The 11 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 8 to the Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S2 (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Related Reading: Is Your iPad Obsolete and Outdated?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.

The Fire HD 10 tablet is both Amazon’s newest and biggest Fire tablet, and it’s their first step into truly competing with the larger Galaxy and Apple tablets. But, they’re doing that competing at a fraction of the price. It comes in three colors (black, blue or red), two sizes (32GB or 64GB) and with or without the ad-supported special offers. That all feels pretty standard for the Fire series, so let’s move on to the coolest part, which is the number of features you get for that bargain price.

For starters, that screen comes with a full 1080p resolution (1920 x 1200 pixels at 224 pixels per inch), so you’ll be able to post up and watch stunning movies and play HD video games with unbelievable clarity. They’ve even built in an interesting “in-plane-switching” LCD tech that offers less glare and more viewing angles. Even the stereo speakers on the Fire 10 sound as much like ones that belong in your home.

There’s a quad-core 1.2 GHz/1.4 GHz processor set with two times the RAM of the last gen of the Fire, so it won’t choke on any streaming you throw at it. The battery lasts up to 10 hours, so you’ll be able to do exactly what you’re supposed to do with a tablet – enjoy it on the go without having to be tethered to an outlet. The cameras on the front and back aren’t much to write home about, but the rear does offer 2MP of quality with the ability to shoot 720p video. Round that out with built-in Amazon Alexa functionality for summoning assistance and controlling your smart home, and factor in the durability (they’re calling it more durable than the iPad Pro 10.5-inch tablet), and you’ve got an absolute steal for the price.

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. 

HP offers convertible 2-in-1 convenience with this laptop/tablet combo that features four distinct modes that permit flexible usage in any situation. This device has a powerful 2.5GHz 7th generation Intel Core i5-7200U processor with 8GB of DDR3 memory and a 1TB SATA HDD for storing whatever you need. The impressive performance is supported by an attractive 15.6” HD IPS WLED-Backlit edge-to-edge glass touchscreen. Sound is powered by Bang & Olufson play dual speakers that provide an immersive and cinematic listening experience, perfect for movies and music.

But the best part about the tablet is its versatility. You can have it folded flat to use as a traditional tablet, extend the keyboard to use as a traditional laptop, fold it as a tent to watch movies in bed or stand it up for presentations. The wide vision webcam and included Bluetooth 4.0 make it even easier to satisfy your browsing and media needs.

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.

This small tablet by Samsung is designed with portability in mind, the perfect companion for plane rides and overstuffed backpacks. It runs Android Marshmallow on 2GB of RAM and an Octa-core 1.6Ghz processor gives a smooth performance. While the 16GB of internal memory is on the small side, it has a microSDMT card slot to expand your capacity by up to 200GB, perfect for loading your tablet with enough movies and apps to keep you occupied. The 13-hour battery life is also ideal for long stretches on the road, while the smaller 10.1” screen and thin profile won’t weigh you down despite displaying excellent imagery. Finally, you can multitask with ease, thanks to functionality that allows you to run two apps side by side.  

Microsoft re-released its award-winning Surface Pro 4 to include the upgraded Windows 10 anniversary edition, with better security measures and support. More importantly for designers, the latest Windows 10 updates pair with the Surface Pro 4 to excel at any professional task, thanks to support for Adobe Creative Cloud, AutoCAD, Visual Studio and other programs. You can easily run demanding creative programs side by side, streamlining the display process.

Of course, the functionality of the Surface Pro is what makes it a designer’s dream. It has a powerful 6th generation Intel i5 or i7 processor, with 4GB or 16GB of RAM. All builds include a beefy battery that can last for over nine continuous hours of use, while the 12.3-inch PixelSense Display looks gorgeous and is incredibly responsive to touch. The Surface Pen has 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity and can erase like a normal pencil, making sketching feel natural.

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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