The 10 Best Tablets of 2020

See our top picks for gamers, children, movie-lovers, and more

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

The Rundown
"The edge-to-edge Liquid Retina display is as bright and beautiful as ever, with a 2388x1688-pixel resolution"
Best Overall, Android:
Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ at Amazon
"The Tab S7+ is a top tier Android tablet with a gorgeous high refresh AMOLED display, HDR10+ support, and a powerful Snapdragon 865+ chipset."
Best Value:
Apple iPad at Amazon
"For Apple lovers on a budget, the 8th generation iPad offers incredible value and functionality."
"The Mini manages to make up for its smaller but more portable size by featuring a gorgeous 7.9-inch retina display"
"For a Window 10 experience in a small form-factor, the Surface Go 2 is light, portable, and can meet all your laptop needs."
"In terms of hardware, it's the same as Amazon's regular Fire HD, except encased in a kid-proof bumper available in eye-catching blue, pink, or yellow."
Best Portable:
Apple iPad Air at Amazon
"For an ultra-light multimedia tablet, the svelte iPad Air 4 offers a great combination of design and performance."
"As Amazon’s newest and biggest Fire tablet, it’s the company's first step into truly competing with the larger Galaxy and Apple tablets"
"If you're looking for a tablet to make calls and utilize mobile data, the brand new LTE enabled Tab A is your best choice."
"The Surface Pro line has found a delicate, valuable space in between tablets and laptops."

The best tablets operate on both iOS and Android, offering big, beautiful screens for multimedia viewing along with powerful hardware that can serve you with gaming and productivity. Apple's iPad line continues to represent the top tier of quality as well as price, but Android tablets also offer a diverse selection for any budget, and Windows offerings tend to toe the line between tablet and laptop. Increasingly, many of these 2-in-1 tablets come with detachable keyboards and a stylus, adding functionality like handwriting recognition, note-taking, and drawing.

If you're looking for a more specific device, be sure to take a look at our list of the best Android tablets, especially if you're in the market for more budget options. On the other hand, if you're an Apple user, our list of the best iPads is worth browsing. Read on to see the best tablets to get right now.

Best Overall, Apple: Apple iPad Pro 12.9-inch (4th Generation 2020)

What We Like
  • Stunning design

  • Fast, powerful performance

  • Improved AR through LiDAR

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive, even before accessories

  • No headphone jack

The fourth generation of Apple's top-end iPad doesn't lose any of the impressive, market-leading features users have come to expect. The edge-to-edge Liquid Retina display is as bright and beautiful as ever, with a 2388x1688-pixel resolution at the 11-inch screen size and 2732x2048 pixels on the 12.9-inch screen. You can work and play harder than other tablets could only dream about, thanks to an A12Z Bionic processor that's faster than a lot of laptops. Its 8-core graphics chip also helps maximize performance on games, apps, and media editing.

One hardware improvement in the 2020 iPad Pro is a 10MP ultra-wide rear camera added along with the main 12MP one. Not that we condone people holding up large tablets in public places to take pictures, but the forward-thinking tablet adds other camera-related tricks. It uses Light Detection and Ranging, or LiDAR, technology to rapidly scan the environment and load 3D objects onto it. Our reviewer could see a lot of potential to make augmented reality (AR) experiences faster, smoother, and more immersive.

The iPad Pro becomes even more powerful when paired with its latest accessory, the Magic Keyboard. Your tablet attaches magnetically to it and "floats" over the full-size keyboard. More significantly, trackpad support opens the iPad up to new worlds, working with swipe gestures as well as a smart, context-sensitive cursor that's precise and intuitive. When combined with the game-changing support for mouse control added in iPadOS (in addition to the Apple Pencil stylus), you have an iPad that comes closer than ever to taking over laptop duties.

"Thanks to more powerful components and a hybrid OS, the iPad Pro is no longer just a tablet. It’s a computer in a screen just waiting for a keyboard and mouse." — Lance Ulanoff, Lifewire Editor-in-Chief

Best Overall, Android: Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+

What We Like
  • Attractive design

  • Gorgeous high refresh display

  • Powerful processor

  • Great productivity potential

What We Don't Like
  • Fairly pricey

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ is a multimedia powerhouse. If you're in the market for a tablet that can be used for streaming, games, and productivity, look no further. The S7+ and its slightly pared-down sibling the S7, both come with sleek edge-to-edge screens, and svelte and stylish designs that look and feel premium. The S7+ is the more powerful model, featuring a 12.4-inch Super AMOLED display that supports HDR10+ for superior contrast and dynamic range. More impressively, it supports a 120Hz refresh rate making for smooth scrolling, multitasking, media playback and gaming.

The Tab S7+ has plenty of power under the hood, with a Snapdragon 865+ processor and various configuration options for 128GB storage, 256GB, and 512GB. It comes with 6GB and 8GB RAM options. The powerful hardware allows the S7+ to be used as a productivity device, especially when you combine it with the Book Cover. The included S Pen gives you plenty of options for note-taking, sketching, and drawing.

Other features are pretty standard. The tablet supports 45W fast charging, comes with a fingerprint sensor under the display, and has a USB-C port and microSD card slot. Camera capabilities are solid, with a 13MP primary sensor, 5MP ultrawide sensor, and an 8MP selfie camera for video calls.

Best Value: Apple iPad (8th Generation)

What We Like
  • Crisp Retina display

  • Upgraded A12 Bionic processor

  • Good multitasking with keyboard and Apple Pencil support

What We Don't Like
  • Not an edge-to-edge or high refresh screen

The iPad (8th Generation) is Apple's mainstay device that works best for the larger number of consumers. It builds on the features and capabilities of last year's model, mostly keeping the same design while improving the hardware and features. On the front you get a 10.2-inch IPS screen with a resolution that's 2160x1620 pixels, working out to 264ppi. It's a fairly crisp screen for the size, comes with good viewing angles and colors, though it won't match the quality of the Liquid Retina panel on the iPad Pro, much less the Quad HD AMOLED screen of the Tab S7+.

In other regards, the iPad has a lot going for it. It gets an updated A12 Bionic processor, features 3GB of RAM and 32GB and 128GB storage options. Combined with the productivity features backed into iPadOS 14, you have plenty of ability to multitask in a close to laptop experience. And not only is the iPad compatible with the Apple Pencil for drawing, sketching, and note-taking, it also supports the Smart Keyboard for a typing experience.

Other features are fairly standard. There's an 8MP rear camera, a 1.2MP selfie camera,dual-band Wi-Fi and a decently sized battery. At $329, it's hard to find a tablet with better value.

Best Mini: Apple iPad Mini 5

What We Like
  • Portable 8-inch size

  • Powerful processor

  • Long-lasting battery

What We Don't Like
  • Lightning port instead of USB-C

  • No Smart Keyboard support

The new iPad Mini comes with a powerful A12 Bionic chip and 64-bit architecture, which allows you to multitask with multiple apps running, share augmented reality experiences with your friends, and play the hottest games with virtually no lag. You'll get 10 hours of battery life before needing a charge, and the specs all fit inside the sleek and lightweight design (it's 0.24 inches thick and weighs 0.66 pounds).

The Mini manages to make up for its smaller but more portable size by featuring a gorgeous 7.9-inch retina display, with an anti-reflective 2048 x 1536 pixel resolution. The screen makes your images and videos pop, with High Dynamic Range (HDR) support and two cameras, an eight-megapixel on the back, and a seven-megapixel on the front for FaceTime calls. There isn't an app this tablet can't handle, and anything you need to accomplish can be done on the run or while traveling — the Mini is just that versatile and nimble.

Colors come in rose gold, space gray, and classic silver models, and you can choose between 64GB of memory or 256GB.

"The unbeatable portability of the Mini makes it an ideal replacement for daily planners, notebooks (with GoodNotes 5), and small sketch pads." — Sandra Stafford, Product Tester

Best Productivity: Microsoft Surface Go 2

What We Like
  • Nice, portable design

  • Solid performance and hardware

  • Long-lasting battery life

What We Don't Like
  • Keyboard is a little cramped

  • Better configurations cost quite a bit more

The Microsoft Surface Go 2 is the convertible tablet answer to laptops. With its Windows 10S operating system, it meets all your productivity needs in a lightweight and ultraportable design. The touchscreen is a 10.5-inch 1920x1080 panel with a 220ppi resolution. It's crisp and the 3:2 aspect ratio allows you to fit a decent amount of content.

There are multiple configurations available for the Surface Go 2. The more powerful options with the Intel core m3 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB SSD storage will cost more than the base model, but it'll also give you improved performance and multitasking capabilities. Unlike Android and iPadOS slates, the Surface Go 2 can run word processing, Excel, PowerPoint, and other key parts of the Microsoft Office Suite.

The tablet comes with a keyboard and Surface Pen, giving you options for typing, taking notes, handwriting recognition, and drawing. There's a 5MP front-facing camera that supports Windows Hello login, an 8MP rear camera, dual-band Wi-Fi, and support for LTE with the Snapdragon X16 modem, giving you connectivity no matter where you are.

"Microsoft’s idea with the Go is a light, peppy, and super-secure system for students and those who demand portability over top-level performance and screen size." — Lance Ulanoff, EIC

Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition

What We Like
  • Improved hardware and performance

  • Unlimited content through FreeTime

  • Two-year no-questions warranty

What We Don't Like
  • Free Time UI isn't well optimized

Tablets can be a godsend for keeping kids entertained and out of your hair—the trickier part is making sure they have a device that's appropriate to them. That's where the Kids Edition of the Fire HD 10 joins the fun. In terms of hardware, it's the same as Amazon's new, speedy version of the Fire HD 10, except encased in a kid-proof bumper available in eye-catching blue, pink, or yellow. This latest model packs a gorgeous 10.1-inch, 1080p full HD display, a faster processor, 32GB of storage (with room to expand up to 512GB), and enhanced Wi-Fi.

On the software side, all Kids Edition tablets come with a free year of Amazon's FreeTime Unlimited service, letting your child access tens of thousands of kid-friendly games, videos, books, and other apps without the risk of buying things they shouldn't, or without you having to individually pick out what to download or purchase. The range is pretty broad, so depending on your child's age, you may also want to customize parental controls to filter content, set time limits, and more. Adding additional peace of mind is Amazon's two-year "worry-free guarantee"—if the device breaks for any reason, the company will replace it, no questions asked.

"Our preschooler is constantly discovering new games and videos to enjoy on the FreeTime subscription, and it's easy for us as parents to make sure everything is appropriate." Anton Galang, Product Tester, on the Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Tablet

Best Portable: Apple iPad Air (4th Generation)

What We Like
  • Very sleek and lightweight design

  • Powerful A14 Bionic processor

  • Support for Apple Pencil and Magic Keyboard

  • Sharp high refresh screen

  • Comes with USB-C

What We Don't Like
  • More costly than iPad, especially with cellular connectivity

The iPad Air 4 is a sleek, ultralight tablet that measures a mere one pound if you get the LTE model and even less for Wi-Fi only. The slate features a 10.9-inch Liquid Retina IPS display with a 2360x1640 resolution. The screen works out to a crisp 264ppi, has True tone and a wide color gamut for improved color reproduction and accommodating indoor lighting. The screen improvements don't end there, the slate has a Pro Motion 120Hz high refresh screen and improves 600 nit brightness for outdoor visibility.

It upgrades the hardware of the iPad Air 3, with a new A14 Bionic processor and various storage options. The specs are good enough for strong productivity, and it supports the Apple Pencil and the Magic Keyboard, letting you turn the iPad Air 4 into a multimedia powerhouse. There's a quad speaker array for improved audio, dual-band Wi-Fi, and USB-C rather than a Lightning port. That's a pretty significant change that also allows the iPad Air 4 to work with various hubs and accessories.

Most Popular: Amazon Fire HD 10

What We Like
  •   Large, bright HD display

  •  Alexa integration

  •  Excellent value

What We Don't Like
  • Restricted Amazon operating system

  • Struggles with multitasking

The Fire HD 10 might not be the best tablet you can buy, but it is the most popular. As Amazon’s newest and biggest Fire tablet, it’s the company's first step into truly competing with the larger Galaxy and Apple tablets, and it costs merely a fraction of the price. It's available 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.

"This is a device most suited to streaming video, running 2D or low-poly 3D games, and moving between a few social media apps." — Jordan Oloman, Product Tester

Best with LTE: Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8"

What We Like
  • LTE support for calls and mobile data

  • Long battery life

  • Portable size and weight

What We Don't Like
  • Lower price from Amazon tablets

Samsung's Tab A comes in a very attractive 8.4" chassis, a great blend of portability and usability (bolstered by an extremely sharp 1920x1080 full HD display, up from the previous generations 1280x800). There's a powerful octa-core processor replacing the quad-core Snapdragon, an upgraded 5MP camera, and, most importantly for some, LTE support so you can make and take calls and utilize mobile data anytime you're away from a Wi-Fi hotspot.

Though the battery is slightly smaller in the 2020 model (though only barely, at 5,000mAh vs. 5,100 mAh), it's still got the capacity to keep you browsing, reading, and gaming for long stretches without needing to be reupped. It's also very affordable for an LTE tablet, and is also available as a purely Wi-Fi device for even less, directly through Samsung's website. It's a sharp, versatile, powerful modern tablet and a new high water mark for Samsung's tablet offerings.

Best Splurge: Microsoft Surface Pro 7

What We Like
  •  Laptop-level performance

  • Works brilliantly with keyboard cover

  • Now with USB-C port

What We Don't Like
  • Somewhat dated design

  • Essential keyboard adds extra cost

Microsoft may not have threatened Apple much in the traditional tablet market, but the Surface Pro line has found a delicate, valuable space in between tablets and laptops. The latest model, the Surface Pro 7, is a 2-in-1 device that's designed to be put to work. The tablet itself sports a vibrant 12.3-inch display bordered by pretty chunky bezels by today's standards, but you may not be holding it like a tablet much. Snap it into the Type Cover accessory and you can type away on one of the most comfortable backlit keyboards around.

As has always been the downside with Surface Pros, that keyboard that's so crucial to the experience doesn't actually come with the tablet, so you have to pay more to get the most out of a device you're already splurging on. But you do get impressive hardware for your investment, especially if you spring for the top-tier configuration: a 10th-generation Intel Core i7 CPU with 16GB of RAM and up to 1TB in storage. It's like a business laptop with extra flexibility—and Microsoft has added a handy USB-C port to the Pro 7, too.

As a whole, the product's 7th generation carries on the tradition of Surface Pro tablets as leading 2-in-1 productivity machines, but it does so without adding too much new. If you're hankering for something a little more forward-thinking in design and hardware, the always-connected Surface Pro X may be worth a look.

"The Surface Pro 7 transitions effortlessly from productivity to creativity to entertainment in a way that’s hard to replicate on any other device."Jonno Hill, Product Tester

Final Verdict

Apple's iPad still sets the standard when it comes to pure tablets, and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is best of what they have to offer. It's beautiful to look at, powerful to use, and keeps making new strides in terms of peripheral support and augmented reality. For the best Android equivalent, we love the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ with its 120Hz high refresh display, powerful processor, and productivity potential.

How We Tested

Our expert reviewers and editors evaluate tablets based on design, performance, display quality, functionality, and features. We test their real-life performance in actual use cases, browsing and reading during a commute, working at home or at the office, and traveling. Our testers also consider each tablet as a value proposition—whether or not a product justifies its price tag, and how it compares to competitive products. All of the models we reviewed were purchased by Lifewire; none of the review units were furnished by the manufacturer or retailer.

About Our Trusted Experts

Jordan Oloman is a tech writer whose work has appeared in several prominent tech and gaming publications. Beyond the devices in this article, he has tested a wide variety of tablets and other products for Lifewire.

Lance Ulanoff is Lifewire's Editor-in-Chief and an accomplished tech journalist with more than 30 years of experience. You can often catch him weighing in on tablets and other consumer electronics on TV programs like Live with Kelly and Ryan. He enjoyed the Windows 10 productivity of the Surface Go 2.

Sandra Stafford is a writer and educator who lends her expertise to a number of reviews on Lifewire, including various iPad models and other gadgets for people and their pets.

Ajay Kumar is a Lifewire Tech Editor who has worked for a decade in tech journalism and digital publishing, covering the industry and reviewing everything from tablets to games and hardware.

Anton Galang has 12+ years of experience in writing and editing, focusing on consumer tech and education. He believes in enjoying tablets for work and play—for kids of all ages.

Jonno Hill is a lifelong tech enthusiast who has written for top tech and culture websites, now testing and reviewing a variety of tablets, laptops, and other electronic essentials.

What to Look for in a Tablet

Screen size - The average tablet is around 10 inches, measured diagonally, but they can be as small as 8 inches and run up to 13.5. The screen size is really a personal preference, but for productivity purposes, it’s often the bigger the better. If you’re merely streaming a show or reading a book, a smaller screen should suffice.

Budget - You should definitely prepare to pay a premium for an Apple iPad, which can easily cost fives times that of a budget tablet. And the higher the screen resolution and the more powerful the processor, the more you can expect to pay. But Amazon makes some amazingly affordable options that still give you access to all the apps you could want, plus its Alexa personal assistant.

Battery life - Compared to smartphones, which barely make it through the day on a single charge, most tablets can last at least a couple days, depending on use, of course. Be sure to buy one with at least 10 hours of rated battery life and you’ll be good to go.