5 things to consider to get the best tablet for entertainment

Man lying on a beanbag holding a tablet which is playing a video
(Image credit: Shutterstock / Kaspars Grinvalds)

If you're looking to buy a tablet, you've probably already thought about why you need one. Choosing the best tablet for entertainment is different from choosing an all-rounder or one that means you can work well on the move.

While tablets for entertainment will still be reliable for other purposes, such as if you need to complete some work, browse the internet, or check emails, all of the best tablets will also each have their own unique benefits and uses.

That's why we're here to explain what key things you need to consider when buying a tablet for entertainment. That way, you'll get the most from watching Netflix, listening to music on Spotify or any other services. 

1. Screen quality

Tablets tend to come in roughly three different sizes. There are ones below 10-inches, ones around 10-inches and those that are far larger, bordering on the same size as laptop screens. 

It might seem like going for the biggest is the most important consideration to make, but it's a bit more complicated than that. Besides considering how portable you need the tablet to be, not all screens are the same.

For instance, there's the Apple iPad Pro 12.9 with its 12.9-inch display that offers a refresh rate of 120Hz and uses MiniLED technology to ensure that images look crisp at all times. 

A high refresh rate means that it can better handle fast-moving images on screen than a standard 60Hz refresh rate. If you love to watch sports or high-octane action movies, this will make a difference to your viewing experience. 

As well as that, it's important to consider the peak brightness level. Typically, the brighter the screen, the better the display looks where there's lots of ambient light - i.e. if you're outdoors and it's sunny. If you plan on using your tablet outdoors a lot, this is worth focusing on. Mostly planning on viewing tucked up on the couch or in bed? Don't worry about it so much.

Like with TVs, it's a smart move to focus on a tablet that has an OLED panel rather than an IPS panel. OLED means that each pixel you see can be individually lit up, rather than working en masse. That way, you get deeper blacks and vibrant colors. If you're passionate about watching your favorite shows and movies at the best picture quality, you need this level of technology. 

 2. Sound quality 

Sound is something that's easy to overlook when buying a tablet, but it makes a huge difference if you want to enjoy a truly immersive experience while watching streaming services, or if you're looking to listen to music.

Look for tablets that offer dual or quad speakers. From there, tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 and the Apple iPad Pro have Dolby Atmos support so that supported audio sounds exceptional. Both tablets offer crisp sounding audio even at higher volumes but you can always enable Bluetooth and connect them to other speakers if you prefer.

If you're on a budget, aim for dual speakers rather than a solitary one. 

3. Connectivity 

All tablets have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, but not all have cellular connectivity. 

If you want to use your tablet while you travel, not every location has Wi-Fi. In which case, having 4G or 5G options on your tablet can prove useful. Streaming shows or music via cellular means you'll need to sign up to a data plan linked to a SIM card that's placed in your tablet, but it can be convenient. 

Aim for 5G if you can as streaming can require a fast connection, although 4G should still be suitable if you don't mind being patient at times. 

Some data plans allow you to pay for one month at a time so if you don't plan on needing data all the time, it can be useful for occasional journeys away from Wi-Fi.

4. Battery life 

If you're looking to stream a lot of great entertainment to your tablet, you're probably planning on doing so for extended periods of time. If so, you don't want to run out of battery any time soon. 

So, look for a tablet that offers 10-12 hours of battery life. Many are designed with video playback in mind so they've been optimized for the task. 

We can't see many people needing to watch more than half a day of streaming content before getting near to a power source, so the majority of good-quality tablets will suit your needs. 

5. Performance 

Most people stream entertainment from online sources these days, but that doesn't mean that a slow tablet will suffice. While even the cheapest and slowest of tablets will still run the likes of Netflix and Disney Plus, the apps can be sluggish with a poor performing tablet. 

Typically, if you're looking for good picture and audio quality, you'll end up with a reasonably powerful tablet anyhow. Through doing so, you won't be disappointed by how slow it is to navigate between apps. 

As well as that, look out for some wiggle room with storage. While you might be streaming the majority of your content, once in a while, you may wish to download shows to watch offline (especially if you don't have a cellular connection) so it's useful to have plenty of space free to do so.