Best tablets Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?’s round-up of the best tablets you can buy in 2019.
Tablets are bigger than smartphones (just) but less capable than laptops (just). If you’re thinking of buying one, you need to ask yourself a few questions.
What screen size do you want? Bigger-screened tablets make films, photos and TV shows look more impressive and are better suited to gaming, but they’re heavier, less portable and usually more expensive.
Which operating system are you after? Android is more open than iOS, but it’s not quite as slick or simple an ecosystem. Or are you happy with Amazon’s FireOS? Members of Amazon Prime might well be, but if you rarely shop at the retail giant, you’ll likely find it unsuitable and downright irritating.
How much storage do you need? Android devices usually come with slots for memory cards so you can add in extra storage, which could be useful if you’ve an extensive library of films, music and photos.
The best tablet for you will come down to how you want to use it. If you’re gaming, you’ll want one with tons of power and long battery life, while if you’re only sending the occasional email, you can save yourself some money and get yourself a cheaper model.
We’ve rounded up the best 2019 tablet choices so you can find your perfect partner. With models big and small, cheap and pricey, there’s sure to be something that fits your needs.
Apple’s dinkiest iPad actually offers the highest pixel-per-inch density of all of its tablets, meaning the screen looks even more gorgeous than the rest of the iPad range. It’s bright and punchy, with distinctive highlights and plenty of detail in the shadows. The image really pops, making it a joy to watch. The sound is tops too, boasting bags of dynamism and detail. For a small tablet, it makes a big impression.
Read the full review: Apple iPad Mini (2019)
Improving on a previous What Hi-Fi? Award-winner was always going to be a tall task, especially without raising the price. But Amazon has cracked it with the latest version of the HD10. So what’s new? There’s a faster processor, a more powerful front camera, USB-C charging (rather than micro-USB) and support for higher-capacity microSD cards. Add that to the same winning usability, plus decent audio and visual performance (for the price), and you’ve got yourself a stone-cold bargain.
Read the full review: Amazon Fire HD 10 (2019)
Despite being a little long in the tooth, this is still a stellar tablet for AV fans. It’s compatible with Dolby Vision, making TV shows and films looks that bit brighter, punchier and more colourful. The built-in speakers are insightful and sound from a decent pair of headphones is very good indeed.
Read the full review: Apple iPad (2018)
If you’re on a tight budget, Amazon’s tablets are always worth a look. At just £50, the Fire 7 is exceptionally good value – as long as you don’t expect mind-blowing AV quality, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Amazon has given this model a warmer colour palette, making for more realistic skin tones, and as long as you don’t go nitpicking for detail and contrast ratios, it’s perfectly watchable (especially for kids’ cartoons, which we suspect will be its main use). The sound is nicely balanced and suitably detailed, too. And because it’s an older model, its already cheap price is now discounted. Buy buy buy!
Read the full review: Amazon Fire 7 (2017)
Content creators will want an iPad Pro – this is a machine made for creating, while the standard iPad is built for consuming. As such, it’s a little over-powered if all you want it for is watching movies and playing the odd game. Not that you’ll have a bad time – far from it. The screen is ridiculously sharp and bright, and at this size, films are an absolute treat. It sounds pretty great too, balancing dialogue with the soundtrack nicely and automatically adjusting for the best sound depending whether it’s in portrait or landscape mode. Sure, you don’t need one. But if you can afford it, why wouldn’t you?
Read the full review: Apple iPad Pro 10.5in
This tablet was great value at its original price, so now it’s available for less, it’s an absolute steal. Like other Amazon tablets, its bright colour schemes are more cheap and cheerful than sleek and sophisticated, but that’s no bad thing if you just want a tablet for occasional use around the house (or to let the kids run wild with). Its screen has a natural palate and plenty of detail to get your teeth into, while audio playback is pretty decent for casual listening. Another great value tablet from Amazon.
Read the full review: Amazon Fire HD 8 (2018)
This might be a budget tablet, but it feels much more expensive than it is. The spine is much thicker than the rest of it, with good cause – it houses a rotatable 8MP camera that can be positioned to be rear- or front-facing. There’s also a metal kickstand to help prop it up in its many poses (it’s not called Yoga for nothing). The screen might lack a bit of detail, but the sound more than makes up for it, with plenty of expression and balance on offer.
Read the full review: Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 8in
This premium tablet comes with the S Pen, which is Samsung’s stylus. Images on screen look so sharp you could cut yourself on them, while motion is handled with aplomb. The only slight niggle with the screen is colour reproduction, which tends to be more bold than natural. But you get superior sound, which you can tweak to your heart’s content, and played right, you’ll get noticeably more detail and dynamism from music. Dolby Atmos also comes as standard.
Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy Tab S3