Best tablet 2018: the top slates tested and ranked

Best tablet 2018

For those looking for the best tablet to buy right now, you've come to the right place. We're reviewed and ranked all the latest slates to bring you our best tablets list, helping you find the perfect device.

The best tablets available today are ready to be part-time laptop replacements for plenty of people. At the least, this means a nice keyboard and software features you’d find on desktops or a traditional laptop. They have to be portable and light, yet powerful enough for your workflow.

Apple's iPad Pro with iOS 12 takes the lead thanks to its strong app ecosystem, but there are some incredible Android tablets, too. The best Windows tablet also makes a showing on our top 10 tablets list.

Our tablet rankings are based on several geeked-out factors including performance, battery life and screen quality, though price plays an all-important role in the final verdict. This means some tablets that are better on paper, like Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 over the Tab S3, are dinged for offering less value. 

Here's a list of the best tablets you can buy today, though new contenders can (and do) shift our rankings.

  • Best Android Tablet: US / UK | Best Cheap Tablet: US / UK

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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: iOS 12 | 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 iPad you can buy right now. It may be expensive, but it's Apple's most powerful tablet and furthers the 2-in-1 design ethos if you spring for the pricey new 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. The iOS 12 software feels limiting when trying to multitask and perform laptop-like tasks. 

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 spring for an actual computer.

Everything about the iPad Pro 11 makes it the best experience if you're looking for the best Apple tablet - you'll just need to swallow the high price - but it's no MacBook replacement.   

Read the full review: iPad Pro 11

2. New iPad (2018)

The best tablet for the average consumer

Weight: 469g | Dimensions: 240 x 169.5 x 7.5mm | OS: iOS 12 | Screen size: 9.7-inch | Resolution: 1536 x 2048 pixels | CPU: A10 Bionic | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 32/128GB | microSD slot: No | Battery: Up to 10 hours | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 1.2MP

Affordable
Works with Apple Pencil
Its education ambitions are overhyped
Smart Keyboard Cover incompatible

This is the best tablet for the average consumer and for education, even if it isn't the most powerful one on sale. It's simply a great value. 

The new iPad (2018) replaces the very similar 2017 model and, before that, the iPad Air 2 in Apple's lineup, slotting in below the Pro range.

It works with the Apple Pencil, offering you the cheapest way to doodle on the 9.7-inch glass, though you can't get the Smart Keyboard with this non-Pro model. 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 iPad Air 2 or iPad Pro at 7.5mm.

With the Touch ID fingerprint sensor included, iOS 12 under the hood and up to 10 hours of battery life when web browsing or watching videos, it's a great media player and a strong tablet choice if you're not planning to use it heavily for productivity.

Read the full review: iPad (2018)

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3. iPad Pro 12.9 (2017)

The best really big iPad you can buy

Weight: 677g | Dimensions: 305.7 x 220.6 x 6.9 mm | OS: iOS 12 | Screen size: 12.9-inch | Resolution: 2048 x 2732 pixels | CPU: A10X Fusion | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64GB/256GB/512GB | microSD slot: No | Battery: 10,875mAh | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 7MP

Great, large tablet screen
Tremendous power
Too expensive as a laptop replacement for some

We really like the iPad Pro 12.9 for its large size and it's the closest thing we have to a 2-in-1 touchscreen MacBook. It just happens to run iOS 12 instead of macOS. 

It's the best productivity and entertainment tablet around thanks to its 12.9-inch screen, four speakers and the iOS 12 dock and multitasking interface. Apple has redesigned its Control Center interface to make app switching even easier, and this tablet is compatible with the Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard.

It's biggest weakness? The iPad Pro 12.9-inch price, and the size isn't a good fit for everyone. But If you can afford it and want the largest-sized iPad available, you're going to love this – it's a laptop-replacement for a lot people out there.

Read the full review: iPad Pro 12.9 (2017)

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4

4. Samsung Galaxy Tab S4

A promising 2-in-1 but it's not perfect... yet

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 tops 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, but the value just isn't there for the money.

Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy Tab S4

iPad mini 4

iPad mini 4

5. iPad mini 4

The best small-screen tablet

Weight: 299g | Dimensions: 203.2 x 134.8 x 6.1mm | OS: iOS 11 | Screen size: 7.9-inch | Resolution: 1536 x 2048 | CPU: A8 | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 16GB/32GB/64GB/128GB | microSD slot: No | Battery: 5,124mAh | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 1.2MP

Brilliant screen
Sleek design
Older chipset
No 3D touch

The best 7-inch tablet at the moment is definitely the iPad mini 4. If you like the look of Apple's new iPad 9.7 (2018) and the iPad Pro range, but find them a) too big, b) too expensive or c) both, then you're in luck as the diminutive iPad mini 4 gives you the best of Apple's tablet world in a form factor that's not only beautiful, but highly portable.

It lacks the Pro features of a keyboard or Pencil support (the latter would be really nice to have on this smaller display), but overall it's got a decent screen upgrade and more than enough power to enjoy every day.

Read the full review: iPad mini 4

iPad Pro 10.5

iPad Pro 10.5

6. 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: iOS 11 | 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 9.7 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 iOS 11 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 

7. 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

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3

8. Samsung Galaxy Tab S3

A top Android tablet, now with a lower price

Weight: 429g | Dimensions: 237.3 x 169 x 6mm | OS: Android Oreo | Screen size: 9.7-inch | Resolution: 1536 x 2048 | CPU: Snapdragon 820 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 32GB | microSD slot: Yes, up to 400GB | Battery: 6,000mAh | Rear camera: 13MP | Front camera: 5MP

Includes the S-Pen stylus for free
HDR-ready future-proofed screen
Keyboard is a costly extra
Tablet multitasking can't replace laptops

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 may have been super-ceded by the Galaxy Tab S4, but with its lower price and more stable, simple approach it still comes in on top of the newer model.

It has a HDR screen for the ultimate contrast ratio, four speakers that sound as good as those on all the iPad Pro models and there's an S Pen stylus that's included in the box. You won't get a free keyboard cover though, which if you buy on top of the tablet helps make it a good on-the-go productivity tool.

The HDR-enabled 9.7-inch screen is also pretty useful, given that there are a lot of services out there using the improved quality - you can now get Netflix in premium color and brightness quality, for instance.

Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy Tab S3

Asus ZenPad 3S 10

Asus ZenPad 3S 10

9. Asus ZenPad 3S 10

A cheaper Android tablet that's worth looking at

Weight: 430g | Dimensions: 240.5 x 163.7 x 7.2mm | OS: Android Nougat | Screen size: 9.7-inch | Resolution: 1536 x 2048 | CPU: MediaTek MT8176 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 32GB/64GB | microSD slot: Yes, up to 256GB | Battery: 5,900mAh | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 5MP

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

With an iPad-like design, the Asus ZenPad 3S 10 is something of a direct rival to Apple's best tablets if you want something with an alternative operating system.

The screen is sharp and bright, and the power is decent - if not a well-known chipset running things. It's worth noting it's running Android Nougat software though, and Asus has yet to tell us if or when it'll get the latest Android Oreo upgrade.

The battery life and build quality aren't quite up to Apple's standards, but then again, neither is the price - a good option if you want a larger screen for less.

Read our full review: Asus ZenPad 3S 10

New iPad (2017)

New iPad (2017)

10. iPad (2017)

Another great iPad if you're after the basics

Weight: 469g | Dimensions: 240 x 169.5 x 7.5mm | OS: iOS 11 | Screen size: 9.7-inch | Resolution: 1536 x 2048 | CPU: A9 | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 32GB/128GB | microSD slot: No | Battery: 8,827mAh | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 1.2MP

Beautiful 9.7-inch screen
Cheaper than predecessor
Thicker than Air 2
No 256GB option

It may have now been replaced by the higher tech new iPad (2018), but the 2017 edition of Apple's iPad product is still a great buy and if you don't want to spend much it's a great choice for your next tablet.

You don't get to use an Apple Pencil with this slate, but it comes with a crisp 9.7-inch display and punchy A9 power. You can't buy it directly from Apple anymore, but we've still seen it on sale from third-party retailers in certain areas around the world.

There's no 16GB model, with this iPad kicking things off at a more reasonable 32GB, and if you need more space you can always opt for the 128GB variant.

Read the full review: iPad (2017)

Tablet apps

As with today's best smartphones, 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.