Best tablets (Spring 2017)


Tablets are certainly undergoing some huge transformations: the darling form factor of the early 2010s, in recent years it has become obvious that people do not buy as many tablets as manufacturers thought and the once that they purchase, they certainly do not upgrade every two years or so. Much like traditional laptops, tablets have a longer life and the upgrade cycle is much longer. 

This has taught manufacturers some important lessons: it has taught them what people really need in a tablet. This has brought a big change to the tablet form factor: larger and much more powerful tablets are now offered for creatives, while regular tablets have become much less expensive.

So what does this new tablet landscape look like in 2017 and what are the tablets worth your hard earned cash? Let's find out.

#1: Apple iPad Pro 12.3" | 9.7"

Price: from $800 | $600


The iPad Pro is the ultimate tablet machine. It comes in two sizes: a larger, 12.3" model, more suitable for those who draw and sketch on their tablets, and a smaller, 9.7" iPad Pro that is more easily portable. Both support the excellent Apple Pencil, a separately purchased stylus that allows you to draw with precision and grace. The iPad Pro has got both the buttery smooth performance and the right apps to bring out the best of creatives and allow them to bring their creations to a digital form in a very easy and enjoyable manner.

#2: Surface Pro 4

Price: from $800


The second choice on this list is the well-regarded Microsoft Surface Pro 4. More of a 2-in-1 device rather than a pure tablet, the Surface Pro 4 features the highest price of them all here, starting from $800 for a base model with 128GB of storage and an Intel m3 system chip under the hood. We, however, recommend getting at least the $1,000 Core i5 model with 4GB of RAM and Surface Pen included, if you want a true productivity machine. The Surface Pro 4 has the advantage of running a full-blown Windows 10 with all the amazing full-scale productivity apps that come with it.

#3: Apple iPad (2017)

Price: from $330


Apple released a new iPad in March 2017 and it's Apple's cheapest 9.7-inch tablet to date. At just $330, the new 9.7" iPad (2017) edition is in many ways a rehashed Apple iPad Air 1, with pretty much the same components and features. While it's not the state of the art creation as the iPad Pro (nor does it have support for Apple Pencil, by the way), the new iPad is a perfect device for the regular person who wants to enjoy the web, photos and videos on the go, and who only occasionally uses an iPad for content creation. At such a price, the new iPad brings a beautiful display and the typical for Apple buttery smooth-running interface, two huge trump cards.

#4: Samsung Galaxy Tab S3

Price: from $600


The Galaxy Tab S3 is one of the newer arrivals to the Android world, and a rather ambitious one. With support for the improve Samsung S Pen and a renewed focus on creative applications, the Tab S3 with its 9.7" 1536 x 2058 pixel display is a beauty to look at and work on. It runs on the contemporary Android 7.0 Nougat platform, with the Snapdragon 820 system chip running the show. It's also one of the pricier Android tablets, with a starting price of $600.

#5: Google Pixel C

Price: from $600


A tablet made by Google, the Pixel C runs on stock Android and runs impressively smoothly. Couple this with timely Android updates, and you definitely start to see the appeal in the otherwise more than a year-old Pixel C. It feels surprisingly contemporary even today and it's neat magnetic keyboard makes it a better laptop replacement than many others in this list and great for writers.

#6: Lenovo Yoga Book

Price: from $530


Lenovo unveiled its futuristic Yoga Book, a super slim creation that uses Lenovo's signature chain hinge, in late 2016. At start, this was seen as almost the second coming in the tablet world, but in not too long a time, a lot of the appeal of the Yoga Book turned out to be not much more than a gimmick. The thing is that the Yoga Book featured an innovative fold-out keyboard, but that could also double as a writing pad that would automatically transcribe regular, pen-written notes into digital writings and save them. This is cool, but probably not as functional as you might imagine on a daily basis. If you are a student, though, and you like really thin and impressive new designs, the Yoga Book is a neat option.

#7: Huawei MediaPad M3

Price: from $300


The solidly built Huawei MediaPad M3 features a thin metal body and a no-gimmicky experience at an affordable price. Its advantage comes in the form of the impressively smooth running interface, but apart from that it's hard to find many notable features here. It's just a good, solidly built affordable tablet. That might be just enough for your needs.

#8: Amazon Fire HD 8

Price: $70


Last, but not least, we have the Amazon Fire HD 8, the $70 super cheapo from Amazon is clearly the most affordable one you can get and it's great for reading and for prime users. Keep in mind, though, that it does not run on a full-blown Android, but a rather limited Amazon skin instead, so a lot of the typical Android tablet functionality is missing.

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20 Comments

1. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3109; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

I wish there is a new Xperia Z tablet with a 4K screen and SD 835 Social. Oh boy this would be awesome.

2. ColinW

Posts: 412; Member since: Jun 04, 2014

If you compare the Surface to the iPad Pro there is no competition, the Surface is way ahead. Note the iPad is not a pro machine and is more expensive as you do not get the pencil bundled in. Maybe if you argue that this is a tablet comparison, so ignore the Surfaces more flexible configuration then it would be closer, but then why include the superior Surface?

6. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

proper computer vs stretched out iPhone

8. technitude

Posts: 263; Member since: Dec 19, 2013

... and the iPad Pro is only 32Gb (nonExpandable and short lived if you access it too often). That's worthless to people that have $800 to spend. They all should look at the $900 version and spend $100 on the A-pencil. Or they should consider the less expensive and probably better SurfacePro.

3. WAusJackBauer

Posts: 455; Member since: Mar 22, 2015

I don't know why its so hard for a company to make a 9" or 9.7" tablet with a 1920 x 1080 resolution at an affordable price. All there seems to be is small and or low res tablets and stupidly expensive tablets like the Galaxy Tab S series.

5. shnibz

Posts: 510; Member since: Sep 18, 2011

Actually they usually about $300 but I got ours for $250 around Christmas time

7. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

There's always cheaper 2nd hand options if you don't like the official price...

12. swarai

Posts: 87; Member since: Aug 07, 2014

They don't want to invest money because they fear they won't make it back

4. shnibz

Posts: 510; Member since: Sep 18, 2011

Dude the Galaxy Tab A 10.1 w/ S-pen is 1080p and is $250 and it's great. And has amazing battery life. My kid and I both have one. Just barely bigger than the 9.7 you wish for

10. hurrycanger

Posts: 1765; Member since: Dec 01, 2013

I have one. It is a sick tablet. Love it since day 1. It totally deserves to be in this list. I use it to take all my notes in college and it's so worth the money. And yep, for only $250.

11. shnibz

Posts: 510; Member since: Sep 18, 2011

Yeah man it's great. My wife uses ours for college notes too

9. bearballz

Posts: 35; Member since: Mar 17, 2017

Good to see the Huawei MediaPad made the list. Just got one recently and it's a pretty solid tablet.

13. omnitech

Posts: 1131; Member since: Sep 28, 2016

The new iPad really? On principal alone it belongs nowhere near number 3. iPad Air 1 with an iPhone 6S chip is like a toal Frankenstein money grab.

14. k4ever

Posts: 240; Member since: Oct 08, 2014

You guys lost all credibility when you ranked the IPad Pro above the Surface Pro and the regular IPad above the Tab S3.

15. ebilcake

Posts: 1231; Member since: Jul 16, 2016

Pixel C is one of the best purchases I've made for years.

16. omnitech

Posts: 1131; Member since: Sep 28, 2016

That aspect ratio is way weirder than the 18:9 to are pitch forking in the other thread. So maybe try it before you knock it. I agree though, I purchased the Pixel C because Google finally has something that could sort of replace my Nexus 10 and it's been great. RIP Nexus 10. Still not sure what to do with it. I would still use it if the battery didn't die so fast, it still works great. And replacing the battery is pricier than the tablet itself... maybe I can strap it to my car somehow....

17. ebilcake

Posts: 1231; Member since: Jul 16, 2016

Not really, I find it's great compromise. In anything work related it's always good to have more vertical space as apposed to slighter wider display, perfect for web browsing, reading books/comics and split screen, this is why 16:10 was popular. Works wonderfully for gaming as well, no issues at all there. You of course get some black bar when watching video but it's pretty minimal really. 16:9 tablets are always awkward because they're useless virtually, works well for phones for obvious reasons but not so much for a 10" tablet. It's a question of what you do most with your tablet, I don't watch a lot of movies, I mean why would you when you're never more then a few meters away from a smart TV.

18. Omran2000

Posts: 101; Member since: Aug 18, 2016

Is the end near ? Who ranks the ipad pro over the surface pro 4 and the ipad over the tab s3 ?! And the Huawei Mediapad M3 has a 2K screen with harman kardon speakers with AKG headphones and you say that it doesn't have any features ?! Also , I think that Asus ZenPad 3S 10 deserves to be on this list instead of the ipad , cuz it has a good 2K screen , loud DTS speakers and headphones , and a very good Z Stylus , while the ipad doesn't have any of these .....

19. obedchuni

Posts: 337; Member since: Jun 16, 2014

My best tab would be ipad

20. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

Funny how this came out a day after the Surface Pro 4 topped Tablet customer satisfaction ( https://goo.gl/DUzZUj )...

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