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Is the iPad mini the best small tablet?

By Jack Turner

Looking for a small tablet, but unsure if the Apple iPad Mini really is the best of the bunch? Check out our selection of the best smaller tablets for a range of budgets.

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Small tablets can be perfect for holding in one hand comfortably, popping in a bag for portable computing on the go, and giving you the best compromise between a smartphone screen and a larger tablet display. The iPhone mini has made a name for itself as one of the main small tablets to consider, but there are rival models, too. 

Some of these small tablets - from manufacturers such as Samsung and Amazon - even undercut the Apple iPad mini on price, too. Even within the Apple family, things can be complex. The latest small Apple tablet is the iPad mini 4, but you can still buy the cheaper iPad mini 2, as well.

We round up the best small tablets around in the table below.

The best small tablets

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8
Which? score 85%
Reviewed Sep 2015
Ease of use:
5 out of 5
Screen quality:
5 out of 5
Sound quality:
4 out of 5
Operating system:
Member exclusive
Actual internal storage capacity (GB):
Member exclusive
Screen size (inches):
Member exclusive
Apple iPad mini 4
Which? score 80%
Reviewed Sep 2015
Ease of use:
5 out of 5
Screen quality:
5 out of 5
Sound quality:
3 out of 5
Operating system:
Member exclusive
Actual internal storage capacity (GB):
Member exclusive
Screen size (inches):
Member exclusive
Apple iPad mini 2
Which? score 74%
Reviewed Nov 2013
Ease of use:
5 out of 5
Screen quality:
4 out of 5
Sound quality:
3 out of 5
Operating system:
Member exclusive
Actual internal storage capacity (GB):
Member exclusive
Screen size (inches):
Member exclusive
Amazon Fire HD 8 (2017)
Which? score 70%
Reviewed Jun 2017
Ease of use:
4 out of 5
Screen quality:
4 out of 5
Sound quality:
4 out of 5
Operating system:
Member exclusive
Actual internal storage capacity (GB):
Member exclusive
Screen size (inches):
Member exclusive

Want to see all the tablets we've put through our rigorous lab tests? Click to discover all our tablet reviews.

Choose the best small tablet

There are plenty of small tablets on the market, competing with the ever popular iPad Mini, but as we have found in our testing, they are not all created equal. With wallet-pleasing models that are packed with plenty of processing power, to expensive tablets that don't deserve their price tag, and everything in between, we've tested a raft of smaller models and know exactly what you should be looking for.

What to look for when buying the best small tablet:

  • Battery life - This is a high priority for a tablet that's going to be out and about with you. Always choose a model with decent battery life. Ideally, you'll want a tablet that can last at least six hours, but the more, the better. We've tested one that offers an incredible 14-and-a-half hours video playback on a single charge.
  • Size -  A diminutive tablet might seem a nice idea in theory, but make sure it's big enough to use comfortably. On-screen keyboards can be problematic on smaller models, but we let you know in our reviews if this is an issue. You could also invest in a keyboard case - find the right one by reading our tablet keyboard reviews.
  • Processor power - While smaller tablets may lack the beefy raw power of a premium larger tablet like an iPad Pro or a Microsoft Surface Pro, they can still hold their own. Make sure the model you're after can keep up with your daily needs. Our Best Buys will manage email, web browsing and even more complex apps without breaking a sweat.
  • Sound - One challenge for manufacturers is squeezing half decent speakers into a tiny tablet's chassis. Not all of them manage this successfully, with some sounding absolutely dire. However, certain manufacturers have cracked this problem, with their tablets giving plenty of oomph for listening in on a Skype call or catching up on the latest Netflix drama.
  • Screen - Just because a tablet is small, it doesn't mean that you have to put up with lacklustre detail. We've found tablets with stunningly crisp and clear displays, great for everything from watching movies to reading eBooks. The best are easy to view in any light. Others have been dull, washed out and left us wanting.  

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