I’ve reviewed many of the best tablets for Tom’s Guide. Because of that, I know exactly what features to look for when recommending slates to others or when I’m ready to purchase one for myself. I also know what to avoid.
No matter if you’re interested in the best iPads, best Samsung tablets or best Android tablets, a slate’s most important feature is arguably its display. Processing power and portability are also important, but none of that matters if you have a cruddy-looking image. That said, you still want a tablet that can handle video streaming, web surfing, or any other task you toss at it.
Below is a curated list of three tablets I think are worth getting right now. These tablets feature excellent displays, speedy performance and can serve multiple purposes. I’ve also tossed in a tablet to avoid, to give you a sense of what to watch out for.
Three tablets I’d buy
iPad Air 5
Of all the slates I’ve tested, the iPad Air 5 is still the one tablet I’d buy above the rest. Thanks to its svelte design and powerful Apple M1 processor, this device hits the sweet spot between portability and power. It also has a vibrant 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display and sharp 12MP front and rear cameras.
I was impressed by this tablet’s performance. We used Geekbench 5 to put the iPad Air’s M1 CPU to the test, where it scored a strong result of 7,151 on the multi-core portion of the test — which is an excellent score for a tablet. In practice, the iPad Air felt snappy to use and never slowed down even during demanding gaming sessions. The iPad Air 5 is just an all-around winner.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra
If you want a monster-sized tablet, look no further than the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra. Though it’s a nominal upgrade over its gargantuan predecessor, its fast performance and functionality as a pseudo-laptop still impress.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra features a gorgeous 14.6-inch OLED display, an ultra-slim design and plenty of power thanks to its speedy Snapdragon 8 processor. If you’re ingrained in the Samsung ecosystem and need a tablet with laptop-like functionality, the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra should serve you well. The main caveat is the $1,199 starting price.
The OnePlus Pad ($479) is an Android tablet worth getting excited about. With a huge 13MP rear camera, curved edges and a unique 7:5 aspect ratio, OnePlus’ first slate stands out from the competition.
This tablet has plenty going for it besides its distinctive design. Videos and ebooks look great on its vivid 11.6-inch 144Hz display, and thanks to its MediaTek Dimensity 9000 CPU and Android 13 OS, apps and games run smooth and fast. The lightweight OnePlus Pad also has exceptional battery life, lasting over 13 hours in our testing. If you’re looking for an excellent Android tablet for under $500, you can’t go wrong with the OnePlus Pad.
One tablet I’d skip
Most of the tablets I’ve reviewed have been relatively decent, even if they didn’t have the best displays or fastest performance. However, there was one tablet from an otherwise great manufacturer that I’d steer folks away from — the Lenovo Tab M10 Plus Gen 3.
While the latest Tab M10 Plus is cheap starting at $189 and features an astonishing 14 hours of battery life (based on our testing), its MediaTek Helio G80 CPU and 4GB of RAM (if you splurge for the $210 high-end model) don’t offer great performance. Even if its display delivers bright and vibrant images, the tablet’s poor performance is hard to overlook.