Best tablet 2022: top models tested from Apple to Samsung
This makes it incredibly difficult to know which is the best tablet to buy. It’s also why many manufacturers now bundle in free cloud storage, free accessories, or other software features in an attempt to stand out.
We’ve spent the past two months completing a range of tablet reviews, putting the best tablets to the test to find these points of difference and to help you choose the best model for your needs.
From entry-level models sold by Amazon to the best budget tablets from Lenovo and Samsung, the stand-out premium models from Apple, and alternative tablets from Huawei and Xiaomi, we’ve handpicked a selection of the very best tablets to suit all tastes, budgets and needs.
Best tablets at a glance
How to choose the best tablet
Choosing the best tablet will ultimately come down to what you need it to do, but there are a few points to keep in mind. We’ve explained these below:
Ultimately, it depends on what you’re buying a tablet for. On-the-go streaming or gaming will lend itself better to a smaller tablet – between 8 and 10 inches. If you want a viable laptop alternative, you’ll find a screen that stretches up towards the 13-inch mark will give you more room to work with. Generally, smaller tablets are cheaper and less powerful, and larger ones cost more because you get more.
The majority of the tablets we’ve reviewed and included in our best tablet list measure around the 10-inch mark. There are a couple of exceptions, but between 10 and 11 inches seems to be standard, and tablets of this size hit a sweet spot of usability and portability.
It’s then a case of deciding which is the best 10-inch tablet from this selection if you want a device for entertainment, work, and everything in between.
When it comes to buying the best tablet, how much you should spend really depends on how much you can afford. You don’t always need to spend a fortune to get decent specs, but, as a rule, the more expensive the tablet, the more it offers in terms of features, design, battery life, storage and so on.
To give you a range to work with, the most expensive model in our list below costs from £799, but some can cost in excess of £2,000 – the price of a decent laptop – if you opt for all the bells and whistles. The cheapest comes in at just £109.99. The rest of the models sit at various points in between, and there is a great selection of top tablets in the mid-range market.
We recommend that you decide why you want the tablet in the first instance. Is it a family device? Will you use it more for streaming or working? How important is having built-in storage versus storing files in the cloud?
If you’re looking for the best gaming tablet, for instance, having one with a great display and refresh rate will be a priority. If it’s going to be used for remote working, a lower quality display but better battery life may be more important.
Best tablets to buy in 2022
Best tablet money can buy
If money was no object, we’d recommend the iPad Pro all day long. In fact, even where money is an object, if you can stretch a little to buy this flagship tablet, you won’t regret it.
Want a fantastic display for streaming and gaming? You’ve got it. Want an immense amount of power, capable of carrying out even the most intense creative tasks? Sure. Want a tablet that doubles up as a viable laptop replacement? Apple has you covered.
If you’re a hardcore pro user, there is a 12.9-inch model with a Liquid Retina XDR display, up to 2TB of storage, up to 16GB RAM, a 12MP wide and 10MP ultra-wide camera setup and five studio-quality microphones. Many of the technologies and components on display in the 12.9-inch iPad Pro are borrowed or adapted from those seen on Apple’s range of MacBook computers. This should be your first indication as to just how effective the iPad Pro doubles up as a work computer.
If you can’t stretch to this flagship model but want many of the same specs and features, then the 11-inch version comes with the same M1 chip but offers slightly lower-spec storage and display technology – all for around a £200 reduction in price.
Alternatively, we highly recommend the iPad Air in place of an iPad Pro if budget is a concern. You can read more about this in our iPad Pro vs iPad Air head-to-head.
The only fault we could really find with the iPad Pro during our testing is that its price will push it beyond many people’s budgets.
Read our full Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) review.
iPad Pro 11-inch
The iPad Pro 11-inch is also available from the following places:
iPad Pro 12.9-inch
The iPad Pro 12.9-inch is also available from the following places:
Best mid-range tablet
As we described in our iPad Air review, the iPad Air is the goldilocks of the Apple range. It’s not too big, and it’s not too small. It’s not too expensive, and you barely need to sacrifice features or performance.
It doesn’t come with all the bells, whistles and the kitchen sink that accompany the iPad Pro, but it also won’t set you back a grand in the process.
When compared to its siblings and a number of rivals, including the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 and Tab S7 Plus, the iPad Air’s display does leave us a little wanting. That’s not to say the display isn’t great – it is – it’s just when you’ve experienced the next-level screens on those other models, the iPad Air doesn’t quite compete.
This small shortcoming can be so easily forgiven because, with the iPad Air, Apple has hit a sweet spot between entertainment and productivity, housed in an attractive, well-built device. Not to mention the fact it supports the Apple Pencil and the Magic Keyboard. It’s a shame these accessories require a separate purchase on top of what is already a relatively pricey machine. But we think it’s worth the investment.
Read our full Apple iPad Air review.
The iPad Air is also available from the following places:
Best Android tablet
Awarding the Samsung Tab S7 the best Android tablet title almost feels like a backhanded compliment, but it’s not meant that way. In a sea of Android tablets, coming in at various price points and sizes, the Tab S7 leads the pack, but it’s also an extremely worthy alternative to Apple’s iPads.
Like the iPad Air, the Tab S7 offers flagship specs without a sky-high flagship price. Its display is stunning, and it showcases colours and details in an almost unprecedented way. The only display that beats the Tab S7’s is the one found on Samsung’s more expensive model, the Samsung Tab S7 Plus.
The Tab S7’s screen isn’t perfect. It collects fingerprints and is highly reflective, which makes viewing the screen in sunlight near-on impossible, even with the brightness turned up to the max. But, all that aside, we’d still recommend it.
Elsewhere, the Tab S7 is fast, responsive and easy to use. Like the iPad Air, its performance only stuttered when we pushed it really hard with multiple apps, video calls and tasks all running at the same time, and even then, it never ground to a halt like Amazon’s models have a tendency to do.
Samsung claims the battery life on the Tab S7 will last 15 hours, but we maxed out at a little over 10 when streaming a Full HD video on repeat, which is a tad disappointing. The Tab S7 lasted much longer, at more than three days on standby. When using the tablet as an everyday device – to make the odd video call, browse the web, play SimCity, catch up on Netflix and listen to podcasts – we got just shy of a day’s use out of it.
Unlike the iPad Air and the rest of the iPad range, Samsung bundles in its superb S Pen as standard. You don’t have to pay a premium for the tablet and then fork out another hundred pounds for an accessory. And the S Pen more than stands up against the Apple Pencil in terms of features. It’s not quite as stylish, but it’s not far off.
The Samsung Android tablet starts at £619, and this gets you a 128GB model backed by 6GB RAM with Wi-Fi. For an extra £100, you can add 4G to this or boost the built-in storage to 256GB with 8GB of RAM and Wi-Fi for an extra £70. The fact the S Pen stylus is included in this price gives Samsung an edge over rivals like Apple and Lenovo.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 review.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 is also available from the following places:
Best affordable Android tablet
The Xiaomi Pad 5 is an Android-based tablet that is suited to anyone who wants a portable device for consuming media, social media or mobile gaming.
Priced from £369 in the UK, it’s cheaper than the iPad Air 4 (from £579) and Yoga Tab 13 (from £599), so it’s closer to the Huawei MatePad Pro (£399), the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite (£329) and, of course, the entry-level iPad (from £319).
It not only has a 120Hz refresh rate, but it’s powered by a Snapdragon 860 chip, meaning that app performance is always silky smooth. The premium feel, and solid specs for the price make it our pick of the best affordable Android tablet.
Read the full Xiaomi Pad 5 review.
Best tablet for remote working
If the Tab S7 sits alongside the iPad Air in the mid-range tablet market, Samsung’s flagship Galaxy Tab S7 Plus is more akin to tablets at the highest end of the market. Namely Apple’s flagship, the iPad Pro.
It starts this battle well, featuring the best tablet display we’ve ever seen on a mobile device. By swapping out the 11-inch LCD screen on the Tab S7 with a 12.4-inch AMOLED panel, the display seen on the S7 goes from being great to superb on the S7 Plus.
It takes the brightness, the depth of colour and sharp lines of its sibling to the next level, with blacks, in particular, looking inky and dark, and with contrast that’s almost scarily true-to-life when streaming films like Kong vs Godzilla.
The increased screen size gives the Tab S7 Plus more real-estate upon which to stream, game and work and the latter is one spec that elevates the S7 Plus ahead of the Tab S7 and other Android rivals. The Tab S7 Plus is a powerhouse that makes everything from documents to images, videos and graphics shine.
We love the way the Samsung skin on the Android software works with the S Pen – which is included as standard in the Tab S7 Plus’ price – and being able to interact with the device using our voice, S Pen gestures, and touch adds a level of productivity we haven’t experienced with other devices.
Like with the iPad Pro, its high price aims the Tab S7 Plus more towards power users than casual tablet fans. Yet, unlike Apple’s equivalent, this price comes in at a tad more accessible.
The iPad Pro can’t be beaten in terms of design, power, performance, and battery life, but if any tablet was going to get it on the ropes, it’s the Tab S7 Plus. This should be your tablet of choice if remote working is your number one reason for buying one and if you’re not tied to Apple’s ecosystem.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus review.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus is also available from the following places:
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Best Samsung alternative
Samsung and Apple tend to dominate best tablet lists, but Lenovo produces similarly impressive technologies, often for less than the other tech giants.
Take its P11 Pro, for instance. It’s a flagship device that offers a whole lot for not a huge amount, relatively speaking, coming in at half the price of the largest iPad Pro and sitting more than £300 below the Tab S7 Plus.
The display, alone, almost warrants paying the £550 price tag – it’s fantastic. It doesn’t quite live up to those seen on the Samsung and Apple tablets, but it’s not far off. All while being cheaper. This screen is matched by equally impressive battery life. The P11 Pro will last for 13 hours with heavy use and more than a day and a half with less intense use. Again, this falls short of the iPad Pro but pushes it ahead of the Samsung devices and Apple’s iPad Air.
What’s more, the tablet has a trick up its sleeve in the form of Ambient mode. When enabled, this mode transforms the P11 Pro into an alternative to the Google Nest Hub Max. Without paying £179 more for the privilege. In this mode, the P11 Pro works more like a smart speaker, and you can use Google Assistant like you would on Google’s Home and Nest range of products.
The catch, and reason why you can get such advanced technology for so much cheaper than its rivals, is because its software is clunky and frustrating at times. The skin that Lenovo has placed over the regular Android software makes it feel cluttered and confusing. Lenovo’s Productivity Mode – a mode designed to make working on the tablet easier – is also not brilliantly well thought out and ended up making us less productive, rather than more so.
If you’re looking for a large Android tablet for streaming and casual use, the P11 Pro more than does the job, and it’s a well-built, well-designed machine if you can’t quite stretch to the prices of Samsung and Apple.
Read our full Lenovo P11 Pro review.
The Lenovo P11 Pro is also available from the following places:
Best value-for-money Android tablet
Another Lenovo model that’s worth a look at if you’re looking to save some money without too many compromises is the Lenovo Yoga Smart Tab. It ticks a lot of boxes, whether you’re buying it for streaming, gaming or just for casual browsing, thanks to a combination of great display technology, versatility and price.
Firstly, its 10-inch Full HD display punches well above its weight for a tablet at this price. Colours are vibrant and bright, more so than some other 10-inch models on this list (namely the Amazon Fire HD 10), and lines are sharper on text, smaller thumbnails and app icons. It doesn’t rival more expensive models because contrast can sometimes be lacking, and blacks look faded at times, but on the whole, it surpasses its price.
Secondly, it has an industrial-looking design that isn’t too dissimilar to Apple’s iPad Pro. As part of this, the Lenovo Yoga Smart Tab has a three-in-one, built-in kickstand. This can be angled to tilt the device, it can be used to prop up the tablet when watching TV shows or films, and it can be hung up. We use the latter feature on car journeys by hanging it from the passenger seat. This allows both of our kids to watch whatever is on the device without fighting over who’s holding it. This could also be used to present content during a meeting, for instance, or as a makeshift TV on your wall when you’re lying in bed.
Just like the P11 Pro, you can use Yoga Smart Tab in Ambient mode and turn the 10.1-inch tablet into a Google Nest alternative. However, even when not in Ambient mode, the Yoga Smart Tab has Google Assistant more widely embedded throughout the software, meaning you can use many of these smart-home, voice-controlled features without needing to switch it into this mode first.
Even though Lenovo’s software skin is a little obtrusive sometimes, as it is on the P11 Pro, it’s a lot easier to forgive on this cheaper model. And there isn’t a Productivity mode getting in the way. Plus, you get the full catalogue of Android apps on the Lenovo, which can’t be said for the Amazon range.
This Android tablet doesn’t have the latest and greatest software, nor are its internals up to some of its flagship rivals, but it’s a decent piece of kit for an affordable price and is very family-friendly.
Read our full Lenovo Yoga Smart Tab review.
The Lenovo Yoga Smart Tab is also available from the following places:
Best small tablet
The 6th-gen iPad mini is the latest small-form tablet to join the iPad lineup, and it’s larger and more expensive than any of the mini models that have come before it.
The mini 6 is powered by the A15 Bionic Chip, and we felt this was one of the most substantial improvements with the new model, giving it more speed and power than the iPad 5. The tablet is available with either 64GB or 256GB storage and you can buy it as Wi-Fi only or with cellular capabilities via an additional mobile contract.
Its predecessor was priced at 399, and while it could never be described as cheap, coming in under the £400 mark at least felt attainable. With this model Apple pushed the price up to £479 for the entry-level model, and we felt like this was a substantial difference. Is it worth it? If you can afford the price jump, then its a sure-fire yes.
As we explained after some hands-on time with the slate: “Yes, Apple has increased the price of the iPad mini 6, but it’s also significantly ramped up the specs to warrant this increase. Whereas previous models have been best suited for entertainment, the power improvements on the iPad mini 6 make it much more suitable for productivity, creative and work tasks – suitability that is bolstered by support for the second-generation Apple Pencil and its larger screen.”
Read our full iPad mini 6 (2021) review.
Best 10-inch tablet
The Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 is another budget tablet that takes the technology of its more expensive sibling, and offers it in a more affordable package.
It leverages Samsung’s legacy in screen technology to make its Full HD, 10.4-inch display absolutely shine. It isn’t on the same level as the Galaxy Tab S7 range, but it’s not far off. A point that is even more impressive when you consider the vast difference in price.
The Tab A7 runs the latest version of Android – Android 10 – with a Samsung skin on top. Just like the Lenovo skin, this Samsung one can get in the way on occasion. It’s not as obtrusive, though, and there are times you barely notice the differences between the skin and pure Android.
We had expected the impressive display on the Galaxy Tab S7 to be super power-hungry, yet if it is, it doesn’t impact the battery life on the Tab A7. This budget tablet lasts around 10 hours when streaming video and a day and a half with more casual use – almost on par with tablets that cost three times as much.
One sacrifice you make for its cheaper price is that, while it’s fast and responsive during everyday tasks when you have too many windows or apps open, the processor starts to struggle. This is easily solved by clearing the cache but could prove frustrating if you have to do this a lot. Another downside is its design. It looks cheap and low-quality when placed alongside more expensive models, and It has larger bezels.
Despite these criticisms, this is undoubtedly the best budget tablet we’ve used, and it offers a lot of bang for your buck.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 is also available from the following places:
Best alternative tablet
The Huawei MatePad Pro is a bit of an anomaly. It’s not a cheap tablet, so it didn’t make our best budget tablet guide. It doesn’t run Android, so it couldn’t be included in our best Android tablet guide, and it’s certainly not one of the best tablets for kids.
Yet it’s actually an extremely capable and impressive device, so we’re glad to be able to include it in this best tablet list.
Its price puts it on par with the Lenovo P11 Pro and the Apple iPad Air. Yet, while it easily competes in terms of hardware, it lags behind in software terms. This is because, as of May 2019, Huawei has been in a tussle with the US authorities, which saw its licence to run Android being revoked. To get around this, Huawei designed its own operating system, called EMUI, which is built using open-source Android files but isn’t a pure, pre-loaded version of it.
As a result, it doesn’t run Android apps in the standard way via the Google Play Store. This is also an issue with Amazon tablets, but it feels more significant on a tablet of this price. Everything that’s missing can, in one form or another, be accessed via a browser and bookmarks or by what’s known as sideloading apps. You can also jailbreak the phone to take control of its software, but we don’t advise doing this.
As a result, the MatePad Pro has very few pre-installed apps and those which it does preload only include its own productivity and entertainment apps – Video, Tips, Kids Corner and various tools like a calculator and voice recorder. The plus side of this, of course, is that you get more of the built-in storage from the offset without it being taken up by apps and services you may not want.
In terms of hardware, the Huawei MatePad Pro is an attractive, super-fast tablet with superb battery life. It’s powered by the Kirin 990 processor, backed up by 6GB RAM, and Huawei promises a 12-hour battery life when streaming Full HD video. During our tests, we pushed this battery life to 14 hours when streaming videos and three days for more regular, everyday tasks. This was a pleasant surprise.
You can charge this battery via USB-C or on a wireless charger. This charging plate on the rear of the tablet can also be used to share charge with Huawei phones when placed on top of each other.
Unfortunately, this hardware won’t be enough for some people to get around the issues with its software. If the price was lower, it might be worth the sacrifice, but the only way you’ll get the true value for money with the Huawei MatePad Pro is if you already have a Huawei phone.
It’s a superb tablet let down somewhat by politics.
Read our full Huawei MatePad Pro.
The Huawei MatePad Pro is also available from the following places:
Best Amazon tablet
Amazon recently refreshed its Fire devices line up with the launch of the Amazon Fire HD 10 2021 Edition. It looks and works remarkably similar to the previous Amazon Fire HD 10, and, at face value, it’s hard to see what’s changed. However, if you look a little deeper into the spec sheet, you’ll see a number of improvements.
The biggest is that you expand the storage on the 2021 model to 1TB, up from 512GB on the previous version. The processor on the newer model is faster and more efficient, backed by 3GB of RAM rather than 2GB. The cameras on the 2021 model have been boosted from 2MP front and back to 2MP on the front and 5MP on the back.
What’s remained the same is that both models have a Full HD 10-inch display. Both can also be used as an alternative to the £240 Echo Show 10, thanks to a feature called Show Mode. A feature that has proved to be a feather in Amazon’s cap. Sadly, both still have the same plastic, cheap design and neither offer support for Google Play Store or Google apps (Drive, YouTube, Gmail etc.).
The two biggest reasons to choose this tablet over other 10-inch models in our best tablet list, however, is that Amazon’s tablets continue to be highly affordable, and the new Amazon Fire HD 10 is part of the firm’s Climate Friendly Pledge.
This means it’s made from 28% post-consumer recycled plastics, 96% of this device’s packaging is made of wood-fibre-based materials from responsibly managed forests or recycled sources, and the product was designed for improved energy efficiency. It’s rare for cheap devices to also be climate positive, and this matters to you, then this is a great budget tablet to buy.
The Amazon Fire HD 10 (2021) is also available from the following places:
Best tablet for on-the-go streaming
As with the rest of the Amazon Fire range, the Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus is another affordable way to watch content and read books on the go but in a smaller form factor. Today’s tablets tend to sit around the 10-inch mark, partly in order to differentiate them from the increasing size of smartphones. Amazon’s Fire 7 and Fire HD 8 range offers a welcomed alternative.
Not only does the Fire HD 8 Plus have a wealth of content available at your fingertips, but it works well as both an Echo Show (in Show Mode) as well as a Kindle e-reader.
The battery life is decent, too. The Fire HD 8 Plus was the only budget tablet we tested that exceeded the promised video streaming battery life of 12 hours, coming in at 12 hours 17 minutes. The Fire HD 8 Plus also offers wireless charging; being the first Amazon device to offer the added convenience afforded by this technology,
The catch for its cheap price is that its design is basic, and its software isn’t as zippy as on other devices. It’s also not as well-balanced as other tablets we’ve used, which may be due to trying to cram the wireless charging technology inside. It often felt like it was going to tip out of our hands, and this made it a little uncomfortable to hold.
In a case, though, this doesn’t even register as a complaint, and you get all the benefits of this small, affordable tablet.
Following suit with the rest of the Amazon Fire tablet range, the software is mediocre and doesn’t support Google apps. There are ways around this, but for some, this will be a dealbreaker. If you’re looking for a versatile tablet that won’t break the bank, you’ve found it. You just need to make a few sacrifices along the way.
Read our full Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus review.
The Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus is also available from the following places:
Best tablet designed for children
Although the iPad Mini took the crown for being the best tablet for kids, it’s still an adult device that can be used by children. The Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition is your best bet if you’re after a tablet designed specifically with little ones in mind.
For £149, you’re effectively getting an Amazon Fire HD 8 (£89.99), a case (£15), and a year of Amazon Kids+ (£79). It also doubles up as an alternative to the Echo Show 8 (£120) when used in Show Mode. This is a bundle of products and services that would set you back more than £300 if bought separately.
Straight out of the box, the tablet is child-proof. It comes with a shock-proof case in either purple, blue or pink, and a child’s profile is enabled by default. The setup is quick and simple, and you can be safe in the knowledge that your child won’t stumble on anything they shouldn’t.
Every Amazon Fire HD Kids Edition tablet also comes with a two-year guarantee – Amazon will replace the tablet for free if it breaks within this period – and a free, one-year subscription to Amazon Kids+. This subscription usually costs £79 a year, or £49 for Prime members and gives you and your kids unlimited access to child-friendly and educational apps, games and videos.
You can then manage additional parental controls, including screen-time limits, via the Parent Dashboard available on the Kids+ phone app or through your Amazon account.
We selected the 8-inch model for our list of the best tablets for kids and for this best tablet list because it hits a sweet spot in terms of screen quality, size and power.
While it is possible to access sites like YouTube, as well as Google services via the built-in browser, these apps are not available via the Amazon App Store.
You can read more about how the Mini compares to Amazon’s Fire HD 8 Kids Edition in our iPad Mini vs Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition head-to-head.
Read our full Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition review.
The Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids is also available from the following places:
How we tested tablets
All tablets are tested in the same way, regardless of price or operating system. They are marked against a scorecard that judges how well they perform across 12 categories. For each category, the tablets are marked out of 10 for both their specs, as well as how they perform, and they’re scored out of a total of 120.
The category list is:
We time how long it takes to set up each tablet out of the box, from signing in to syncing account content (where relevant) and downloading apps including Netflix, TikTok and Facebook.
We put each tablet through a looping video streaming test during which we play a Full HD video on a loop at 70% brightness over Wi-Fi. We time how long it takes each tablet to go from full charge to flat.
Finally, we use the tablet for five days as our main tablet. This involves using it to browse the web, play SimCity, watch TikTok, stream Disney+ in the car for our children, and video calls with our parents. Plus anything else we need to use it for. During this period, we record how long it takes the battery to go from full to flat and take the average time as the battery life benchmark.Advertisement
Looking for more buying advice? Don’t miss our best budget tablet, best Android tablet and best tablet for kids guides.