Tablets may not be as hot as they once were, and for power users they are far from a true PC replacement, but the form factor is still popular and very useful for many types of users and case scenarios. Tablets have also kept evolving and can come as a very affordable form of computing.

With millions of tablets shipped every year, tech giants such as Apple, Samsung, and Huawei are constantly releasing new, more powerful products. In our updated buying guide, we look at the best overall tablets, the best for productivity, a few budget choices, Android tablets, and more. If you’re thinking about buying a new slate, make sure you check out this article first.

Best Overall Tablet

Apple iPad Pro 11

Great | Differentiating Features
The best tablet you can buy. Amazing performance. Face ID. 120Hz refresh rate display. Improved Apple Pencil.

Good | Most Have It
Impressive battery life.

Average | Competitors May Be Better
Expensive. Still not a direct laptop replacement. Pencil and Smart Keyboard sold separately.

Even the most anti-Apple consumers have to admit that in the world of tablets, nothing comes close to beating an iPad. And the company’s 3rd-gen iPad Pros are the best so far. The Apple iPad Pro 11 remains our top pick as the best overall tablet—especially as the starting price has fallen since our last update.

This iPad certainly earns its Pro moniker: the 8-core, A12X Bionic chip is a powerhouse, allowing you to burn through the most processor-intensive games and apps without a hitch—Apple claims it’s faster than 92% of all laptops sold in the year prior to its release. And by some measures, they may be right. There’s also an M12 coprocessor, Neural Engine, and a new graphics chip that supposedly makes it a match for the Xbox One S.

While the large 12.9-inch Pro is great, it's overkill unless you intend to do a huge amount of typing and multitasking. The 11-inch version will likely be the better choice for most people—the fact it’s $200 cheaper is also a bonus.

Like the second-gen iPad Pro, the ProMotion screen brings a buttery smooth 120Hz refresh rate, which makes scrolling through web pages a joy. But there are some changes in the new models beyond just the hardware. As it did with its phones, Apple has ditched the home button and Touch ID in favor of smaller top/bottom bezels and Face ID, which works no matter what the iPad’s orientation.

The LCD resolution is bumped up to 2388 x 1668 (264 ppi), which looks gorgeous, and it comes with a wider aspect ratio than its predecessor. You also get a USB-C connector instead of the usual Lightning port, so you can charge your iPhone using the iPad, and there's the 2nd-gen Apple Pencil—sold separately—which attaches magnetically to the side and is so responsive that it’s like using a real pencil.

While it’s still far from cheap, the price of both iPad Pros has dropped this year starting at $799. If you’re willing to buy a renewed model, 11-inch Pro is available for $629 on Amazon, while the 12.9-inch slate is $749, making them an even more compelling buy.

Buying the Pro’s optional Smart Keyboard isn’t going to make it a straight laptop replacement, because of both hardware and software limitations, but then again it's also the software that differentiates and makes the iPad the best on this form factor. For lovers of slates, there’s none better.

For Less, the Latest iPad Air is the Best Mainstream Tablet

Apple iPad Air - 2019

Refreshed for 2019, the new iPad Air strikes a good balance of getting most of the features you need and want in a modern tablet for $499.

We used to recommend the 2nd-gen iPad Pro 10.5 as an excellent alternative and immediate step down from the Pro 11, however it's now harder to get and the Air effectively replaces it though it trades off a few features at the same price point.

The latest iPad Air comes with two speakers instead of four and no 120Hz ProMotion display. It also packs a 8-megapixel rear camera with no LED flash or optical image stabilization. However buying an older generation iPad Pro may not be the wisest of decisions considering software support over the long term.

The iPad Air comes with the newer/faster A12 Bionic chip, the option of gigabit LTE and an upgrade to Bluetooth 5.0. For regular tablet users, the Air will still carry most important features you need like a sharp screen, killer software set, support for the smart keyboard, Apple Pencil (1st gen), Touch ID and up to 10 hours of battery life.

Best Productivity Tablet

Microsoft Surface Pro 7

Great | Differentiating Features
Finally has USB Type-C. Uses 10th-gen Ice Lake CPUs. Still one of the best non-iPad tablets.

Good | Most Have It
Gorgeous display and long battery life

Average | Competitors May Be Better
Few changes over last-gen model. Cover and keyboard still cost extra.

The latest update to Microsoft’s 2-in-1 replaces the Pro 6 we picked in our last update. There isn’t a whole lot of difference between the Surface Pro 7 and its predecessor: the mini-DisplayPort has been replaced with USB Type-C, though there’s still no Thunderbolt 3, and it now has Wi-Fi 6 support.

But the main change is that it packs the new 10th gen, 10nm Ice Lake-U series processors, replacing the older Kaby Lake-R chips. Internal storage is also slightly faster, and battery life is improved. The biggest performance improvement you might notice, however, could come from the integrated Iris Plus graphics.

Pretty much everything else in the Pro 7 is unchanged from the last version, including the same solid case with kickstand that allows it to be used at different angles. The design has altered little since the Surface Pro 4, but Microsoft will probably say, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

The gorgeous, 12.3-inch IPS display uses the same 3:2 aspect ratio (2736 x 1824) we’ve come to expect from Surface devices, making it great for productivity tasks. You also get an 8-megapixel camera on the rear and a 5-megapixel cam on the front for Windows Hello. And while the top-specced machine can cost close to $2,000, the Core-i5 model can be found for as low as $800.

The downside is that, like Apple’s iPads, buying the excellent Type Cover keyboard and stylus costs extra. It’s also not worth buying if you currently own a Surface Pro 6, but for everyone else, this is an excellent choice for productivity on the go or when you need a solid tablet.

A High-end Alternative

ThinkPad X1 Tablet

While Lenovo’s third-generation ThinkPad X1 tablet offers the same 8th-gen quad-core CPUs (Kaby Lake-R), up to 16GB of RAM, and 1 TB of storage as Microsoft’s machine, it does surpass it in some areas: there’s a higher resolution display (3000 x 2000), Thunderbolt 3, a fingerprint reader, and a keyboard and pen that comes included.

While it does offer more features, the ThinkPad is behind the Surface Pro when it comes to build quality, and although both machines are expensive, you’ll usually find Microsoft’s is the cheaper of the two, especially at the base specs. The battery life and speakers on the ThinkPad aren’t the best, either.

Ultimately, the ThinkPad may be the better choice for enterprise users who will take advantage of the extra bells and whistles.

Best Android Tablet

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 10.5"

Great | Differentiating Features
Best performance in an Android tablet. Gorgeous screen. S-Pen included.

Good | Most Have It
Great battery life, cameras, and speakers.

Average | Competitors May Be Better
Android OS still isn't the best for tablets. Pricey.

There are a TON of Android tablets on the market, many of which aren’t worth your money – no matter how inexpensive they are. But Samsung’s devices are an exception: they’re neither cheap nor nasty. And the best the company offers right now is the Galaxy Tab S6.

While no Android tablet can challenge the iPad and its excellent software, the Galaxy Tab S6 is currently the top alternative for those who are happy to use Google's ecosystem. Like Apple’s product, it carries a stylish design and a gorgeous display.

It’s the screen that’s the S6’s standout feature. The 10.5-inch super-AMOLED has a 2560 x 1600 resolution (288 ppi) that’s so bright and vibrant it can be read outdoors on a sunny day.

Boasting a Snapdragon 855 SoC, the S6 is currently the most powerful Android tablet out there. It comes with either 6GB of RAM with 128GB of storage or 8GB with 256GB of space, which can be boosted to 1TB via microSD. It’s also great for gaming, thanks to the Adreno 640 graphics and four Dolby-Atmos speakers.

A new feature for the tablet is the upgraded S-Pen, which is included with the S6. In addition to the usual stylus abilities, it now includes remote control functionality, allowing you to take selfies or control multimedia remotely. Other specs include 13-megapixel and 5-megapixel cameras on the rear and an 8MP front-facing shooter, as well as a 7,040mAh battery that Samsung says allows 15 hours of video playback.

At around $549, the S6 is more expensive than most other Android slates, but you get what you pay for. And the fact that the world’s most popular operating system still doesn’t translate well to tablet form remains a negative point. But with its combination of power and stunning display, the Galaxy S6 is easily the best Android tablet you can buy right now.

Noteworthy Alternatives

Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro

For something a bit cheaper than the Galaxy S6 but with many similar specs and features, there’s Huawei’s MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro, which is available from Amazon for $440. Like the S6, this MediaPad has a 2560 x 1600 (280ppi) resolution on its slightly larger 10.8-inch IPS screen. It’s powered by Huawei’s own Kirin 960 SoC, which, while more powerful than the non-Pro M5, can’t match the Snapdragon 855 found in Samsung’s tablet.

Buyers get four Harmon Kardon speakers, 13MP and 8MP cameras, a long battery life, and quick charging. It also supports LTE cat 6. While the MediaPad M5 10.8 Pro might not match the S6 in some areas, the near $100 saving makes it a worthy consideration.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e

If you really like the look of the S6 but won’t or can’t pay full price, opting for the Galaxy Tab S5e gets you something very similar, albeit with a less-powerful processor and no S-Pen support, for several hundred dollars less. An excellent tablet that offers great value for money.

Best Budget Tablet and Best for Kids

Apple iPad 10.2"- Late 2019

Great | Differentiating Features
Best value/performance ratio. Retina display looks great. Now supports both Apple keyboard and Apple pencil

Good | Most Have It
A10 Fusion processor still a great performer.

Average | Competitors May Be Better
Bezels remain thick. Lacks more expensive models’ features.

iPads have typically been among the less expensive products you can buy from Cupertino, but the company released an impressive, $329 product last year in the 2018 iPad (9.7-inch). Now that tablet has been discontinued after 18 months and replaced by the new 2019 iPad (10.2-inch).

So, what’s changed in this latest revision? There’s the slightly bigger Retina display, which means the overall footprint is slightly larger, but the thickness remains the same, and the resolution jumps a little bit to retain a solid 264 ppi, which is the same as the iPad Pros, though the screen isn’t laminated and lacks an anti-reflective coating.

The newer iPad keeps similar internals including the A10 Fusion SoC and embedded M10 coprocessor. Battery life and the cameras (1.2MP front, 8MP rear, Full HD 30fps video) are also unchanged, and you still get Touch ID, but the cheapest iPad now works with Apple’s Smart Keyboard, which makes it a very compelling buy for those on a budget.

If you’re a casual tablet user or want a child-friendly powerful slate, you won’t find a better mix of price and performance.

Even Cheaper

Amazon Fire HD 10 (2019)

For a tablet that’s less than half the price of the iPad 2019, there’s Amazon's Fire HD 10. The 64GB version is just $150 and runs the company’s Android-based Fire OS.

There’s not a whole lot of difference between the 2019 version and the previous-gen Fire HD tablet from 2017, other than a USB-C port and a slightly faster (2GHz quad-core) CPU. You still get a 10.1-inch 1920 x 1200 screen (16:10, 224ppi), and 2GB of RAM. It also comes with 32GB or 64GB of onboard storage that’s expandable by another 256GB via microSD, all of which is pretty impressive for that low price point.

The Fire 10 features hands-free Alexa, allowing it to work in the same way as Amazon’s many Echo devices. But you can only access Amazon’s App store, so no Google services—unless you’re willing to sideload them.

With a crisp, bright screen and fairly loud speakers, the latest Fire HD 10 is, without doubt, a cost-effective device for those who use tablets sparingly for content consumption, or if you want something cheap for your kids, and it’s even more useful if you have a Prime subscription.