Best tablets in 2022: iPads, Samsung Galaxy Tabs, and more – XDA Developers
From Apple’s iPads to Android and Windows devices, these are the best tablets you can buy in 2022.
The best tablet is the one that acts as a perfect companion to your smartphone, laptop, or PC. It should be big enough to keep you entertained when you fire up your favorite apps and games, but not so much that it becomes a hassle to carry around. It should also offer a wealth of productivity apps and features to help you get some light work done when you are away from your desk. Choosing the right tablet, however, can be tricky because there are a lot of options that fit the bill.
On one hand, you have Apple's iPad lineup dominating the market left, right, and center. On the other, you have all the Android and even some Windows options. If you're looking at all the tablets and scratching your head over which one to buy, then you've come to the right place.
The fifth-generation iPad Air may not be the newest iPad on the market, but it's the iPad we recommend to most users, and the best one overall. It offers a good mix of features without compromising a lot in the name of keeping the price low. The iPad Air 5 looks exactly like the fourth-generation iPad Air, and it also retains the same outer hardware that we know and love. You get at a 10.9-inch LCD 60Hz display, a TouchID sensor embedded in the power button, and the same footprint that makes it a joy to use compared to the bigger iPad Pro units.
The best thing about the iPad Air 5, however, is that it's powered by Apple's M1 chip, which makes it more powerful than a lot of other tablets on the market. It roughly has the same raw power as the iPad Pro line, which is impressive when you compare the price tags. This particular iPad Air model also has an upgraded 12MP Ultra Wide camera that can also handle Apple's Center Stage feature, which can track you as you move around and keep you in the frame.
The 10.9-inch screen makes the iPad Air 5 the perfect-sized tablet for most users. It's a step above the smartphone displays, so it's good for things like watching Netflix, playing your favorite game on Apple Arcade, and more. It's also big enough to be used as a canvas for your Apple Pencil 2 sketches and paintings.
Apple's new iPad 10 is a close competitor, but we think the iPad Air 5 is a more well-rounded device with its M1 chip and support for Apple Pencil 2. It costs $150 more than the regular iPad, but it's worth it.
The iPad Air 5 offers the mighty M1 chip, Apple Pencil 2 compatibility, and iPadOS 16 support to be the best tablet for most people.
There's no denying that Samsung pretty much dominates the Android tablet game. The company has three tablets at the top of the line-up right now, but the Galaxy Tab S8 is the one that'll fit most people's needs. Samsung has managed to retain a lot of good things about the Galaxy Tab S7 while improving in some key areas.
For example, the tablet now comes in a considerably smaller package and brings a new 11-inch LTPS TFT display with support for a 120Hz refresh rate, which makes it the perfect-sized tablet for most users. Both the Galaxy Tab S8 Plus and Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra have bigger displays, so 11 inches might still be too small.
A small footprint doesn't mean the Galaxy Tab S8 skimps on any essential features, though. You get the same Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip as the bigger models, along with other features, including the same cameras, speakers, and more. You also get an S Pen with the Galaxy Tab S8, so you don't have to spend money on it separately. You can also use the DeX mode on the Galaxy Tab S8 for productivity tasks. It's not a laptop replacement, but Samsung's desktop mode will help you get a lot more things done, provided you have an external display to use.
Overall, the smaller Galaxy Tab S8 is easily among the top contenders in the Android tablet space. You can step up to the bigger models in the Galaxy Tab S8 series, but they're also heavier on the wallet.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 is the entry-level device of the company’s 2022 flagship tablet lineup, featuring an S Pen and an 11-inch display.
Microsoft's Surface Pro lineup has given us some of the coolest devices, and the new Surface Pro 9 is one of our favorites. It's also the best tablet out there right now for productivity because the Windows operating system lets you do so much more than iPadOS and Android. While the overall design of the Surface Pro 9 is mostly unchanged from the outgoing model, we love how you can finally buy it in new colors. In addition to the classic Platinum and Graphite finishes, you can buy the Surface Pro 9 in Forest and Sapphire options, both of which are absolutely stunning.
The display is also mostly unchanged, meaning you still get a 13-inch panel with a 2880 x 1920 resolution and support for up to 120Hz refresh rate. New to this year's Surface Pro 9 models are Intel's 12th generation chips, going up to a Core i7-1255U with 10 cores and 12 threads. You also get Intel's Iris Xe integrated graphics, which will allow for some lightweight gaming. You can also configure the Surface Pro 9 with up to 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD.
Microsoft has removed the headphone jack from the Surface Pro 9 this year, so all you get are two Thunderbolt 4 ports and a Surface Connect port. It would've been nice to have some additional ports, or at least a headphone jack, but it's nothing a good Thunderbolt dock or a hub won't fix. Don't let that affect your purchase decision here because there are plenty of other things to like about the Surface Pro 9.
Microsoft is also selling a variant of the Surface Pro 9 with a Microsoft SQ3 Arm processor and 5G connectivity. It's the first Surface device to have 5G support, and it offers other benefits, including better battery life, support for smart camera features, and more. You can read our Surface Pro 9 5G review to learn more about it in detail.
The Surface Pro 9 comes with 12th-generation Intel Core processors, and it features an array of beautiful colors for the first time ever. It's easily one of the best tablets out there.
The 2022 iPad Pro model with a 12.9-inch display is easily the best tablet you can buy if you need a lot of power. It's overkill for most users, but it's definitely among the best -— if not the best — tablet for advanced users with creative workloads. The 2022 model is very similar to the outgoing one, but Apple is using its new M2 chip this time for jaw-dropping performance. Couple that with a smooth Liquid Retina XDR display with ProMotion technology, and you get a device that offers one of the best tablet experiences on the market.
The M2, in case you're wondering, is Apple's most powerful and power-efficient chip to date. It's the same chip inside the new MacBook Air and is soon expected to make its way into MacBook Pro models too. The iPad Pro display is also excellent, with a high-refresh-rate mini LED screen that gets up to 1,000 nits in brightness. This display is on-par with what you get on the 15-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models.
You can configure the 2022 iPad Pro model with up to 16GB of RAM and up to 2TB of storage. Even the 8GB RAM variant will handle pretty much any task you throw at it thanks to the optimizations made with the new iPadOS. This particular tablet comes in both Wi-Fi and cellular flavors, and they're both readily available to purchase from the Apple Store right now. Apple has also updated the smaller 11-inch iPad Pro model with the new M2 chip, and that's also a great pick if you don't want to carry around a massive iPad with a 12.9-inch screen.
The new M2-powered iPad Pro not only has the most powerful mobile chip in the world, but it also has a gorgeous Mini LED panel that gets bright and bold.
While it's been more than a year since Apple refreshed the iPad mini, the iPad mini 6 is still a great option if you need something more portable. It measures just 7.69 x 5.8 x 0.25 inches and weighs 0.6 pounds, making it one of the most compact and portable tablets out there. It also matches the aesthetics of the top-end iPads in the series with its slim bezels and a home button-less design on the front, so you're not missing out on what Apple offers.
Even though the new iPad mini 6 has a larger screen (8.3 vs. 7.9 inches) than the 2019 model, it still has a smaller footprint overall thanks to its new design. You'll immediately notice a difference coming from the older iPad mini model. And for something that's this petite, the iPad Mini 6 isn't lacking in power. Apple uses its A15 Bionic chip, which has enough processing power to last you for years. It also supports the newer Apple Pencil 2.
The iPad mini 6 starts at $499 in the U.S., which makes it slightly more expensive than the new iPad 10. However, the additional $50 will get you an A15 Bionic chip instead of an A14 Bionic chip on the regular iPad, and support for the new Apple Pencil 2. All of this will make it easy to get things done on the go.
The iPad Mini 6 is the 2021 compact iPad from Apple. It's powered by the A15 Bionic chip and supports the Apple Pencil 2.
Dell decided to shake things up a bit in 2022 by turning its XPS 13 2-in-1 convertible into a tablet with a detachable keyboard. This is a significant change for Dell, making the XPS 13 2-in-1 the first XPS-branded tablet. As a tablet, the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 now locks horns with the likes of the Surface Pro 9. It undercuts Microsoft's tablet in the pricing department and earns a spot on this list.
Since it's no longer a convertible, you'll need the XPS Folio cover to get the full laptop experience. It's sold separately, though, so you tend to lose some flexibility out of the box. The switch to a tablet form factor has forced Dell to make other necessary adjustments to the overall design. You don't get a 3.5mm headphone jack on the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1, so you'll have to settle for an adapter.
The new tablet design also means the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 now has a 3:2 aspect ratio, which is traditionally found on Surface devices. At least the 13-inch display supports a 3K resolution and has good brightness, support for DisplayHDR 400 and Dolby Vision, and more. Of course, it also supports touch and pen inputs.
The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 starts at $1,000 for a configuration that comes with an Intel Core i5-1230U chip, 8GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage. Microsoft's Surface Pro 9 also starts at $1,000, but it's significantly cheaper to configure an XPS 13 2-in-1 with an Intel Core i7 chip, 16GB of RAM, and 1TB SSD. So if price matters more to you, then you might be better off buying the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 to fulfill the duties of a Windows tablet in your life.
The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 has a thin and lightweight design and it features efficient 12th-gen Intel processors.
Microsoft's Surface lineup has grown significantly over the years, and it's now at a place where there's now a Surface device for pretty much everyone. If you don't want to open your wallets to the Surface Pro 9 tablets, then you might want to check out the more compact and relatively affordable Surface Go 3. This is our pick for the best budget Surface tablet right now, and there's a lot to like about it.
The Surface Go 3 isn't the fastest tablet out there, but it delivers basic performance for day-to-day use. The base model is powered by an Intel Pentium Gold 6500Y processor, but you can upgrade to an Intel Core i3-10100Y chip. Neither of these chips will blow your mind, but they're plenty good for things like basic web browsing and writing up documents. The base model comes with 4GB RAM and 64GB eMMC storage, but we recommend upgrading to the variant with 8GB RAM and 128GB SSD to get a better experience.
Microsoft makes up for the less impressive performance by stepping up on other aspects like display. You get a 10.5-inch panel with a 3:2 aspect ratio that supports Full HD+ (1920 x 1280) resolution and both touch and Surface Pen inputs. We also like how the Surface Go 3 comes with a 5MP front-facing camera with 1080p video, just like the more expensive Surface Pro models. You also get Windows Hello facial recognition and an additional 8MP camera at the back.
Despite the inevitable sacrifices, the Microsoft Surface Go 3 is one of the best compact Windows tablets you can buy right now.
The Surface Go 3 is an affordable tablet that offers a premium experience in some ways you might not expect. It's also the lightest Surface yet.
If you're a parent and want to get your kids their first tablet, then let it be one of the Amazon Fire HD Kids devices — specifically the Fire HD 8 Kids Pro tablet. This particular tablet is the newest Fire HD Kids tablet you can buy from Amazon right now. The new models are mostly identical to the outgoing ones, but you do get a slight improvement in performance thanks to the upgraded chip.
The Fire HD 8 Kids Pro offers a good mix of features, specifications, and pricing. Hardware is the same as the regular Fire HD 8 tablet that you can buy without the case. This particular tablet features a hexa-core processor for up to 30% better performance than the previous model, an 8-inch HD display made of strengthened aluminosilicate glass, 2GB of RAM, and up to 32GB of internal storage, with space to add an additional 1TB storage.
One of the best things about buying one of the Fire HD Kids tablets is that it comes with a kid-friendly case. It's a perfectly fitted and highly durable case that'll keep the tablet safe even when you hand it to the most notorious kid in your house. If your young ones manage to get through the rugged case and damage the tablet, then you can use what Amazon calls a "worry-free warranty" at least once to cover the replacement or repair due to user damage. The Kids versions also come with a one-year subscription to Amazon Kids+ and parental controls to restrict your kid's access to the internet.
The Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Pro is probably the best balance of performance, price, size, and durability for children aged 6 to 12, with a hexa-core CPU running, up to 32 GB of storage, and an 8-inch display for playing some light games.
Those are the tablets we have on our recommendation list for now. We've highlighted many options for everyone, so you should be able to find something to your usage and liking. However, out of al lof them, Apple's iPad Air is easily the best tablet overall, with the Galaxy Tab S8 leading the charge in the Android space. We've also highlighted some other options, including the Surface Pro 9, Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids tablet, and more, so be sure to browse the full list.
An evergreen writer at XDA Developers serving up reviews, buying guides, deals, and more on smartphones that you care about. I have an unhealthy relationship with gaming, so you’ll either find me yelling at my monitors while playing an online shooter or simply lounging with an open-world RPG in my free time. Feel free to connect with me on my socials for all things technology and gaming!