Best tablets for Netflix, gaming, art and everything

Apple’s iPad has come a long way since the days when it was just a massive iPhone and the same goes for tablets in general.

Whether you want a slate to replace your laptop or the ultimate Netflix companion, there’s plenty of choice out there.

And you don’t even have to settle for Apple’s ubiquitous big-screened device, as there are plenty of Windows or Android-powered alternatives.

So what should you be looking for in your next tablet? Well, it’s not too complicated a formula to follow.

Just look for a pin-sharp screen, powerful innards and ample battery life.

For those of a more creative inclination, the chance to use your tablet with a proper keyboard and stylus combination also comes in handy.

Whether you’re looking for a total laptop replacement, a casual web browsing/gaming device, or something to keep the kids occupied, there’s a tablet below that’ll fit your needs.

Looking to further broaden your tech-related horizons? Take a look at our expert buyer’s guides for smartphones, laptops and smart home devices.

Apple iPad Pro

Best tablet

It’s an open secret right now that the iPad Pro is pretty much the most exciting device in Apple’s entire product lineup.

Now iPadOS has been updated with full cursor support, you can use the Pro as a genuine laptop replacement, especially when it’s twinned with the new Magic Keyboard case, which features the same key tech as the MacBook Pro and an honest to god trackpad.

Although this year’s Pro isn’t all that different from its former incarnations, the inclusion of a dual lens camera and the faster-than-ever A12Z Bionic mean this computer has never been a more versatile tool for creatives. 

Apple iPad Air

Best tablet for most people

While the iPad Pro is the best, most powerful tablet Apple has ever made, we actually reckon its 10.9-inch Air sibling is the better buy for most people. With the same powerful A14 Bionic chip found in the new iPhone 12 range, Touch ID power button, Magic Keyboard support and fresh, colourful paint jobs, this should be the iPad of choice for people who want a superb Apple tablet experience, minus the supreme (and pricier) bells and whistles of the Pro. 

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+

Best Android tablet

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ is without a doubt the best, most feature-packed tablet for Android fans looking for the ultimate Apple-free package.

From an all-new S Pen stylus for taking notes, doodling, annotations and drawing to a huge, gorgeous 12.4-inch display, powerful innards and keyboard cover, it’s got everything you need and more, with a price tag to match.  

Microsoft Surface Go 2

Best Windows tablet

Unless you’re dropping the best part of £1,000 on an iPad Pro, it’s hard to find a tablet that can also do a serviceable job as an everyday computer. Fortunately, salvation is at hand in the form of the Surface Go.

This Windows 10 machine is a decent enough tablet thanks to the reasonably well-stocked Microsoft Store for apps and a pretty handy commuting or home working buddy to boot.

The latest model comes with a larger 10.5-inch display and slightly improved internals, although it lacks the power to create your next Photoshopped masterpiece on it.

For text docs, spreadsheets and more traditional tablet fare, it’s just the ticket.

Amazon Fire HD 8

Best sub-£100 tablet

Need another screen for the family so you can hog the TV all to yourself? The latest Amazon Fire HD 8 was made with you in mind.

It may not be the slickest or most capable tablet around, but it’s as good as gold when used as a means to catch up on the latest must-see series or doss around for half an hour on Minecraft.

As such, the Fire 8 works best when twinned with an Amazon Prime subscription giving you access to that service’s vast catalogue of content. Basically, it’s a decent distraction machine for the children that costs less than £100.

Apple iPad mini

Best small tablet

Once the forgotten son of Apple’s iPad roster, the mini was refreshed last year in welcome fashion.

As such, it’s slicker than ever to use thanks to the A12 Bionic chip, offers 64GB storage as standard and finally features support for the Apple Pencil stylus.

Best of all, the mini’s 7.9in screen is now fully laminated, better protects against reflections and supports Apple’s True Tone tech for improved image quality.

It’s a traveller’s best mate all over again.

Apple iPad (8th Generation)

Best value tablet

Need a new tablet for the at-home basics? Chances are Apple’s latest generation base iPad will fit the bill just fine and if that sounds like stating the obvious, it is.

The iPad is a window into Apple’s phenomenal App Store and it accomplishes that role with aplomb.

Yes, this is still pretty much the same device that Apple launched near-on a decade ago – thinner and with a bigger 10.2-inch screen, built-in Touch ID and newfound Apple Pencil support, but still essentially the same device.

Hey, if it ain’t broken.