The best tablets to buy in 2022 (updated September)

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The best tablets to buy in 2022 (updated September)
Samsung's Galaxy Tab S8 series arrived with a splash in early 2022 and showed there's still room for Android tablets in a market where Apple's iPads are ruling with an iron (aluminum, actually) fist. No other big-name brands have joined the battle for top-tier tablets, sadly, but there's still time until the end of the year, right?

In any case, there are plenty of tablets to pick from if you don't necessarily insist on having the best hardware and software on hand. Whether you are looking for a multimedia machine, a second screen to cast to, or a productivity monster, here are the best tablets you can get your hands on right now:

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No matter which side you're on, the list below surely contains a tablet that would serve you well.

Contents:

Save on the Galaxy Tab S8 and S7 at Best Buy now

Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra 256GB with S-Pen: SAVE $120 NOW

Samsung's premium Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is seeing major discounts at Best Buy. You can get all storage versions with discounts of up to $150 for the 512GB of storage version. The offer also includes an S-Pen.
$1079 99
$1199 99
Buy at BestBuy

Galaxy Tab S8 Plus 128GB with S-Pen: SAVE $100 NOW

The Galaxy Tab S8 Plus is also seeing some discounts of up to $130 at Best Buy. Offer includes an S-Pen.
$799 99
$899 99
Buy at BestBuy

Galaxy Tab S8 128GB with S-Pen: SAVE $100 NOW

The smallest Galaxy Tab S8 is also seeing discounts of up to $130 at Best Buy. Get it now.
$599 99
$699 99
Buy at BestBuy

Galaxy Tab S7 Plus 128GB with S-Pen: SAVE $150 NOW

The still very impressive Galaxy Tab S7 Plus is seeing one of its lowest prices ever at Best Buy. You get an S-Pen too.
$699 99
$849 99
Buy at BestBuy

Galaxy Tab S7 FE with S-Pen: SAVE $100 NOW

Samsung's Galaxy Tab S7 FE is also seeing one of its lowest prices ever at Best Buy. Get it now in both 64GB and 128GB of storage versions.
$429 99
$529 99
Buy at BestBuy

Galaxy Tab S6 Lite (2022): SAVE $100 NOW

The budget-friendly Galaxy Tab S6 Lite (2022) now brings you better-than-ever value, with 29% off its regular price at Best Buy.
$249 99
$349 99
Buy at BestBuy

Apple iPad Pro 11- and 12.9-inch (2021)


Apple iPad Pro 11-inch (2021)

Apple iPad Pro 11-inch (2021)


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Warning:rumor has it that iPad Pros are due for an update next month! Waiting for a bit may net you an iPad Pro 2021 at a discount, or a potential iPad Pro 2022 with more powerful hardware

Apple quite frankly shocked us when refreshing the iPad Pro line just a year after the 2020 models were released. The shock wasn't so much the timing — it was the chip inside. The new iPad Pros rock an Apple M1 — a processor that was first introduced for MacBooks and desktop Macs. In other words — the 2021 iPad Pros are actually as powerful as a desktop computer. And, with iPadOS 16, we will get Center Stage to finally bring a more fleshed-out multitasking experience to the iPad line. Be warned — Center Stage will not work on iPads without the M1 chip (made before 2021).

To top it off, the 12.9-inch model has a Liquid Retina XDR display — utilizing mini-LED tech, it's capable of outstanding contrast, detail, and brightness, like the extra-expensive Pro Display XDR monitor it released in 2020.

Both the iPad Pro 11 (2021) and iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) have 120 Hz screens with 240 Hz touch sampling — they feel very, very responsive.

These come with apps for creatives — Apple's own GarageBand and iMovie are available for free, and there are tons of great video editing apps on the App Store. Rumors said we might see Final Cut Pro for iPad Pros in the near future, but that didn’t happen at WWDC 2021, so we guess it’s all up in the air. While these are just whispers, we do question why the new iPad Pros come with M1 and 8 GB / 16 GB of RAM.

Yes, the iPad Pros (2021) are extra-pricey for tablets, but thanks to a robust ecosystem, a very functional iPadOS, USB Type-C (actually, it's a Thunderbolt 3 port), support for mouse, keyboard, and trackpad, great speakers and beautiful screens, it's easily the best tablets out there.


Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra


Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra
9.0

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra


The Good

  • Premium, sturdy build
  • Great front cameras and mic
  • Huge, beautiful AMOLED display
  • S Pen stylus included
  • Samsung DeX
  • Has a vibration motor
  • MicroSD card slot for expandable storage, up to 1 TB

The Bad

  • With bezels that slim accidental touches are a problem
  • Disappointing rear cameras
  • Expensive accessories
  • No charger in the box

With the most powerful hardware for Android, Samsung's own OneUI interface, an included S Pen, and the ability to sync with Windows and your other Samsung devices, these tablets are built for work and multi-tasking — split screen, multiple windows, quick app switching. DeX mode specifically makes it feel like an Android-powered laptop, as it switches to a desktop UI. Slap a Bluetooth keyboard on and you are ready to write articles on the go — I rarely go out of DeX mode when using a Samsung tablet. It's just so convenient.

Read more: Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra review

If the Tab S8 Ultra is a bit expensive, do check out the more affordable Tab S8 Plus and Tab S8. They don't cut out on a lot of features and are great for both work and play!

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8+

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8+


View full specs

The Galaxy Tab S8+ is slightly smaller than the S8 Ultra, which means slightly more manageable. Plus, it's not crazy expensive, though it's still up there at $700. Still, you get the S Pen, DeX, beautiful 120 Hz AMOLED screen, stereo speakers, and powerful internals. It's probably the best balance between price, size, and features in the Tab S8 trio.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8


View full specs

The smallest Galaxy Tab S8 is still a pretty good canvas with its 11-inch screen. Plus, its $500 price-tag makes it the sanest choice. The corners cut here involve the screen — it's still 120 Hz, but it's not an LCD panel. Fine, it's still great to look at, plus the S8 still comes with the S Pen, stereo speakers, and same processor as the big boys. Great way to save money and still get the best of the core Samsung experience.

iPad Air (2022)


Apple iPad Air (2022)
9.0

Apple iPad Air (2022)


The Good

  • Unrivaled performance at this price
  • Premium build quality
  • Solid speakers
  • Supports iPad Pro (11-inch) accessories

The Bad

  • 64 GB of base storage is a bit stingy, the only other option is a costly jump to 256 GB
  • Expensive accessories
Real talk — the iPad Pro is overkill. Both in terms of features and price. If you want that high-productivity Apple tablet, but aren't willing to pay as much for an iPad Pro 11 or iPad Pro 12.9, check out the iPad Air 5th gen (a.k.a. 2022 model).

It has the same form factor as the iPad Pro 11, so it fits the Apple Magic Keyboard. It also supports the 2nd gen Apple Pencil. And, now, it's powered by the same M1 chip that hums inside the chassis of the iPad Pro models!

Where does it cut corners? For one, the iPad Air 5 does not have quad speakers — it has two drivers, which are positioned on its top and bottom (Apple calls this "landscape stereo"). Basically, this is fine, because you will get true stereo whenever your tablet is in landscape mode (95% of the time you are watching media on it). The bigger setback is the screen refresh rate — the iPad Air 5's screen caps off at 60 Hz. You can definitely feel this if you are downgrading from a Pro, but you should otherwise be fine with the Air.

But hey, the iPad Air is available in a bunch of fun colors, unlike the "boring" Pro models, and it starts at $600, leaving some budget for an Apple Pencil or Magic Keyboard, if you are eyeing those.


Apple iPad (2021)


Apple iPad 10.2-inch (2021)
9.0

Apple iPad 10.2-inch (2021)


The Good

  • The full iPadOS experience at a low cost
  • TrueTone display
  • 64 GB base storage
  • Has a headphone jack
  • Dependable battery life

The Bad

  • Dated design
  • One-sided speakers
  • Lightning port
  • Non-laminated screen
  • Camera is not great

If you are looking for a base tablet experience, you just can't go wrong with an iPad 10.2 (2021). These start at $330 and deliver great performance, a good-looking LCD display, detailed-sounding speaker, and still support an Apple Pencil.

The base tier now gives us 64 GB of storage, which is a very welcome upgrade to the line. It’ll now do more than just be a Netflix machine.


Apple iPad mini (2021)


Apple iPad mini 6
9.0

Apple iPad mini 6


The Good

  • Perfect size and weight for reading and jotting down notes
  • Unrivaled performance on a small tablet
  • Punchy stereo speakers
  • USB Type-C
  • 2nd-gen Apple Pencil support

The Bad

  • Unimpressive display, wavy scrolling in portrait mode

The iPad mini 6 has been launched and, boy, it’s a cute little monster. For all intents and purposes, it’s an iPad Air 4th gen, but smaller. Touch ID in the power button, landscape stereo speakers, an all-screen redesign, and support for Apple Pencil gen 2. No Magic Keyboard or Smart Keyboard support here — this tablet is too small for that.

Starting at $500 it’s a bit steep and definitely a device geared only towards those that are looking for a compact tablet experience. Bargain hunters should look elsewhere.


Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 series


Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE 5G

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE 5G


View full specs
If you want a 5G-connected tablet with an S Pen, the Galaxy Tab S7 FE is a good budget solution. It's got a massive screen, though — admittedly — it's a 60 Hz LCD, instead of a vibrant OLED. But it's not a bad screen in its own right, just not the best.

Otherwise, you get a Snapdragon 750G and starts at 64 GB of storage and 4 GB RAM, though we would suggest at least upgrading to the 128 GB + 6 GB tier for the modern world.

It's a great tablet that comes packaged with the awesome S Pen, so it provides a functional canvas for anyone who wishes to dabble with drawing on an Android device.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+
9.0

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+


The Good

  • Gorgeous AMOLED display
  • Super-smooth 120Hz refresh rate
  • Excellent performance
  • Good battery life
  • Improved S Pen
  • Lots of productivity enhancements

The Bad

  • It's pretty large
  • Only 6GB RAM in the base version
The Galaxy Tab S7+ is getting long in the tooth now and its hardware is certainly not top-tier. However, it has a huge 12.6" OLED screen that is sharp and vibrant. Nowadays, it can be found discounted down to about $500-$600, and it's a great choice if you want a multimedia device and also something to draw on. Has quad speakers, comes with an S Pen, and it features Samsung's split-screen and multi-app multitasking, plus the DeX desktop mode. Might be worth a look!

Amazon Fire HD 10


Amazon Fire HD 10 (2021)

- Bluetooth keyboard and Microsoft 365 for 12 months
"Best" can mean a lot of things and while Amazon's Fire HD 10 can't keep up with the rest of the tablets on this list when it comes to specs, it has them all beat in one department: the price. Costing between 2 and 5 times less than the rest, the Fire HD 10 offers incredible value.

Amazon even confidently bundles the new Fire HD 10 with a Bluetooth keyboard, giving you a tablet/laptop hybrid at an incredibly low price.

While the Fire HD 10 is technically an Android tablet, it's running on a heavily modified Amazon-centered software and doesn't come with Google's Play Store (there are ways to install it, if you insist). Still, Amazon's own app store offers enough variety to fit the relatively narrow focus of this tablet, so for most people this won't be an issue. The new Fire HD 10 tablet comes with 12 months of Microsoft 365, too, as to underline its new aim at productivity features.

Keep in mind that the Amazon Fire HD tablets have historically not had the best performance. They are great as simple slates to enjoy some media on, but don't expect a laptop replacement unit here.

Microsoft Surface Pro 8


Microsoft Surface Pro 8

Microsoft Surface Pro 8


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Microsoft recently launched the new Surface Pro tablets to coincide with their Windows 11 release. And yeah, the philosophy is still the same — Surface Pro tablets are meant to deliver a full desktop experience in the hybrid form factor.

Certain configurations of the Surface Pro 8 even meet the standards for the Intel Evo platform and it's clear that Microsoft is still going all-out with the Surfaces. They are marketed strictly for professionals and gaming is probably not the best idea for them. But getting the job done on the go? Certainly!

Microsoft Surface Pro 7


Microsoft Surface Pro 7

Microsoft Surface Pro 7


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The Surface Pro 7 served proudly as Microsoft's top-tier tablet for two years. Now, it has been retired to the back row as a midrange pick, lighter and more portable than the Surface Pro 8. Considering these tablets are treated more like PCs than actual tablets, you will probably do fine if you pick up a 2019 Surface Pro 7 — its hardware is not top-of-the-line, but still fresh.

It also supports a free upgrade to Windows 11, so you have that.


Conclusion


So, what are the best tablets around? Apple's iPads are pretty hard to beat as they offer tons of value on every price tier. Well, maybe the large Pros are past a certain price-value threshold.

Samsung's Galaxy Tab S8 line was a pleasant surprise this year — it has been a while since any Android manufacturer took a hard swing at making an actual premium tablet experience, and we do believe that it can draw customers away from the iPad.

And Microsoft's Surface Pro line has a devout following of fans who simply enjoy having a full-fledged Windows on a portable slab. Admittedly, it's a device for the ones that are feeling a bit more adventurous, but it has definitely proven its worth as a professional's work tool.
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