Tablets are now the must-have mobile computing device, but with so many models available, choosing the best tablet comes down to your needs and price range. Those on a budget should check out Android tablets, as quality options start as low as $150. The iPad mini and iPad Air offer the most tablet-optimized apps, but start at $299. Then you have Windows 8 tablets, many of which double as laptops for increased productivity.
At LAPTOP, we review every major tablet, evaluating them based on design, display quality, features and performance. Here are the best tablets available today.
Find the Best Tablet For You
By Mark Spoonauer, Editor-in-Chief — Last Updated: January 9, 2014
The iPad Air delivers all the Retina display goodness of the previous-generation iPad in a thinner, lighter and more powerful package. At just 1-pound, the 9.7-inch Air is the lightest tablet in its size class, and it's compact enough to comfortably hold with one hand. On the inside, this powerful slate packs the new 64-bit A7 CPU, which promises even oomph for running more than 475,000 apps optimized for the iPad. Add in nearly 12 hours of battery life and you have the best tablet available.
Starting Price: $499
iPad Air Review
The iPad mini with Retina Display gives shoppers everything they could want in a small tablet. You get a sharp 2048 x 1536-pixel screen in a 7.9-inch design that's easy to hold in one hand, plus a powerful 64-bit A7 processor. We also love Apple's app selection, with more than 475,000 options optimized for the iPad. With 11 hours of battery life--nearly 2.5 hours more than its closest competitors--this is the ultimate small tablet.
Starting Price: $399
iPad mini with Retina Display Full Review
When it comes to eBooks, no one tops Amazon, especially if you're looking for free stuff to read. Both the best tablet its size and the best tablet for entertainment, the 7-inch Kindle Fire HDX gives Amazon Prime members ($79 per year) a host of compelling books, movies and TV shows for free. However, the HDX offers more than just a compelling content library as it provides impressive audio, blazing fast quad-core speeds and a 1920 x 1200 screen that's even better than the Nexus 7's, along with 8 hours and 39 minutes of endurance. A special Mayday button in the interface allows you to get live, video support on the tablet 24/7 while FreeTime allows parents to limit what their kids can do with the tablet.
Starting Price: $229
Amazon Kindle Fire HDX Review
The Google Nexus 7 delivers pure Android 4.3 Jelly Bean goodness along with blazing-fast quad-core performance, long battery life and one of the best screens on the market. The 1920 x 1200, 7-inch display is not only amazingly sharp at 323 PPI, but eye-poppingly colorful and bright enough to be viewed from any angle without image degradtion. The latest Android OS allows users to create child-friendly restricted profiles for the first time while the front and rear cameras provide solid camera images on a device that weighs just 10.2 ounces and lasts over 8 hours on a charge.
Starting Price: $229
Google Nexus 7 Review
Best Note-Taking Tablet: Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 (New and Notable)
Not only does Samsung bundle in $700 worth of prepaid subscription offers to everyone from Bloomberg Businessweek and Dropbox, but the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 comes with the Hancom Office suite, Remote PC software and Cisco WebEx Meetings so you can be as productive as possible from the company's new tablet. This 12.2-inch slate weighs 1.65 pounds, but the company crams a lot into that space, including a laptop-like virtual keyboard, an Exynos 5 Octa processor, 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage space. Possibly the coolest feature of this pen-enabled device, however, is that you can run up to four apps simultaneously, thanks to the improved Multi Window feature.
Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 Hands-On
Starting at just $349, the ASUS Transformer Book T100 offers a unique combination of epic battery life, strong performance and value. Unlike Microsoft, which charges an additional $120 for a Surface keyboard, ASUS includes a highly-tactile keyboard dock for free and throws in a copy of Office Home and Student for good measure.The first tablet to use Intel's new Bay Trail platform, the Transformer Book T100 lasts 12.5 hours on a charge and can handle 4K videos and do some gaming. With wide viewing angles and the ability fold like a laptop, the T100 makes Windows 8.1 more compelling at an unbeatable price.
Starting Price: $349
ASUS Transformer Book T100 Review
The Lenovo Miix 2 packs zippy performance thanks to its new Atom Bay Trail CPU and a full Windows 8.1 experience in a sleek 8-inch tablet. We particularly like that Microsoft throws in Office Home & Student for free. And the bright 1280 x 800-pixel display doesn't hurt either; it really makes the Live Tile interface pop. And on our synthetic benchmarks, Lenovo's tablet scored 9,739 on the 3DMark Ice Storm Extreme test surpassing the Venue 8 Pro (8,830) and Transformer Book T100 (9,710). This showing also shatters the 5,509 category average.
Starting Price: $299
Lenovo Miix 2 Review
How much tablet can you get for $150? A lot more than you might think. A chearp tablet that feels anything but cheap, ASUS's MeMO Pad HD 7 features a colorful 1280 x 800 screen, a powerful quad-core processor, high-quality front and rear cameras, 16GB of internatl storage and a microSD card slot for expansion. Throw in 9 hours and 40 minutes of battery life and a host of custom Android features and you have one of the best bargains in all of tech.
Starting Price: $150
ASUS MeMO Pad HD 7
Best Tablet for Kids: Fuhu DreamTab (New and Notable)
When Dreamworks and Fuhu get together, good things happen. The Fuhu DreamTab is proof positive. This new Atom Bay Trail-powered 8-inch slate (which will go on sale this spring) sports a sharp full HD IPS display and runs Android KitKat. But best of all is the company's kid-safe social networking that allows Junior to send email, text and to share photos with other DreamTab users. It encodes a child's identity with letters and numbers, instead of names. We also really like the Wings Learning System that helps keep kids learning reading, writing and math. And when you're kid gets a little older, he'll get access to the full Google Play store.
Fuhu DreamTab Hands-On
Whether you're looking to be more productive or control your TV, the Galaxy Note 8 has it all. A built-in S Pen gives users of this 8-inch tablet the ability to take notes in class, as well as hover over email and other content for instant previews. Meanwhile, a built-in IR blaster and Samsung's WatchOn software enables couch potatoes to find good stuff to watch and change the channel with a tap.
Starting Price: $399
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Review
The new Microsoft Surface Pro 2 promises everything a business user could want in a tablet. Powered by an Intel 4th-Generation Core Series Haswell processor and a speedy SSD, the Pro 2 should combine long battery life with performance that will beat many Ultrabooks. Throw in a gorgeous 1920 x 1080, 10.6-inch display, an active stylus, the full Windows 8.1 operating system and an optional type cover and you have the ability to run the most powerful desktop productivity software on a slate. A versatile optional docking station that supports external displays up to 3840x2160 pixels in resolution is icing on the cake.
Starting Price: $899
Microsoft Surface Pro 2 Review