Tablets started off as slates purely thought of as windows for consuming content. But Apple and Microsoft have proven that these devices are more than just portable TVs.
Our favorite tablet, the 10.2-inch iPad, shows how slow, iterative updates can lead to a great device. We just wish it had USB-C, like its bigger, brawnier brother, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Check out our full iPadOS review to learn about all the tricks these tablets can do.
What to expect from Black Friday 2019
Tablet sales always happen during the shopping season, and I expect them to be a part of the set of Black Friday deals that are coming soon. For example, we've already learned that the Amazon Black Friday deals will include these discounts on Fire slates.
On Nov. 22, the Fire HD 8 will cost $49, a savings of $30, while the Fire HD 8 Kids Edition gets a price chop down to $79 (which is $50 off). My favorite deal so far is that the Fire HD 10 will hit $99 (also $50 off!).
The regular ol' iPad is still the top pick
CPU: A10 Fusion Chip, embedded M10 coprocessor | Display: 10.2 inches, 2160 x 1620 | Storage: 32GB (starting) | Dimensions: 9.8 x 6.8 x 0.3 inches | Weight: 1.1 pounds | Ports: Lightning, Headphone
Apple's 10.2-inch iPad might seems a lot like its predecessor (and it is), but the company tweaked enough for us to still love this slate. Not only does the extra screen space (up from 9.7 inches) go a long way in iPadOS, but the added Smart Keyboard Cover support is a finally moment.
On top of that, we saw nearly 12 hours of battery life in our tests, and its colorful, super bright display ties it all together for a solid experience.
Read our full Apple iPad (2019) Review.
For those who need more
CPU: A12X Bionic chip with Neural Engine Embedded M12 coprocessor | Display: 12.9 inches, 2732 x 2048 | Storage: 64GB (starting) | Dimensions: 11 x 8.5 x 0.2 inches | Weight: 1.39 pounds | Ports: USB-C
The new iPad Pro's A12X Bionic processor runs circles around Windows PCs based on our testing. Apple also delivers a full-screen design, great audio quality and an improved Apple Pencil that automatically starts charging when it magnetically attaches to the iPad Pro.
Add in more than 13 hours of battery life and you have one of the best tablets for creative pros. You'll want to pair it with one of our picks for the best iPad Pro keyboard cases.
Read our full 12.9-inch Apple iPad Pro (2018) review.
Amazon's top tablet for those with deeper pockets
CPU: 2.0 GHz octa-core CPU | Display: 10.1 inches, 1920 x 1200 | Storage: 32GB (starting) | Dimensions: 10.3 x 6.3 x 0.4 inches | Weight: 1.1 pounds | Ports: Headphones, USB-C
Amazon's upgraded its best tablet with a port that not even Apple's iPad offers: USB-C. On top of that, you get fantastic battery life with a bright, colorful 1920 x 1200-pixel screen that's great for binge-watching. We still wish Amazon would allow the Google Play store in by default — the Fire OS mail app is wanting and the real YouTube app is far better than the website.
Read our full Amazon Fire HD 10 review.
Great for the family
CPU: Quad-core 1.3 GHz | Display: 8-inch 1280 x 800 | Storage: 32GB (starting) | Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.1 x 1 inches | Weight: 17.6 ounces | Ports: microUSB
The Fire HD 8 Kids Edition is one of the best tablets to pass around the family. Not only does it feature the serious set of parental controls that help guard your kids from the wrong side of the internet, but it also packs a ton of free age-appropriate content. Further, it beats the cheaper $99 Kindle Fire 7 Kids Edition with a brighter display, longer battery life and faster performance. We're also ranking the best Amazon Fire tablets.
Read our full Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition review.
The most portable of portables
CPU: A12 Bionic chip, Neural Engine Embedded M12 coprocessor | Display: 7.9-inch 2048 x 1536 | Storage: 64GB (starting) | Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.2 inches | Weight: 10.9 ounces | Ports: Lightning, headphone jack
Apple's updated one of its most beloved tablets with a set of specs that makes it more than worth buying. From its speedy A12 Bionic chip to its bright, beautiful display, this is both a slate that's great to consume content on and get things done on as well. On top of that, you get lengthy battery life plus support for the Apple Pencil.
Read our full iPad mini (2019) review.
A solid tablet (with optional keyboard) for the Windows crowd
CPU: Intel Core 8th Gen i5 or i7 | Display: 12.3-inch 2736 x 1824 | Storage: 128GB (starting) | Memory: 8GB (starting) | Dimensions: 11.5 x 7.9 x 0.3 inches | Weight: 1.7 pounds | Ports: USB 3.0, Surface Connect, Mini DisplayPort, Headphone jack, SD memory reader
Tablets are great for consuming and doodling, but when you need a great 2-in-1 for a lot of writing, look no further than the Surface Pro 6. Its attachable Type Covers beat the iPad Pro's Smart Keyboard Cover on comfort, thanks to deep travel that mimics an actual laptop. Also, improved battery life (nearly 2 hours more!) and a new black colorway make the Surface Pro 6 the hybrid for those who don't want to compromise. Still, though, without its Type Cover, the Surface Pro 6's build quality and performance are enough to make it one of the best tablets. Looking for a more affordable detachable? Check out our guide to the best Surface Pro alternatives. Think you can wait? We're already collecting Surface Pro 7 rumors and reports.
Read our full Microsoft Surface Pro 6 review.
The bigger, faster brother of the regular iPad
CPU: A12 Bionic | Display: 10.5 inches, 2224 x 1668 | Storage: 64GB (starting) | Dimensions: 9.8 x 6.8 x 0.2 inches | Weight: 1 pound | Ports: Lightning, Headphone
Apple's latest iPad Air is one of its best non-Pro iPads ever. Its brilliant display and strong sound make it great for consuming content, while its support for Apple's Pencil and Smart Keyboard enable more creation than ever before. Add Apple's speedy A12 processor and long battery life on top and you get a very good tablet.
Read our full iPad Air (2019) review.
The best pure Android tablet
CPU: Qualcomm MSM8917 Snapdragon 425 | Display: 8.3 inches, 1280 x 800 | Storage: 16GB | Dimensions: 8.3 x 0.3 x 4.9 inches | Weight: 0.7 pounds | Ports: microSD, headphone jack, microUSV
For only $129, the Tab 4 8 provides tablet users with practically everything they need from a slate. Its colorful 8-inch display is brighter than the average tablet and it's got enough battery life to last more than 10 hours on a single charge. And unlike Amazon's cheaper Fire tablets, the Tab 4 8 gives you a true Android experience that doesn't block Google's apps.
Read our full Lenovo Tab 4 review.
Tons of battery life
CPU: 1.3-GHz Quad-core Qualcomm APQ8009 | Display: 8 inches, 1200 x 800 | Storage: 16GB (starting) | Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.7 x 0.1 inches | Weight: 1 pound | Ports: headphones, microUSB
Currently on sale at $139 ($30 off), the Lenovo Yoga Tab 3's 15 hours of battery life doesn't come without a couple sacrifices, but if you want the most endurance in a tablet, this is the device for you. The Yoga Tab 3 features a colorful, 1280 x 800-pixel, 8-inch screen; handy built-in kickstand; and clever 8-megapixel camera that rotates 180 degrees from front to back. Unfortunately, its Snapdragon 212 processor puts out mediocre performance, and the big battery takes up a lot of space, but it doesn't stop when others do.
Read our full Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 review.
There's a lot to like in Amazon's mid-range tablet
CPU: Quad-Core 1.3 GHz | Display: 8 inches, 1280 x 800 | Storage: 16GB (starting) | Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.0 x 0.4 inches | Weight: 12.8 ounces | Ports: microSD
Amazon's 2018 Fire HD 8 offers most of what we like about its predecessor -- an affordable $80 price, bright screen and decent performance -- and then adds more. Not only does its selfie camera finally snap acceptable photos, but you can activate Alexa without tapping on the screen. But if you bought the 2017 Fire HD 8, you might want to hold on, as that model lasted 2 hours longer.
Read our full Amazon Fire HD 8 review.
Best 2-in-1 Under $500
CPU: Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y | Display: 10 inches, 1800 x 1200 | Storage: 64GB (starting) | Dimensions: 0.33 x 9.65 x 6.9 inches | Weight: 1.2 pounds | Ports: USB-C
Microsoft's Surface Go gives you a ton of the perks of the Surface Pro, but at a much-more affordable price. Starting at $399, it offers a bright, colorful display, a comfy keyboard and a sturdy-feeling magnesium design. It also includes Windows Hello support for biometric logins.
Read our full Microsoft Surface Go review.
Best Samsung Tablet Overall
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 | Display: 10.5 inches, 2560 x 1600 | Storage: 128GB | Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.3 x 0.2 inches | Weight: 0.95 pounds | Ports: USB-C, microSD
Samsung's Galaxy Tab S6 ($649) has a gorgeous 10.5-inch display, fast performance and an included S Pen stylus that charges on the back of the tablet. We also appreciate the touchpad on the new BookCover Keyboard accessory and the DeX desktop interface makes the Galaxy Tab S6 a viable laptop replacement.
Read our full Galaxy Tab S6 review.