- 1 / 10
Got an Old Laptop? Opt for One of These Tablets to Replace It
When shopping for a new tablet, there are several things to think about when it comes to finding the best tablet for you. What hardware specs do you need? How about the platform it runs on, like Apple iOS or Windows 10? Do you want a tablet that offers a large ecosystem of apps and games, or is a basic model the right option for you? We've considered all these factors when evaluating our picks for the best tablets available in 2020.
- Best Overall: Apple iPad Air
- The Compact Pick: Apple iPad mini
- Best Budget: Apple iPad (10.2-inch)
- Best Laptop Replacement: Apple iPad Pro
- Best PC Tablet: Microsoft Surface Pro 7
- Best Chrome OS Tablet: Google Pixel Slate
- Best Android Tablet: Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite
- Best Under $100: Amazon Fire HD 8
- Best Big-Screen Under $200: Amazon Fire HD 10
Today's tablets vary greatly in terms of size, hardware, available features, as well as the quality of their mobile platform. Learn more below about some of the best tablets available today from the likes of Apple, Google, Microsoft, Samsung, and Amazon.
- 2 / 10
1) Apple iPad Air
A year after its debut, the iPad Air is still the best full-size tablet worth your attention. Available in silver, gold, and space gray, it has class-leading processing power and graphics, a gorgeous 10.5-inch Retina display, a timelessly elegant design, exceptional craftsmanship, a fantastic ecosystem of accessories, and a reasonable price. According to an expert from The Verge, the device is "the best all-around choice for most people."
Crucially, thanks to Apple's iOS operating system, the iPad Air comes with the best selection of tablet-friendly apps and games in the business — giving it a massive advantage over rivals that utilize other mobile platforms.
Unlike its predecessor, the latest iPad Air is also compatible with the superb Apple Pencil. The latter is handily among the best accessories of its kind, making the tablet an incredibly capable tool for productive and creative tasks.
- 3 / 10
2) Apple iPad mini
The latest iPad mini is the best compact tablet money can buy. It has the same powerful hardware as the iPad Air packed in an ultra portable, sleek metal body with exceptional build quality.
The successor of the iPad mini 4 is also compatible with the Apple Pencil. This is the first time Apple has offered this functionality in a small tablet, making the newcomer even more appealing.
Of course, the mini also comes with a superb selection of apps and games, courtesy of iPadOS. Apple offers the slate in silver, gold, and space gray.
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- 4 / 10
3) Apple iPad (10.2-inch)
The Apple iPad is the best tablet for thrifty buyers. Priced below $300, it has solid hardware specs, headlined by a high-quality 10.2-inch Retina display, and support for the excellent Apple Pencil. An editor from Engadget rightfully concluded that the slate is “a solid buy for shoppers on a budget.”
Best of all, thanks to iPadOS, the affordable iPad gives users access to countless apps and games designed to look great on its large display, including augmented reality titles. Of course, the tablet also comes with a year worth of free Apple TV+ streaming.
There are three colors (silver, gold, and space gray) and two storage variants to pick from 32 and 128 GB), as well as the option to pick a model with LTE connectivity.
- 5 / 10
4) Apple iPad Pro (11-inch)
Available with an 11- and a 12.9-inch display, the Apple iPad Pro is the best tablet available today as well as a capable laptop replacement (especially the 12.9-inch variant), but if you have the money to spend. The $800 tablet is packed with cutting-edge tech, including a monstrously powerful chipset, a sharp Liquid Retina display with a high refresh rate, and a sophisticated camera setup.
Apple has equipped the iPad Pro with a duo of rear-facing cameras (12 MP and 10 MP ultra wide) with a LiDAR scanner for next-level augmented reality, as well as a 7 MP TrueDepth front camera. The tablet’s 4K video recording capabilities are the best in its class.
Like its predecessor and the iPhone 11 product family, the latest iPad Pro features Face ID tech instead of a fingerprint sensor. To top things off, the tablet comes with iPadOS — the most secure platform with the best selection of apps in the business.
Overall, the iPad Pro is totally worth maxing out your new-tablet budget. I recommend that you pair the device with the Apple Pencil, as well as the Magic Keyboard with a built-in trackpad. The accessories will make the tablet a powerful work and creativity tool, so they are worth investing in.
- 6 / 10
5) Microsoft Surface Pro 7
The Surface Pro 7 by Microsoft is a Windows 10 PC powerhouse tucked into the body of a thin tablet. With an adjustable kickstand and optional Surface Pen and keyboard cover, the magnesium-clad slate can quickly transform from a serious work tool to an entertainment device and back.
There are multiple Surface Pro 7 hardware configurations to choose from. Every variant of the slate packs a 10th-generation Intel processor, a superb 12.3-inch PixelSense touch screen, a duo of high-quality cameras (front- and rear-facing), a USB-C connector, and a microSD card slot. With Bluetooth 5.0 and Wi-Fi 6 on board, the tablet also offers uncompromisingly futureproof wireless connectivity options.
A PCMag review editor noted that “the Surface Pro 7 represents the best of detachable Windows tablets” and I totally agree. I only wish that the excellent Surface Pen and Type Cover didn’t cost extra, because they are a must-have.
If you are looking for an awesome PC tablet on a tighter budget, consider the Microsoft Surface Go 2. Priced below $400 for an entry-level variant, the recently launched device has a more compact design with 10.5-inch display and less powerful Intel processors.
“There is a lot I like about the Surface Go 2,” said my colleague Brandon Carte after reviewing the compact tablet. “It’s arguably one of the best mini laptops out there.”
- 7 / 10
6) Google Pixel Slate Chrome OS Tablet
The Google Pixel Slate is the best Chrome OS tablet. We highly recommend that you opt for it over a high-end Android tablet, because it's fully fledged Google Chrome browser offers a desktop-grade experience with access to extensions. You can also install Android apps on the Slate, but there aren't many that are optimized for its large display.
The elegant Slate has a vibrant 12.3-inch touch screen, a surprisingly capable set of stereo speakers, a wide selection of Intel processors, a pair of USB-C ports, up to 12 hours of battery life, and fast charging capabilities among its key features. A Laptop Mag tester concluded that it offers a "beautiful screen, comfortable keyboard, great sound and long battery life."
To make the most out of the Google Slate's productivity capabilities, we suggest that you pair it with an optional backlit keyboard cover. The device is also compatible with the Pixel Slate Pen stylus.
- 8 / 10
7) Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite Android Tablet
The sleek, lightweight, and reasonably priced Galaxy Tab S6 Lite by Samsung is the best Android tablet for most consumers today. It has a sharp 10.4-inch Super LCD display and a bundled S Pen stylus. The accessory brings a host of productivity and creativity features, which set the tablet apart from its Android rivals. An Engadget review editor rightfully concluded that the slate “offers fast performance, long battery life, and a premium, modern design.”
Other highlights of the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite include an chipset with eight-core processor, up to 128 GB expandable memory, a duo of AKG-tuned speakers with Dolby Atmos compatibility, and an optional keyboard cover. The latter will transform the tablet into a capable productivity tool.
If you have a bigger budget for a new Android tablet, consider the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 instead. It has a wow-inducing Super AMOLED display with a higher resolution, a considerably more powerful chipset, and a quartet of built-in speakers. Thanks to a built-in trackpad, the optional keyboard cover makes the Tab S6 a legit laptop replacement.
- 9 / 10
8) Amazon Fire HD 8
The recently refreshed Amazon Fire HD 8 deserves a spot on this list for its sub-$100 price tag, which successfully pushes the boundaries of tablet bargains. According to an editor from Engadget, the newcomer “updates the previous model with important hardware features including a refined design, a faster processor, USB-C charging and a longer battery life.”
Even though it's plenty affordable, the 8-inch Fire tablet is a surprisingly snappy performer that's perfect for web browsing, social networking, and streaming the retail behemoth's vast library of movies and TV shows, which is best enjoyed with a Prime subscription. Rather impressively, the tablet also has built-in stereo speakers.
There are five colors to pick from — black, white, plum, slate, and blue. A kid-friendly variant of the slate with a bundled rugged case, an extended warranty, and slightly higher price tag is also available.
It’s worth noting that Amazon also offers a slightly pricier Fire HD 8 Plus tablet, which has similar design and specs, as well as support for wireless charging. There’s even an optional wireless charging dock for the slate.
- 10 / 10
9) Amazon Fire HD 10 Tablet
The Amazon Fire HD 10 tablet is our favorite affordable pick with a big screen. The 10-inch slate, in addition to a surprisingly excellent display panel, has stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos support, which make it perfect for watching videos on the go.
As expected, the Fire HD 10 tablet comes with Amazon Alexa support out of the box, giving you the option to enjoy news and media content, as well as control smart home devices with your voice. The product is available with up to 64 GB of expandable storage.
A PCMag reviewer also praised the Fire HD 10 for being “the most reliable 10-inch tablet you can buy for $150, with solid performance, good battery life, and a sharp display.” There are four colors to pick from: black, white, plum, and blue.
Amazon also offers a Kids Edition of the Fire HD 10 tablet. It has a kid-proof case, a year’s worth of exclusive content, and a longer warranty. It's slightly pricier, but totally worth it.
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