Best Tablet 2024: iPad, Android & Windows Tablets Compared – Tech Advisor

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A tablet might not have replaced a laptop for most people, but there are lots of reasons why you might want to buy one.
The large display makes it great for watching videos, gaming or simply browsing the web. A tablet is usually more portable than a laptop, yet still allows for multitasking or connecting a keyboard for productivity.
However, it can be difficult to decide on the right device for you. Many people will hear the word ‘tablet’ and instantly think of the iPad, but even then, there are four different types to choose from.
And you definitely shouldn’t rule out Android tablets, which are a lot better than they once were and the obvious choice if you own an Android phone.
But if you want a true productivity device, Windows 11 is your best bet – we’ve included one tablet running Microsoft’s latest operating system here.
Each of the 10 devices below has been fully reviewed and ranked, but you might find that something lower down the list suits you best. At the bottom of the page, you’ll find detailed buying advice on what to look out for.
Apple didn’t release any new iPads in 2023, meaning the Air from 2022 is still the best you can buy. What’s more, its age means discounts are more likely.
Apple’s M1 chipset delivers stellar performance, especially when combined with the optional 5G support. You also have an excellent 12Mp front-facing camera with the Apple’s face-tracking Centre Stage tech, making it a superb choice for video calls.
Beyond that, it offers up the same premium design in an array of colours, Touch ID and compatibility with Apple’s Magic Keyboard and second-generation Apple Pencil. All Apple’s really done is given its best tablet an even longer lifespan.
If you want that 120Hz ProMotion tech or thinner bezels, consider the 2022 iPad Pro instead, but you’ll pay quite the premium for these extras.
For most people, the S9 Plus is the sweet spot in Samsung’s 2023 Galaxy Tab range. It offers almost everything you’d want in an Android tablet, without the extortionate price of the Tab S9 Ultra.
It’s insanely thin at just 5.7mm and now comes with an IP68 rating – full dust and water resistance – that’s very unusual to find on a tablet.  
The Tab S9 Plus is also more powerful than many laptops thanks to overclocked Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Galaxy Edition and a whopping 12GB of RAM. There’s not much you can’t do with this slate and it’s also got a gorgeous 12.4-inch 120Hz OLED display.
With the S Pen stylus, long software support, AKG speakers and optional 5G, there’s no doubting this is an excellent tablet.
If your budget is under £200 and you’re happy with an Android tablet, your decision is very simple – buy the Galaxy Tab A9.
Samsung’s latest cheap tablet is extraordinarily good value for money, combining strong performance with a solid 8.7-inch display, impressive quad speakers and even decent battery life. The One UI software isn’t quite as impressive as on Samsung’s phones, but it’s still one of the best versions on Android you’ll find on a tablet.
However, given it’s so cheap, it should come as no surprise that there are compromises. Scrolling often feels slow and looks blurry, while charging is only 15W and the cameras are very disappointing.
But you aren’t buying this tablet for its photographic abilities. And its the fundamentals of a great tablet where the Galaxy Tab A9 excels.
If you’re willing to pay a little bit more for a bigger screen, consider the 11-inch Galaxy Tab A9+ instead.
If you rely on Windows or want a great tablet for productivity, the Surface Pro 9 is the best choice – provided you go for an Intel model.
A move to 12th-gen chips is the only upgrade of note (aside from removing the 3.5mm headphone jack), but that’s easy to forgive after the big upgrades introduced on the Pro 8. It maintains a sleek, premium design, with the 120Hz display the star of the show.
Other highlights include solid battery life, a great webcam and excellent accessories, even if the latter are still sold separately.
You might have seen that a new ARM-based model was introduced alongside the Intel version, which improves battery life, adds new video calling features and brings 5G to the Surface Pro for the first time. But the effect on performance and how some third-party apps run simply isn’t worth it for most people.
The sixth-gen iPad Mini ditches the old form factor for something more akin to the iPad Air and Pro ranges; with an angular design, stereo speakers, Centre Stage technology and much smaller bezels than before.
The Mini’s 60Hz display has jumped to 8.3 inches, but without changing the physical size of the tablet – allowing for more display real estate without affecting its portable nature. It’s a gorgeous display too, with the highest pixel density of any iPad right now, even if it is a bit on the small side for true split-screen multitasking.
It’s powered by the same A15 Bionic silicon as the iPhone 13 range, but that still means you get great performance in 2024.
The Touch ID sensor has been moved to the Power button – like with the iPad Air – and there’s support for the second-gen Apple Pencil to boot. However, the lack of a Smart Connector on the rear means that it doesn’t have its own Magic Keyboard; a real boon for the iPad Air and Pro ranges, and the only real chink in the Mini’s armour.
The Xiaomi Pad 6 is an excellent tablet for the money, combining premium hardware with surprisingly good software.
Its Snapdragon 870 chipset is a little dated, but it still delivers top-tier performance. That helps power the impressive 11-inch LCD display, complete with smooth 144Hz refresh rate. Alongside punchy quad speakers, it’s a great tablet for content consumption.
Alongside a premium yet lightweight build, IP53 dust and water resistance rating and better than expected MIUI software, there’s very little to dislike here.
The only real downsides are the underwhelming battery life, no fingerprint sensor and the lack of a specific commitment to software updates. But these shouldn’t be dealbreakers for most people, considering everything else the Pad 6 has to offer.
If you really don’t want an Android tablet, the 10.2-inch iPad from 2021 is your best alternative around this price.
The latest iPad Pro is the most capable tablet on the market, sporting Apple’s desktop-level M2 chip that provides unmatched power, one of the best displays around with a 120Hz refresh rate and mini-LED backlighting that allows it to compete with OLED displays while being much brighter.
The experience is improved even more with the Apple Pencil and Magic Keyboard, with the latter turning the tablet into a fully-fledged laptop replacement. However, those are optional extras for a tablet that’s already very expensive.
Of course, you can save some money by opting for the smaller 11-inch model instead. But ultimately, unless you need loads of power and value creative features such as the Apple Pencil’s Hover mode, there are cheaper iPads that still offer everything you need in a tablet.
The Tab S9 Ultra is total overkill for most people as a tablet, and very expensive. But it’s an impressive feat of engineering, and having a huge 14.6-inch canvas to work with can be useful.
That 120Hz OLED display is a joy to use, especially when combined with stellar performance from an overclocked version of Qualcomm’s flagship 2022 chipset, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip. You also get decent battery life and an IP68 rating for water and dust resistance, all within an incredibly thin and light design.
Samsung includes an S Pen in the box, which is perfect for taking handwritten notes or digital art. But while the multitasking features are good, a lack of optimised apps really comes to the fore on such a large display.
With a high price tag and the keyboard cover sold separately, it’s not a realistic purchase for most people.
OnePlus took its sweet time launching a tablet but the wait, on the whole, was worth it.
We like the attractive, premium design and, more importantly, a top-notch screen. Even if it isn’t OLED, the super-slick 144Hz refresh rate outpaces rivals.
Combined with amazing audio and reliable battery life, the Pad is an excellent choice for all forms of entertainment. It’s not so good for productivity, though. Only one storage capacity is a shame, as is the lack of a fingerprint scanner, but many buyers won’t notice these downsides.
Overall, the OnePlus Pad is a solid choice if you want a mid-range Android tablet. With security updates until 2028, it should be usable for a long time.
For something a bit different to your traditional tablet, the ReMarkable 2 is well worth a look. This E Ink slate might look like a stylish rival to the Amazon Kindle but you can do a lot more than read books on it.
The stunningly thin design is a highlight here and the custom OS makes tasks like note taking very easy indeed and there’s clever cloud syncing, screen casting and online storage too.
On the downside, you have to pay for a subscription for everything to work and sadly ReMarkable doesn’t include a stylus and the screen doesn’t have a backlight for using the tablet in the dark.
There’s lots to think about when buying a new tablet but we’ve got you covered with our buying advice below. Also, make sure to click through to the full reviews of any tablets you’re interested in to read more about them.
When buying a tablet there are lots of things to consider including build quality, design, size, core specifications, operating system, features, performance, battery life and more.
Which elements are important to you depends on what you need a tablet for. For entertainment, you’ll likely want to prioritise a large, colourful screen and good speakers but for productivity performance, battery life and accessories like a keyboard case are probably top of your list.
We have ranked the tablets above but that doesn’t automatically mean the one in first place is the best suited to your needs.
You’ll also need to decide how much to spend and devices can go beyond the $1,000/£1,000 mark if you buy a premium device in a high-spec model.
Of course, you can spend a lot less than that and we’ll often have cheaper models in this chart but also have a dedicated list of the best budget tablets if you have a tight budget.
In the tablet world, you’ve got four main choices for operating systems: an iPad, an Android tablet, an Amazon Fire tablet or a Windows tablet.
Apple iPads run the company’s own iPadOS, which is widely regarded as one of the best out there. It’s easy to use and app developers usually make it their first choice, so you’re pretty much guaranteed to find what you’re after whether it’s a banking app or the latest games.
If you have an iPhone, then it’ll also be very familiar. This is valuable when you buy accessories that require apps – mainly smart home or fitness gadgets – as you may not be able to control these from a Windows (or Fire) tablet.
In most cases, apps are made available on Android as well as iPads, but not always. Android tablets can be cheaper than iPads, but there are some Samsung models which cost the same or are more expensive.
Windows tablets come in both cheap and expensive guises, with the advantage of being able to support the same programs you’re likely already used to running on your laptop or PC. There just aren’t as many finger-friendly tablet-optimised apps as you’d find on your phone or an iPad.
And that’s why most Windows tablets come with a keyboard (or at least offer one as an optional accessory) they’re really a hybrid of a laptop and tablet. But as you’ll find out in most of our Windows tablet reviews, this is rarely a case of getting the best of both worlds. One exception is the Surface Pro line, from Microsoft.
The fourth option is Amazon’s Fire tablets. These are based on open-source Android but are locked into Amazon’s own ecosystem, running on what’s called Fire OS. As such, you won’t find any Google services or apps on them natively, so bear this in mind. They are very affordable, though.
Bear in mind that some tablet makers use their own custom OS, such as the ReMarkable 2.
Apple is probably the brand most people think of first when it comes to tablets thanks to the dominance of the iPad. If you can afford one and it ticks your boxes then great, but there are reliable alternatives.
As mentioned, Amazon makes its own Fire Tablet range but when it comes to Android and Windows slates there are almost too many to choose from – although we are big fans of Microsoft’s own Surface devices, many of which are tablets.
Many of the top brands make both Windows and Android tablets and we’d recommend looking at devices from the likes of Samsung, Lenovo, Asus and Xiaomi. Other brands include Huawei, Nokia, Realme and OnePlus.
Anyron is Mobile Editor at Tech Advisor, where he’s been a mainstay of the editorial team since 2019. In his current role, Anyron is responsible for all smartphone, tablet and mobile network coverage on the site. A BA Journalism graduate, he has experience with a wide range of consumer tech products and services, including smartphones, tablets, foldables, wearables and more.
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