The 8 Best Samsung Tablets of 2021

Check out Lifewire's top picks from this tech powerhouse

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The Rundown
"The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ is a tablet without parallel with its gorgeous AMOLED screen, premium design, and productivity chops."
"Despite being older, the Galaxy Tab S6 still punches above its weight in performance and multimedia."
"The slim and portable Galaxy Tab S7 offers stylish looks, great media capabilities, and a crisp display."
"For someone who wants a tablet for communications, drawing, and entertainment, the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite is one of the best Android tablets available."
"If you need connectivity, the Galaxy Tab A offers solid network and a good display and sound quality."
Best iPad Alternative:
Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e at Amazon
"The Galaxy Tab S5e offers plenty of features in a slim and lightweight design. "
"The 2019 Galaxy Tab A 10.1-inch is extremely well-priced, making it a great option for kids and families."
Best Older Samsung Tablet:
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 at Amazon
"The Tab S4 may be an oldie, but it's still goldie with an S Pen included, solid processor, and crisp display."

The best Samsung tablets have high-speed processors, clear displays, and top-notch sound specs. Known in tech for their line of Galaxy devices, Samsung is an Android brand that is known for its high-quality products around a multitude of sectors. Despite the quality, Samsung slates are capable of hitting a wide variety of price ranges ranging from the low-cost models to mid-range and very premium 2-in-1 slates that are geared toward a mix of multimedia and productivity.

If you don't want to limit yourself to just Samsung tablets, be sure to check out our general roundup of the best tablets as well as the best Android tablets. But no matter which device you pick, the best Samsung tablets can fit perfectly into your everyday life.

Best Overall: Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+
What We Like
  • Beautiful 12.4-inch AMOLED screen

  • Tons of processing power and some software tricks

  • Premium build quality and design

  • S Pen comes included

What We Don't Like
  • Suffers from non-tablet apps

  • Slightly odd aspect ratio

  • Fairly expensive

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ is a powerhouse slate designed to compete directly with Apple's iPad Pro lineup. The design is sleek and premium with aluminum edges, glossy stainless steel, and a 12.4-inch 2800x1752 Super AMOLED panel with narrow bezels. The screen has rich, saturated colors and the inky blacks Samsung is known for. Most notably, it has a 120Hz high refresh display for smoother animations and transitions, especially when gaming.

The slate is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+ processor under the hood. It does great at benchmark tests, multitasking, and handles demanding games with ease. Even better, the slate comes paired with an S Pen to give you note-taking, drawing, and some productivity functionality. You can also get an optional keyboard for a full typing setup, turning the tablet into a 2-in-1 device. You even have a desktop experience when it's paired with DeX, making it a potential competitor with Windows 10 devices and Chromebooks.

"When paired with the additional keyboard cover, operating in DeX mode looks and feels almost like a hybrid of a Chromebook and a Windows laptop experience."Jason Schneider, Product Tester

Best Value: Samsung Galaxy Tab S6

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6
What We Like
  • S Pen Included

  • Vibrant display

  • Dual rear cameras

  • Thin and durable design

  • Atmos supported speakers

What We Don't Like
  • Keyboard cover not included

  • Less battery capcity than previous model

  • Pricey

With a vibrant 10.5-inch display boasting 2560 x 1600 resolution at 287 pixels per inch, the Galaxy Tab S6 puts out a clear picture in all lighting conditions. The durable S6 has an aluminum body and a screen constructed of Corning Gorilla Glass 3, so it’s built to last. 

The S6 tablet comes with Samsung’s S-Pen right in the package, so you don’t have to purchase it separately. Whether you want to present a slideshow or snap a pic with the remote camera shutter, the S-Pen offers some neat perks that take the Tab S6 a step above many of its competitors. 

The Galaxy Tab S6 runs on the Qualcomm 855 processor, and it doesn’t miss a beat. It speeds from task to task, and it’s an ideal tablet for productivity. With DeX mode, you can display your screen on a larger monitor and get a more desktop-like experience. You can also opt for a keyboard case, and the keyboard case includes a trackpad and a storage spot for the S-pen. What’s not to love? We do wish the keyboard case was included in every model, instead of being an optional add-on. The battery life on the Galaxy Tab S6 could be better too. It’ll get you through the day, but the battery isn’t as great as on past models, like the Galaxy Tab S4. 

"I was able to use the S6 on and off for most of the day, and I still had some battery leftover for the next day." Erika Rawes, Product Tester

Best Design: Samsung Galaxy Tab S7

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7
What We Like
  • Excellent display and hardware

  • Slim, portable design

  • Reasonably priced

What We Don't Like
  • No AMOLED display

  • Necessary keyboard cover costs extra

  • Some hiccups from Android

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 cuts some of the features from the premium S7+, but it still retains all the things that make a Samsung tablet great. The design is particularly attractive with a clean, simple look, an aluminum unibody, and narrow bezels on the front. The 11-inch screen is slightly smaller than the 12.4-inch S7+ panel, and it's not AMOLED, using a TFT LCD. That said, it's still crisp with 2560x1600 pixels, and a sharper pixel density than the iPad Pro. It's not a high refresh screen, but the hardware under the hood isn't compromised. You get a Snapdragon 865+ processor, giving you great benchmark numbers, easy multitasking, and the ability to handle demanding games.

Like its more premium sibling, the S7 comes with the S Pen, letting you draw, take notes, and use its extra functionality to make a compelling productivity tool. Optionally, you can also pick up a keyboard for a 2-in-1 typing experience. Paired with the DeX platform, you get a device that can give you the productivity potential of a Windows 10 device or Chromebook without having to pay nearly the same price.

"While the larger Tab S7+ feels just a bit on the pricey side, the Tab S7 finds itself firmly in the mid-tier of the tablet space." Jason Schneider, Product Tester

Best Mid-Range: Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite
What We Like
  • S Pen Included

  • Affordable

  • Lightweight

What We Don't Like
  • Slower processing

For someone who wants a tablet for communications, drawing, and entertainment, the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite is one of the best Android tablets available. This isn’t the best option for someone looking for a hybrid tablet/laptop for productivity, but it’s a great choice as a general-purpose tablet. The Galaxy Tab S6 Lite even comes with a year of Ad-Free YouTube.

The S-Pen comes in the package, so you can take advantage of those drawing and digital editing applications that pair so nicely with the S-Pen. The Tab S6 Lite has a 10.4-inch WUXGA+ display and better than expected sound quality, with two AKG tuned Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers. There’s a front and rear camera, along with a microSD card slot that supports up to 1 TB. 

The major downside to the Tab S6 Lite is that it’s not the powerhouse that the base S6 is. It comes equipped with an Exynos 9610 processor, less RAM, and less storage than its more expensive cousin.

Best LTE: Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.4”

What We Like
  • Compact

  • Lightweight

  • 4G compatible

  • Decent sound quality

  • Has a headphone jack

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't work with S Pen

  • Relatively low resolution

  • Mediocre rear camera

The 8.4-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab A (2020) isn’t the fanciest Android tablet, but it's a reliable and affordable LTE tablet that offers biometrics, good network connectivity, and good sound and display quality. It has a headphone jack on the top of the device for connecting an external speaker or pair of headphones if you want even better sound.

The Tab A (2020) isn’t a powerhouse, so it’s not the best tablet for work, but its octa-core processor is plenty powerful enough to handle binge-watching shows, social networking, emails, and on-the-go tasks. It has 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage with a microSD card that supports up to 512 GB. 

The Tab A has a 5 MP camera in the front and an 8MP rear-facing camera, so it’s great for video chatting. It works on Wi-Fi or 4G LTE, and it’s compatible with Verizon, Sprint/T-Mobile, or AT&T. 

"The Galaxy Tab A is compact and lightweight, weighing only 10.6 ounces. You can easily hold it in one hand, as it measures only 7.95 inches tall and 4.93 wide. " Erika Rawes, Product Tester

Best iPad Alternative: Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e

Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e
What We Like
  • Ultra-thin and light

  • Powerful stereo sound from quad speakers

  • Great battery life and fast charging

  • microSD card slot

  • Fingerprint snesor and face recognition

  • Latest Android version

What We Don't Like
  • Samsung software overpowers stock Android

  • Wi-Fi performance is inconsistent

The 10.5-inch Galaxy Tab S5e has some of the features you see in more expensive tablets, like a crystal clear super AMOLED display and fast charging, but it’s more affordable than higher tier options like the Tab S6. It has front and rear cameras, and it can record UHD 4K (3840 x 2160) video at 30 frames per second.

The Tab S5e doesn’t include an S-Pen nor keyboard in the box, but the tablet works in harmony with Samsung SmartThings, allowing you to control your Samsung smart home products. It also offers CMC functionality, so you can call and text without your phone. The TabSe provides an iPad-like experience for those who prefer an Android tablet.

"You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better-designed tablet this side of Apple." Bill Loguidice, Product Tester

Best Cheap: Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1-inch

 Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1 Inch
What We Like
  • Super affordable

  • Large display screen

  • Exceptional sound 

What We Don't Like
  • Limited for productivity 

The 2019 Galaxy Tab A 10.1-inch is extremely well-priced. Tab A is limited in terms of its processing power, offering only 2 GB of RAM and 32 GB of memory on the lowest tier model. You can expand the memory using the included microSD slot, which supports up to 512 GB. It has an octa-core processor, but it’s not nearly as powerful as what you’d get on a tablet like the Galaxy Tab S6. 

In spite of these limitations, this tablet offers a lot of functionality for a low price point. It has exceptional sound quality, and the 10.1-inch WUXGA display is bright and clear. With a front and rear camera, this tablet is ideal for media, communications, and general entertainment. It has a kids mode, so you can monitor screen time, and family share for linking accounts and syncing schedules. 

Best Older Samsung Tablet: Samsung Galaxy Tab S4

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
What We Like
  • Excellent stylus

  • Good display

  • Usable size

  • High quality camera

  • Great sounding stereo speakers

What We Don't Like
  • Drab appearance

  • Extra accessories add to cost

The Galaxy Tab S4 is the predecessor to the Tab S6. Like the Tab S6, it includes an S-Pen right in the package. This makes the Galaxy Tab S4 an exceptional tablet for drawing, note-taking, or photo editing. The Galaxy Tab S4’s S-Pen doesn’t offer the same gesture control you get with the newer S-pen, but it still provides a smooth drawing experience and good palm rejection.

The Tab S4 runs on an octa-core Qualcomm 835 processor, so it’s fast enough to handle most tasks. It includes Samsung’s DeX mode, and you can purchase an optional keyboard case. The keyboard isn’t as smooth and easy to use as the S6’s keyboard, as it lacks a trackpad. But, the Galaxy Tab S4 offers a clear 10.5-inch display with 2560 x 1600 resolution, speakers with Atmos support, and decent front and rear cameras.

"The impressive accuracy of the stylus helped me work on important projects with confidence."Andy Zahn, Product Tester

Final Verdict

If you want a 2-in-1 for productivity that comes with an S-Pen and a keyboard, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ offers unbeatable productivity capabilities along with a gorgeous Quad HD AMOLED screen for multimedia. For a more value-oriented mid-range option we like the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 from last generation, despite being older it still has solid performance and multimedia capabilities.

About Our Trusted Experts

Erika Rawes has been a professional writer for more than 10 years, and she has spent the last five years writing about consumer technology. She currently writes for Digital Trends and Lifewire, where she has spent roughly 8,000 hours evaluating and reviewing consumer technology products. 

Mark Knapp has been in tech journalism since 2012, and he served as senior technology editor at the Cheat Sheet. Mark has also written for Tech Radar and Lifewire.

Jason Schneider is a writer, editor, and musician with a decades' experience writing for tech and media companies. He's extensively covered tech, consumer electronics, audio products, and more for Lifewire.

Bill Loguidice has more than 20 years' experience writing for major tech publications like TechRadar, PC Gamer, and Ars Technica. He has covered a variety of consumer electronics for Lifewire, including TVs, tablets, soundbars, and monitors.

Andy Zahn has been writing for Lifewire since 2019 covering consumer electronics ranging from tablets and laptops to games and accessories.

FAQ

How do you reset a Samsung tablet?

If you need to factory reset your Samsung tablet, it's a pretty simple matter. Make sure your data is backed up, then go to your Settings menu, tap General Management, hit Reset, then hit Factory Data Reset. The device will ask you if you're sure you want to reset and may require you to enter your password to confirm. Once that's done, you should be able to reset and then set up a fresh device.

How do you take a screenshot on a Samsung tablet?

To take a screenshot on a Samsung tablet, all you have to do is press and hold the Power and Volume down buttons at the same time. The screenshot will be automatically saved in the gallery. Alternatively, you can enable Palm swipe to capture in settings, and swipe your palm across the tablet when you want to capture the screen. The S Pen also has the option to let you take a screenshot, provided your Samsung tablet supports it.

How do you unlock a Samsung tablet?

There are many ways to unlock your Samsung tablet. When you first set it up you can have an alphanumeric password, a PIN number, a pattern, and the choice of biometric identification like a fingerprint scan and face scan. You can enable one or all of these methods. If no methods are enabled, then unlocking your Samsung tablet is simply a matter of turning the device on.

What to Look for in a Samsung Tablet

Display and sound quality- Most Samsung tablets have a clear display, but some models are significantly better than others. Check out the resolution and see if the pixel density is high enough to support the type of content you want to view. If you’re just going to be using a tablet for communications and web surfing, you can get away with a lower-res screen. But, if you plan on using your tablet for gameplay or more graphics-intensive purposes, you’ll want a tablet that can keep up with those demands. The same principle applies to sound quality. Many of the higher tier Samsung tablets offer Dolby Atmos compatibility and AKG tuning. Some Samsung tablets have more speakers than others, and some offer a 3.5 mm headphone jack. Check out the specifications and make sure you’re getting a model that fits your needs.

Processing power- A tablet’s processing power is particularly important if you plan on using your device for work or school. Look closely at the device’s processor, RAM, and storage capacity to make sure it can keep up with your day-to-day demands. There’s a direct correlation between price and processing speed, so you’re typically going to spend more for a more powerful device. 

Additional features and accessories- Do you need a tablet that includes a stylus? What about a keyboard case? While some Samsung tablets include an S-Pen stylus, others aren’t compatible with the pen. Some Samsung tablets also work better with a keyboard, and certain models even have a dedicated keyboard case. Choose a tablet that’s compatible with the accessories and features you want. 

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