- 1 Top 7 Best Tablet Computers Compared
- 1.1 #1 Amazon Fire 7 Tablet (16GB, 32GB + MicroSD up to 512GB)
- 1.2 #2 Samsung Galaxy Tab (16GB + MicroSD up to 512GB)
- 1.3 #3 Amazon Fire HD 10 (32GB, 64GB + MicroSD up to 512GB)
- 1.4 #4 Lenovo Tab 4 (16GB, 32GB, 64GB + MicroSD up to 128GB)
- 1.5 #5 Acer Chromebook R 11 (32GB + MicroSD support up to 64GB)
- 1.6 #6 Fusion5 Windows 10 Tablet (32GB, 64GB + MicroSD support up to 128GB)
- 1.7 #7 Apple iPad (32GB, 128GB)
- 1.8 How We Decided
- 2 Tablet Computer Buying Guide
To help you find the best tablet computer, we unpacked dozens of tablets, putting them through their paces, testing for speed, storage space, display size and resolution. We also wanted to make sure each tablet offered instant access to a variety of app ecosystems, such as the Amazon Appstore and Google Play, and that they offered their features at a price that won’t break the bank. Because you’ll want accessories like the best tablet floor stands.
The product that truly encapsulated all of our criteria is the Amazon Fire 7 Tablet. It’s not the most powerful tablet on the block, but it offers the perfect marriage between features and price point, with a 7” IPS display, dual cameras on the front and back, a speedy 1.3 GHz quad-core processor and instantaneous access to the entire Amazon ecosystem, including the Appstore, Alexa, Kindle, Prime Video. Keep reading to learn more about the Fire 7 and the other products on this list.
Top 7 Best Tablet Computers Compared
#1 Amazon Fire 7 Tablet (16GB, 32GB + MicroSD up to 512GB)
Award: Top Pick
WHY WE LIKE IT: Offers a series of high end features that bely its low price point, including dual cameras, a gorgeous 7” IPS display, a speedy 1.3 GHz quad-core processor and easy access to the entire Amazon ecosystem. This is the perfect starter tablet for watching video and streaming audio.
The Amazon Fire 7 Tablet is a great little device, with a 7” IPS 1024 x 600 touchscreen display, a 1.3 GHz quad-core processor that loads apps and videos quickly, a MicroSD slot that increases storage up to 512GB and easy access to the entire Amazon ecosystem, including Alexa and all of their Prime offerings. Battery wise, we managed to squeeze out eight hours on a single charge, which is decent. The price is also extremely right, the cheapest on this list by a large margin, making this one heck of a budget-friendly product.
Of course, like many products by Amazon, the cheapest model is supported by ads on the home screen, though we found them to be fairly innocuous. Additionally, the Amazon Appstore’s selection of apps and games is not as robust as Google Play or the Apple App Store. The tablets here are not for tiny humans, but we have them covered over on the best tablet for babies.
#2 Samsung Galaxy Tab (16GB + MicroSD up to 512GB)
Award: Honorable Mention
WHY WE LIKE IT: Boasts an incredible 10.1” HD display, with a resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels, and an incredibly speedy 1.6 GHz octa-core processor, 2GB of RAM, a large 7,300mAh battery that gets 13 hours of use on a single charge and easy access to Google Play, via the installed Android 6.0 operating system. This is just a great high end tablet with a gorgeous screen.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab features the most gorgeous screen on this list, a 10.1” HD display with a resolution of 1920 ax 1200 pixels that truly shines while watching streaming video content. The tablet is also extremely fast with loading apps and games, thanks to its 1.6 GHz octa-core processor, and features a powerful 7,300mAh battery that allows for 13 hours of use on a single charge. The whole thing runs on the ultra-stable Android 6.0 operating system, which means it has access to just about every app imaginable, via Google Play.
The tablet comes packed with just 16GB of storage space, on the lower side, but can be upgraded to 512GB, thanks to a MicroSD slot. Additionally, we found the screen to be a magnet for fingerprints, so you may want to invest in a screen cover found on our best tablet cover list.
#3 Amazon Fire HD 10 (32GB, 64GB + MicroSD up to 512GB)
Award: Best Value
WHY WE LIKE IT: Possesses a fantastic price to feature ratio, with a gorgeous 10.1” HD touchscreen, an octa-core 2.0 GHz processor, 2 GB of RAM, Alexa integration and a MicroSD slot that can increase storage space up to 512 GB. Comparable tablets with these specs can cost twice as much, or more.
The Amazon Fire HD 10 is packed to the gills with high end features, despite its relatively low price point, including a gorgeous 10.1” HD touchscreen, an extremely fast octa-core 2.0 GHz processor, 2 GB of RAM to make apps load quickly and full Alexa integration, which comes in handy. The product comes in a variety of cool colors and the storage can be significantly upgraded via a built-in MicroSD slot.
While this tablet certainly boasts beefy specs, we found that the dual cameras were functionally identical to the ones found on the much cheaper Fire 7, which are just 2 MP and max out at 720p video. Additionally, the product is on the heavy side, at nearly 18 ounces. Check out our best stylus list to see which ones work best.
#4 Lenovo Tab 4 (16GB, 32GB, 64GB + MicroSD up to 128GB)
Award: Best Battery
WHY WE LIKE IT: Boasts an incredible battery that offers 20 hours of life on a single charge, the longest on this list, and some impressive specs, such as quad-core 1.4 GHz processor, a 10.1” HD touchscreen display and a suite of features aimed at kids. The long battery life makes this a great “set it and forget it” tablet.
The Lenovo Tab 4 comes packed with the longest lasting battery on this list, around 20 hours on a single charge, according to our tests. The tablet also features a speedy quad-core 1.4 GHz processor, a large 10.1” touchscreen HD display and dual cameras, on the front and rear of the unit. Additionally, there are some kid-friendly design choices, including curated content and a suite of robust parental controls.
The whole thing runs on Android 7.1, which will provide instant access to all the best apps and games, which could easily fill up the 16GB hard drive. To that end, we had some trouble getting some MicroSD cards to be recognized by the tablet. Be sure to check before you buy one to go with it. You may also want to read about 8 of the best 10-inch tablets.
#5 Acer Chromebook R 11 (32GB + MicroSD support up to 64GB)
Award: Best Laptop-Tablet Hybrid
WHY WE LIKE IT: Extremely powerful laptop/tablet hybrid, featuring an 11.6” touchscreen display, an Intel Celeron N3150 chipset, 4GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage and 100GB of free Google Cloud space. This is a great product if you are looking for a tablet that can also double as a workstation.
The Acer Chromebook R 11 is both a stellar tablet and a fully functional laptop, thanks to its hybrid design. The product boasts a speedy Intel Celeron N3150 chipset and 4GB of RAM, allowing for multiloading of apps and games. The 11.6” HD touchscreen is of a high quality and the ten hour battery life is on the higher side for a hybrid. The company also throws in 100GB of free Google Cloud storage, for photos, documents and the like.
The 34GB of onboard storage is on the lower side for a dedicated laptop, though on par with tablets. It does allow for MicroSD support, but the company recommends maxing out at 64GB, though we tried a couple 128GB cards that worked, and one that didn’t. It is compatible with a wide range of the best wireless keyboards. You can compare it to what the best ipads have to offer too.
#6 Fusion5 Windows 10 Tablet (32GB, 64GB + MicroSD support up to 128GB)
Award: Most Ports
WHY WE LIKE IT: Features a bevy of ports and slots, including a standard USB, Micro USB, MicroSD and HDMI, in addition to specs on par with many of the other tablets on this list. This is a great product for those who want to connect their tablet to a television or desktop computer.
The Fusion5 Windows 10 Tablet is a solid product, with specs on par with comparable models, such as a 10” HD touchscreen display, Bluetooth and a quad-core 1.83 GHz processor. What sets this tablet apart, however, is the sheer number of ports located along its ultra-thin side, including a standard USB, Micro USB, MicroSD and, even, HDMI, combining to allow some nifty features, like easily plugging in external speakers and third party cameras or streaming visuals to the home television.
Though this tablet, on average, boasts some solid specs, we did find the battery life to be a slight issue, clocking in at around six hours on a single charge. Additionally, the 2GB of RAM struggled at times while loading multiple applications at once.
#7 Apple iPad (32GB, 128GB)
Award: Best Camera
WHY WE LIKE IT: The product that started the modern tablet renaissance, with all of the bells and whistles you’d expect from a flagship Apple device, including 10.2” retina display, a stunning 8MP rear camera and an A10 fusion chip to keep things speedy. This has the best camera we tried and is a great choice for those that prefer the Apple ecosystem.
The Apple iPad is iconic for a reason, featuring a breathtaking 10.2” retina touchscreen display and an ultra-fast A10 fusion chip, allowing for multiloading apps and games. The stereo speakers sound great and the 8MP rear camera produces the best photos on this list. The battery will get you around ten hours of use on a single charge and the Touch ID fingerprint sensor unlocks the device quickly, disallowing strangers from poking around
It must be noted, however, that even though the price on these has come down in recent years, this is still the most expensive tablet on this list by a fairly large margin. If you are buying a tablet primarily for streaming TV, or other simple tasks, you may want to go with a cheaper model.
How We Decided
To help narrow down to the above list, we ran these tablets through a series of usability tests, all the while cross-referencing their features to their price points. We wanted to make sure each product was easy to use, with responsive touchscreens, and powerful enough to load and run all of the latest apps and games.
We also took a serious look at storage space, erring on the side of models that allowed for easy storage upgrades via MicroSD (up to 512GB.) Additionally, we made sure the WiFi was speedy and the Bluetooth was usable, along with taking a look at the front and rear cameras and internal batteries. To that end, we made sure each product would get you around a day of use on a single charge, within reason.
Finally, we made sure each tablet could connect to a world class app ecosystem, so you can be sure you’ll always have access to the latest and greatest software. Each of the above products connects to one of the major players, including Google Play, Apple Appstore, Amazon Appstore and, in one case, Windows Home. The Amazon products also boast integration with Alexa, which is a nice bonus.
Tablet Computer Buying Guide
The Most Important Features to Consider
- Screen Size and Resolution
There are two ways to look at this. If you want to maximize screen size, often at the expense of weight and portability, go for something in the 10.1” range. This will get you glorious HD for video and apps, even if it is difficult to hold with one hand. If you are okay with a slightly smaller size, and the smaller weight and form factor that comes with it, go for something like our top pick, the Fire 7. The 7” display is still gorgeous, yet not 1080p, but the compact size and weight makes it easy to hold with one hand, which is ideal for viewing content.
- Storage Size and Expansion
Tablets aren’t known for having huge hard drives, with some offering internal storage as low as 16GB. That’s not a lot of room for downloaded TV shows, movies, apps and games. If you are worried about running out of space, look for a product that offers storage expansion via MicroSD. Every product we featured, aside from the iPad, offers MicroSD expansion, by as much as 512GB. These cards are also extremely cheap, so you can stick it in the slot and download whatever you want, worry free.
- Hybrid Models and Bluetooth Accessories
Your standard tablet excels at viewing content, such as streaming movies on Netflix or reading books via an app. If you are looking for something that doubles as a workstation, you may want to invest in a hybrid product, which combines a tablet with a standard keyboard, such as the Acer Chromebook featured above. If you are only looking to use your tablet as a workstation occasionally, just be sure it integrates nicely with Bluetooth keyboards, which all of the above models do.
Tablet Computer FAQs
Can you send email and send texts on a tablet?
Yes. For the most part, anything you can do on your phone you can also do on a tablet. This includes sending emails, texts and making phone calls, among hundreds of other applications. The only drawback is tablets are, on average, tethered to WiFi, so you’ll have to complete tasks at home or at a coffee shop.
Can a tablet be used as a computer?
Sure, within reason. Most tablets have Bluetooth, which allows you to wirelessly connect external keyboards, which essentially turns any device into something like an actual computer. If you want a tablet to replace a computer, you’d be better off going with a hybrid device, which have keyboards built-in.
Can you print documents from a tablet?
Yes, with some caveats. For most of the above products, you’ll have to use a printer that accepts wireless print jobs and download an associated app. If the tablet has a USB port, such as the Fusion5, you can plug in to any printer just as you would with a laptop or computer.
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