that still offers great value for money.
Best on a budget