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The 6 best tablets for watching movies in 2024

Apple iPad (2022)
iPad (10th Generation)
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Amazon Fire HD 8
Amazon Fire HD 8
The best budget tablet for watching movies
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iPad Pro 12.9-inch
iPad Pro (12.9-inch)
The best premium tablet for watching movies
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Apple iPad Mini 6 (2021)
iPad mini
The best compact tablet for watching movies
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Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra
Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra
The best large tablet for watching movies
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SAMSUNG Galaxy Tab S9 11” 256GB , WiFi 6E Android Tablet, Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Processor, AMOLED Screen, S Pen, IP68 Rating, US Version, 2023, Graphite
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9
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Tablets are incredibly versatile devices, allowing you to surf the web, check your emails, or play games without the need for a larger (and clunkier) laptop. But one of the most popular ways to use a tablet is as a screen for your favorite movies and TV shows. Since they're slim enough to pack into a backpack and light enough to prop up while laying in bed or on the couch, tablets are a great way to catch up on your favorite shows.

However, not all tablets are great for watching movies and TV shows. Some are built with lackluster displays that can't capture the nuances of important scenes, while others are cheap and unreliable – making them a poor long-term investment. That can make it difficult to shop for the best tablets for watching movies, as there are hundreds of products vying for your attention. But if you know where to look, it's easy to find a premium tablet that'll serve you well for years.

From Apple to Samsung, here's a look at the best tablets for watching movies. These run the gamut from small and affordable to oversized and expensive, meaning you should have no problem finding something that fits your needs.

apple ipad 10th gen 2022 vs air 5th review 14
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

iPad (10th Generation)

Pros
  • Updated, modern design
  • Wonderfully vibrant colors
  • Larger display is fantastic
  • A14 chip is plenty powerful
  • Strong battery life
  • USB-C is finally here
Cons
  • The headphone jack is gone
  • Non-laminated screen
  • Apple Pencil situation is a mess
  • Huge price increase
Specifications
Display size 10.9 inches
Resolution 2360 x 1640
Standout features Liquid Retina display and A14 Bionic Chip

The Apple iPad (10th Generation) is a great tablet for watching movies. The big selling point is its Liquid Retina display, which clocks in at 10.9-inches and features a 2360 x 1640 resolution, making it absolutely perfect for movies and TV shows. Along with its impressive resolution, Apple used a fingerprint-resistant coating on the screen to help prevent smudges and smears from impacting your viewing experience.

Coupled with the A14 Bionic Chip, the iPad is just as fast and efficient as it is gorgeous. You should have no problem streaming your favorite content, either, as you'll find models with support for both Wi-Fi 6 and cellular networks – including 5G bands.

It's not all good news, however, as the iPad maxes out with just 256GB of storage. That's a lackluster number for an otherwise well-rounded tablet, though you can easily make use of the iCloud to mitigate the issue.

Other features include support for 4K video recording, support for Apple Pencil, a lightweight design that clocks in at just over one pound, and four different color options.

Apple iPad (2022)
iPad (10th Generation)
Fire HD 8
Amazon

Amazon Fire HD 8

The best budget tablet for watching movies

Pros
  • Affordable
  • HD display
  • Expandable microSD slot
Cons
  • Not as vibrant as more premium options
Specifications
Display size 8 inches
Resolution 1280 x 800
Standout features Expandable microSD slot

Its resolution isn't nearly as impressive as anything else on this list – but it's hard to beat the rock bottom price of $100. The Amazon Fire HD 8 Tablet is a perfectly serviceable tablet for movies, even if it's not as vivid as other tablets on the market.

With a sizable yet portable 8-inch display, the Fire HD 8 is great for daily commutes or for biding your time at the airport. Its 1280 x 800 resolution looks great on the 8-inch screen, though it certainly can't compete with anything in the iPad or Galaxy lineup. But considering its price, that's a minor compromise.

Along with the 8-inch screen, the Fire HD 8 offers to 13 hours of battery life, and support for all the major streaming services – including Prime Video, Netflix, Disney+, and HBO. Its built-in storage of 32GB is rather small, but you can expand it to up to 1TB with a microSD card, making this a great option for folks who have a massive library of digital films.

Another perk of the Fire HD 8 is its durability, as Amazon claims its aluminosilicate glass makes it "twice as durable as the Apple iPad mini (2021)." That could make this a great option for kids or for folks who want to forgo a case and keep it slim and streamlined.

Amazon Fire HD 8
Amazon Fire HD 8
The best budget tablet for watching movies
ipad pro 2023 next gen wish list battery display software apple 2022 review 6
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

iPad Pro (12.9-inch)

The best premium tablet for watching movies

Pros
  • Sleek and modern design
  • Bright, vivid, gorgeous display
  • Wild performance from the M2 chip
  • Apple Pencil hover feature
  • iPadOS 16 is super robust
Cons
  • Stage Manager needs more work
  • Lackluster, awkward front camera
  • Prohibitively expensive
Specifications
Display size 12.9 inches
Resolution 2732 x 2048
Standout features M2 Chip and Liquid Retina XDR display

The iPad Pro is about as good as tablets get. Built with the blistering fast M2 Chip and with capacities up to 2TB, it's an absolute beast for all your computing needs. And when it comes to watching movies, it's just as impressive, thanks to its 12.9-inch Liquid Retina XDR display.

The Liquid Retina XDR display might sound like fancy tech jargon, but there's no denying its appeal. With up to 1,600 nits of brightness, a staggering 2732 x 2048 resolution, and a backlighting system with 2596 dimming zones, the iPad Pro can produce astonishing images regardless of what's happening on the screen. It even supports ProMotion Technology, which essentially means it supports up to 120Hz refresh rates for smooth playback.

As you'd expect, Apple rounds out the iPad Pro with heaps of luxurious features. This includes a camera system equipped with both wide and ultra wide lenses, support for 4K video recording, four speakers for audio playback, five microphones for improved clarity on calls, and the option for both Wi-Fi 6 and cellular networks (including 5G).

All of those specs make the iPad Pro a perfect tablet for watching movies, while also giving it enough power to handle whatever else you toss its way. It's certainly expensive, but if you need the best on the market, it's hard to beat the iPad Pro.

iPad Pro 12.9-inch
iPad Pro (12.9-inch)
The best premium tablet for watching movies
apple ipad deals amazon april 2022 mini 2021 review leader
Adam Doud/Digital Trends

iPad mini

The best compact tablet for watching movies

Pros
  • Big enough to perform most tasks
  • Compact enough to travel easily
  • Powerful performance
  • Loud speakers
  • USB-C
Cons
  • Screen is not bright enough
  • Too small for content creation
  • No headphone jack
Specifications
Display size 8.3 inches
Resolution 2266 x 1488
Standout features Liquid Retina display and tiny footprint

Another entry on this list, another product from Apple. This time around it’s the iPad mini, which takes much of what made the iPad and iPad Pro so appealing and squashes it down into a bite-sized format.

Its screen is closer in size to the Fire HD 8 than anything else in this roundup, clocking in at just 8.3-inches. It's still every bit as premium as you'd expect for an Apple product, however, as it’s a Liquid Retina Display with a 2266 x 1488 resolution. It even gets up to 500 nits brightness and features an antireflective coating, making it easier to watch your favorite shows without a nasty glare interrupting the action.

Apple even equipped the iPad mini with the A15 Bionic Chip, featuring a 6-core CPU and 5-core GPU, so you shouldn't have any problem running multiple apps, surfing the web, or tackling some light gaming. Add in support for 4K video capture, a 12MP ultrawide camera, and support for Wi-Fi 6 and cellular networks, and you've got a compact tablet that punches well about its weight (which happens to be less than one pound).

Apple iPad Mini 6 (2021)
iPad mini
The best compact tablet for watching movies
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra

The best large tablet for watching movies

Pros
  • Stunning 14.6-inch display
  • Loud, rich speakers
  • Excellent performance
  • Very good battery life
  • Water and dust resistance
Cons
  • It's. So. Heavy.
  • App optimization issues
  • Outrageously expensive
  • Pricey, necessary accessories
Specifications
Display size 14.6 inches
Resolution 2960 x 1848
Standout features Gigantic AMOLED 2X display

Looking for a massive screen for all your movie-watching needs? Then look no further than the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra and its 14.6-inch display. Not only is it one of the biggest on the market, it's also one of the best-looking, as it's an AMOLED 2X display with a 2960 x 1848 resolution. The icing on the cake is its 120Hz refresh rate, enabling it to produce silky smooth images.

The rest of the specs are just as premium, with an available 1TB SSD, 16GB RAM, and a microSD slot that supports up to 1TB of additional storage. For watching movies, you're also getting four AKG stereo speakers with support for Dolby Atmos – a rarity on tablets and a feature that makes this great for folks who don't want to always have earbuds in to watch their favorite movies.

Of course, the large screen size also means the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra can become a bit unwieldy, and it'll start to weigh your hands down after long viewing sessions since it weights over 1.5 pounds. Still, folks in the market for a large tablet shouldn't be turned away, as there's a lot to love about the Tab S9 Ultra. Be sure to give it a closer look if you have a nice place to dock the tablet and would benefit from the added real estate.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra
Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra
The best large tablet for watching movies
Galaxy Tab S9
Samsung

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9

Pros
  • AMOLED display
  • Expandable microSD slot
  • Supports Dolby Atmos
Cons
  • Not as powerful as the iPad lineup
Specifications
Display size 11 inches
Resolution 2560 x 1600
Standout features AMOLED 2X display and Dolby Atmos

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 is the more affordable cousin of the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra listed above. It's screen is much smaller at 11 inches, but it's still an AMOLED 2X display, and it still gets an impressive 120Hz refresh rate. It's also much more affordable – making it a better option for most shoppers.

Powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, the Tab S9 is ready to handle more than just watching movies, as its got enough juice for daily tasks like checking your email and surfing the web as well as gaming. Its internal memory caps out at 256GB and 12GB RAM, but a microSD card slot lets you expand its storage to 1TB. And just like the Tab S9 Ultra, it's built with four AKG stereo speakers and support for Dolby Atmos.

Samsung tablets tend not to be quite as popular as the iPad lineup, but if you're an Android enthusiast, the Tab S9 checks all the right boxes. It's not quite as powerful as some of the tablets in the Apple catalog, but if you like the open nature of Android and love the look of the AMOLED 2X display, the Tab S9 will serve you well for all your movie-watching needs.

SAMSUNG Galaxy Tab S9 11” 256GB , WiFi 6E Android Tablet, Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Processor, AMOLED Screen, S Pen, IP68 Rating, US Version, 2023, Graphite
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9

How we chose the best tablets for watching movies

Picking the best tablets for watching movies isn't easy, and there are lots of factors to consider. Here's a look at how we narrowed down all the options and settled on the six great products listed above.

Display

First and foremost, a good tablet for streaming movies needs to have a good display. It needs to be incredibly high quality, with formats like QHD, 4K, OLED, and Retina leading the pack. Aside from a high density of pixels, you'll also want a screen that's large enough to enjoy but still small enough to be portable and easy to handle. Most people will find this to be right around the 12-inch mark, though if you want something that's extra portable, you can always opt for something smaller. Conversely, if you have a nice stand or docking station, a larger tablet might be a great choice.

At any rate, a tablet designed for movies needs to have a vibrant screen. If it doesn't, we didn't include it on this list.

Build quality

Since you'll be spending a good chunk of money on a tablet, you'll want to make sure it's of high quality. If you buy a cheap tablet or a knock-off, it might work well for a few months, but sooner or later you'll start running into issues. Conversely, buying from reputable companies like Apple and Samsung all but guarantees you're getting a device built to high standards. Along with reliable hardware, software from these brands is constantly being updated and should continue to work efficiently with little slow down long after the initial purchase.

Powerful hardware

Hardware is constantly evolving, and every year there seems to be a new processor or GPU on the market that replaces the gear from last year. While it's impossible to avoid this, you can do a few things to help mitigate the problem. For one, you'll want to look at tablets that are packed with powerful hardware – so even when it's outdated in a few years, it'll still be more than enough for streaming movies and TV shows.

In fact, if you're just streaming movies, there's no need for the most powerful hardware on the market. You won't need heaps of RAM or a blistering CPU, but you will need a great display. And if you're streaming movies instead of playing downloaded films, you'll want to make sure your tablet can create powerful connections via Wi-Fi and (possibly) 5G networks.

Supported apps and software

Folks watching downloaded movies and TV shows will want to ensure their tablet comes with an SD card slot and a large internal SSD, but anyone watching movies on services like Netflix or Hulu will want to ensure their prospective tablet supports these apps. This typically isn't an issue, as most devices support either Google Play or the App Store, allowing you to access a wide range of applications. Still, it never hurts to double check before making a purchase, as it's possible some of the cheaper devices won't let you easily download your favorite streaming apps.

Versatility

While you might be using your tablet primarily to watch movies, there's a good chance you'll also be using it for other tasks. Whether that be gaming, replying to emails, or scrolling through Facebook, all the tablets on this list are versatile enough to handle more than just movies. Some are even powerful enough to double as legitimate gaming rigs, and since most have access to the App Store or Google Play, there's no shortage of great games and other software to explore.

Storage

If you're streaming videos from Netflix, Hulu, or Prime Video, storage isn't really an issue. But if you plan to download movies to your device, you'll need to have a good chunk of available storage. Premium tablets often come with a 1TB SSD, which is more than enough for most users. Other tablets, however, max out at just 256GB. In these instances, it's helpful for tablets to have a microSD slot, allowing you to expand your storage or swap out cards to access different libraries. You can also make use of cloud services, though these are less appealing as they rely on a stable internet connection.

This article is managed and created separately from the Digital Trends Editorial team.

Editors' Recommendations

Jon Bitner

Jon Bitner is a writer covering consumer electronics, technology, and gaming. His work has been published on various websites beyond Digital Trends, including The Wall Street Journal, Metacritic, GameSpot, and Slickdeals. He holds a degree in Biology and previously worked as a Medical Editor.

When not playing video games, he can be found running, reading, or checking out the latest series on Netflix.

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