The Best Tablets for Work or Play

The Best Tablets for Work or Play

Whether it’s as a replacement for a laptop or a complement to one, a tablet is a great option for more casual web browsing, gaming, and even productivity. For many people, their choice of tablet may already be partly decided for them — if you’re already invested in the Android ecosystem, an Android tablet could well be the best choice, while iPhone users will likely want an iPad. That’s far from a hard and fast rule, however, and some tablets can offer advantages (be it price or features) that make the hassle of switching platforms worth it.

Here are six of the best tablets now available that range from the extremely affordable to feature-packed.

Apple iPad

When it comes to tablets, there’s no getting around the iPad. And with the new lower price of Apple’s standard entry-level iPad, it’s likely even more of a no-brainer choice for many. You can now get the 32GB model for $329, which buys you a great-looking 9.7-inch Retina display and ample ten hours of battery life, all in a solid, well-designed, one-pound package. If you’re using the tablet for more than casual use, however, the 128GB model at $429 could be a worthwhile upgrade.

Apple iPad Pro

 

Apple’s standard iPad may be able to serve as a laptop replacement for some, but if you’re really looking to get some work done the higher-end iPad Pro might be a better choice. It’s available with your choice of a 10.5-inch or 12.9-inch display, both of which are noticeably better than the already-great Retina display on the regular iPad. The Pro is also considerably faster than the standard iPad, and can be turned into more of a productivity machine with the addition of Apple’s Smart Keyboard and/or Apple Pencil.

Amazon Fire HD 8

 

Really cheap, sub-$100 tablets used to mean guarenteed frustration and disappointment, but things have come a long ways in recent years. One big reason for that is Amazon’s Fire line of budget-priced tablets. Its newest Fire HD 8 model costs just $80, and packs an 8-inch HD display, 16GB of storage (with a microSD card slot for expansion), and a promised 12 hours of battery life. At that price, however, you will have to put up with Amazon’s usual ads — it costs an extra $15 to get rid of them. For parents, a kids version of the tablet is also available for $100, which adds a rugged case and a 2-year “worry-free guarantee.”

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3

Unlike iOS users, those intent on an Android tablet are faced with a seemingly endless variety of options in every price range. Samsung’s Galaxy series of tablets are one standout across the board, however, and the Galaxy Tab S3 in particular is a favorite of many on the higher-end side of things. The Wirecutter named it as the best overall Android tablet in its testing, and was especially impressed with its great screen, as well as the responsive and comfortable S Pen stylus (which is included as standard).

Microsoft Surface Pro

 

As capable as the iPad Pro is, it will still leave you leave you wanting if you need to run desktop applications. If that’s your top concern, Microsoft’s Surface Pro is an option that should be high on your list. It’s a full-fledged 2-in-1 device that runs Windows 10 and can be used simply as a tablet or as a laptop as capable as any other with the addition of a Type Cover (sold separately). That versatility comes at a cost, however, with the base model starting at $795 and higher-end configurations running considerably more.

Asus ZenPad 3S 10

 

If you’re looking for an Android tablet that falls somewhere between the budget-minded and higher-end offerings, Asus’ ZenPad 3S 10 may be just what you’re after. It costs a fair bit less than even the base model iPad, but still packs a high-resolution 9.7-inch IPS display, along with a fingerprint sensor for some added security and an ample 64GB of storage. Those features all earned the tablet high marks from CNET, although the site does note that the speakers can easily be blocked when held in landscape orientation — a potential small inconvenience for the cost savings.

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