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Updated: 6 Apr 2022
Best tablets and iPads 2022: Which? Best Buys and expert advice
Whether you're after an Apple iPad, Amazon Fire, Android or Windows tablet,
we'll help you find the best tablet for you. We explain what to look out for,
including size, screen quality and battery life, plus what you should expect to
The difference between a good tablet or iPad and a bad one can be stark. The worst models we’ve tested managed to fail in all key areas, with laggy and unresponsive software, awful screens and atrocious battery life.
But these underpar tablets can cost the same, or sometimes more, than models that beat them in every way. That’s why our lab tests and reviews are so important.
Here, we show you our pick of the best tablets, as proven by our tough independent tests.
If you need more help to decide what type of tablet you need and what your must-have features are, you can scroll down to see our expert advice on how to buy the best tablet.
The tablet that started it all is still the most popular. But with four different iterations and several generations of the same tablet on sale at once, you want to make sure you're buying the right model for your needs. And that you don't overspend.
Which? members can login to see which iPads we think are the best. Not yet a member? Join Which? to unlock all of our best tablet recommendations on this page and to get access to all of our online reviews - including laptops, electric cars and printers.
With its A15 chip, the iPad Mini is a powerful tablet, even more so than Apple's standard iPad. The eight inch screen sits in a fairly bulky chassis, so it's not as portable as you might think, but if you've always wanted a lightning-fast tablet that didn't come with a huge screen Apple has created an option for you. Is it worth it over several cheaper tablets from rival brands, or does is pale in comparison to larger iPads. Read our review for the whole story.
The 2021 iPad is Apple's cheapest ever. It's long been the basic choice and now even the iPad Mini has better specs. That puts it in a tricky position. With plenty of cheaper tablets to choose from and more powerful iPads available, anyone looking for value can choose a different brand and anyone who wants can go for a pricier iPad. This is still Apple we're talking about though and if anyone can create a stellar tablet it's Apple.
These are some of the best Android tablets we’ve tested. Android tablets tend to have the widest spread of prices, with some available for around £100. So you can use the results of our tests to make sure you spend your money on a good model, and avoid the worst.
Which? members can login to see which Android tablets we think are the best. Not yet a member? Join Which? to unlock all of our best tablet recommendations on this page, our tablet reviews and all of our online reviews - from digital cameras to phones.
This tablet has a premium price but it more than justifies it with the quality of its features. Screen, speed and battery life are all excellent, and it also comes with a stylus so you can get to drawing and taking notes straight away.
It's roughly half the price of an iPad Pro, but this tablet is very much a competitor to it. The big 12.3-inch display is packed with pixels to make the most of editing apps and high-resolution video, and it comes with a stylus.
Windows tablets tend to be more expensive than Android, because they typically perform more like laptops than tablets. Indeed, almost all Windows 10 and 11 tablets are designed to slot into a keyboard dock.
Which? members can login to see which Android tablets we think are the best. Not yet a member? Join Which? to unlock all of our best tablet recommendations on this page and all of our online reviews.
This Windows tablet certainly isn't the cheapest slate around, but it offers an excellent experience, particularly if you pair it with a keyboard case. With various specs available, there's an ideal model for most budgets.
Amazon Fire tablets come in at a much lower price than most of their rivals. They’re cheap and sometimes cheerful, and while they’re never offer the pinnacle in speed, they’re designed for watching content – not for doing work.
Which? members can login to see which Amazon Fire tablets we think are the best. Not yet a member? Join Which? to unlock all of our best tablet recommendations on this page and all of our online reviews.
A great choice for those on a budget, this 8-inch tablet isn't a power house, but does more than enough for the average user. The battery stamina means you can use it for long stretches away from the plug socket.
Looking for a particular feature or price point? Make sure you take a look at all of our tablet reviews – we'll help you quickly pick the right model.
Video: how to buy the best tablet
How to choose the right tablet screen size
7 inches These are the smallest tablets you can buy and often the cheapest as well. They’re the best for one-handed use – this can be invaluable if you commute on public transport. They’re a similar size to eBooks readers, so could be a good Kindle alternative if you want a device that can entertain you with both literature and the latest TV programmes.
8 inches Still great for one-handed use, but typically a little heavier. There are some high-end models available at this size, including the iPad mini.
9-11 inches These tablets are big, and are only really suitable to use for with two hands for long periods of time. There are a wide range of 10-inch tablets available. Budget devices, such as the Amazon Fire HD 10, share the category with high-end models, such as the iPad, iPad Pro 11-inch and Samsung Galaxy Tab S7.
More than 11 inches These very large tablets are designed for getting work done and are best used with a keyboard, a stylus or both. Think the iPad Pro 12.9 and Microsoft Surface Pro X.
How much should I spend?
Less than £100 The cheapest. These devices rarely score highly in our tests (with some exceptions), but can be fine for watching videos and reading books, as long as you don’t mind a slow tablet made from plastic.
£100-200 The best-value models sit in this price range. They’re not always the fastest tablets around, but based on our tests we know that one costing around £150 can tick the boxes for speed and screen quality.
£200-400 The sweet spot of quality is around £300. Here, you’ll find models with high-end specs and features, sleek metal designs, sharp screens and great battery life. This is also the price range in which you’ll find both the iPad and iPad mini.
£400 or more This is how much you’ll need to spend if you want a specialist tablet, such as the laptop-style Microsoft Surface. Think of spending closer to £800 if you’re buying an iPad Pro or Microsoft Surface Pro and all the accessories. You can also bag an iPad Air in this price range.
Looking for a great tablet on a budget? Take a look at our pick of the best cheap tablets.
How do the different tablet options differ?
There are four main options, which have different operating systems
Android: available on the biggest variety of devices, but they vary wildly in quality. Popular brands using Android include Huawei, Lenovo and Samsung.
iPadOS: the original tablet operating system will be familiar to anyone with an iPhone and is only available on Apple's range of iPads.
Windows: runs on most of the world’s laptops, and feels very similar on a tablet. Works best with a keyboard.
Fire OS: a special version of Android made by Amazon for its own-brand tablets. Simple to use and good if you’re just looking to watch content and not much else.
Which operating system should I choose?
There are four different tablet operating systems to choose from, each with different strengths:
Most not optimised
Vary in quality from manufacturers
Media and games on cheaper models, but more high-end Android tablets are suitable for work and drawing
Similar to Android but smaller selection
Mostly cheap but can do the basics
Media and games
Huge variety in App Sore, many made for tablets, lots of educational and interactive books
Media, games, work, and drawing
Good variety in Windows Store, more to be found online, like a normal laptop
Laptop hybrids with keyboards
Work and drawing
iPadOS (the tablet version of iOS) is Apple's operating system and is only available on iPads. If you've ever used an Apple iPhone, you'll be instantly at home. It’s generally accepted as being simple and easy to use, and even the uninitiated should get to grips with it fairly quickly, thanks to its straightforward layout.
What’s more, there are loads of apps designed specifically for iPads, which makes for an excellent big-screen experience.
Android is the most popular tablet operating system, with models available in every price range. There are small differences between brands, but generally they all operate in the same way, with little difference from one Android tablet to another.
One of the benefits of Android is that it’s easy to customise and adapt to your own needs. The disadvantage is that there aren’t many apps that are specifically optimised for big screens, so it can often feel like you’re just using gigantic smartphone apps.
Available exclusively on Amazon-brand tablets, Fire OS is based on Android, but looks completely different. It’s very much focused on Amazon’s own products, with plenty of apps that let you buy Amazon books, videos and more.
If you choose a tablet ‘with special offers’ in exchange for a £10 discount, you’ll also receive occasional messages encouraging you to buy things. The app store has a smaller selection than Android’s Google Play Store, but it still has the key apps most people use, including Facebook and Netflix.
Windows 10 and 11
Windows should be reassuringly familiar to anyone who has used a PC in the past 20 years. It's the same old Windows we're all used to, just on a tablet.
This means you can run your Windows apps and programs, provided your tablet is powerful enough to handle them. And with the addition of a keyboard, using programs such as Excel and Word is almost on a par with the laptop experience. While Windows 10 and 11 has clearly been designed with tablets in mind, it can prove a little fiddly to navigate by touch on some devices.
What our lab testers look for in a tablet
Speed: from the low-powered, bespoke, mobile processors, to the latest Intel chips, tablets are packed with varying levels of tech. Our benchmark tests reveal just how fast each one is, and the speed you can expect.
Screen quality: whether it's Full HD, 4K, or even sub-HD, our tests gauge just how clear the screen is, how well it handles bright sunlight, and if it stands up to being viewed at an angle.
Sound quality: while slim and sleek tablets often look great, the audio usually suffers. Our tests include experts studiously listening to each model, and to let you know if there's enough bass, and how good your favourite films will sound.
Battery life: decent battery life is essential if you want to take your tablet out and about with you, which is why we run several battery life tests, and tell you the actual number of hours to expect, rather than taking the manufacturer's claims as gospel.
What apps can I get on my iPad, Amazon Fire or Android tablet?
You should absolutely consider which apps you want to be using before you take the plunge, particularly if you have a favourite video service or other utility that you’d be lost without on your tablet.
Fortunately, the four biggest app stores all have online versions so you can have a look at the apps that are available. The only exception is the Apple App Store, which can only be searched using the App Store app itself. You can get around this by searching online for the app you want followed by ‘app store’, so if you want to check if the app store has iPlayer, search ‘iPlayer app store’ and the first link should show you a preview of the app.
The links below take you to each of the web versions of the other big app stores.
You can search on Apple's website for an app to see which Apple devices it's available on.
If you already own an Android smartphone and you’re looking at buying an Android tablet, the app selection will be largely the same. The issue with this is that while the selection of apps is the same, most of them won’t have been optimised to run on a larger screen. This isn’t necessarily a huge problem, especially if you’re only looking for video streaming apps, for example, but some games and other apps may have large buttons or oddly laid out text in a larger screen format.
The same is true of iPads if you already own an iPhone. If an app exists on iPhone, it almost certainly exists as an iPad app. The difference is that far more apps are optimised especially for tablets. So while the app will exist, it may have been enhanced to be easier to use on a bigger screen.
How important is battery life?
How good a battery you need depends entirely on how you’ll be using your tablet. Tablets that manage more than 10 hours of video playback and web browsing score well in our tests. But if you only use your tablet in short bursts, such as watching some iPlayer before bed or reading an eBook, a long battery life isn’t essential. Unless you absolutely hate charging your tablet more than once a week.
On the other hand, if you’re buying a tablet/laptop hybrid to use out and about, you’ll probably want all-day battery life to make the most of your thin and light work machine.
It’s best to ignore the manufacturer’s battery life claims. We run our tests multiple times to get an accurate reading of what you can expect from each tablet’s battery.
How to find a good tablet deal
As with any tech product, if you shop around and wait for a good time to buy a tablet, you can save some serious cash. Here are some easy ways to get a good deal on each of the major tablet operating systems.
The easiest way to find a good deal on a tablet is to let us find them for you. Here are our top tablet deals.
You won’t often see Apple products on discount, so the best way to save on an iPad is to buy an older-generation model, as these typically drop in price after a new version launches. For example, the 2019 10.2-inch iPad dropped in price by £20 when the 2020 model launched.
Android tablets typically drop at least £20 from their asking price after a few months on the market, but it depends on the manufacturer and retailer. For Android models, it’s simply worth shopping around.
You’ll normally find the best discounts on Amazon tablets on Amazon. Periodically, these tablets will have up to 20% lopped off their prices, and you can expect big discounts around Amazon Prime Day and Black Friday.
Because Windows tablets are treated more like laptops by retailers, and the fact that they’re generally more expensive, you can get some great deals after a model has been on sale for a few months.
Ready to buy? Take a look at all ourtablet reviewsto find the right model for you.