The 8 Best 8-Inch Tablets of 2021

These small models were made for work and play

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The Rundown
"Apple released the Mini 5 in early 2019, but it has respectable specifications, with an A12 chip and 2048 x 1536 resolution."
"You'll find better cameras than usual, with a 5MP version on the front and an 8MP version on the back."
"This 8-inch tablet costs only around $100, but it has some impressive specifications."
"Amazon’s Fire HD 8 Kids Edition has decent specifications, but it’s the software suite and add-ons that really make it a winner."
"The Mini 2 runs on Apple’s A7 chip and 1 GB of RAM, which is still plenty powerful to perform basic functions."
"The Fire HD 8 is available in a variety of colors and lasts up to 12 hours on a single charge."
"Considering it has LTE support, the Tab A comes in at a very reasonable price point."
"Essentially a rugged version of Samsung's standard tablet range, the Active2 is built to take a beating."

The best 8-inch tablets serve as a middle ground between smartphones and laptops. You get a screen size slightly larger than that of a plus-sized phone but smaller than a laptop. The device is still portable, but you also can use it for productivity tasks, reading, and entertainment. Tablets can also be significantly cheaper than a flagship phone or laptop.

When looking for your new tablet, keep in mind the processing chip, the RAM, and the storage amount. You want a decent amount of RAM, a fast processor, and a large amount of memory for your tablet to be able to do almost everything your phone and laptop can do. You'll also want a great display to be able to clearly see your work and watch programs on the go. The best 8-inch tablets can cover all your needs while still being compact. Read on to see our picks for the best 8-inch tablets in different categories and price ranges.

Best Overall: Apple iPad Mini (2019)

Apple iPad mini (5th generation)
What We Like
  • Fast processing

  • Clean interface

  • Good screen resolution

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

Like many major tablet manufacturers, Apple has turned its attention to large-screen models in recent years. The iPad Mini is still available, however, and while it doesn't offer the same value as Android-based equivalents, it's not a bad option for those wanting a smaller device or one in the iOS ecosystem.

Apple released the Mini 5 in early 2019, but it has respectable specifications, with an A12 chip and 2048 x 1536 resolution at 326 pixels per inch (ppi). The 8MP camera isn’t bad either. The Mini performs well in general use, and comes with the latest iOS version. You can opt for either 64 or 256GB storage options, but cloud storage has made this less of an important factor.

The biggest reason to buy an iPad Mini is gaining access to the App Store and iOS-only services, offering you easy integration with other Apple devices and accessories you might own. If you've got an iPhone and just want a small tablet that you already know how to use, the Mini is the way to go.

Screen Size: 7.9 inches | Resolution: 2048 x 1536 | Processor: A12 bionic | Camera: 8MP

“The Apple iPad Mini 5 is every bit as functional and powerful as its more expensive competition, but it comes in a smaller size that easily fits into purses and backpacks.” Sandra Stafford, Product Tester

Best Samsung: Samsung Galaxy Tab A (2019)

Galaxy Tab A 8"
What We Like
  • Reasonably fast processing

  • Decent screen resolution

  • Affordable

What We Don't Like
  • Lacks S-Pen support

While most of Samsung's attention is focused on its mobile offerings—the high-end Galaxy S range, specifically—the company makes plenty of lower-cost devices as well. A great example in the tablet space is the affordable Galaxy Tab A.

For your money, you'll get a quad-core 1.4Ghz processor, 2GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage, along with a micro-SD slot for boosting said storage. There's also a bright and colorful HD display with good wide viewing angles, and a headphone jack and physical home button.

Those specifications are standard for a low to mid-range tablet, but the Tab A stands out in a couple of different ways. Firstly, you'll find better cameras than usual, with a 5MP version on the front, and an 8MP version on the back that lets you take passable photos in a pinch.

Secondly, the 5000mAh battery is larger than those you'll typically find elsewhere, and as a result, you'll get up to 15 hours of use out of the Tab A before needing to find the USB-C charger. Those extras, plus the peace of mind that comes with buying your device from a major manufacturer like Samsung, pushes the Tab A to the top of our list.

Screen Size: 8 inches | Resolution: 1280 x 800 (WXGA) | Processor: 2.0Ghz quad-core | Camera: 5MP (Front), 8MP (Back)

Best Value: Lenovo Tab M8 Tablet

What We Like
  • Octa-core processing

  • Durable design

  • Affordable

What We Don't Like
  • Mediocre front camera

This 8-inch tablet costs only around $100, but it has some impressive specifications, including a 2.0Ghz octa-core processor as well as 2GB of RAM, 32GB of memory, and a 1280 x 800 display. The cameras aren’t bad either, with a 5MP auto-focus rear camera and 2MP front camera.

Dual-band Wi-Fi allows for fast web surfing, and Dolby Atmos-tuned speakers let you enjoy videos and music with clear sound. With a single charge providing 18 hours of battery life, you'll have plenty of time to curate your playlists, stream Netflix, and send off emails.

The M8 has a metal backing for improved durability, and it doesn’t feel cheap or flimsy. If you add on the keyboard and wireless mouse accessory, it can even serve as a productivity tablet in a pinch.

Screen Size: 8 inches | Resolution: 1280 x 800 | Processor: 2.0Ghz octa-core | Camera: 2MP (Front), 5MP (Back)

Best for Kids: Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition

What We Like
  • Durable bumper case

  • Good parental controls

  • Excellent warranty

What We Don't Like
  • Mediocre front camera

Amazon’s Fire HD 8 Kids Edition has decent specifications—a 2GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage (expandable by up to 1 TB), dual speakers, USB-C charging, and a 1280 x 800 screen resolution—but it’s the software suite and included add-ons that really make this tablet a winner.

The tablet comes with one year of Amazon Kids+ for free, so users have access to more than 20,000 apps, games, books, and audio books. Parents have complete control over what their kids consume, with a parental dashboard to approve or deny content.

On top of all of the included content perks, Amazon offers a two-year worry-free guarantee. This means if a child breaks the tablet, you can return it without any fuss.

Screen Size: 8 inches | Resolution: 1280 x 800 (189ppi) | Processor: 2.0Ghz quad-core | Camera: 2MP

Best Cheap iPad: Apple iPad Mini 2 (Refurbished)

What We Like
  • Beautiful display

  • Clean interface

  • Good starter tablet

What We Don't Like
  • Can't update to latest iOS

If you want an iPad, but don’t want to spend $400 on a newer model, you can find a refurbished iPad Mini 2 for under $200. You’ll be giving up a bit of processing power, as the Mini 2 runs on Apple’s A7 chip and only 1 GB of RAM, but it's still plenty powerful to perform basic functions and light productivity tasks.

Keep in mind that you won’t be able to update to iOS 14, so you may lose out on some of the latest and greatest iOS features. Even still, this is a good starter tablet for a teenager, or a good backup tablet to keep around for those who don’t want to shell out too much cash.

Screen Size: 7.9 inches | Resolution: 2048 x 1536 | Processor: A7 chip | Camera: 5MP

Best Budget: Amazon Fire HD 8 (10th Generation) Tablet

All-New Fire HD 8 Tablet
What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Ample storage

  • Alexa voice control

What We Don't Like
  • Amazon centric

Don't have much to spend, but still want a small tablet that's good for web browsing and streaming your favorite shows? Amazon's Fire HD 8 is your best option. The Fire HD 8 is available in a variety of colors and lasts up to 12 hours on a single charge. It ships with either 32 or 64GB of storage, and there's a micro-SD slot for adding more if you need it.

The screen's 1280 x 800 resolution isn't particularly impressive, but it's nice and bright, rendering it fine for watching HD video. Likewise, the quad-core 2.0Ghz processor and 2GB of RAM are enough for most general-purpose tasks.

The Fire HD 8 comes with hands-free Alexa support, so you can use your voice to ask questions, get news and weather updates, play music, and control your smart home devices. A full-screen "Show Mode" makes it easier to see what's going on—even from across the room.

Screen Size: 8 inches | Resolution: 1280 x 800 | Processor: 2.0Ghz quad-core | Camera: 2MP

“The Amazon HD Fire 8 is a competent multimedia tablet with a great screen for watching videos, but if you try to do much beyond that, you’ll quickly feel the limitations of this budget device.” Jordan Oloman, Product Tester

Best LTE: Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.4”

What We Like
  • LTE-supported

  • Decent cameras

  • Speedy processing

What We Don't Like
  • Lacks S-Pen support

The Samsung Galaxy Tab A, released in 2020, makes a few improvements on the 2019 version. Namely, the company added LTE support, so you can put this tablet on your AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint/T-Mobile plan and take it with you on the go. Considering it has this added capability, the Tab A comes in at a very reasonable price point of $280.

You get an octa-core processor, 3GB of RAM and plenty of storage, along with a micro-SD slot. The WUXGA screen is vivid and bright, and you can watch shows, movies, and videos and catch all of the details. While the Tab A doesn’t feel as sturdy as Samsung’s more expensive tablets, and we wish it supported the S pen, we still appreciate everything it has to offer.

Screen Size: 8.4 inches | Resolution: 1920 x 1200 (WUXGA) | Processor: 1.8Ghz, 1.6GHz octa-core | Camera: 8MP

“The lack of S Pen support is extremely disappointing, but I can’t be too hard on an under $300 tablet with an octa-core processor, biometrics, decent front and rear cameras, and LTE connectivity.” Erika Rawes, Product Tester

Most Durable: Samsung Galaxy Tab Active2

What We Like
  • LTE-supported

  • Extremely durable

  • Stylus support

What We Don't Like
  • Somewhat pricey

Most tablets are designed with size and aesthetics in mind rather than durability, but that's definitely not the case with Samsung's Galaxy Tab Active2. Essentially a rugged version of Samsung's standard tablet range (it's intended mainly for commercial use), the Active2 is built to take a beating. An IP68 rating means it's highly dust and water-resistant, able to handle being submerged in up to 5 feet of water for half an hour.

The tablet comes in a heavy-duty rubber enclosure to protect it from drops and knocks. The case also provides a place to store the chunky S pen stylus. While you can also use the touchscreen, stylus support means you don't need clean or dry hands to interact with the screen. There's even a special mode to let you use it while wearing heavy work gloves.

The life of the (replaceable) battery is good, at up to 11 hours, but performance is only average for the money. Still, you're unlikely to buy a tablet like this to play the latest 3D games on, and it's great for general tasks and productivity apps.

Screen Size: 8 inches | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 | Processor: 1.6Ghz octa-core | Camera: 8MP

Final Verdict

Apple’s latest iPad Mini (view at Amazon) provides a clean interface, a beautiful screen, and easy integration with other Apple devices, making it the best 8-inch tablet currently available.

If you want something a bit more affordable, the Samsung Galaxy 2019 Tab A (view at Best Buy) is a speedy tablet with ample storage and a pretty good camera, too.

About Our Trusted Experts

Erika Rawes has been writing professionally for more than a decade, and she’s spent the last five years writing about consumer technology. Erika has reviewed roughly 150 gadgets, including computers, peripherals, A/V equipment, mobile devices, and smart home gadgets. Erika currently writes for Digital Trends and Lifewire.

Sandra Stafford is a writer who specializes in tech and writes about all sorts of gadgets—tactical flashlights, blue light-blocking glasses, therapy lamps and more.

Jordan Oloman is a Newcastle-based tech writer whose work has appeared in PC Gamer, TechRadar, Eurogamer, IGN, GamesRadar, and many other publications.

FAQs

What is the standard size of a tablet?

The most common tablet size is around 10 inches. However, some people prefer 8-inch tablets because they're easier to tote around in a backpack or bag. If you want something more portable, an 8-inch tablet might be a good option.

How do you measure a tablet screen size?

A tablet’s screen size is measured diagonally from corner to corner. This means your tablet could measure less than 8 inches in length or width, but still have a screen size of 8 inches.

Which is better: an 8-inch or a 10-inch tablet?

This depends on what you want out of your tablet. If you’re looking for a productivity tablet, it’s best to go with something 10 inches or larger. If you want a tablet for couch entertainment, web surfing, social networking, and quick internet searches, an 8-inch tablet might be best, as it provides better portability.

What to Look For in an 8-inch Tablet:

Resolution

Since your screen is only 8 inches, you don’t necessarily need the highest resolution to be able to see shows, videos, and pictures clearly. However, it’s best to have at least WXGA (1280 x 800) resolution.

Processing Power

Look at your tablet’s processor and RAM to see if you’re getting enough power for your money. Most modern tablets have at least a 1.3 GHz quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM, but you can find affordable tablets that offer 2.0 GHz processing and additional RAM.

Cameras

Most general-use tablets have both a front and rear camera, but some tablets have only one camera. If you plan on video chatting, make sure your tablet has a front camera that’s at least 2MP. The rear camera might be less important to you if you don’t plan on taking photos with your tablet, but it’s still nice to have.

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