The Finest Tablets for 2020

Tablets are great for working and playing on the go, and the market has become more diverse in recent years. Having a variety of options to suit your needs and budget is always good news.

However, with so many options available, it can be difficult to know where to start. Below is a complete rundown of the best tablets of 2020 for all your needs. From heavy workhorses to tablets for kids and that Apple iPad (2020), that's the best buy overall, good at everything. This list will help you find the right tablet for you.

The best tablets at a glance

Overall best: Apple iPad (2020)

Why should you buy this? The iPad offers a vibrant display, silky smooth performance and long battery life at an affordable price.

Who is it for Anyone who wants a tablet.

Why we chose the Apple iPad (2020):

The iPad has dominated the tablet scene for years, and the eighth generation iPad (2020) is the culmination of all Apple experiences. There are no frills here. If you want innovation, keep looking. This is a solid, accessible all-round device that offers a really good tablet experience for a reasonable price. It replaces last year's iPad and adds a better processor. Therefore it should be even faster than before.

The bright 10.2-inch display is perfect for watching videos. It feels sleek and light, with Apple's usual high standards of build quality shining through, though the thick bezels are starting to look dated. Inside is the A12 Bionic processor from Apple with 3 GB of RAM. However, you just need to know that it is working smoothly. Whether you're hopping on and off apps, surfing the web, watching a movie, or playing the latest games, the iPad delivers lag-free performance.

If you need to take photos with your tablet, there is an 8-megapixel rear camera with a f / 2.4 aperture that is fast and can capture a lot of detail. The 1.2 megapixel selfie camera has an aperture of f / 2.2, which is sufficient for FaceTime at 720p, but little else.

The battery life is fantastic. You can expect more than 10 hours of HD video playback on a single charge, and with normal WiFi usage, expect a week between charges.

If you're looking for any weaknesses, we'll direct you to the bottom-firing speakers, pointing out that the entry-level model only has 32GB of storage. Additionally, there aren't any obvious flaws here, and we think so Apple iPad (2020) is the best tablet that you can buy without spending a lot more money.

Our complete Apple iPad (2019) review

Best upgrade choices: Apple iPad Pro (11 inch)

iPad Pro (2018) reviewJulian Chokkattu / Digital Trends

Why should you buy this? The iPad Pro is a stylish productivity powerhouse that is good at everything.

Who is it for Tablet enthusiasts, creatives and power users.

Why we chose the iPad Pro (11 inch):

With scaled-down bezels and flat edges, Apple's redesigned iPad Pro is a gorgeous device that manages to create maximum screen space without being too bulky. The home button is gone and has been replaced by Face ID. Apple's proprietary Lightning connector has finally given way to USB-C, giving you far more accessory and peripheral options. Although both models share the same internal components, the iPad Pro comes in two sizes and offers an 11-inch or 12.9-inch display.

Apple recently released a 2020 iPad Pro. It has a slight graphics hit, a better camera with improved AR capability, and Wi-Fi 6 support, among other small improvements. The 2020 model isn't a huge upgrade from the 2018 model, so the older model is still worth your money if you can find it at a discount.

Our pick is the 11-inch model, which has enough screen to get things done, but not so much that the tablet is difficult to use. The 11-inch model offers 2388 x 1668 pixels and benefits greatly from Apple's ProMotion technology, which increases the refresh rate to a buttery smooth 120 Hz.

When you need a lot of power, the iPad Pro is the tablet for you. With the A12Z Bionic processor from Apple, there are eight cores and a neural engine for fast machine learning. The result is unprecedented speed, whether you're editing images in Photoshop or commanding armies in Civilization VI. Storage ranges from 128GB to 1TB, but the price goes up with that.

Just like previous models, Apple suggests you get 10 hours of mixed use with one charge, or 9 hours if you choose the cellular connectivity model. The Apple Pencil attaches magnetically and now charges wirelessly, but it'll cost you an additional $ 130. This comes at an inflated price tag for the iPad Pro itself. The price of the Smart Keyboard has also risen to $ 180 for the 11-inch model this year. There's a new Magic Keyboard case that includes a trackpad. It's $ 300 for the 11-inch and $ 350 for the 12.9-inch.

Aside from the high price tag and limitations of iOS for users looking for a desktop replacement, we're disappointed that Apple removed the headphone jack. But in spite of all this is the Apple iPad Pro (11 inch)The aesthetics, raw performance, and long battery life make it a place in the pantheon of high-performance tablets. There is very little this tablet can't and you simply won't find anything better. We even found some iPad deals to read if the price is too high.

Our full iPad Pro review

Best Android tablet: Samsung Galaxy Tab S7

Why should you buy this? The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 comes closest to replicating the iPad Pro with an Android tablet and has an absolutely stunning display.

Samsung's flagship tablet is the best Android tablet you can buy.

Who is it for Anyone looking for an Android-based iPad alternative.

Why we chose the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7:

The Galaxy Tab S7 is the best Android tablet available in 2020 with an absolutely gorgeous display. There are only a few tablets in the world with a screen that can compete with the 11-inch display of the S7. However, the larger Tab S7 + toggles the LCD display for OLED, so it's even better. It also supports HDR content (which companies like Netflix and YouTube are increasingly making available these days). Even showing non-HDR content on the 2560 x 1600 pixel display of the S7 is an absolute joy.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor (the same chip that powers popular flagship smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S20) is fast, and 6GB or 8GB of RAM is more than enough to keep this tablet buzzing. It has 128 GB, 256 GB or 512 GB of internal storage, but can be expanded via a microSD card if you want to download a lot of content.

The tablet's four speakers are respectably loud and have cameras on the front and back. The rear-facing main camera with 13 megapixels and 5 megapixels and two lenses can record 4K video at 30 frames per second, while the 8-megapixel front camera is good enough for selfies and video chat.

Perhaps the tablet's main disadvantage is its software experience. While the One UI combined with Android 10 is fine for most, a lot of Android apps just don't really support the big screen experience. The tablet can handle this with the Samsung DeX desktop interface, but not all apps support DeX.

The 8,000 mAh battery will get you through a busy day and beyond with ease and can be quickly charged with a 45 W charger. The included S Pen interacts smoothly with the tablet's screen and will please note-makers and artists. It can also be attached magnetically and is charged wirelessly. The disadvantage here is the high price. If a laptop is your main search, the Chromebook Pro from Samsung or the Surface Go from Microsoft are cheaper and might be a better fit for you.

If you are interested in Android devices this is the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 is a good choice. It's a solid step up from the Tab A 8.0, but that high price tag can lead to a break.

Our full Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 review

Best 8 inch tablet: Apple iPad Mini 5

iPad Mini 5Julian Chokkattu / Digital Trends

Why should you buy this? The iPad Mini is a perfect blend of performance and portability. You can take it with you anywhere and easily read or watch shows on it.

Who is it for Who wants a smaller tablet.

Why we chose the iPad Mini 5:

It has taken Apple a long time to update the smallest of its iPads, and the iPad Mini 5 is outwardly identical to its predecessor, but there are some key changes inside. Inside this tablet is the powerful A12 Bionic processor that makes the performance silky whether you're playing a game, editing a photo, or sketching.

The 7.9-inch display is a joy to read, and Apple added support for the first-generation Apple Pencil. It's also good for watching movies or games, though you'll likely want headphones to go with it. The battery life is solid and is a good 10 hours between charges. There is also an 8-megapixel main camera and a 7-megapixel front camera.

Portability is the number one reason to choose the iPad Mini 5. If you want an iPad and need something smaller, this is it.

Unfortunately the design is now a bit out of date. It's expensive too – even more expensive than the 2020 iPad. But you can't beat that iPad Mini 5 If it's a small tablet that you want.

Our complete iPad Mini 5 review

Best cheap tablet: Amazon Fire HD 8 (2020)

Amazon Fire HD 8 front angles

Why should you buy this? The Fire HD 8 may be too Amazon-centric for some, however Prime Subscribers and Alexa Lovers will appreciate the ease of use.

Who is it for Amazon enthusiasts on a budget.

Why we chose Fire HD 8:

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

The LCD screen with its resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels is nowhere near the sharpest and the viewing angles are not great, but good enough for watching movies and reading on. The fact is, compromises are inevitable to reach this price point.

The all-plastic housing of the Fire HD is colorful and durable. You can also find stereo speakers optimized with Dolby Atmos that deliver relatively loud, crisp sound in movies, TV shows, and Amazon's Prime Music streaming service.

Alexa works fine on this tablet. When asking questions about popular movies, nearby restaurants, and the weather, you'll see 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 do many of the same tasks as Amazon's Echo speakers or the Echo Show.

The battery life is also impressive. It lasts up to 12 hours of mixed usage including reading, gaming and streaming. Fire HD 8's Fire OS software, a customized version of Android, isn't for everyone. People immersed in the Amazon ecosystem will appreciate For You, a recommendation engine that displays 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 vivid as we'd like it to be, and the hardware struggles under heavy loads, but there's no better tablet out there at this price point.

When you are determined to get something bigger than that Fire HD 8then you have to pay more but you should check out Amazon Fire HD 10, which features a 10.1-inch display, more processing grunts, and longer battery life. For more information on Amazon's largest tablet, check out our Fire HD 10 review.

Our full Fire HD 8 review

Best tablet for kids: Amazon Fire HD 8 Children's Edition

Amazon Fire HD 8 Children's EditionSimon Hill / Digital Trends

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

Who is it for Young children who need supervision.

Why we chose the Fire HD 8 Kids Edition:

With the updated Fire 8 HD Kids Edition (2020) from Amazon, the long-running line of kid-friendly tablets just got even better, though there's a disappointing lack of strong competition in this category.

An 8-inch screen with a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels provides bright and vivid colors and a thick rubber cover around the tablet's frame cushions to prevent accidental falls. The 32 GB internal memory of the tablet offers enough space for many books, games and other media. If you run out of space, a microSD card slot is available for expansion.

When it comes to parental controls, the Fire HD 8 Kids Edition is second to none. With the Fire OS software, a customized version of Android, you can manage usage restrictions, set learning goals and restrict access to inappropriate content. The Parent Dashboard also provides insights into what your kids are doing on their tablet, and encourages interaction with discussion questions about the books your kids read.

Fire HD 8 Kids Edition also includes one year of free access to Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, a library of more than 15,000 kid-friendly games, apps, educational content, books and videos from PBS Kids, Nickelodeon, Disney and more. Amazon's two-year no-questions-asked replacement policy applies to every purchase: if the Fire HD 8 fails, Amazon will replace it.

Put simply, there isn't a better tablet for young kids who still need parental supervision at this price point.

If you want something bigger than that Fire HD 8 Kids Edition, there is also a Fire HD 10 Kids Edition That has a bigger screen, more processing power, and a USB-C charging port, but it costs $ 200. Read our Fire HD 10 Kids Edition review to find out more about Amazon's bigger offering.

Our full Fire HD 8 Kids Edition review

Best Windows Tablet: Microsoft Surface Pro 7

Microsoft Surface Pro 7 Windows 10Riley Young / Digital Trends

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

Who is it for Anyone looking for a Windows tablet that can serve as a laptop.

Why we chose the Surface Pro 7:

The original Surface Pro was flawed, but it had a significant impact on the market. Microsoft has since refined the design, and the Surface Pro 7 is as close as possible to a hybrid device that works as both a tablet and a laptop. You can beat the 2-in-1.

Microsoft hasn't updated much about the Surface Pro 6, but the performance boost and the switch from Mini-DisplayPort to USB-C are welcome. You still have 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 simple to lightning fast. It's by far the most configurable device on our list. The pixel-rich display and speakers make watching movies a pleasure, but we've found that it lags far 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 having to plug it in.

The Type Cover and Surface Pen are great accessories and, when combined with the full version of Windows 10, are great choices for creatives, students, and everyone in between. This is real portable productivity.

Windows 10 tablet mode has yet to be worked on, and the Surface Pro 7 can be very expensive if you go for top-end specs and want the Type Cover to match. Still, it's our favorite 2-in-1 PC.

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

We have more recommendations for touchscreen Windows laptops if that will add to your speed.

Our full Surface Pro 7 review

Best Chrome OS Tablet: Lenovo Chromebook Duet

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

Who is it for Google fans who want a Googley tablet

Why we chose the Lenovo Chromebook Duet:

If you regularly use Google's services, have assistive devices at home, and don't want to use Google's online apps and services, a Chrome OS device might be the way to go – and there's no better option than the Lenovo Chromebook Duet .

In classic 2-in-1 fashion, the device has a connectable keyboard with a stand on the back, making it a great option for work. The keyboard feels pretty nice too, making it easy to type emails and documents on the device.

The Chromebook Duet isn't exactly the most powerful tablet out there, but given that you mostly use online apps anyway, this shouldn't matter too much. The device is super light and has a long battery life to ensure that it will be used normally for a few days.

If you love the simplicity of Chrome OS, here's a full list of recommendations of the best Chromebooks to buy.

Our full review of the Lenovo Chromebook Duet

Best large screen tablet: Apple iPad Pro (12.9 inch)

iPad Pro (2018) reviewJulian Chokkattu / Digital Trends

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

Who is it for Players, creatives and power users.

Why we chose the iPad Pro (12.9 inch):

This is the largest, most powerful tablet out there, and it's perfect for all types of uses. The iPad Pro (12.9 inch) is not only the best tablet for multimedia and games, but also the best tablet for drawing. Apple's 2018 redesign is about creating maximum screen real estate without making the iPad Pro too big to manage. The bezels are narrow and the home button has been replaced with face ID. Apple also introduced USB-C, which gives you far more choices when it comes to accessories and peripherals.

With the largest and best screen in the world, a resolution of 2732 x 2048 pixels, and Apple's ProMotion technology for an incredibly smooth refresh rate of 120 Hz, this tablet is perfect for games. There's no shortage of computing power with Apple's A12Z Bionic chip, which has eight cores and a neural engine for fast machine learning. Whether you're commanding armies in Civilization VI or editing an image in Photoshop, nothing is faster. The iPad Pro can handle any game or drawing app you throw at it.

Storage starts at 64GB and goes up to 1TB, but you have to pay a lot for a large capacity. There's no support for microSD cards, and while the iPad Pro has a USB-C port, most external storage options don't work with it right now – hopefully that will change.

Apple estimates that you get 10 hours of mixed use on a full charge, or 9 hours if you choose the cellular model. The Apple Pencil attaches magnetically and charges wirelessly, but costs an additional $ 130. The smart keyboard for the 12.9-inch model costs $ 200.

It's expensive, especially when you need a lot of storage space and there isn't a headphone jack, but the one 12.9-inch iPad Pro is still the best choice if you want a powerful gaming tablet or a great tablet for drawing and sketching.

Our full iPad Pro review

Research and buying tips

Which operating system is best for you?

If your main consideration is entertainment, and you are likely to use a lot of apps and games, we recommend Apple's iOS as the best platform. There are plenty of sophisticated apps designed specifically for the iPad, and you have access to all of the top subscription services and an extensive content store. It's also chic and accessible so anyone can get to grips with it quickly.

Android offers a wider variety of free apps and games, although these are generally less sophisticated. However, this could be a compromise that you will accept. Things get a little complicated with manufacturer user interfaces or, in the case of Amazon, forked versions of the platform. You can delay Android updates and make the user experience very different. For example, Amazon's tablets run a version of Android called Fire OS. For starters, they only have access to the limited number of apps and games available on the Amazon Appstore, not the full list you can find on Google's Play Store.

If you like the idea of ​​accessing the same apps you have on your Windows PC and want a business device that blends seamlessly with your Microsoft services, a tablet with Windows 10 is 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 don't need to run Windows apps, this might be too much of a good thing.

Check out our price predictions for tablet and iPad deals on Prime Day before you decide.

Can you print from a tablet?

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

Can you make calls on a tablet?

Yes, you can make phone calls on a tablet, but you must be connected to the internet. You can either connect to Wi-Fi, which any tablet can use for free, or if you need to make calls while on the move, out of range of a Wi-Fi network, buy a tablet with cellular support and storage space for a SIM card. Keep in mind that if you opt for a SIM card, you will also need to sign up for a service plan. Some airlines have special plans for tablets.

You can use FaceTime on an iPad, but there are many good alternative video chat apps that work with Android tablets or iPads. You can also make audio calls in many of them. However, the person you want to call usually needs to have the same app. With some apps like Skype, you can also call regular landline or cell phone numbers. However, you typically have to pay by the minute or take out a subscription. A good app for Android tablets or iPads that can give you a free number for calls, text messages, and voicemail is Google Voice. However, it only works in the US.

If you are interested in this option for a business, you can also consider one of the best Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) services.

Can you write text on a tablet?

Yes, you can send text messages from a tablet. If you have an iPad, you can use iMessage. However, you can only send messages this way to other iOS devices or Mac computers. There are many great text messaging apps that work on Android or iOS. You can also use Google Voice if you're based in the United States, as they give you a free number for calling and texting.

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, playing games, trying lots of apps, reading, working on them, and even taking photos and recording videos with them (which is impossible without looking silly). We love new, innovative features, but we can also appreciate classic design that is well done. Ultimately, we are looking for tablets that meet most people's needs, so their ability to provide entertainment is paramount.

Editor's recommendations




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