Guide to Choosing a Tablet Based on Size and Weight

Smart tablets come in many shapes and sizes

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

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

A group of friends holding an iPad tablet
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. Still, 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 pounds
7-inch Tablets 7.5" x 4.75" x .35" .7 pounds
9-inch Tablets 9.3" x 6" x .35" .85 pounds
10-inch Tablets 9.8" x 7" x .4" 1.0 pounds
13-inch Tablets 12" x 8" x .4" 1.5 pounds

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 in a pocket, but most fit in a handbag, briefcase, or backpack.

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

Tablet Thickness and Durability

Generally, the thinner the tablet, the lighter it is. Thickness also plays a role in the tablet's durability. A thin tablet made from cheap materials is easy to break and prone to damage, 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 lighter than laptops. However, a laptop is designed to sit on a surface, while a tablet is usually held in your hands. The heavier the tablet, the more difficult it is to hold for extended periods.

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

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