The 6 Best Samsung Tablets of 2021

Check out Lifewire's top picks from this tech powerhouse

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The Rundown
"“After about a week, the S Pen became like an extra appendage for me.” —Erika Rawes, Product Tester"
Best Older Samsung Tablet:
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 at Amazon
": “The impressive accuracy of the stylus helped me work on important projects with confidence.” —Andy Zahn, Product Tester"
"For someone who wants a tablet for communications, drawing, and entertainment, the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite is one of the best Android tablets available."
"“When I’m watching a show, the sound is rich and immersive. Calls also sound clear, and I rarely have trouble hearing the other party.”—Erika Rawes, Product Tester"
Best iPad Alternative:
Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e at Amazon
"“You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better-designed tablet this side of Apple.”--Bill Loguidice, Product Tester"
"The 2019 Galaxy Tab A 10.1-inch is extremely well-priced, starting at as low as $230 retail."

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, since 1938, these devices are also more affordable than other brands.

Our top pick for best wallet saver is Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite at Amazon. The Galaxy Tab S6 Lite is around 350 dollars and has an S Pen included! Not every model is compatible with an S Pen, so decide if one is necessary for your needs before purchasing. We suggest that any artist looking to sketch on their tablet buy an S Pen enabled device. No matter which device you pick, the best Samsung tablets can fit perfectly into your everyday life.

Best Overall: Samsung Galaxy Tab S6

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6
What We Like
  • S Pen Included

  • Fast Processing

  • DeX mode

What We Don't Like
  • Average battery life

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. 

Best Older Samsung Tablet: Samsung Galaxy Tab S4

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
What We Like
  • Beautiful display

  • Excellent sound

  • S-pen included

What We Don't Like
  • Poor keyboard design

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.

Best Budget: 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.

The Best LTE: Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.4”

What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Compatible with most major carriers

  • Compact and portable

What We Don't Like
  • Not compatible with S-Pen

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. 

Best iPad Alternative: Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e

Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e
What We Like
  • Slim and lightweight design

  • Clear display

  • Feature-rich

What We Don't Like
  • Weaker Wi-Fi adapter

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.

Best Value: 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, starting at as low as $230 retail. 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. 

Final Verdict

If you want a 2-in-1 for productivity that comes with an S-Pen, Samsung’s Galaxy S6 is a wise choice. For an affordable tablet, you can use for everyday tasks, look no further than the Galaxy Tab A.

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.

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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