Guide to Choosing a Tablet Based on Size and Weight

Smart tablets come in many shapes and sizes

Tablets are typically thinner and lighter than traditional laptops and ultrabooks, yet they are large enough to comfortably perform tasks that are more difficult on a smartphone screen. In addition to screen quality and operating system, size and weight are key factors to consider when purchasing a tablet.

Information in this article applies broadly to a wide range of devices. Check the specifications of individual products before making a purchase.

Three women holding an iPad
Peter Cade / Getty Images

Common Tablet Sizes

There are five general display sizes available for tablets, though specific models vary in their exact dimensions. The advertised size of a tablet reflects a diagonal measurement of the screen, so two 10-inch tablets might have slightly different proportions. Some high-end devices, like the Samsung Galaxy View, have screens larger than 18-inches, but most tablets fit into one of the following categories:

Display Size Dimensions (Height, Width, Thickness) Weight
5-inch Tablets 6" x 3.2" x .4" .5 lbs
7-inch Tablets 7.5" x 4.75" x .35" .7 lbs
9-inch Tablets 9.3" x 6" x .35" .85 lbs
10-inch Tablets 9.8" x 7" x .4" 1.0 lbs
13-inch Tablets 12" x 8" x .4" 1.5 lbs

Accessories like chargers are not included in the size and weight of a tablet.

Tablet Height and Width

The height and width of a tablet are determined by the size of the display. A tablet's size and shape affect its portability and how easy it is to hold in various orientations. Most tablets are too large to carry around in your pocket, but most fit comfortably in any handbag or backpack. Manufacturers usually list the dimensions of their tablets and often include sketches or images to show how height and width relate to physical features on the device, such as cameras or home buttons.

Tablet Thickness and Durability

Generally, the thinner the tablet, the lighter it will be. Thickness also plays a role in the tablet's durability. A thin tablet made from cheap materials is easier to break and more prone to damage over time, especially if you carry it around in a bag where other objects could press against it. 

It's a good idea to buy a protective case for your tablet regardless of its size.

Tablet Weight

Most tablets are much lighter than laptops. However, a laptop is designed to sit on a surface, while a tablet is usually held by the user. The heavier the tablet, the more difficult it is to hold in your hand for extended periods. 

The distribution of the weight within a tablet can also matter. The best designs will evenly distribute the weight across the whole tablet, allowing it to be held comfortably in portrait or landscape mode. Some designs may shift weight to one side, which is the manufacturer's preferred orientation for holding it. This is not something usually described in documentation by manufacturers, so it's best to physically handle the tablet before you buy to get an idea of how it feels when you're using it.