Best Tablets of 2020: The Ultimate Buying Guide

By Ehtan S. Auston - Last Updated July 17, 2020

When it comes down to choosing a tablet, the most expensive is not necessarily the best device. Rather, a tablet that’s loaded with the features that cater to your needs and lifestyle.

Best Tablets of 2020

  1. Microsoft Surface Pro 7
  2. Apple iPad Air – 10.5-inch
  3. Fire HD 8 Kids Tablet
  4. Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1-inch
  5. Apple iPad Mini

1. Microsoft Surface Pro 7

Best for Productivity

Microsoft Surface Pro 7 - 12.3-Inch Tablet

Surface Pro 7 is an excellent hybrid that can provide the productivity platform small businesses, busy executives, and creatives are looking for in a tablet. From presentations to images, and graphs you can share information with your clients and teammates on the go.

Moreover, you can use the tablet for various business operations including fieldwork, processing payments, admin work, and media consumption. It’s powered by the laptop-class Intel Core i5 processor along with 8GB of RAM and 128GB storage space. 

This tablet has a slim profile and weighs 1.70 pounds. Here, you have the functionality of a laptop and the portability of a tablet in one stylish and compact device. It’s fitted with an adjustable built-in kickstand allowing you to use the tablet in laptop, studio, or tablet mode. 

The tablet is available in two finishes, Platinum or Matter Black. Its 12.3-inch screen has 2736 x 1824 resolution which makes for a crisp display and accurate colors ideal for streaming videos and work matters. 

The machine ships with Windows 10 OS, giving you access to the same features and apps you most likely have on your laptop or desktop computer. Plus, the battery can last up to 10.5 hours which should be sufficient s sufficient for a day’s use.

2. Apple iPad Air

Best for Multimedia and Gaming

Apple tablets are the Cadillacs of gaming tablets, and this 10.5-inch Apple iPad Air Tablet lives up our expectations with its large screen, speed, awesome speakers, and access to the vast range of iOS games. 

You can indulge various games including Fortnite, Alto’s Odyssey, Dead Cells, and The Room: Old Sins among others. The tablet relies on the A12 Bionic Chip to run powerful apps with ease and offers 256GB storage space for your favorite stuff.

Games aside (literally) you can use the tablet for drawing, taking notes, jotting down ideas, and watching videos. Combine it with the Apple Pencil or Smart Keyboard, and boom! You have a superb productivity tool in your hands with up to 10 hours of battery life no less.

The tablet comes in three different colors and is lightweight, and supports usability on-the-go. The 10.5-inch Retina display is built for use in any light while the high 2224 x 1668 resolution translates to a sharp and color-rich display, perfect for media consumption.

iPad Air runs on iOS, a powerful operating system that comes with plenty of apps and features that support use by persons with disabilities. Some fantastic apps include iMovie, AppleTV, Garageband, and iTunes store, and explore the Apple Store for more apps.

3. Fire HD 8 Kids Tablet

Best Kids Tablet

Tired of sharing your phone with your kids? This Fire HD 8 tablet just might be the solution you need. It comes with a kid-proof case (available in multiple colors) to protect it against accidental drops and bumps. And in case it breaks, there’s a 2-year guarantee that facilitates free replacement.

The tablet is powered by a Quad-core processor along with 2GB of RAM. There’s 32GB internal storage space with the option of expanding it up to 1TB via microSD. On purchase, you’ll receive one-year access to FreeTime Unlimited renewable yearly at a small fee.

FreeTime Unlimited opens up a world of high-quality, age-appropriate content from popular children’s shows like Nickelodeon, Disney, educational content, games, books, audible books, and movies. 

The parental controls on this tablet are awesome. You can create up to four kids profiles can monitor the content and sites your children visit, filter content, set educational goals, and create time limits.

The 8-inch high-definition touch screen has 1280 x 800 resolution giving you clear texts and images, and decent color reproduction. Whether your kids are streaming over Wi-Fi or viewing downloaded content, they can enjoy up to 8 hours of entertainment.

The tablet is light enough for little hands to hold without hurting their wrists and can be used on the go. It ships with the FireOS, which is Amazon’s version of Android. You won’t find Google apps like YouTube Kids, but there is Roblox.

4. Samsung Galaxy Tab A

Budget-Friendly Option

If you’re low on budget but still want a great-looking tablet, this Samsung Galaxy tab is worth checking out. The price on this tablet is friendly (read low) but you get lots of solid features for productivity and entertainment. This is one of the best note taking tablet available in the market.

Octa-Core processor powers up this tablet along with 3GB of RAM. The apps run smoothly and you can weave through different apps with ease. The tablet has 64GB storage that can be expanded to 512 GB through a microSD card, which is plenty much for work and entertainment.

Sporting a metal design, the tablet is slim, looks sleek, and lightweight. Pop it into your bag and get going. And with a battery life of up to 13 hours, you’ll have loads of time to stream TV shows or videos, browse, and binge-watch movies.

The corner-to-corner 10.1-inch screen features 1920 x 1200 resolution which delivers clear images and text. Combine it with the powerful built-in speakers with Dolby Atmos surround, and it transforms into the perfect media consumption device.

The tablet supports Bluetooth keyboards and can turn into a mini laptop for productivity. It runs on Android 9.0 pie which gives you access to Google Play Store where you can find tons of apps, books, and games.

5. Apple iPad Mini

Best 8-inch Screen

The 8-inch screens have been a sweet spot for many users for years. They’re compact, highly portable, and promote productivity. Known for its high-class performance and convenience, the Apple iPad Mini continues to dominate the 8-inch screen tablet market

The Mini iPad runs on the A12 Bionic chip, one of the most capable processors in the industry capable of superior performance. For you, this translates to fast launches and buttery smooth transitions from one app to another.

The tablet offers 64GB storage for your favorite stuff and At 0.66 pounds, it’s almost weightless. You can carry it in your jacket pocket, cargo pants, or bag and take it everywhere you’re going.

The tablet is available in three stylish colors and is fitted with a TouchID fingerprint sensor for increased privacy. I love the Retina Display with its True Tone feature that adjusts the display to suit the present lighting conditions and minimizes eye strain.

Screen resolution stands at 2048 x 1536 giving you crispy clear images and texts for reading, browsing, or watching your favorite shows. And for up to 10 hours at that.

In true Apple style, this tablet runs on iOS which has fine built-in and for purchase features for everyone to enjoy including persons with disabilities. The tablet supports the Apple Pencil that you can use to take notes, annotate documents, sketch, and so much more

What To Look For In A Tablet?

Here are five top factors to consider:

1. Use

This factor sets the stage for nearly all other factors that we’ll discuss here. Do you want a tablet for general use at home for tasks like web browsing, looking up recipes, email, video chats, email, etc? Perhaps you need one for college use, work, gaming, or to keep the kids busy?

For college and work purposes, you may want to look for a tablet with smooth multitasking abilities, stylus input support, optional keyboard attachments to boost productivity. Kids’ tablets are available and provide age-appropriate content for children and parental controls.

Serious gamers and media consumers will need tablets that feature larger RAM, good speakers, and sharper displays that go above the 1920 x 1080 resolution. Think 2560 x 1600 screen resolution and above. 

2. Size

Tablets come in different sizes from the small-sized 6-inch devices to the over 18-inch screen found on the Samsung Galaxy View tablet. The 7-to-10 inch range of tablets are more popular and provide an excellent balance between productivity and portability.

Those in the 11-inch to 13-inch range are still portable than a laptop. You may need a bigger bag like a backpack or sleeve to carry them in, though. They make suitable laptop replacements and are a fine choice for media consumption.

3. Stand-alone Tablet or a Convertible

Stand-alone tablets look like oversized smartphones. They are lightweight, portable, and have a large touch screen. Some offer stylus support to facilitate note-taking and might connect to Bluetooth keyboard but in most cases control is through touch.

Convertible tablets try to replicate your laptop while offering the convenience of a tablet. They have larger displays and dock to specially designed detachable keyboard for productivity. 

4. Specs

As with laptops and desktop PCs a tablet’s processor, RAM, and storage determine what you can get out of the device and its limitations. Apple tablets use custom chip processors while other devices rely on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors, Intel Core m3, i5, or i7, and Exynos chips

Processors work with RAM and the more RAM that’s available, the better your tablet will perform. RAM on tablets ranges 1GB to 8GB, and this capacity can go up to 16GB on a convertible tablet. 

The storage capacity of your preferred tablet offers determines how much stuff you can save on it. Most tablets have limited internal storage capacity, so you’ll find many models allowing you to expand the storage further through a micro-SD. 

5. Operating System

The most notable operating systems (OS) include Android OS, iOS, and Windows OS. Android OS was developed by Google and is extremely popular. You’ll have access to Google apps and services including Google Play Store where you can find a plethora of apps for entertainment and productivity. 

Since Android-based tablets are highly customizable, most tablet manufacturers customize Android to make their products distinct. iOS is specific to Apple tablets has a dedicated App Store while the Windows OS is built by Microsoft for Windows tablets like the Surface Pro. It’s not as refined as Android or iOS but offers lots of useful apps through its store.

Conclusion

This sums up our list of the top buying considerations for a tablet. We trust you’ll find this information as you shop for your next tablet. Happy shopping.

Ethan is business graduate, who talks about gadgets, technology and startups. He's an exception track record in content creation and readers engagement and have been previously contributing to HBR, INC, Entrepreneur, and alike.
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