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The best tablets for 2022: Which should you buy?

Tablets are great for working and playing on the go, and the market has become more diverse over the last few years, offering you a variety of options to choose from. But with so many options available, it can be hard to know where to start.

Below, you can see a full rundown of the best tablets of 2022 to suit all of your needs. From heavy-duty workhorses to tablets for kids, and the 2020 Apple iPad Air, which is the best overall buy that's good at everything. This list will help you find the right tablet for you.

Looking for some sweet tablet deals? Check out our list of the best iPad deals, and our best tablet deals.

Apple iPad Air (2020)

Apple iPad Air (2020)

Best overall
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Samsung Galaxy Tab S8+

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Plus

Best Android tablet
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Apple iPad 9th Generation (2021)

Apple iPad (2021)

Best value tablet
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Apple iPad Mini 6 (2021)

Apple iPad Mini 6

Best small tablet
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Amazon Fire HD 8 2020

Amazon Fire HD 8

Best cheap tablet
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Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition

Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition

Best tablet for kids
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Microsoft Surface Pro 7

Microsoft Surface Pro 7

Best Windows tablet
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Lenovo Chromebook Duet

Lenovo Chromebook Duet

Best Chrome OS tablet
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iPad Pro 12.9-inch

Apple iPad Pro (12.9-inch)

Best big-screen tablet
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Apple iPad Air 4 held in hand over a desktop.

Apple iPad Air (2020)

Best overall

Pros
  • Excellent hardware design
  • Strong battery life and USB-C
  • Wonderful display
  • Pro-level performance
  • Magic Keyboard support
  • Fast fingerprint sensor
Cons
  • Base 64GB of storage
  • Expensive upsell to 256GB

Why should you buy this? The new iPad Air takes everything that's great about the iPad Pro but comes at $200 less.

Who's it for? Anyone who wants a powerful, modern-looking camera and can afford to spend $600.

Why we picked the iPad Air (2020):

The iPad Air isn’t as cheap as the entry-level iPad, which remains our pick for the best value tablet, but if you can stretch the budget to $600, it’s absolutely worth buying instead. It’s more powerful, more modern-looking, supports better accessories, and so on.

The iPad Air takes almost everything that was great about the flagship-tier iPad Pro but comes at $200 less. That starts with the nice big screen -- which may sit at a slightly smaller 10.9-inches, and may not support 120Hz, but still looks fantastic. It’s a perfect screen for movie-watching and gaming.

The iPad Air is no slouch under the hood either. The device offers Apple’s latest and greatest A14 Bionic chip, which will easily handle everything you can throw at it. It's not as powerful as iPad Pro's M1 chip, but it's still more than powerful enough for almost all tasks. Powering it all is a battery that will last longer than laptops in most use.

Because the iPad Air has the same overall design and footprint as the iPad Pro, it supports the iPad Pro’s accessories too. That means you can use the highly expensive but still awesome Magic Keyboard, and the second-generation Apple Pencil.

The only real downsides to the iPad Air are the aforementioned lack of 120Hz, which you can probably live without, and the fact that it doesn’t have as good of a camera system as the iPad Pro -- but honestly, how many photos are you taking with your iPad anyway? Other than that, while cheaper than the Pro, it’s still not a cheap device. Again, however, if you can afford it, it’s well worth the cash. If you really want performance, you can't go wrong by upgrading to the 11-inch iPad Pro, which offers a super-powerful M1 chip, Face ID, and a few extra features, but you'll have to pay a hefty $800 to do so.

Apple iPad Air (2020)

Apple iPad Air (2020)

Best overall
hands down the best cyber monday tablet deal today galaxy tab s7 keyboard on table feature image

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Plus

Best Android tablet

Pros
  • Powerful
  • Beautiful hardware
  • Gorgeous display
  • Great speakers
  • Productivity powerhouse
Cons
  • Keyboard case not included
  • Some software trouble

Why should you buy this? It's the best Android tablets have to offer.

Who’s it for? Anyone who needs a large-screened tablet with creative, professional, and casual options.

Why we picked the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Plus:

Looking for the best Android tablet out there? Put aside the smaller and larger of its brethren, as the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Plus is the tablet to grab. The 12.4-inch AMOLED display is big and useful, without being as potentially unwieldy as the Tab S8 Ultra's 14.6-inch display, the frame is made from Armor Aluminum and feels great, and it's thin and relatively lightweight as well. It's a premium package, and it certainly won't disappoint every time you pull it out of a bag or case.

But good looks are only part of what makes this tablet so great — let's talk accessories. The tablet comes with the Samsung S Pen included, which is stored and charged on the tablet's rear magnetic strip. It's a neat little accessory, good for drawing and writing, but for many, the keyboard case will be more useful. Unlike the S Pen, the keyboard case isn't included, which is a real shame. It's a good keyboard that avoids the usual trap of mushy keys and a cramped layout, though it's not the best if you're wanting to work from your lap, as the plastic is flexible and doesn't provide a solid base.

Performance-wise, it's great. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor is powerful, and performance is zippy, especially when paired with the display's 120Hz refresh rate. Storage options are good too. Options start from 128GB, going up to 256GB. That's enough storage for most, whether you're using this tablet for work or play.

Software is probably this tablet's largest handicap. Unlike iPads and iPadOS, Android tablets haven't yet had their renaissance moment, and as such, Android just still isn't built to take advantage of larger screens. Samsung's desktop PC-like Dex Mode helps a lot, but there are shortcomings Samsung simply can't build around. Many apps launch into a smartphone-designed interface and simply aren't designed to work with larger tablet screens.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8+

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Plus

Best Android tablet
apple ipad 9th gen 2021 review leader
Adam Doud/Digital Trends

Apple iPad (2021)

Best value tablet

Pros
  • Great battery life
  • Powerful internals
  • Big upgrade to the front-facing camera
  • Amazing software support
  • Base storage more acceptable at 64GB
Cons
  • Display doesn't get bright enough
  • Lightning port in 2021
  • Slow Touch ID sensor

Why should you buy this? It's simply the best value tablet you can buy.

Who’s it for? Everybody who wants a tablet.

Why we picked the Apple iPad (2021):

It's the tablet world's "ol' reliable" — if you want a tablet without the frills, and at a great price, you want the basic iPad. Don't take the word "basic" to be an insult, too. The basic iPad is an excellent performer, has a 10.2-inch display, long-lasting battery life, and probably the best tablet software you can get. Yes, the design is extremely dated, but get past that, and this is the best value tablet you can buy.

We'll start with the internal specs. The new iPad is, admittedly, equipped with an old processor. But, it's an old flagship processor, which does make a difference. The A13 Bionic processor was the silicon that powered the iPhone 11 range, and it's still a powerful piece of kit, despite its age. This processor should be able to easily handle any games you throw at it and should be purring along nicely for years to come. The other improvement is the installation of 64GB of internal storage as standard, giving you a lot more room to play with.

The iPad has also seen a significant improvement in front-facing camera tech. Goodbye paltry 1.2MP lens, hello 12MP lens. Removing a single period has made all the difference, and now the iPad actually has a selfie camera worth doing video calls with, and the auto-framing tech is pretty cool as well. Battery life is also excellent, though that's less of a worry when most people's tablets tend to live near outlets anyway.

Best of all, the basic iPad starts at just $329. That's an incredible bargain, and there's nothing on the Android side of the fence that comes close to approaching this tablet in terms of pure value. If you want something capable, but don't need something with more power than your average desktop computer, then the iPad is easily the best choice around.

Apple iPad 9th Generation (2021)

Apple iPad (2021)

Best value tablet
apple ipad deals amazon april 2022 mini 2021 review leader
Adam Doud/Digital Trends

Apple iPad Mini 6

Best small tablet

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

Why should you buy this? You want a

Who’s it for? Anyone who wants a smaller tablet.

Why we picked the iPad Mini (2021):

It took a while for Apple to update the iPad Mini the last time it got refreshed, and it's taken a similarly long time to update the iPad Mini's appearance as well. Thankfully, the wait is at an end, and the new iPad Mini (also known as the iPad Mini 6) has arrived. The new design is now in line with the other premium iPads, meaning the iPad Mini is now finally just a smaller version of the iPad Air and iPad Pro.

It doesn't match the new iPad Air and iPad Pro where specs are concerned, but it shouldn't feel like a huge downgrade. The iPad Mini comes with the A15 Bionic processor, and while it's not the match of the new Apple M1 chip in the more expensive iPads, it doesn't need to. The A15 will devour any games you'll want to play, and you're unlikely to need the oomph the M1 provides for content creation apps, because, well, the iPad Mini is too small to work well as a content processing machine anyway.

Does that make it a bad choice? Absolutely not. It's supremely portable, stupidly powerful, and an excellent choice if you need something that leverages both of these strengths. The battery lasts around a day and a half of use, so it's a good choice if you're taking it out and about, and it also pairs very well with the second-generation Apple Pencil as well.

While the pint-sized iPad isn't likely to be everyone's cup of tea, the iPad Mini is an excellent choice if you're looking for a smaller tablet to carry around. Pair it with a small keyboard and mouse and you've got a portable workstation, or just use it for watching videos, reading books, or whatever else you need on the move.

Apple iPad Mini 6 (2021)

Apple iPad Mini 6

Best small tablet
best cheap tablets amazon fire hd 82020 768x513

Amazon Fire HD 8

Best cheap tablet

Pros
  • Amazon integration
  • Ultra-affordable
  • Good battery life
  • Alexa
Cons
  • Software can feel like an advertisement
  • Sluggish performance
  • Under-par display

Why should you buy this? The Fire HD 8 may be too Amazon-centric for some, but Prime subscribers and Alexa lovers will appreciate its ease of use.

Who’s it for? Amazon enthusiasts on a budget.

Why we picked the Fire HD 8:

Amazon's Fire HD 8 (2020), a refresh of the 2018's HD 8, doesn't bring much new to the table. There are a USB-C port and a faster processor, but it's the low, low price that earns this cheap tablet a wholehearted recommendation.

The LCD screen, with its 1280 x 800-pixel resolution is far from the sharpest, and the viewing angles aren't great, but it's good enough to watch movies and read on. Compromises are inevitable to hit this price.

The Fire HD's all-plastic body is colorful and durable. You'll also find stereo speakers optimized with Dolby Atmos that deliver reasonably loud, crisp sound on movies, TV shows, and Amazon's Prime Music streaming service.

Alexa works well on this tablet. Asking questions about popular movies, nearby restaurants, and the weather pulls up visual results on the Fire HD 8's screen (even when it's locked). That's just the tip of the iceberg: Alexa on the Fire HD can also control smart home devices, order pizza, call an Uber, and perform many of the same tasks as Amazon's Echo speakers or the Echo Show.

Battery life is impressive, too. It lasts for up to 12 hours of mixed-use including reading, gaming, and streaming. The Fire HD 8's Fire OS software, a customized version of Android, isn't for everyone. But folks immersed in the Amazon ecosystem will appreciate For You, a recommendation engine that puts videos, apps, games, and movies from the retailer's library on your home screen.

You won't find a perfect tablet for less than $100, but the Fire HD 8 is an impressive package. Sure, the screen isn't as sharp or vibrant as we'd like, and the hardware struggles under heavy loads, but there is no better tablet at this price.

If you're determined to get something bigger than the Fire HD 8, then you'll have to pay more, but you should check out the Fire HD 10.

Amazon Fire HD 8 2020

Amazon Fire HD 8

Best cheap tablet
amazon fire hd 8 kids edition review 6
Simon Hill/Digital Trends

Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition

Best tablet for kids

Pros
  • Curated age-appropriate content
  • Generous 2-year warranty
  • Easy parental controls
  • Rugged case
  • Decent battery life
Cons
  • Locked into Amazon ecosystem
  • Some content requires internet access

Why should you buy this? When it comes to parental controls, the Fire HD 8 Kids Edition is second to none.

Who’s it for? Young kids who need supervision.

Why we picked the Fire HD 8 Kids Edition:

Amazon's refreshed Fire 8 HD Kids Edition (2020) makes its long-running line of kid-friendly tablets even better, though there's a disappointing lack of strong competition in this category.

An 8-inch screen with a 1280 x 800-pixel resolution delivers bright and vibrant colors and a thick rubber case around the tablet's frame cushions against accidental drops. The tablet's 32GB of internal storage offers enough space for lots of books, games, and other media, and there's a microSD card slot for expansion if you run out.

When it comes to parental controls, the Fire HD 8 Kids Edition is second to none. The Fire OS software, a customized version of Android, allows you to manage usage limits, set educational goals, and restrict access to age-inappropriate content. The Parent Dashboard also offers insight into what your kids are doing on their tablets and encourages interaction with discussion questions related to the books your kids are reading.

The Fire HD 8 Kids Edition also includes one year of fee-free access to Amazon's FreeTime Unlimited, a library of more than 15,000 kid-appropriate games, apps, educational content, books, and videos from PBS Kids, Nickelodeon, Disney, and others. Every purchase is backed by Amazon's two-year, no-questions-asked replacement policy: If the Fire HD 8 breaks, Amazon will replace it.

Simply put, there is no better tablet at this price for young kids who still need parental supervision.

If you want something larger than the Fire HD 8 Kids Edition, there's also a 2021 Fire HD 10 Kids Edition.

Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition

Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition

Best tablet for kids
microsoft surface pro 7 tablet deal staples september 2021 b

Microsoft Surface Pro 7

Best Windows tablet

Pros
  • USB-C finally arrives
  • Updated processors bump speed
  • Same sharp, 3:2 screen
  • Type Cover is top notch
  • Improved graphics
Cons
  • Chassis looks outdated
  • Type Cover still not bundled in
  • Battery life takes a step back

Why should you buy this? We don't love Windows 10 as a pure tablet, but the Surface is a very good laptop replacement that puts touch first.

Who’s it for? Anyone seeking a Windows tablet that can serve as a laptop.

Why we picked the Surface Pro 7:

The original Surface Pro was flawed, but it had a major impact on the market. Microsoft has refined the design since then, and the Surface Pro 7 is as close as you can get to a hybrid device that serves equally well as a tablet and as a laptop. It is the 2-in-1 to beat.

Microsoft hasn't updated much over the Surface Pro 6, but the bump in performance and switch from mini-DisplayPort to USB-C is welcome. You’ve still got a gorgeous 12.3-inch screen with a resolution of 2736 x 1824 pixels, a thoughtful design, and a choice of internal specs that range from basic to lightning fast. It is by far the most configurable device on our list. The pixel-packed display and loud speakers make it a pleasure to watch movies on, but we found it lags way behind the iPad Pro when it comes to gaming.

The Pro 7 takes a step back from the Pro 6 in terms of battery life, but you can still expect to get through a full day of mixed-use before needing to plug in.

The Type Cover and Surface Pen are excellent accessories and, combined with the full version of Windows 10, help make this a great choice for creative professionals, students, and everyone in between. This is real portable productivity.

On the downside, Windows 10 tablet mode still needs work and the Surface Pro 7 can be eye-wateringly expensive if you opt for top-end specs and want the Type Cover to go with it. Still, it’s our favorite 2-in-1 PC.

If the Surface Pro 7 is too rich for your blood, then you might consider the Microsoft Surface Go, which comes in at a much more affordable $400-$500. It has a 10-inch screen, but also runs Windows 10, has a great keyboard cover, and supports the Surface Pen.

We have further recommendations for touchscreen Windows laptops if that's more your speed. And we've also found some of the best Microsoft surface deals available now. If you're looking for a more powerful alternative, you can get the more business-focused Surface Pro 7+ or Lenovo ThinkPad x12 Detachable.

Microsoft Surface Pro 7

Microsoft Surface Pro 7

Best Windows tablet
best cyber monday chromebook deals 2020 lenovo duet 06 625x417 c

Lenovo Chromebook Duet

Best Chrome OS tablet

Pros
  • Acceptable productivity performance
  • Very long battery life
  • Excellent display
  • Solid build quality
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Display is in the old-school 16:9 aspect ratio
  • Limited to Wi-Fi 5
  • Kickstand add-on is inconvenient

Why should you buy this? While the iPad is better for most, those really plugged into Google's ecosystem will like the integration with Assistant and other Google services.

Who's it for? Google fans that want a Googley tablet

Why we picked the Lenovo Chromebook Duet:

If you make regular use of Google's services, have Assistant-connected devices in your home, and don't mind using Google's online apps and services, then a Chrome OS device may be the way to go -- and there's no better option than the Lenovo Chromebook Duet.

In classic 2-in-1 fashion, the device comes with a connectable keyboard, with a kickstand on the back, making it a great option for doing some work. The keyboard feels pretty good too, so it's easy to write emails and documents on the device.

The Chromebook Duet isn't necessarily the most powerful tablet on the market, but given the fact that you'll mostly use online apps anyway, that shouldn't matter too much. And, the device is super lightweight and has a long battery life to ensure that it should get through a few days of normal use.

If you love the simplicity of Chrome OS, we have a full list of recommendations of the best Chromebooks and Chromebook deals available right now.

Lenovo Chromebook Duet

Lenovo Chromebook Duet

Best Chrome OS tablet
searching for last minute black friday ipad deals heres whats left apple pro 2021 2 720x720 copy

Apple iPad Pro (12.9-inch)

Best big-screen tablet

Pros
  • Incredible performance
  • Beautiful display on 12.9-inch model
  • Stunning design
  • Center Stage works great
  • USB 4/Thunderbolt 3 port
Cons
  • Nearly MacBook priced
  • No Mini-LED on 11-inch model

Why should you buy this? The iPad Pro is extremely powerful and offers a huge screen.

Who’s it for? Gamers, creatives, and power users.

Why we picked the iPad Pro (12.9-inch):

This is the biggest and most powerful tablet around and it's perfect for all kinds of uses. Not only is the iPad Pro (12.9-inch) the best tablet for multimedia and gaming, but it's also the best tablet for drawing. The device offers a nice big edge-to-edge display that's perfect for watching movies, studying, gaming, and so on. The bezels are slim and the home button has been replaced by Face ID. Apple has also adopted USB-C, which gives you far more to choose from in terms of accessories and peripherals.

Sporting the biggest and best screen around, with a 2732 x 2048-pixel resolution and Apple's Liquid Retina XDR display tech, the tablet offers an incredible display experience all around. The Liquid Retina XDR display means that the iPad leverages Mini LED for super deep black levels and tons of brightness, plus there's a 120Hz refresh rate -- making the tablet is perfect for games.

Then there's processing power. With an M1 chip, the iPad Pro performs about as well as the new Mac Mini, iMac, and MacBook Air, meaning that power users shouldn't run into the device's limits. Nothing is faster, whether you're commanding armies in Civilization VI or editing an image in Photoshop. The iPad Pro can cope with any game or drawing app you throw at it.

Storage starts at 128GB and goes up to 2TB, but you have to pay a lot for a large capacity. There's no microSD card support.

Apple reckons you'll get 10 hours of mixed-use from a full charge, or nine hours if you opt for the model with cellular connectivity. The Apple Pencil attaches magnetically and charges wirelessly, but it costs an extra $99. The Smart Keyboard for the 12.9-inch model is $169.

It's expensive, especially if you need a lot of storage, and there's no headphone jack, but the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is still your best bet if you're a power-user that wants the best you can get.

iPad Pro 12.9-inch

Apple iPad Pro (12.9-inch)

Best big-screen tablet

Frequently Asked Questions

Which OS is best for you?

If your top consideration is entertainment, and you’re likely to use a lot of apps and games, then we recommend Apple’s iPadOS over Android. There are a lot of polished apps made specifically for the iPad and you have access to all the top subscription services and an extensive content store. It’s also slick and accessible, so anyone can come to grips with it quickly.

Android has a larger selection of free apps and games, though they’re generally less polished, which might be a trade-off you’ll accept. Things are a little complicated by manufacturer UIs, or in the case of Amazon, forked versions of the platform. They can delay Android updates and make the user experience quite different. Amazon’s tablets, for example, run a version of Android called Fire OS and they initially only have access to the limited subset of apps and games that are available in the Amazon Appstore, not the full list that you’ll find in Google’s Play Store.

If you like the idea of accessing the same apps you have on your Windows PC, and you want a business device that ties seamlessly into your Microsoft services, then a tablet running Windows 10 is going to be tempting. It’s powerful, but it’s also relatively expensive to get decent hardware for a good user experience. If you’re not a business user, or you don’t need to run Windows-only apps, it may be overkill.

Can you print from a tablet?

Yes, you can indeed print from a tablet. Check out our guides on how to print from an iPhone and how to print from an Android tablet for all the details you need.

Can you make phone calls on a tablet?

Yes, you can make phone calls on a tablet, but you will need to be connected to the internet. You can either connect to Wi-Fi, which every tablet can do for free, or if you need to make calls while you're out and about beyond the reach of a Wi-Fi network, buy a tablet with cellular support and space for a SIM card. Just bear in mind if you go the SIM card route, you will also have to sign up for a service plan of some kind. Some carriers offer special plans for tablets.

You can use FaceTime on an iPad, but there are lots of good alternative video chat apps that work with Android tablets or iPads. Many of them allow you to make audio calls as well. However, the person you want to call usually has to have the same app. Some apps, like Skype, also allow you to call regular landline or mobile phone numbers, but you'll generally have to pay per minute or get a subscription. A good app that will work on Android tablets or iPads that gives you a free number for calling, text messages, and voicemail is Google Voice, but it only works in the U.S.

If you're interested in this option for a business, then you might also consider one of the best VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) services.

Can you text on a tablet?

Yes, you can send text messages from a tablet. If you have an iPad then you can use iMessage, which can connect to your phone to send standard SMS messages and iMessages alike. There are lots of great text messaging apps that work on Android or iOS. You could also use Google Voice if you are based in the U.S. as it gives you a free number for calls and text messages.

How we test

The tablets we test serve as our daily drivers, so we use them extensively to put them through their paces. That means watching movies, gaming, testing out lots of apps, reading, working on them, and even taking photos and shooting videos with them (which is impossible to do without looking stupid). We love new, innovative features, but we can also appreciate classic design done well. Ultimately, we look for tablets that will fulfill the needs of most people, so their ability to serve up entertainment is paramount.

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