Today’s tablets are far from just larger smartphones and dumber laptops. With the best devices, you can get the productivity of a 2-in-1 laptop with a portable design, stunning screen, and all-day battery life. Whether you’re looking to replace a laptop, upgrade to a newer tablet, or find a travel companion to read and stream content, these tablets are the top six to consider in 2019.
Check out the quick reviews below of our top five tablets, or scroll deeper for more helpful buying info and full reviews of those models plus other high-ranking options.
Tablet Features to Consider Before You Buy
Generally, Android users may want an Android tablet and iPhone users may prefer an iPad, but this is no longer a rule. Apple iPads may reign at the top of the list, but Android users, and even some Apple users, can now enjoy powerful iPad alternatives.
No matter which OS you go for, considering how you plan to use your tablet before you buy is most important. Those who plan to work on-the-go or replace a laptop will require a large screen, fast processor, more storage, and long battery lives, which can all be found on the premium (and expensive) iPad Pro. However, if you only plan to use a tablet when the work day is over or on occasional travels to stream media, then a (much) cheaper and smaller option like the Amazon Fire may work for you.
There are plenty of devices in between these options in terms of price, size, and power. Storage options generally range from 16 to 256 GB; battery power extends up to and sometimes over 10 hours; screen sizes range from the mini 7.9-inch to a full 13-inch display, and weight can land anywhere between a half to two pounds. We narrowed down the best devices you can buy this year, so you can find the perfect fit for your intended use and budget from the list below.
How We Rated Them
We researched 12 expert sources and 18,000 consumer reviews to select the top six tablets of the year. To determine the Total Expert Score, we calculate the ratings from trusted publications such as Tech Radar, CNET, and Digital Trends, and convert them to a 100-point scale to make it easier for you to weigh the best options. Our Consumer Score represents the percentage of consumers who rated the product at least 4 out of 5 stars on retail and review sites like Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart.
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
Total Expert Score: 91/100 | Consumer Score: 95% give it 4 stars or higher
Apple’s redesigned iPad Pro has unrivaled performance and design.
Chip: A12X Bionic chip with Neural Engine | Video: 4k | Storage: 64 GB
Screen: 12.9’’ Liquid Retina | Weight: 1.4 lb. | Battery: 10 hours
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a tablet better than Apple’s latest iPad Pro. The 12.9-inch edge-to-edge screen is huge, but the design is still slim at no more than 6mm thick and weighing just over a pound. Living up to its “Pro” title, it’s powerful enough to handle tasks like video editing, digital art, and other business tasks thanks to its fast processor and compatibility with the redesigned Apple Pencil. One Amazon reviewer admitted, “I have always been a computer person, but since I got this product my workflow has changed for the better.” Digital Trends summed up that its “the most versatile computer you can own.”
Since the Apple Pencil and keyboard covers have also been updated in 2019, keep in mind that older iPad Pro accessories won’t be compatible with this new device, which only adds to its expense. Though the 12.9-inch iPad Pro may be expensive, you can save a few bucks by getting the new 11-inch model for $750, which has just as much power with a smaller screen size.
Apple iPad Mini
Total Expert Score: 80/100 | Consumer Score: 98% give it 4 stars or higher
Don’t be fooled—this mini iPad is still a mighty device.
Chip: A12 Bionic chip with Neural Engine | Video: 1080p HD | Storage: 64 GB
Screen: 7.9’’ Retina | Weight: .66 lb. | Battery: 10 hours
Though the iPad Pro boasts the best performance and biggest display, it’s also true that smaller and less expensive iPads provide enough power for average casual use. This new iPad Mini is no exception with its A12 Bionic processor and 10 hours of battery life. On Amazon, one reviewer claimed, “The new A12 chip makes this iPad so fast and fluid, it’s honestly more power than I will ever need in my day-to-day use of this product.”
Unlike the redesigned iPad Pro, this 2019 Mini still has large bezels and is only compatible with the first-generation Apple Pencil. However, it remains the best tablets in the compact size category. PC Mag even went as far to claim that it’s the only small, premium tablet you should consider buying this year.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
Total Expert Score: 77/100 | Consumer Score: 92% give it 4 stars or higher
This Samsung tablet offers Android users a portable, 2-in-1 experience.
Processor: 2.35 GHz + 1.0GHz | Video: 4k | Storage: 64 GB
Screen: 10.5’’ AMOLED | Weight: 1.06 lb. | Battery: 16 hours
If you’re looking for any tablet that’s not an iPad, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S4 packs decent power and a great display into a portable size. A bit heavier than the iPad mini and more expensive, it’s better suited for a 2-in-1 experience for those looking to replace their laptop. At Best Buy, users enthused about the included S Pen that doesn’t require charging, the massive 7,300 mAh battery, 13 MP rear camera, and the other compatible accessories you can get like the Bluetooth mouse and keyboard.
Despite the positive reports about using this tablet as a laptop replacement, Samsung’s desktop mode may still require updates. According to expert reviews from Tech Radar and Digital Trends, the DeX mode that transforms this tablet into a desktop interface performs poorly, and many apps still need to be optimized for this mode. Also, the new Galaxy Tab S5e actually offers similar capabilities to the Tab S4 at a more affordable price.
Microsoft Surface Pro 6
Total Expert Score: 83/100 | Consumer Score: 90% give it 4 stars or higher
A laptop-tablet hybrid with a full, detachable keyboard.
CPU: Intel Core i5-8250U | Graphics: HD 620 | Storage: 128 GB
Screen: 12.3’’ LCD | Weight: 1.7 lb. | Battery: 13.5 hours
Updated for 2019, Microsoft’s Surface Pro 6 has a sleek black design and better battery life. Digital Trends wrote that this model “remains the 2-in-1 to beat.” Though it has the portability of a true tablet, you can buy accessories like the attachable keyboard to use it as a real laptop. Like a full laptop, there’s a USB 3 port along with a microSD card reader and headphone jack.
Users loved using the Microsoft Surface Pro 6 on-the-go for work, school, or pleasure, especially in place of a larger laptop or iPad. “It’s a powerful little travel companion, keeping me well connected on the road,” wrote one on Amazon.
Amazon Fire HD 8
Total Expert Score: 78/100 | Consumer Score: 77% give it 4 stars or higher
A great, affordable tablet for you or your kids’ daily entertainment.
Processor: 1.3 GHz quad-core | Video: 720p | Storage: 16 GB
Screen: 8’’ HD | Weight: 10 oz. | Battery: 10 hours
While other tablets can run up to and over the cost of a laptop, the Amazon Fire HD 8 costs even less than what you would expect from a tablet. The price under $100 makes it a great option for kids or when you need a device just for streaming media while traveling. Especially for people who consume a lot of Amazon’s content or who enjoy commanding Alexa, this tablet is one of the most convenient devices you can get. Amazon Prime members can download movies and TV shows, then stream without connecting to Wi-Fi.
Beyond these Amazon-specific features, the Fire HD 8 is an all-around great tablet for the price. You won’t get the same impressive graphics and performance as devices that cost 10 times as much, but it’ll satisfy most basic tablet needs. PC Mag selected the Fire HD 8 as their Editors’ Choice winner in the low-cost category, though the Fire HD 10 also offers a larger Full HD screen with a slightly higher, but still inexpensive cost.
Another Great Tablet to Consider
Apple iPad Air
Total Expert Score: 87/100 | Consumer Score: 97% give it 4 stars or higher
A great option in-between the size, weight, and price tag of the iPad Pro and Mini.
Chip: A12 Bionic chip with Neural Engine | Video: 1080p HD | Storage: 64 GB
Screen: 10.5’’ Retina | Weight: 1 lb | Battery: 10 hours
If the iPad Pro and Mini aren’t quite what you’re looking for in a tablet, then the new iPad Air may be the perfect fit. It has the impressive A12 Bionic chip in a mid-sized screen and weighs just one pound with 10 hours of battery life, so you can use it comfortably anywhere and all day. The 10.5-inch display is a little bigger than the entry-level iPad 9.7, and it weighs a bit less, has more storage options, and costs more. T3 concluded that the iPad Air’s “screen and power make it feel like an iPad Pro, but for a seriously good price.”
Casual users may be able to get similar power at a cheaper cost with the iPad 9.7, though the iPad Air is one of the best deals you can get for a tablet that can handle 2-in-1 productivity. “I highly recommend it for travel, reading, and light computer work,” said one user on Amazon.
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