Tablets were once conceived purely as windows for providing the content. But Apple and Microsoft have proven to us that these devices are more than just portable laptops by adding cursor support and keyboard attachments. We’ve put together the best tablets, from those posing as laptop replacements like the Surface Pro 7 and iPad Pro 2020 to Android tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 and Amazon’s Kindle devices. Today, we are here with our list of best tablets that you can buy right now.
Apple’s iPads are among the best tablets, so check out our full iPadOS review to learn more about all the tricks these tablets can do. If you don’t sell on one of these tablets, one of the best 2-in-1 laptops should be the right choice. Other tablets to keep an eye on are the Microsoft’s Surface Neo – a foldable PC with dual 9-inch tablets – and the upcoming Surface Go 2.
Apple and Microsoft continue to dominate the category of best tablets, which mostly consist of Surface devices and iPads. The best tablet for maximum people is the iPad. It may not offer the same power as the Apple iPad Pro, or the portability of the iPad mini, but its size and price are what will attract everyday consumers.
List of the best tablets of 2021
Apple iPad Pro (12.9-inch, 2021)
The best tablet for power users
The 12.9-inch iPad Pro is by far the best tablet for powerful users. Now equipped with an M1 processor, a mini-LED display (XDR) and 5G support, no other tablet on the market gives you as complete a package as the new iPad Pro. This comes after major improvements were made to the software. With added cursor and trackpad support, the iPad Pro is finally a true laptop replacement. You can now connect a Bluetooth mouse, a wireless trackpad (like the Magic Trackpad 2) or the Magic Keyboard and use a cursor to navigate iPadOS 14 (iPadOS 15 is coming soon).
Another great new feature is support for Thunderbolt 3 and USB4, so you can transfer files or connect to multiple 4K monitors faster than ever. There’s also a new software magic trick called Center Stage that lets you stay in the frame of a video during conference calls when using supported platforms (FaceTime, Zoom). Yes, the iPad Pro is expensive, starting at $1,099, but you won’t find a better tablet on the market. Overall, this is one of the best tables of 2021.
iPad Air (2020)
A more affordable iPad Pro, for consumers
Apple’s latest iPad Air is the best iPad without a Pro ever, and the tablet we recommend to most people. The new iPad Air is not an upgraded version of the entry-level iPad, but essentially an iPad Pro without the fancy, niche features. It has a 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display with thin screen bezels for a more modern design.
Under the hood is the A14 chip, making the iPad Air the first Apple product to show off the new six-core processor. So far, the performance numbers are impressive: the Air outperforms some laptops. Battery life also remains excellent at 10 hours and 29 minutes, although competing slates hold out even longer. Overall, this is one of the best tables of 2021.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S7
The best Android tablet
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 is one of the best tablets because of its battery life. This tablet can offer more than 13 hours of battery life. Wow! The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ both have excellent cameras: a 13MP main camera and a 5MP secondary ultra-wide-angle lens. On the front is an 8MP selfie camera. Both tablets are updates of the Galaxy Tab S6 and feature an improved S Pen that is included in the box.
The Galaxy Sab S7 and Galaxy S7+ have faster processors and 5G connectivity. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ is also one of Samsung’s best tablets, with its 12.4-inch screen of 2,800 x 1,752 pixels, but because of the gorgeous AMOLED screen, there is a dip in battery life (it lasts 8 hours and 51 minutes).
Apple iPad (10.2-inch, A12)
The best tablet for most people
Apple’s 10.2-inch iPad may look a lot like its predecessor (and it is), but the company has tweaked enough so that we still love this slate. Not only does the extra screen space (instead of 9.7 inches) come in handy in iPadOS, but the added support for the Smart Keyboard Cover is finally a moment. Plus, the battery lasted nearly 12 hours in our tests, and the colorful, super-bright screen makes for a solid experience. At $329, the iPad is the cheapest tablet in Apple’s lineup, making it one of the best tablets for the money.
Microsoft Surface Pro 7
The best Windows tablet
The Surface Pro 7 is everything we know and love about the Surface series: the power of Windows 10 and the versatility of a tablet or 2-in-1 form factor. It is undoubtedly one of the best tablets of The Intel Core i3, i5, and i7 options (all 10th gen), up to 16GB RAM, up to 1TB storage, and of course, that fantastic 12.3-inch PixelSense screen. Despite all that power, it’s still light enough to hold in one hand (just about) and put in a pocket.
We must point out that the Surface Pro Type Cover and Surface Pen are, as usual, optional extras – so you’ll have to pay a little more money to take full advantage of everything the Surface Pro 7 has to offer. However, when it comes to desktop experiences in tablet form factors, this is one of the best tablets in 2021.
Amazon Fire HD 10
Amazon’s best tablet
Amazon has upgraded its best tablet with a port that even Apple’s iPad doesn’t offer: USB-C. Plus, you get great battery life with a bright, colorful 1920 x 1200 pixel display that’s great for binge-watching. We’d still like Amazon to allow the Google Play store by default – the Fire OS mail app wants it, and the real YouTube app is much better than the website. Overall, this is one of the best tablets in 2021 to buy right now.
Microsoft Surface Go 2
Best 2-in-1 under $500
Microsoft’s Surface Go 2 gives you many of the benefits of the Surface Pro, but at a much more affordable price. Starting at $399, it offers a bright, colorful screen, a comfortable keyboard, and a sturdy-feeling magnesium design. It also features Windows Hello support for logging in with facial recognition. You shouldn’t expect faster performance from its Core m3-8100Y CPU, but it should provide enough power for everyday tasks. Compared to the previous version, the Surface Go 2 has thinner bezels, faster speeds and now delivers an epic battery life of over 11 hours. Overall, this is one of the best tables that you can buy right now.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite
An inexpensive tablet for Android users
You get a bright 10.4-inch display, an included S Pen stylus and a great all-day battery, all for just $350. That’s what makes the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite such an attractive tablet for those looking for an alternative to the iPad. With Android 10, this slate is ideal for Droid owners, especially those with Samsung Galaxy smartphones. Although performance can sometimes lag, the S6 Lite is a good choice if you just need to perform basic daily tasks, such as web browsing or video streaming. In many ways, the S6 Lite fulfills the same role as the iPad, but for those not in the Apple ecosystem.
Apple iPad mini
Our favorite small tablet
Apple has updated one of its most beloved tablets with a set of specifications that make it well worth the purchase. From the fast A12 Bionic chip to the bright, beautiful display, this is a slate on which to consume content and do things. Plus, it gets longer battery life and support for the Apple Pencil. This latest version is already a few years old and Apple is expected to update the iPad mini in the coming months, so you might want to wait a little longer. Overall, this is one of the best tables of 2021.