Guide to Choosing a Tablet Based on Size and Weight

Women holding iPad tablet

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Tablets are designed to bridge the gap between traditional laptops, including ultrabooks, and smartphones. They are extremely thin and lightweight, yet large enough to be easy to read on and use for tasks that would be difficult on smaller phone screens.

Tablet size and weight, and the role these physical characteristics play in the functionality are key factors to consider when purchasing a tablet.

Height and Width

The height and width of a tablet are generally determined by the size of the display used in the tablet. This matters to the user as it determines how easy it is to hold in various orientations, and how easy it is to carry around in a jacket, handbag, or backpack. For the most part, tablets won't fit in one's pocket like a phone or similarly sized media player.

Manufacturers will list the dimensions of their tablets, and likely will include sketches or images to show how height and width relate to physical features on the device, such as cameras or home buttons.

Thickness and Contour

Of the various dimensions of a tablet, the thickness or depth is probably the most important. Generally, the thinner the tablet the lighter it will be (see weight below).

The thickness can play a role in the tablet's durability. A thin tablet that uses materials that do not flex well could result in more damage to the tablet over time. This is something to consider if the tablet will be thrown in bags where other objects could press against it and potentially damage it. 


Most tablets are very light when compared to laptops. The lightest laptops are typically around two and a half to three pounds. Tablets, on the other hand, are generally around one pound.

However, a laptop is designed to sit on a surface, while a tablet is most often held. The heavier a tablet is the more difficult it is to hold in your hand for extended periods. 

The distribution of the weight within a tablet can also matter. This is not something usually described in documentation by manufacturers and is best experienced by physically handling the tablet before you buy it.

The best designs will evenly distribute the weight across the whole tablet, allowing it to be held in portrait, landscape, or upside down without any awkwardness in handling. Some designs may shift weight to one side, which is the manufacturer's preferred orientation for holding it. If you intend to use a tablet in a variety of orientations, this type of design may not serve you well.

Common Tablet Dimensions and Weights

There are five general display sizes available for tablet display sizes, though specific models may vary some. Note that accessories like chargers are not included in the weight of a table.

  • 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.

These, of course, are just general specifications for tablets. As technology improves, you can expect tablets to become thinner and lighter as more is squeezed into smaller spaces.