There are so many different options when it comes to buying one of the best tablets in 2023 that it can be tricky to know which one to pick. That's why we’ve created this handy guide to the best tablets to help you make the right decision. Whether you're looking for a coffee table tablet, a workhorse with keyboard or stylus accessories, or a slate that can do it all, there's an option for everyone.
Outside of the typical personal or family use of a tablet, we think they make a great choice for those in education. The main reason tablets are great for students is their versatility and how easy they are to use and carry around with you to lectures and seminars. Whether you use them to take notes, call your family when you're homesick or stream films when you're relaxing, a tablet is the perfect choice. For more specific tablets, we've also rounded up the best student tablets or for Apple fans, the best student iPads.
Or, perhaps you’re looking for a tablet for the kids to play with, one of the fancier higher-end options from Apple or Android makers – whatever it is you’re looking for, we’ve narrowed down your options to the best tablets 2023 has to offer.
What are the best tablets 2023?
Why you can trust T3 Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.
The best tablet for most people is the Apple iPad Air (2022). Apple devotees will especially love the slim and stylish design, and it has pretty much everything the iPad Pro has, but for a slightly lower price.
The best affordable Android tablet is the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite. It's a great all-rounder in terms of quality and functionality, which delivers stronger than its 'Lite' name might suggest.
If you are only interested in Apple products, the best budget iPad is Apple's iPad 10.2 (2021). This tablet can be used with Apple Pencil or a keyboard – each sold separately – making it super functional for work, play and getting creative.
The best tablets you can buy today in 2023
A seriously powerful piece of kit, the 2022 iPad Air features Apple's M1 chipset, an upgrade that really shows. You can pretty much do anything and everything on this tablet, whether that's edit 4K videos or even open large illustration files - although admittedly creative work is somewhat limited by the operating system, iPadOS.
Like the slate that came before it, there's Apple Pencil 2 support and a smart connector for a keyboard too - all sold separately - so this is a slightly better proposition than the entry-level iPad for serious typists and those who want to use their tablet for work. That extra power goes a long way to generate a more laptop-style experience.
Sitting firmly in the middle of Apple's tablet range, beneath the Pro models but above the base iPad, it's a really good balance of price, performance and portability. This is the 'just right' Apple slate that will be ideal for most people. Want to know more? Read the full Apple iPad Air (2022) review.
Now in its 9th generation, so it's showing its age a bit, this is the best affordable tablet if you want something that can be a surprisingly powerful creative tool - there's first-gen Pencil and keyboard compatibility - as well as a way to watch video and browse social media.
Now there is a newer 'entry' iPad, the 10th Gen model from 2022, but it's so much more expensive that it doesn't feature in our top three spot at the moment, but is further down in this guide – and will make a good choice if you've got a bit extra to spend, want smaller bezels, but don't need iPad Pro-levels of features.
What this now older iPad really gives you over even cheaper tablets is headroom – it does all the basics perfectly, but you can also get into video editing, illustration, music-making and any number of other things in exactly the same apps that people run on the higher-end iPad Pro. It might be showing its age, but age is experience, which is why the 9th Gen iPad still comes high up our list.
While the Lite is not quite as powerful as some others in Samsung's range – the clue's in the name really – if your needs aren't that demanding and you want a well-built Android tablet with an excellent screen, this slate is a strong yet affordable offering.
It comes with an included S Pen stylus, which makes it great for sketching and doodling, in addition to watching all your favourite content. There's great battery life, too, so you can watch for hours at a time.
So if you’re after a tablet that’s as comfortable for sketching and taking notes in a college classroom as it is playing your saved-up Netflix binge on long-haul flights, the S6 Lite is a good family tablet with plenty of features to recommend it for both work and play. Read our full Galaxy Tab S6 Lite review to learn more.
The iPad mini is a little powerhouse of a tablet, packing in the incredibly fast Apple A15 processor. It's not as capable as the Air or Pro models, but is still a fantastic creativity machine – that's even capable enough to handle video editing – for those who don't want giant screen real-estate.
That smaller panel, at 8.3-inches, delivers a wide-colour gamut, high resolution, plus there's Apple Pencil support should you want to draw or sketch. Being such a small size and weighing barely anything also makes it the ideal 'throw it in your bag' everyday companion. It’s also great for games or entertainment.
But while the iPad mini has all the strengths of iPadOS – including its huge collection of dedicated apps and stable performance even when multitasking – the smaller screen means it can’t always make the most of them. This isn’t suited to office-style productivity (spreadsheets, documents, etc), just due to the size of the screen and how that limits what you can see when multi-tasking. As a fun super-portable tablet that you can do anything on, this iPad is impossible to beat – as you can read about in our full iPad Mini review.
As we pondered in our OnePlus Pad review: is this Android's answer to Apple's iPad? In some respects, perhaps, as it delivers a more square-format and therefore iPad-like screen.
Frustratingly, however, OnePlus has inherited an Android problem: the OS just isn’t super-optimised for tablets, and neither are most Android apps. The fact OnePlus hasn’t gone as far as Huawei or Samsung to customise and optimise its Android experience holds its Pad back from greatness.
But given its price, performance, and the screen’s quality and potential for productivity, while it isn't the best tablet you can buy right now, we can still absolutely recommend the OnePlus Pad for a certain kind of user.
In 2022 Apple relaunched its entry-level iPad, squashing the former larger bezel and upping the available screen size to 10.9-inches. That makes it a fantastic option for those who want to buy an iPad but don't want the fancier features of the iPad Pro.
However, as we said in our iPad 10th Gen review, this newer model is a lot pricier than its predecessor. That's why the older 9th Gen iPad still remains higher up this list, as it'll just suit those seeking a cheap iPad all the better in our view – so long as you don't care about the dated looks and chunky bezel.
As we said in our iPad 10th Gen (2022) review: "Finally the entry-level iPad gets a design overhaul that makes it look much more up-to-date. The new Apple model brings a larger screen, some boisterous new colour options, and it's an all-round better product than its predecessor. Many will love it."
As we said in our iPad Pro (2022) 12.9-inch review, this is just Apple showing off. The mini-LED screen is simply the best display in any tablet, while the M2 processor inside is stunningly fast.
Sure, it's ridiculously overpowered for most people, which is why the iPad Air is still our recommended tablet for most people, but if you need a tablet that's as powerful as a MacBook Pro then the iPad Pro delivers in spades.
The only weak point is iPadOS, which is still a little clunky when it comes to multitasking. The only thing more exciting than this iPad right now is the knowledge that the tech inside it will soon trickle down to more affordable models.
Getting work done is made much easier with a Windows 11 machine, and the Microsoft Surface Pro 9 is one of the very best because it combines power with portability. It's not just about work, though, as you’ll even be able to download Android apps, adding to its versatility.
The 12th Gen Intel Core CPU on board, paired with up to 32GB of RAM, also makes this one of the most powerful tablets you can buy – the whole system feels seriously fast – meaning it's powerful enough to play games. A standout feature is the 13-inch screen: it's a bright, sharp and colourful beauty and offers a 120Hz refresh rate, so everything looks silky smooth.
The only downside is that the battery life could be better, some of the competition offers more power, but that’s not to say it’s poor in context because it will still get you through most of the day without bother. It's a great 2-in-1 tablet option for many people, that's for sure.
Not everyone wants or needs such a big screen, but if you do then the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is the best tablet you can buy. It has a 14.6-inch Super AMOLED that is completely and utterly stunning.
Helping you to get work done more efficiently, you’ll be able to open up to three windows at once on the display, plus you get an S Pen stylus included in the box so you’ll be able to start note-taking or sketching as soon as you start it up. Although this tablet isn’t as fast as the most expensive Apple iPads, it’ll still be able to cope with just about anything you could throw at it.
Fantastic for selfies as well as video calls, the dual front cameras are better quality than you'd get in most other tablets (it's also why there's a notch on this slate). The camera system can detect up to 10 people in the shot adjusting the view to fit everyone in the frame, so group video calls will be just as doable as those by yourself.
Granted, its price tag might make your eyes water, but we'd argue that it’s worth it as long as you think that you’ll make use of everything it has to offer. If big is what you want, there's nothing that can outsmart the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra.
If you like the idea of an Android tablet to use for work, play or streaming then you could consider the Xiaomi Pad 5 - it runs on the MIUI for Pad software, which is based on Android but has been tweaked to work better on a bigger tablet screen.
The 11-inch display manages to look seriously sleek thanks to its 120Hz refresh rate. You'll get bold, bright colours too. The Xiaomi Pad 5 isn't the most powerful slate in the world, but this helps to balance out its asking price, which is what makes it further appealing. And, as a result, its efficiency means the battery will get you through the day - even if you're asking more demanding tasks of it.
So if you're on the hunt for a good-looking tablet that performs well across the board, the Xiaomi Pad 5 ticks those boxes. Any Android fan will get along well with this slate.
What to consider when shopping for a tablet
Not everybody wants or needs a pro-spec tablet, which is why our best tablets guide includes some much more affordable options too. We'll look at all the premium models too, of course, but we're well aware that budgets are quite tight for many of us right now.
We've also produced guides to the best tablets for kids, many of which are more affordable than you might think – and while we have the cheapest prices for every tablet right on this page, check our guide to the best Amazon Fire tablet deals, best iPad mini deals and best iPad Pro deals if you want to see every current deal for those specific tablets. And if all you really want your tablet to do is show you e-books, it's well worth considering one of the best Kindle e-readers on the market.
In this best tablets guide we're focusing solely on dedicated tablets. If you fancy a tablet that's also a laptop, check out our guide to the best 2-in-1 laptops.
How to choose the best tablet for you
More than ever before, choosing a tablet is about choosing an ecosystem.
If you plump for a Kindle Fire you're electing to join Amazon’s ecosystem, which is based on Google's Android but does its own proprietary thing with its own proprietary App Store.
Go for Android and you're betting on Google and its Play Store. Go for an iPad you're embracing Apple and its separate App Store. If you buy a Windows tablet you're going down the Microsoft road - but with access to Android apps on Windows 11 machines.
There are pros and cons of each. Apple and Amazon are the safest for kids, with Apple the most secure. But it really comes down to what you want to do, and what apps you intend to do it with, rather than if you should buy one of the best Android tablets or best Apple iPads.
As far as the hardware goes, screen size is perhaps the most important factor. Right now 7-inches seems too small when smartphones are just a fraction smaller, while anything over 11 inches is trickier to carry around. On-board storage can be paltry too, so look out for expansion options and/or good cloud storage services.
How we test tablets
From the most expensive iPad Pro on the market, to the cheapest budget slate, T3 takes testing tablets very seriously. This is because, far from just one-dimensional devices, today's best tablets are powerful computers that are incredibly versatile, and increasingly people are buying them to use as their primary computing device.
Tablets are also big enablers for creativity, as well as productivity, and for entertainment, which is needed now more than ever. With so many people working and living at home, the last thing they need is their core technology letting them down, which is why we review every tablet by the same strict criteria here at T3.
We start by evaluating the tablet's package in total. So we judge the quality of the slate's build as well as what accessories it comes with out of the box. If a tablet is advertised with a stylus and doesn't come with one in the box then we will tell you about it. Equally, if the tablet feels plasticky and cheap in the hand, we'll reveal this.
Next up, we look at what the tablet delivers in terms of hardware, and that includes both its screen and internal components. The majority of a tablet is its screen, and as they are touchscreen devices it is crucial in our eyes that they are not let down by poor fidelity or unresponsive inputs.
In terms of core components, we'll find out what the tablet's CPU, GPU, RAM, storage and battery capacity are on paper, and then we'll look to benchmark the slate and also see how it actually performs in real life. We'll stream video, play games, edit photos, browse the internet, work, be creative and more during our review period.
We'll also take a tablet on the road to see, firstly, how easy it is to carry and transport and, two, to see how strong and long-lasting its battery actually is. If a tablet conks out after just six hours runtime you'll know about it, as too if it delivers all-day battery life.
Finally, we explore the tablet's operating system and software. How intuitive and easy to use these things are is key to how well a tablet scores in this section, as too its breadth of empowering features.
Finally the slate is given a star score out of five, with five stars the best and one star the worst achievable. If a tablet has scored highly, it is then considered for our best tablets buying guide.