5 reasons you need a tablet in 2021

Forget phones and tablets, slates deliver the perfect blend of creativity, entertainment and productivity

(Image credit: GettyImages)

T3 is a huge fan of the tablet as a product, which is why we spend so much time reviewing and rating the best tablets and best tablets for kids on the market today. Slates deliver a unique blend of features and functionality that enable creativity, entertainment and productivity in equal measure, and unlike the best phones or best laptops, they do so for less money (in general).

With a top-rated tablet you can transition from work to play in an instant, and you can do so with strong screen real estate and superb flexibility as tablets are light, thin and highly portable.

Today in 2021, too, tablets are loaded with more power than many handsets and portable PCs, and when you partner them with some well chosen accessories, such as a Bluetooth keyboard and digital stylus, can really act as the heart of a person's digital life.

That's why, right here, we've listed some of the very best reasons why we we think people should own a tablet today, as it could very well be a serious game-changer for how they live their life.

1. Tablets are productivity powerhouses

Today's strongest tablets deliver a combination of processor, graphics chip, memory and storage space that rival many laptops and beat many smartphones. This means that for all but the most intensive computing tasks, such as editing raw 8K video files where seriously specialist equipment is needed, tablets have all the power any user could need to study, work and be generally productive.

Naturally, basic computing tasks such as writing emails, creating documents and browsing the internet are handled with ease (and with much more screen real estate than a smartphone, too), but also more heavy duty tasks such as editing photos and videos, rendering 3D models and processing databases and spreadsheets.

Tablets really do have an app for everything, too, so even if you need to plan a route for an incoming trip, book a restaurant or make a video call to a friend or family member, then a good slate has the productivity features you need.

2. Tablets enable serious, next-level creativity

If there is one device that rules the creativity kingdom then it is the tablet, offering the screen size, touchscreen functionality and digital stylus support that most phones and laptops can't deliver.

Partner a slate with a good digital stylus and everything from drawing and illustrating to annotating, note taking, coloring and more is unlocked. And, thanks to the tablet's form factor, the experience is the most natural available – it's like working on a thin sheet of digital paper and one that, if the tablet has a kickstand, can be orientated at various angles to suit every artist.

Want to draw a new comic book? A tablet is perfect for that. Want to sketch up the plans for a new extension? The tablet is ideal for that. Want to illustrate a series of images for a portfolio? Again, a slate is the top choice for making it happen.

Simply put, while touchscreen laptops and smartphones do exist that focus on creativity, the tablet is the sweet spot between cost, screen size and form factor, making it the number one choice for creatives.

3. Tablets are awesome for streaming and gaming

For those who enjoy streaming movies and TV shows, as well as gaming, then tablets offer a brilliant experience that can't be matched by a smartphone or laptop.

Thanks to tablets having access to app stores loaded with millions of apps and games, getting up to speed with your favourite shows on streaming services like Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video are easy, as too downloading and playing the latest and greatest mobile video games .

And, unlike a smartphone, enjoying these forms of entertainment is better and more immersive on tablet as you've got more screen real estate and, usually, better speakers and audio, too. Enjoying the latest blockbuster movie is so much better on a 10-inch tablet than 5-inch smartphone.

Meanwhile, while laptops obviously do offer this level of entertainment functionality in terms of screen size and games, they can't match a tablet's portability and convenience. It's easy to use a tablet on the public transport commute to work, much less so a laptop.

4. Tablets are incredible for reading, too

Something that a lot of people overlook is that, along with the best ereaders, tablets are brilliant for reading on. All major tablet apps stores have access to a wide-variety of ereading apps, such as Amazon's Kindle app, and that means a tablet unlocks a world of books to its owner, too.

It's not just digital books, though – tablets are also the best-in-class device for reading digital magazines, comic books and web series. Remember, most strict ereaders are very much geared toward just reading text, and many don't even have the ability to display color. The best tablets, meanwhile, come with large, high-resolution, colorfully vibrant screens that make images really pop.

Oh, and let's not forget that a tablet is the best device to read digital editions of newspapers on, too, with slates offering a traditional form factor that makes sitting and reading easy, be that with one-handed or two.

5. Tablets are the last word in portable computing

Lastly, despite the best lightweight laptops now getting lighter and lighter, and smartphones - obviously due to their small form factor - being very bag friendly, tablets are the ultimate digital devices for flexibility and portability.

A phone may very well be lighter and smaller than a tablet, but it doesn't offer the same level of portable computing function at all (you absolutely wouldn't want to, say, write an essay on a smartphone). While even the lightest and smallest laptop still requires more space than a tablet and, best 2-in-1 laptops aside, can't be used as easily when on the go.

The truth is that, providing you invest in a good companion keyboard for your tablet, either in the form of a keyboard cover or Bluetooth keyboard, then a tablet truly is a fully functioning, highly portable computer, and one that is so thin and light that it can be easily slipped into most bags, removing the need for a separate laptop bag purchase.

Robert Jones

Rob has been writing about computing, gaming, mobile, home entertainment technology, toys (specifically Lego and board games), smart home and more for over 15 years. As the editor of PC Gamer, and former Deputy Editor for T3.com, you can find Rob's work in magazines, bookazines and online, as well as on podcasts and videos, too. Outside of his work Rob is passionate about motorbikes, skiing/snowboarding and team sports, with football and cricket his two favourites.