Tablets have been on the rise in the past few years. They are a great light-weight alternative for travel, and endless distraction for children at restaurants and perfect for streaming your favorite show when a family member is hogging the living room TV.
But what tablet is the best for you?
As with any tech product, tablets range in price, features and size. They also offer different app installations, which can be an important factor for some tablet users making it difficult to pick the perfect tablet.
Whether you want to use your tablet to work, watch movies, read or give to your kids, we have you covered.
Below you will find our top 13 tablet picks for 2020.
1. The Best Overall Tablet - iPad Pro 11
Price: $899 (Wi-Fi + 256GB)
It’s no surprise that our pick for the best overall tablet is made by Apple. As pioneers in the tech space, their products tend to be unmatched, but also come with a steep price point, and this tablet is no exception.
The iPad Pro 11 is the latest tablet that Apple has released and will set you back over a grand depending on the size and functionality you choose.
The iPad Pro 11 comes in space grey and silver, Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi + Cellular and a 1TB, 64GB, 256GB or 512GB option.
It comes with 10 hours of battery life, four amplifying audio speakers, amazing front and back cameras and the IOS operating system. Oh, and it weighs a little over one pound so you might forget it is even in your bag.
The iPad offers a cellular option which means you can use your device wherever you have cell service, but of course, with this luxury, the price is going to go up. The cellular plan for your iPad is handed the same as your cell phone bill and is just an additional line item each month.
You’re probably familiar with the standard features with Apple products by now and how they are typically at the forefront of new cool tech. The iPad Pro 11 is no different. This iteration offers edge to edge screen for full widescreen enjoyment, FaceID security and A12X Bionic chip, which basically means it is fast as a standard PC.
But, one of our favorite new features of the iPad 11 Pro is the Apple Pencil (sold separately). This is a creative person's dream! It operates like a standard stylus, but since it’s an Apple product, it’s even better.
You can use the double-tap feature to change out brushes or erase a mistake without interrupting your creative flow. It’s also magnetized so you don’t lose it, and once it attaches to the iPad is starts charging.
2. The Best Computer Tablet - Microsoft Surface Pro 7
Price: $1,029.99 (8GB Ram, 128GB)
Another tablet that has been on the market for a while now is the Microsoft Surface. Our pick for the best computer tablet in 2020 is their newest tablet, the Microsoft Surface Pro 7.
This upgraded Windows tablet has increased performance and enhanced features designed from feedback from previous versions. With 10.5 hours of battery life, 12.3-inch display, 8GB and three operating modes (laptop, tablet and studio), it should be able to fit your every need. The Microsoft Surface Pro 7 is two times faster than the Pro 6 and has standard USB C and USB A ports like a laptop. But, this Pro 7 weighs in at 1.7 pounds, about as much as a pineapple. Again, you might not notice it in your bag.
This tablet has a kickstand built-in making it easy to transition from laptop mode where you are deep into your budget spreadsheets to studio mode where you are working on drawing a picture of your dog snuggled on the couch.
The Microsoft Surface Pro 7 also has a popup keyboard on the screen, so you are able to see exactly what you are typing in real-time, making it easier to see if you missed a letter when entering your Netflix password.
Of course, with any reputable tablet, there are branded add on’s like a type cover, surface dial, and arc mouse. You can also customize the Intel Core processor and the GB size to fit your needs.
3. The Best Tablet for Kids - Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition
Kids these days can be better at navigating technology than their parents, but that doesn’t mean you want their sticky fingers on your tablet!
Amazon designed a tablet specifically for kids, fully equipped with a kid-proof case. You don’t need to worry about them dropping it and cracking the screen or getting into some dark hole on the web.
Amazon’s Fire HD 8 Kids Edition Tablet has parental controls allowing you to set restrictions on screen time and control content that is age-appropriate for your children. Don’t worry; even though they are tech-savvy, they can’t change the settings themselves unless you give them your adult profile password. You can also change the settings online via the Amazon Parent Dashboard.
Although this tablet is intended for kids does not mean it’s a toy or of lesser quality than a traditional Amazon Fire Tablet.
The Fire HD 8 Kids Edition Tablet has an 8-inch HD screen, 10 plus hours of battery life (that’s about 5 viewings of Frozen), a two-year worry-free guarantee replacement and one year of FreeTime Unlimited.
FreeTime Unlimited normally starts at $2.99 per month. It comes with 20,000 plus games, books, apps, videos, educational content and more for your device. Disney and Nickelodeon videos are included as well which will help bring back some childhood memories for you too.
FreeTime Unlimited also offers more than 1,000 books, movies and more in Spanish, giving the kids tablet even more of an educational benefit.
Just like the regular Amazon tablet, you can download apps like Netflix and Minecraft for offline usage.
The Fire HD 8 Kids Edition Tablet case comes in blue, yellow or pink - this is great if you are buying two tablets, so everyone in the family clearly knows which one belongs to which child.
4. The Best Tablet for Streaming - Amazon Fire HD 10
Kids aren’t the only ones who want to watch their TV shows on the go. The Amazon Fire HD 10 Tablet is our pick for the best streaming tablet for 2020.
If you are planning any international travel this is the tablet you want to buy.
The screen is 10.1 inches which is almost as big as your standard laptop screen and streams in 1080p with high-definition quality.
This new rendition of the Amazon Fire has upgraded its processing speed, battery life and features from previous versions.
It has a 30% faster-processing speed, 12-hour battery life (Amazon Fire 8 had 10-hours) and comes with front and back cameras with 720p video recording capabilities. An additional upgrade with this model is the USB-C charging cable for lightning-fast charging.
It still has your favorite gal, Alexa, to help you figure the weather, play music and answer any trivia question.
The Amazon Fire HD 10 comes in a 16GB or 32GB option and you can choose from black, plum, twilight blue and white for your case (sold separately). This is also a nice distinguisher for you and your husband or wife.
5. The “Best Value” Tablet - 2019 HP Chromebook x360
The 2019 HP Chromebook x360 is our pick for the best value tablet in 2020.
Chromebooks are great because they are computers that can double as a tablet, giving you the best of both worlds.
This tablet has an 11.6-inch screen for ample streaming, reading and browsing. It has the functionality of a computer with a keyboard, but it also has a touchscreen just like the other tablets on this list. The battery life lasts almost 14 hours, which is about the flight time from Chicago to Toyko. Meaning, you will have plenty of time to catch up on some shows you’ve been neglecting and a little work.
The 2019 HP Chromebook x360 is a Google compatible device meaning all of your Google Drive information will sync simultaneously once you are logged in and operates on a Chrome OS.
This tablet has BlueTooth, a Micro SD carder port and a headphone jack but weighs in at 4.19 pounds which is about the size of a Chihuahua. This device will not weigh you down and is super easy to add to your already full carry-on.
6. The Best Android Tablet - Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
Price: $649.99 (64GB)
Samsung is another big brand in the tablet space, and its Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 is an upgrade from the Galaxy Tab S3. This tablet operates similar to a PC so the transition is easy to computer to tablet.
If you are looking for a machine that you can do work on, sync with your Andriod phone and create funny GIFs in your spare time, this is the tablet for you.
It’s offered in black and grey, as well as in 64GB or 256 GB. This tablet does include the stylus pen, unlike the iPad and has a 10.5-inch display and 16 hours of battery life.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 is equipped far-field mics which means you can talk to your tablet from the bedroom even if you left it in the living room. Cue up your favorite song to play when you or a family member walks into the living room.
7. The Best Tablet Under $100 - Amazon Fire 7
If you’re looking for an ultra-budget tablet, then the Amazon Fire 7 may be a good choice for you. Yes, it’s on the older side when it comes to Fire tablets, but for $50, you really can’t beat the price, especially if you’re looking to buy a tablet for a child (and you’re looking for a tablet that you won’t feel too badly about if they break or lose it).
The image quality isn't stellar, but the tablet is powerful enough to run all your basic apps, like Netflix. The battery life is about nine hours and parents can take advantage of the tablet’s parental controls before handing it over to a smaller child.
You may be limited in terms of app choice, however. The tablet is built to work with Amazon’s app store, which means it doesn’t work with many popular apps from competing tech providers, like Google or Microsoft.
As far as cheap tablets go, this one is a winner.
8. The Best Special-Interest Tablet - reMarkable 2
Most tablets are meant to work as a larger, more capable version of your phone, but a smaller, more portable version of your computer. But if you’re an avid writer or reader, you might not need the full functionality of most tablets.
If you’re looking for something simpler, something made for niche audiences, you may be interested in the reMarkable 2 tablet.
The $400 tablet is slim, comes with a comfortable stylus and is made specifically for writing and reading. Users who frequently write by hand claim that this tablet has the most realistic feel when it comes to putting pen to paper.
The tablet syncs to the cloud, so you can export and import documents, and it also translates your handwritten text to type, so you can edit and share your work with others.
The battery life is extremely impressive, too, at two weeks.
Sandra Matthews, a Marketing Specialist at The Product Analyst, also adds, "If you're looking for a tablet that can guarantee assistance in jotting
down notes, records, and synchronizing documents to the cloud which make them available to you using any gadget, reMarkable tablets are here to the
rescue, offering a real-feeling writing experience, with a unique screen technology that uses digital paper and the Marker stylus."
"You can read and edit your documents on iPhones, iPads, PCs, Macs, and Android phones that's why it's perfect for any task, online classes or your work, for instance. The reMarkable 2 also translates your handwriting to editable text, so you can share your notes with your whole team," Matthews continues.
9. The Best Lower-End Apple Tablet - Apple iPad Air 2019
Price: $649 (Wi-Fi + 256 GB)
If you’re looking for an Apple iPad, but you can’t quite afford the Apple iPad Pro just yet, you may want to go for a more affordable variant: the Apple iPad Air 2019.
The tablet offers a lot of the favorite functions and features that you would find with the Apple iPad product line in general, but at a more appealing price. Enjoy high-speed performance, 12 hours of battery life and an attractive display.
Unfortunately, this tablet does not support the Apple Pencil 2nd Gen.
10. The Best Small Tablet - Apple iPad Mini 2019
Price: $549 (Wi-Fi + 256 GB)
For a smaller tablet, the iPad Mini 2019 certainly delivers. The screen size is 7.9 inches, so it’s not the smallest tablet on the market, but it packs a lot into that small packaging, making it a good pick for those who want an iOS tablet that’s not huge (like the iPad Pro). The tablet is lightweight, making it easy to take on the go.
The only downsides? The design isn’t as high-end as what you might find with some of Apple’s other tablets or a new iPad, but if you can overlook that, you won’t have any problems.
11. The Best Tablet from Google - Google Pixel Slate
Price: $999 (Core i5 + 8GB)
Don’t care for Apple? Don’t quite like Samsung? Tried Amazon’s line of tablets and just don’t appreciate them the way other users do? Don’t worry — you still have choices.
Enter the Google Pixel Slate.
This tablet is a Chrome OS tablet that runs Android apps. It can double as both a Chromebook (if you also buy the accessory keyboard; a stylus is also available) and a tablet.
The user experience is very similar to what you might find with a desktop, but you also get access to all of the Android-supported apps you might want, as well as anything available in the Google Play Store.
The screen is huge, at 12.3 inches and the battery lasts up to 12 hours. The tablet features both a front and rear camera, both 8MP.
12. The Best Tablet from Lenovo - Lenovo Yoga Smart Tab 10.1
But the alternative options don’t end with the Google Pixel Slate. The Lenovo Yoga Smart Tab 10.1 is also worth checking out.
The built-in kickstand and powerful speaker system, as well as the 10-inch screen, all make for a superior streaming experience. Just set up your tablet on any desk, coffee or side table and you have a great place to watch your favorite shows or movies.
This Lenovo tablet runs on an Android operating system, giving you full access to all the Google Play Store apps.
13. The Best for Editors on the Go - Microsoft Surface Book 3
Video editors who need powerful functionality, but still want to work on the go and not be tethered to their desktops, will appreciate everything the Microsoft Surface Book 3 offers. The powerful tablet-meets-laptop comes with a keyboard with a trackpad and a 13.5-inch screen, and an extra-long battery life. It can handle all your video editing needs but still be detached for entertainment, games or just scrolling through social media.
There’s no stylus, unfortunately, so that’ll be an extra cost on top of the tablet’s already hefty price tag. However, if you need this level of power, you can’t go wrong.
Picking the Best Tablet for You
There are a few things you’ll want to consider when shopping for a tablet.
1. How you plan to use the tablet
How will that tablet you’re buying be used? Is it a laptop replacement? Do you plan to watch a lot of movies and shows via streaming apps? Do you plan to use it for work, and need access to common productivity apps like Google Docs or Word? Do you want to play games, and so you need a processor that can handle that sort of thing?
Whatever your intended use for the tablet, make sure that the one you purchase can stand up to the task.
If you plan to use the tablet for a lot of Zoom or other video calls while social distancing, or working or going to school from home, you’ll want a tablet that can support that, such as the Apple iPad or iPad Pro or the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6.
If you or your child wants to game, the Apple iPad Pro and Air are both great tablet choices, as is the Microsoft Surface Pro.
If you’re looking for a tablet that works with your smart home system, you may want to choose a tablet that works alongside Alexa.
2. Who will be using the tablet
Depending on who’s using the tablet, you may want to look for certain features.
If you’re giving the tablet over to your child to play games and watch their favorite shows, then you may want a tablet that has a large range of parental controls. Depending on the age of your child, you may additionally want to look for a tablet that can withstand multiple drops and general wear and tear. Similarly, if a child will only be using the tablet with Wi-Fi connectivity, you won't need a tablet that can be used on your current cell phone plan.
If the tablet is for a teen, they may really desire the latest tech features and the clout of the most well-known brands (i.e. Apple).
If the tablet is for a senior, you may want a very simple tablet that doesn’t have a lot of functions or customization options. Instead, go for a minimalistic tablet that provides only the functions they need, and none of the ones they don’t.
Lastly, if the tablet is for you and you plan on doing a lot of work on it, make sure that it can run all of the apps you need and that it can function for the entire workday without a charge.
3. Android vs. Apple
It’s something you have to consider with just about every tech product you buy. Should you go with Android or Apple?
In general, Apple tablets are suitable for those who use Apple products for the rest of their lives, including iPhones and MacBooks. The seamless functionality between the devices is not to be overlooked, and for those already familiar with Apple’s operating system, the transition from one work (or play) space to the next will be nothing stressful.
Additionally, Apple tablets allow you to purchase just about every app you might want or need (which isn’t always the case with every non-Apple tablet).
When it comes to Android, there are a few manufacturers to choose from, so you can pick from a range of hardware and get the same operating system. If you already use an Android computer or phone, you will likely prefer having an Android tablet as well.
Many Android tablet users also appreciate Android’s built-in multiple user functions, which allows multiple family members to use a device without encroaching on one another’s privacy.
Additionally, even the best Android tablets are often more affordable than Apple tablets.
There are, of course, Windows tablets, with the Windows 10 operating system, which gives you nearly the same experience you might have working on a Windows computer. You also can totally run all of your Windows programs from the tablet. However, Windows’ operating system only works on Windows tablets, so they’re often not as large of a consideration as Apple vs. Android.
4. What size you need
You can find a range of tablet sizes on the market, but do you really need the biggest there is?
A seven-inch tablet is considered to be on the smaller side, while nine-inch tablets are on the larger end. You can find small and large tablets from just about every manufacturer, so if you, for example, only want an Apple tablet, you won’t be stuck with a larger size.
Consider how large you want the screen to be (if you’re planning to use the tablet primarily for movies or shows, you may want a larger screen). Also consider the overall weight. A larger tablet will weigh more, which you may not want if you plan to tote it around in a purse or bag all day. Portability matters.
5. All the specifications
There are certain specifications you’ll want to look for when shopping for a tablet.
- Resolution (the higher the resolution = the better the image quality)
- Bezel size
- Processor (quad-core processors perform better than dual-core processors)
- Battery life
- Cellular Access (not all tablets work with your cell phone plan; if you want your tablet to work off your current cell phone plan and not just Wi-Fi, be sure to look for this specification in particular)
- Camera power (for both the front camera and back camera)
- MicroSD card ports (and other ports, like a USB-C, that you might want for connecting other devices and tech)
- Headphone jack (or lack thereof)
6. Available accessories
What accessories do you want for your tablet to make your usage easier?
Look at the accessories that are available for the tablet you’re considering, both the accessories that come with the tablet purchase and those that are an add-on purchase. Consider whether or not you want or need…
- A stylus or S Pen
- A detachable keyboard and keyboard cover
- A detachable keyboard with a trackpad
- A smart cover
- A kickstand
- An external battery
All of these could play a role in how often you use your tablet and how much you enjoy using it. It will also impact the cost of your tablet if you know you definitely want one of these accessories, but they’re an additional cost beyond the cost of just the tablet itself.
Our Top Tablet Picks for 2020
Whether you’re looking for a gift for a family member, want to upgrade your current tablet or need something convenient for traveling, there are plenty of options to choose from. Before making your pick, be sure to shop around, and check out the pricing at Walmart, Best Buy, Amazon and other tech retailers, to find the best tablet deals.
You might also be interested in: The 5 Best Soundbars Under $200 [2020 Edition]
Our Top 13 Tablet Picks for 2020:
- The Best Overall Tablet - iPad Pro 11
- The Best Computer Tablet - Microsoft Surface Pro 7
- The Best Tablet for Kids - Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition
- The Best Tablet for Streaming - Amazon Fire HD 10
- The “Best Value” Tablet - 2019 HP Chromebook x360
- The Best Android Tablet - Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
- The Best Tablet Under $100 - Amazon Fire 7
- The Best Special-Interest Tablet - reMarkable 2
- The Best Lower-End Apple Tablet - Apple iPad Air 2019
- The Best Small Tablet - Apple iPad Mini 2019
- The Best Tablet from Google - Google Pixel Slate
- The Best Tablet from Lenovo - Lenovo Yoga Smart Tab 10.1
- The Best for Editors on the Go - Microsoft Surface Book 3