What is the best tablet out there? This is one of the questions that seem easy and straightforward to answer at first, even though it is not. It is a question that doesn’t have a universal answer. Some would immediately point at the most powerful options the market has to offer: those with gorgeous displays and immense amounts of processing punch, but also with the steepest prices. Others would rather go for something a bit more balanced: something a bit easier on the pocket, yet still capable of getting the job done.
Apple iPad Pro 11- and 12.9-inch
Samsung Galaxy Tab S6
As it does with smartphones, Samsung offers the best Android alternative to Apple’s products. The Galaxy Tab S6 is a worthy competitor to the iPad Pro.
Powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855, the Tab S6 is versatile in its uses. In combination with the gorgeous 10.5-inch AMOLED display, the tablet is great for gaming and movie watching alike. Your experience will be further enhanced by the quad speakers. Once again tuned by AKG, the speakers on the Tab S6 are a big improvement over previous generations and deliver surprisingly good sound for a tablet.
On the down side, the headphone jack has been banished from this Samsung product as well, without even a dongle included to help you connect your old-fashioned headphones (Samsung will be happy to sell you one, though).
That’s an odd decision on Samsung’s behalf considering there’s a much more expensive accessory inside the box: the S Pen. A handy tool that will not only help you take notes and control the tablet but can even spark the artistic side of you.
The Tab S6 loses to the iPad Pro in some aspects, but with its lower price and “free” S Pen, it’s a great choice for a high-end tablet, especially if you don’t own any Apple products.
Apple iPad (2019)
Apple refreshed three of its iPad lines last year and the “pure” iPad was last. Despite that, it got the oldest chip from the bunch. It’s no slouch, however, the A10 will handle everyday tasks without much effort. The benefit of the dated hardware is the low price. Starting at just $329, the new iPad is very affordable for Apple’s standards.
Coming with Apple’s new iPadOS, this tablet gives you a few more tools to control your files and apps, making it a slightly more productive device.
The cameras are nothing impressive, but they’ll do a good enough job of capturing your pet’s shenanigans or showing your face to a distant relative on FaceTime.
To top it off, this model supports Apple’s smart keyboard, in case you want to have some work done on the go. Unfortunately, the keyboard will set you back additional $160, almost half the price of the iPad itself.
Still, this entry-level iPad is the perfect choice if you want to include another family member in your Apple services’ family plan. Or if you yourself need a tablet to lazily browse the internet or stream movies, this iPad is the one to get.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
To keep you entertained, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 offers a high-res OLED screen and a 4-speaker setup, although the latter could have been tuned to sound better. And for all your sketching and note-taking needs, there’s an S Pen digital stylus in the box. This extra shouldn’t be underestimated. It can be really useful but when sold separately, people would often skip on getting a stylus.
Amazon Fire HD 10
“Best” can mean a lot of things and while Amazon’s Fire HD 10 can’t keep up with the rest of the tablets on this list when it comes to specs, it has them all beat in one department: the price. Costing between 2 and 5 times less than the rest, the Fire HD 10 offers incredible value.
Not for productivity, of course. Drawing is out of the question as well. But for watching a movie on a lazy Sunday or keeping your kid entertained during a long trip, that’s when this cheapo tablet shines. Media consumption of any kind, be it TV shows, books or just browsing the internet, is the Fire HD 10’s bread and butter.
The 1920×1200 resolution of the screen is good enough for 1080p content and the octa-core MediaTek chip will move things around at, well, acceptable speed, let’s put it this way.
The battery should last for at least 8 hours of video playback, so you’ll be entertained during even the longest cross-country flights.
While the Fire HD 10 is technically an Android tablet, it’s running on a heavily modified Amazon-centered software and doesn’t come with Google’s Play Store (there are ways to install it, if you insist). Still, Amazon’s own app store offers enough variety to fit the relatively narrow focus of this tablet, so for most people this won’t be an issue.
With easy access to content for every interest, the Fire HD 10 is the best tablet to get for your kids, parents or even grandparents.
Nick Todorov, Georgi Zarkov