Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our content.
Compare the best tablets
Whether for work or play, the right slate is out there.
Although the idea for a tablet was proposed back in the 1960s, it wasn’t until Apple introduced the iPad in 2010 that these portable and easy-to-use computers launched to the top of sales charts worldwide. The iPad is a major player still, but plenty of other products are worth considering in this competitive market space.
Top tablets in 2020
|Operating system||Screen size(in)||Resolution (px)||Storage||Estimated battery life||Purchase|
Amazon Fire HD 8
||Fire OS||8||1280 x 800||16GB, 32GB||Up to 10 hours||Buy now|
Lenovo Tab 4 8
||$129.99||Android 7.1||8||1280 x 800||16GB||Up to 6.5 hours||Buy now|
Apple iPad (2018)
||$289.00||iOS 12||9.7||2048 x 1536||32GB, 128GB||Up to 10 hours||Buy now|
Apple iPad mini 4
||$399.00||iOS 12||7.9||2048 x 1536||128GB||Up to 10 hours||Buy now|
Microsoft Surface Go
||$514.99||Windows 10||10||1800 x 1200||64GB, 128GB||Up to 9 hours||Buy now|
Asus ZenPad 3S 10
||$499.77||Android 6.0||9.7||2048 x 1536||32GB, 64GB||Up to 10 hours||Buy now|
Onyx Boox Max2
||$749.99||Android 6.0||13.3||2200 x 1650||32GB||Up to a month||Buy now|
Apple iPad Pro 10.5
||$597.00||iOS 12||10.5||2224 x 1668||64GB, 256GB, 512GB||Up to 10 hours||Buy now|
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
||$829.75||Android 8.1||10.5||2560 x 1600||64GB, 256GB||Up to 8 hours||Buy now|
Microsoft Surface Pro 6
||$829.99||Windows 10||12.3||2736 x 1824||128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB||Up to 13.5 hours||Buy now|
What is a tablet?
The first detailed proposal for a notepad-style computer was made by American computer scientist Alan Kay in 1968. His plans for the Dynabook imagined a portable device that weighed about two pounds and gave children easy access to digital media.
The Dynabook never got past the concept stage. But several leading tech companies, including Microsoft, unsuccessfully attempted to launch tablets until the arrival of Apple’s iPad in 2010.
Think of a tablet as device that’s somewhere between your phone and your desktop computer. Like your phone, tablets use mobile operating systems and are built for mobility. But like a desktop PC or laptop, you can also type longer documents, store files and stream videos.
Their touch-sensitive screens allow you to use your finger or a stylus to interact with the information you see. And you can wirelessly connect a keyboard or mouse to the tablet.
Why should I consider a tablet?
You might wonder why you need a tablet when you’ve got a drawer full of tech gadgets at home. But these lightweight devices offer benefits that best your smartphone, laptop and desktop:
- They’re portable. Tablets are thin and lightweight, taking the portability of laptops to the next level.
- They’re easy to use. If you struggle with new technology — or you’re buying for a technophobe — tablets offer a simple and intuitive user interface designed for novices to use right out of the box.
- They’re practical. You don’t always need the processing power and bells and whistles of a laptop or PC. Tablets are a convenient way to check emails, browse the web and stream your favorite shows. And they offer a larger screen, longer battery life and more storage than your smartphone.
- They’re functional. Popular tablets allow you to customize your device by downloading a variety of apps to play games, boost your brain power, check the weather or compile documents.
Who shouldn’t consider a tablet?
Despite their advantages, tablets might not be for everyone. You could find that you’re able to get with just your phone — after all, you already take it with you everywhere. And newer smartphones with large screens may be enough to overcome the drawbacks of a smaller screen.
Then, you might be one of those who feel that the computing power of a tablet isn’t enough. If so, stick with the bigger screen and larger storage capacity provided by a conventional laptop or PC.
What tablet types are available?
Tablets vary widely in shapes and sizes, but they generally fall into four categories.
How to choose an operating system
You’ll find three main players when it comes to a tablet’s OS.
Your smartphone OS will likely play a role in determining the tablet you choose. For example, if you already use an iPhone, you’re already part of Apple’s ecosystem, which means you may prefer the iPad. You can integrate your iTunes account, Apple chargers and media found on your other devices. It’s a similar story for Android phones and Android tablets.
How to compare tablets
The typical cost of a tablet ranges from $100 to $1,500, depending on brand, model and performance. Aside from the operating system and device type, you’ll want to weigh size, storage and other important factors when choosing a tablet.
Which tablet is best for me?
The best tablet for you depends on what you’ll use it for, the OS you want to use and your budget. Here’s how five popular models compare.
|The good||The bad|
|Microsoft Surface Pro 6||
|Samsung Galaxy Tab S4||
|Lenovo Tab 4 8||
|Amazon Fire HD 8||
After you have a better idea of the type of tablet you want to buy, weigh the benefits and drawbacks of your options to find a device that’s right for your habits, lifestyle and needs.
Tablets come in a range of sizes and price points. Think about what you’ll use your device for before deciding on a model.
How did we choose these products?
To choose our list of top tablets, we compared price, OSs, size, portability, battery life and overall features.
Frequently asked questions
More guides on Finder
Best overwater bungalows in the Caribbean for every budget
Escape to your very own island paradise above the waves.
Shopify vs. Amazon
Comparing Shopify and Amazon? Here’s how these platforms measure up.
Molekule review: Can it improve your home’s air quality?
Here’s what to know about Molekule, the air purifier that promises to destroy pollutants in your home like smoke, dust and mold.
Wix vs. Squarespace
Consider your blogging needs when deciding between these two website builders.
Best 3D printers in 2020
Whether you’re a student or an industry professional, we broke down the best 3D printers to suit your needs — from budget options to accessible features.
Wealthfront vs. Vanguard
Consider your investing budget when choosing between these two platforms.
Best shipping software
5 best tools for streamlining order fulfillment.
Charles Schwab vs. TD Ameritrade
Pros and cons to consider before opening an account with either of these brokerages.
Betterment vs. Fidelity
Compare annual advisory fees and access to financial planners when choosing between Betterment and Fidelity.
Top 3 alternatives to Stripe for small businesses
3 Stripe alternatives that don’t need coding experience.
Ask an Expert