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Best tablet 2019: the top tablets you can buy right now

Best tablet 2019
(Image credit: Apple)

If you're looking for the best tablet you can buy in 2019, you've come to the right place. We've tested, reviewed, then listed the top 10 tablets you can buy right now, to help you decide on your next slate of choice.

Picking the best tablet is a complicated job as a good slate acts as a powerful laptop replacement for work, entertainment, and communication, all while remaining easy to carry around.

We've looked at all the factors we think you'll be interested in such as how great its display is, how long it lasts in terms of battery life, how fast it is to use, and if it supports a reliable keyboard. Of course, price is an important factor too.

Talking of price, Black Friday 2019 is coming up, with Cyber Monday 2019 just after it. The sales bonanza at the end of November is sure to bring savings to lots of the best tablets, making them even more affordable, so make sure to check back to TechRadar then when we bring you all the best deals.

You'll notice that while the top-ranked tablets are all iPads, Samsung and Windows tablets are here too. And just because there's a new tablet doesn't mean we rank it better than the old one, as price is such an important factor.

Best tablets at a glance:

  1. Apple iPad Pro 11 (2018)
  2. Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2018)
  3. iPad 10.2 (2019)
  4. iPad Air (2019)
  5. iPad Mini (2019)
  6. Samsung Galaxy Tab S6
  7. iPad Pro 10.5 (2017)
  8. Microsoft Surface Pro
  9. Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
  10. Asus ZenPad 3S 10

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1. iPad Pro 11 (2018)

The best tablet you can buy right now

Weight: 468g | Dimensions: 247.6 x 178.5 x 5.9 mm | OS: iPadOS | Screen size: 11-inch | Resolution: 2388 x 1668 pixels | CPU: A12X Bionic | Storage: 64GB/256GB/512GB/1TB | microSD slot: No | Battery: 7,812mAh | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 7MP

Pencil clips on, finally
Insane amount of power for a tablet
Software limits laptop experience
Pencil and keyboard expensive extras

The iPad Pro 11 is the best tablet you can buy today. It's expensive for sure, but it's Apple's most powerful tablet and furthers the 2-in-1 design ethos if you spring for the keyboard cover folio. 

It has a laptop-like experience in design and performance, and the new Apple Pencil magnetically clips onto the frame of the new iPad Pro. With superb speakers and a great new screen-to-body ratio, it's hard not to fall in love with the finely crafted hardware design. 

However, there are setbacks for the iPad Pro 11 that you should be aware of. iPadOS is better than previous versions of Apple's tablet software when you're trying to multitask and perform laptop-like tasks, but it is far from perfect.

Another strictly mobile challenge: it doesn't have a headphone jack. If you want the standard 3.5mm jack in a computer-like device, you'll want to spring for an actual computer or some other tablets.

Everything about the iPad Pro 11 makes it the best tablet experience if you're looking for an Apple-made slate - you'll just need to swallow the high price and keep in mind that it's not a true laptop replacement.   

Read the full review: iPad Pro 11

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2. iPad Pro 12.9 (2018)

The best big tablet around right now

Weight: 632g | Dimensions: 280.6 x 214.9 x 5.9 mm | OS: iPadOS | Screen size: 12.9-inch | Resolution: 2048 x 2732 pixels | CPU: A12X Bionic | Storage: 64GB/256GB/512GB/1TB | microSD slot: No | Battery: 9,720mAh | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 7MP

Huge screen
Tremendous processing power
Battery life could be longer
Face ID isn't perfect

The iPad Pro 12.9 (2018) isn't the very best tablet but it's not far off with its huge 12.9-inch screen. We haven't ranked it in the top spot mostly down to its extraordinarily high price.

Its like a giant digital canvas that fills your needs whether you need a personal workstation, easel, portable cinema, book-shaped loudspeaker, music mixing desk, or a range of other functions.

However, it's also extremely expensive, and doesn't feel like such a step up from the iPad Pro 11 (2018) as its higher price would suggest.

With it's unrivaled processing power, massive display, snappy operating system, and the fact you can use it with the Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard, it's definitely a tablet you should consider if you've got money to burn – but you can do better if you're on a budget.

Read our full review: iPad Pro 12.9 (2018)

Best tablet: iPad 10.2

(Image credit: Apple)

3. iPad 10.2 (2019)

The best tablet for the average consumer

Weight: 483g | Dimensions: 251 x 174 x 7.5mm | OS: iPadOS | Screen size: 10.2-inch | Resolution: 1620 x 2160 pixels | CPU: A10 Fusion | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 32/128GB | microSD slot: No | Battery: Up to 10 hours | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 1.2MP

Bigger screen than previous models
Works with Smart Keyboard
Older iPads are cheaper
iPad Air better for sketching

For the average person, the iPad 10.2 is arguably the best choice for a tablet right now. It may not be the most powerful tablet on sale, but it's incredible value.

The iPad 10.2 replaces the very similar iPad 9.7 (2018) that featured a slightly smaller display - you can probably work that out from the names - but sports relatively similar spec for an affordable price. This isn't as high-tech as the iPad Pro models above, but it's still a remarkably useful tablet.

It comes with iPadOS right out of the box giving you all the latest features you'd expect from a tablet, plus it works with Apple Pencil and there's a Smart Keyboard you can also use to make this a productivity device.

It also has the same luxurious metal unibody as the rest of Apple's iPad range, though notably it's ever-so-slightly thicker than the other models of the tablet range at 7.5mm.

Battery life on this iPad is strong, it doesn't cost as much as a lot of other products in this list and it comes with a capable chipset powering it too. It's hard to go wrong if you're looking for an everyday tablet that doesn't have to sport the very best power and features.

Read the full review: iPad 10.2 (2019)

Best tablet: iPad Air 2019

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4. iPad Air (2019)

The middle iPad

Weight: 456g | Dimensions: 250.6 x 174.1 x 6.1 mm | OS: iPadOS | Screen size: 10.5-inch | Resolution: 1668 x 2224 pixels | CPU: A12 Bionic | Storage: 64GB/256GB | microSD slot: No | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 7MP

Brilliant-looking laminated screen
Cheapest Smart Keyboard iPad
Uses the 1st Gen Apple Pencil
Traditional design doesn't wow

If you're looking for a good compromise between Apple's new Pro tablets and the base iPad 10.2, this is it. It's compatible with Apple's excellent Smart Keyboard Cover and priced right for students looking to take notes on a powerful laptop.

It does have Apple Pencil compatibility like all of Apple's newer tablets, but it's not the best tablet for artists. 

The Pro versions support Apple Pencil Gen 2 with extra gesture features and magnetic charging. This iPad Pro 10.5 sticks with the older Gen 1 Pencil and has just two speakers instead of four. But everyone should be fine with the fast A12 chipset.

Read the full review: iPad Air (2019)

Best tablet: iPad mini 2019

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5. iPad Mini (2019)

The best (and only) small tablet on our best tablet list

Weight: 304g | Dimensions: 203.2 x 134.8 x 6.1 mm | OS: iPadOS | Screen size: 7.9-inch | Resolution: 1536 x 2048 pixels | CPU: A12 Bionic | Storage: 64GB/256GB | microSD slot: No | Battery: 5,124mAh | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 7MP

Perfect portable size
Surprisingly powerful specs
Bezel-heavy design
Uses the older Apple Pencil

Apple doesn't have a foldable phone, but if it did it might look something like the iPad mini 2019 when unfolded. It hasn't really changed since the last version almost four years ago, but it doesn't need to: we love the small size.

You can flip open the smart cover, scribble some notes, and toss it in a bag without too much worry. 

Yes, the design is a little dated and there are thick bezels outlining this screen, but the price is right for a portable tablet with a lot of power. You really shouldn't consider buying any other small tablet on the market (notice: it's the only one on our best tablet list).

Read the full review: iPad mini (2019)

(Image credit: Future)

6. Samsung Galaxy Tab S6

The best Android tablet available now

Weight: 420g | Dimensions: 244.5 x 159.5 x 5.7 mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 10.5-inch | Resolution: 1600 x 2560 pixels | CPU: Snapdragon 855 | Storage: 128GB/256GB | microSD slot: Yes | Battery: 7,040mAh | Rear camera: 13MP + 5MP | Front camera: 8MP

Beautiful AMOLED display
S Pen as standard
Samsung's One UI not perfect
No headphone jack

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 is the best Android tablet available now – it's the newest slate from Samsung's Tab S line, and it comes with all the cutting-edge features you'd expect for such a premium device.

There are two rear cameras, which is impressive for a tablet, as well as a high-end processor and best-in-class AMOLED display, so it's a useful piece of kit. It also comes with an S Pen stylus for notes, doodles or sketches, and you can buy a smart keyboard for a laptop-like experience.

There are a few issues with the Galaxy Tab S6, like the lack of a headphone jack and an iffy user interface, but if you're looking for the best tablet and don't want an iPad, this is your best bet.

Read our full review: Samsung Galaxy Tab S6

Image credit: TechRadar

Image credit: TechRadar

7. iPad Pro 10.5

This former flagship tablet is still one of our favorites

Weight: 469g | Dimensions: 250.6 x 174.1 x 6.1 mm | OS: iPadOS | Screen size: 10.5-inch | Resolution: 1668 x 2224 | CPU: A10X Fusion | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64GB/256GB/512GB | microSD slot: No | Battery: 8,134mAh | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 7MP

Great speakers
512GB version
Screen adds a lot of expense
iOS still isn't a good laptop replacement

The iPad Pro 10.5-inch is one of the best tablets for anyone who wants a serious upgrade, even though the cheaper iPad 10.2 remains good enough for most people.

Apple's iPad Pro 10.5 has standout features that give it a productivity boost, including Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard compatibility. With iPadOS on board this tablet is even a suitable laptop replacement for certain consumers.

The new ProMotion screen adds an impressive layer of fluidity to daily use and the smaller bezels means you're getting far more display in a footprint not much bigger than the iPad Pro 9.7.

It's an iPad for the professionals - but also one that media munchers will adore using.

Read the full review: iPad Pro 10.5

Microsoft Surface Pro 

Microsoft Surface Pro 

8. Microsoft Surface Pro

The Windows tablet that can replace your Windows laptop

Weight: 768g/770g/784g | Dimensions: 292 x 201 x 8.5mm | OS: Windows 10 Pro | Screen size: 12.3-inch | Resolution: 1824 x 2736 | CPU: Intel Core m3, i5 or i7 | RAM: 4GB/8GB/16GB | Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB | microSD slot: Yes | Battery: up to 13.5 hours video playback | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 5MP

Improved Surface Pen
Integrated kickstand
No Surface Pen in package
Not as powerful as some rivals until Core i7

Can a tablet really replace your laptop or home PC? That's still up for debate, but the best tablet trying to make that happen is the Microsoft Surface Pro. We’re surprised Microsoft has refrained from calling this the Surface Pro 5, as it's a big upgrade on the 4 - although it is rather expensive, like many tablets in this list.

It does a fine job with the full blown version of Windows 10, an integrated kickstand and optional keyboard attachment. 

Great for for creative professionals, students and everyday folks alike, this is a top choice and one of the best Windows laptops we've reviewed.

Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Pro

Best tablet: Samsung Galaxy Tab S4

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9. Samsung Galaxy Tab S4

An older tablet for those who don't want Apple's offerings

Weight: 482g | Dimensions: 249.3 x 164.3 x 7.1mm | OS: Android 8.1 | Screen size: 10.5-inch | Resolution: 1600 x 2560 | CPU: Snapdragon 835 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64GB/256GB | microSD slot: Yes | Battery: 7,300mAh | Rear camera: 13MP | Front camera: 8MP

Comes with S Pen stylus in box
Large 10.5 inch screen is great
Destop DeX interface needs work
Keyboard design is unintuitive

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 is an upgrade over the Galaxy Tab S3 with an expanded 10.5-inch screen size and longer battery life, but it comes at a higher price and with a lofty promise to do so much more. 

We really like the idea behind Samsung Dex for its desktop interface, but it's non-touch-friendly UI, performance issues, and questionable optional keyboard case prevent it from being a true desktop replacement.

If you're looking for a premium Android tablet the Galaxy Tab S4 used to top the billing, but it promises more than that and just doesn't deliver on everything. Don't get us wrong, the Tab S4 is indeed better than the Tab S3 and it's dropped in price since launch, but it's not the most premium Android tablet, with the Tab S6 higher in this ranking

Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy Tab S4

Image Credit: Asus

Image Credit: Asus

10. Asus ZenPad 3S 10

Cheaper than most devices on this list

Weight: 430g | Dimensions: 240.5 x 163.7 x 7.2 mm | OS: Android 7 | Screen size: 9.7-inch | Resolution: 1536 x 2048 | CPU: Mediatek MT8176 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 32GB/64GB | Battery: up to 10 hours | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 5MP

Strong, hi-res display
Swift response
Mediocre battery life
Not great build quality

The Asus ZenPad 3S 10 isn't the most high spec tablet you can buy, but it's remarkably good for the price and that's a low price compared to a lot of other products you've read about on this list.

The super bright and beautiful display on the front of the device is one of the best you'll find on an Android tablet, and it costs a lot less than the two Samsung devices you've read about above.

Don't go for this if you're looking for top-end spec, but it's an option if you don't want to spend much and you want a slate just to play around with a few apps and watch videos.

Read the full review: Asus ZenPad 3S 10

Tablet apps

As with today's best phones, applications play a big role on tablets – once you've decided which of these tablets is right for you, check out our top app lists so you can get your fill of Temple Run, update your friends on Facebook and read the latest news, all on a bigger screen.