2021’s Best Tablets for Work, Streaming and Gaming

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When it comes to portable devices, tablets are filling niches that laptops and smartphones can’t so easily fill. After all, tablets are highly portable and durable — and, despite being jam-packed with laptop-like features, tablets are often a bit less of a burden on your wallet than a traditional computer. Whether you need a tablet for getting work done, creating art or diving into your Steam library, we’ve rounded up the best of the best when it comes to devices on the market in 2021.

Best All-Around Tablet

There’s a reason the Apple iPad is often used as a stand-in to refer to tablets in general. That reason? Compared to its competitors, Apple’s entry-level tablet gets you the most bang for your buck and offers a truly seamless blend of hardware and software. Best of all, if you’re already an Apple loyalist, then using an iPad will come as easily as using your iPhone.

Photo Courtesy: Apple via Amazon

One of our favorite features is the crisp, beautiful display, which makes this device perfect for streaming some Netflix, scrolling through social media and dabbling in creative endeavors. Speaking of, this model is compatible with the Apple Pencil, meaning you don’t need to break the bank on an iPad Pro to get a feel for this advanced, artist-friendly stylus. Available in various configurations — Wi-Fi only or LTE models with either 32GB or 128GB of storage — every iPad also boasts a powerful processor and an impressive 10-hour battery life.

Best Tablet for Gaming

If you’re looking for a way to delve into a library of top-tier video games without being tethered to a PC or heavy-duty laptop, you might want to invest in the Microsoft Surface Pro 7. Admittedly, hardcore PC gamers might cringe at the idea of using a tablet — after all, most gaming tablets only offer access to iOS- and Android-compatible titles. The good news here? The Microsoft Surface Pro can access your entire library of Steam games, from Minecraft to Jackbox Games to Portal 2.

Photo Courtesy: Microsoft via Amazon

Of course, there are some trade-offs: While the Microsoft Surface Pro makes gaming a bit more portable, you’ll be running your favorite titles at a lower framerate than you would on a traditional PC or gaming laptop. Compatible with Microsoft’s Pro Signature Type keyboard, this tablet will feel comfortable for folks making the switch from laptop to tablet, allowing you to alternate between both configurations with ease. The bottom line? This lightweight tablet and its beautiful display won’t completely replace your gaming setup, but it’s certainly the best option on the market if you’re looking for on-the-go thrills.

Best Laptop Replacement for Work

While Apple’s iPad Pro is relatively unrivaled, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 is probably its biggest competitor — and for good reason. This high-end tablet features a beautiful 12.4-inch display, an incredible refresh rate and impressively top-tier speakers, which isn’t always something folks are paying attention to when investing in a tablet. While it may present a small learning curve to Apple loyalists, users who have experience with the Samsung Galaxy lineup of smartphones will feel right at home.

Photo Courtesy: Samsung via Amazon

One of the Tab S7’s biggest advantages over the iPad Pro is that, despite its higher price point, the tablet comes equipped with a better battery life than the Pro and a complimentary S Pen. Between Samsung’s well-reviewed stylus and the optional keyboard (with trackpad!), this tablet makes a great laptop replacement for folks who value quality and want something a little more portable but still workplace-friendly.

Best Tablet for Kids

Looking for something a bit more kid-friendly? The highly durable Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Editiontakes the cake for being the best tablet for the little ones in your family. With a sizable screen, quality HD resolution and a satisfying, easy-to-hold case, it’s amazing that this model comes in at such a budget-friendly price point. And, if you don’t want your kids to overdo it on screen time, you can use the FreeTime service to create time limits, filter content and set goals.

Photo Courtesy: Amazon

As an added perk, purchasing this tablet grants you a year of free access to Amazon Kids+, which features a staggering 20,000 apps, games, books, videos, audiobooks and other educational content from big names like PBS Kids and Disney. After that free year, an Amazon Kids+ subscription will run you just $2.99 per month, making this tablet an incredible value for parents who want to avoid the hidden costs that come with downloading games and making in-app purchases.

Best Tablet for Artists

Without a doubt, iPads have become synonymous with tablets, much in the same way iPhones have become a stand-in term for smartphones of all kinds. When that linguistic shift happens, you know the product in question is high-quality, and the latest Apple iPad Pro model might just be the most advanced tablet on the market. Coming in both 11-inch and 12.9-inch sizes, the iPad Pro might be a significant upgrade from Apple’s entry-level model, but it’s certainly worth the extra investment.

Photo Courtesy: Apple via Amazon

Sure, it’s Apple’s most expensive tablet, but it’s also designed from the ground up with creative professionals in mind. Unlike other tablets, this one caters to artists, both seasoned creators and newbies alike, and, when paired with the Apple Pencil, drawing and illustrating on the go have never been easier. This sleek, lightweight tablet also comes equipped with an impressive camera system, studio-quality microphones, a Liquid Retina display, a bionic chip that outpaces many PCs and a 10-hour battery life. Needless to say, Apple touts that "Your next computer is not a computer" — and we couldn’t agree more with that pitch.

Best E-Reader Tablet

While some folks might prefer the more page-like display of a Kindle or Nook e-reader, the Amazon Fire HD 10 offers up a two-in-one solution for users who want both a quality e-reader and a functional tablet. This model also boasts Amazon’s largest 1080p full HD display and, although it might not seem like it at first glance, we can attest that the widescreen design makes all the difference when it comes to streaming TV shows and movies.

Photo Courtesy: Amazon

Equipped with a 10-hour battery life, the Fire HD 10 will see you reading, scrolling through social media, listening to tunes and streaming videos for hours on end without being tethered to a charger. An added bonus? This tablet is fully compatible with Alexa. Thanks to Amazon’s virtual assistant, you’ll have instant access to all the info and entertainment the internet has to offer as well as the ability to use the device’s voice-operated Hands-Free Mode.