The 10 Best Tablets to Buy in 2017

See our top tablet picks for gamers, children, designers and more

When shopping for a tablet, it’s hard to know where to start. There are so many things to take into consideration such as portability, budget, battery life and primary usage.

To help you find the tablet that’s best for you, here’s a breakdown of some of the most popular ones on the market right now, ranging from the affordable Amazon Fire HD to the Samsung Galaxy TabPro S (which doubles as a laptop).

Related Reading: Is Your iPad Obsolete and Outdated?

With Apple’s fastest ever mobile processor and True Tone display, the 10.5-inch iPad Pro is easily the best tablet out there right now. The iPad Pro uses sensors to detect the light in whatever room it’s in to adjust the color temperature of the display to the ambient light. The effect makes the screen look more like paper, and is most noticeable when it’s turned off and the screen switches to a bright bluish light. In addition to a 2224 x 1668 screen resolution, the device uses an A10X Fusion chip with 64-bit architecture Embedded M10 co-processor, the fastest mobile processor available on an iOS device, and features four speakers for the best possible sound. Not to mention, the iPad Pro is compatible with the Pencil, and has a special connector to keyboards so you don’t have to rely on a Bluetooth connection to type without using the on-screen keyboard. Obsessed with Instagramming? Apple also included the same rear-facing 12MP camera with 4K HD video, as well as a 7MP FaceTime HD camera, for those who want to take better photos on their tablet. Battery life is around 10 hours and it comes with 256 GB storage.

If Apple’s iPad doesn’t strike you as a must-buy, turn your head to Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S2. It’s everything the iPad is, but it runs Android 5.0 underneath Samsung’s proprietary TouchWiz skin. The 9.7-inch 2048 x 1536-pixel display is excellent and more than ideal for day-to-day tasks, including watching movies. The dual 1.9GHz + 1.3GHz quad-core CPU is paired with 3GB of RAM for snappy performance, and it doesn’t even stutter while multitasking. Lastly, the soft-plastic shell that pairs with metal running around the edges offers a semi-premium look and feel.

Beyond looks and power, the battery offers around 10 hours of use under everyday conditions with email, browsing and some movie streaming. Fortunately, the 32GB of internal storage is paired with a microSD slot for up to 128GB of extra storage for movies, pictures and video. The rear-facing eight-megapixel camera takes good enough photos but, like most tablet cameras, feels more like an afterthought than an everyday shooter. Fortunately, one of the Galaxy Tab S2's strengths is that it includes a bevy of Google, Microsoft and Samsung apps right out of the box, so jumping right into work and play is easy.

If you're purchasing this for a child, here's how to childproof your Android and make it kid-friendly. 

If you're buying a used version, here's how to erase all data and reset an Android.

The eight-inch 1280 x 800-pixel HD display of the Amazon Fire is more than good enough to watch the millions of movies and TV shows and read countless books (which are all available through Amazon Prime and other apps such as Netflix and Hulu). Finding movies to watch is a snap, thanks to the 1.3GHz quad-core processor that pairs with 1.5GB of RAM. For many, the display is a sweet spot that helps those who find the seven-inch size too small and the 9.7-inch size too large. Aside from the “sized just right” display, the onboard rear 2-megapixel camera and VGA front-facing camera aren’t terribly impressive, but exist for grabbing photos in a pinch. Camera quality aside, the build of the Fire HD 8 feels far more premium than the price would suggest and Amazon claims its two times more durable than the iPad Mini 4 and at a fraction of the cost. The addition of Amazon’s Alexa personal assistant (which can even make calls) and budget-friendly price makes the Fire HD 8 a must buy. 

If you’re looking for a device that does double duty as a tablet and laptop, then the Samsung Galaxy TabPro S is for you. The slim (.25 inches) and sleek design comes with a full-size detachable keyboard (and trackpad) that snaps easily into place so you can answer e-mails and catch up on your work even after you leave the office. With an estimated battery life of 10.5 hours, the Galaxy TabPro S runs on Windows 10 and has an Intel Core m3 processor, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. And if you’re looking to play games on this tablet, you can stream Xbox One games to the 12-inch tablet through the Windows 10 Xbox app.

While the ASUS ZenPad 10.1” does not rival the Amazon Fire HD for cheapness, it still comes in at a great price of less than $160 and has plenty of good features for a cheap Android-based tablet. As the name implies, this ZenPad has a 10.1-inch HD IPS screen. It measures .4 x 9.9 x 6.8 inches, weighs 1.1 pounds and has 16GB of storage. However, i’s not slow, thanks to its 2GB of RAM and a quad-core 64-bit processor. If you want to take photos, it has a five-megapixel back camera and a two-megapixel front camera for selfies.

Many Amazon reviewers said the ASUS ZenPad 10.1” met or exceeded their expectations. The biggest thing they said to consider was that this is not an iPad and you shouldn’t replace an iPad with this, as it might be a bit of a letdown. But if this is a first tablet or a tablet for a child, it’s a great option.

The iPad mini 4 is arguably Apple’s best tablet outside of the iPad Pro line, which easily makes it one of the best eight-inch tablets in the marketplace. Weighing less than a pound, the iPad mini 4 uses an A8 processor that’s just a half-step slower than the iPad Air 2’s A8X chip, but is capable of all the same software features as the larger tablet such as side-by-side multitasking; it even has the same 8MP rear-facing camera as the Air 2. The smaller screen of the iPad mini may not be for everyone, and it is more expensive than the other small tablets on this list, but iOS has a much better selection of tablet apps than Android. iMessage alone is a great reason to choose the smaller iPad over any Android tablet, not to mention access to third-party apps such as Paper by FiftyThree and Tweetbot. The iPad mini 4 comes in 16GB, 64GB, and 128GB, and is available in three colors (gold, ​silver, and space gray).

With its included Surface Pen and its ability to run full Windows 10 apps like Photoshop, the Surface Pro 4 is perfect for those who want a tablet for doing serious design work. Like the Samsung Galaxy TabPro S, the Surface Pro 4 is a full Windows laptop packed into the frame of a tablet. It’s a 2-in-1 that’s tablet first, laptop second, though it does come with specs such as Intel Core m3, i5, or i7 processors, Intel HD or Iris graphics, up to 16GB of RAM and up to 512GB of storage. The Surface Pro 4 includes an adjustable easel-like kickstand that can be set to almost any angle, making it great for any artist. Plus, the PixelSense screen has a higher contrast ratio than most other tablets and much lower glare, so you don’t have to worry about the lighting of the room making it hard to draw.

The 8.4-inch Huawei MediaPad M3 has an aluminum shell that offers a premium style, and it rivals the iPad Mini's look and feel. Weighing 11.35 ounces and just .3 inches thick, Huawei has done everything they can to minimize the design so the 2560 x 1600-pixel display is the main attraction. Its “Vivid” display is eye-popping and offers more than enough warmth to be ideal for watching movies and performing more traditional tablet tasks. Speaking of movie viewing, Huawei’s partnership with Harmon Kardon offers an audio experience that is at the top of tablet market, with one-watt twin speakers on each end of the backside. The speakers might be the star of the show, but the included H300 earbuds by AKG also offer stellar audio listening on the M3 (you can bet on clear and strong sound). While the M3 runs Android 6.0 out of the box, the Hisilicon Kirin 950 processor and 4GB of RAM offer best-in-class performance. The battery lasts around nine hours.

The 10.1" Android Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 has an eye-catching design and a stellar battery life that has enough juice to last the entire day (15 hours). The black features a 2560x1600 Full HD screen with IPS crystal-clear display, which is great for viewing at wide angles (even when it's bright outside). The bottom of the tablet has a cylindrical bar that features built-in dual speakers (courtesy of Dolby Atmos). As for other specs, there's a Snapdragon 652 processor, 3GB RAM and a 32GB SSD, which means it has enough computing power to handle any application. And since it weighs just two pounds, it's easy to take anywhere.

The Lenovo Tab 2 A10 runs Android 4.4 KitKat (upgradable to Android 5.01 Lollipop), so you can play all the latest Android games with processing power to spare. Its 10.1” IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen with 1200 x 1920 pixels yields accurate colors and excellent viewing angles. Best yet, the 7000 mAh non-removable Li-Ion battery will last you nearly a full day. You get some standard features, such as 2GB of memory, an 8MP rear-facing camera and a 5MP front-facing camera, but those are countered by a top-notch sound bar enhanced with Dolby Atmos Cinematic Moving Audio.

Reviewers on Amazon note that it remarkably has no lag in performance and find that its display holds up well to Apple’s iPad.


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