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Consumer Reports: Best Tablets of 2022

CR's testers weigh in on the latest models from Amazon, Apple, and Samsung
Consumer Reports
/ Source: Consumer Reports

This article is part of our Best Product Reviews series, a collaboration with Consumer Reports. Shop TODAY and Consumer Reports are editorially independent. If you purchase something through our links, we both earn a commission. Pricing and availability are accurate as of publish time. Learn more about Shop TODAY and Consumer Reports

People buy tablets for very different reasons.

In our tablet ratings, you’ll find devices that cost less than $100 that are great for lightweight “tablet-y” tasks like browsing the web, watching videos, and reading e-books.

You’ll also find models that cost 10 times as much that are so powerful they can practically replace your laptop. Of course, not everyone needs a super-powerful tablet, and most people don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars to get one they’ll enjoy.

That’s where we come in. Every year Consumer Reports buys and tests tablets released by manufacturers including Amazon, Apple, and Samsung. We evaluate them on a range of criteria, including battery life, performance, and the quality of their display.

We also factor in reliability and owner satisfaction data collected through surveys of our members. Apple, which helped popularize tablets with the launch of the original iPad in 2010, is well-represented in this list of the best tablets of 2022, in part because of the company’s high reliability score.

This list doesn’t include any machines that run the Windows operating system. Two-in-one laptops like the Microsoft Surface are switch-hitters, and you can find a number of them in our laptop ratings, accessible to CR members.

Here, we’ve rounded up the best options for people who just want a pure tablet. We’ve selected highly rated models at various prices, starting with the least expensive options.

Best Amazon Tablet

If you’re looking to add another screen to the house for simple tasks, the 10-inch Amazon Fire HD 10 is hard to beat.

It’s more than powerful enough to stream Netflix or Disney+, play simple games like Minecraft, and scroll through social media. It weighs 1 pound and has a battery that lasts 16.5 hours in our web browsing tests. It has 32GB of built-in storage, which isn’t a lot, but the inclusion of a microSD card slot means you can add more storage as needed. The display should be fine for casual use.

There’s also a bonus for families: The tablet supports robust parental controls that allow you to set limits on when your child can use the device and which types of apps are accessible for social networking and web browsing.

Amazon fire tablets do come with a trade-off, though. The Fire HD 10 uses the Amazon app store instead of the Google Play store. This means that a number of familiar Android apps (like the official Gmail app) aren’t available, so you’ll have to turn to alternatives. But we don’t think it will be a big hurdle for most people.

Amazon Fire HD 10 32 GB (2021)

Best iPad for Most People

At $300, this Apple iPad (64GB) 2021—which Apple refers to simply as the “iPad”—is one of the better values in consumer electronics, especially if you’re already firmly inside the Apple ecosystem.

The 10.2-inch display is among the best in our ratings and gets bright enough to be legible in direct sunlight. That’s handy for summertime reading at the beach or in the backyard. The battery lasts 11.3 to 14.5 hours depending on how you use it, according to our tests. Watching high-res video can be more taxing on the battery, while browsing the web isn’t as demanding.

The iPad also supports Apple’s Smart Keyboard cover, a physical keyboard that magnetically clips onto the tablet. Unlike a Bluetooth keyboard, this one doesn’t require charging or pairing, which comes in handy when you frequently use your iPad for emailing and word-processing tasks.

Apple iPad (64GB)-2021

Best Android Tablet

You can spend more for a faster tablet with an even more beautiful screen, but the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite should be a perfect fit for a majority of people. It gets above-average ratings for performance and display quality, and the best part may be the price. Retailing for around $330 (the same as the entry-level iPad), the S6 Lite may be the best value for an Android tablet right now.

The S6 Lite has a 10.4-inch screen, which is just north of medium-sized without verging into the unwieldy territory of bigger models. It lasts 12.2 hours in our web-browsing battery test and comes with 128GB of built-in storage.

If you need additional storage, you can throw in a microSD card. For a bit more money, you could instead pick up the regular Galaxy Tab S6, which scores a little higher for performance but sacrifices some battery life in exchange.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite (128 GB) Wifi

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 (128GB) Wi-Fi (out of stock)

Best Premium Android Tablet

The Galaxy Tab S8 could be a great choice for people who want to use it for work, whether that’s manipulating spreadsheets or editing video. It earns an outstanding score for performance and has a great display. What really sets it apart is the battery life, with a generous 13.5 hours of web-browsing time in CR testing. Like Samsung’s other tablets, it comes with 128GB of storage that’s expandable thanks to the microSD card slot. Professional tablets come at professional prices; it costs about $700 when it’s not on sale.

At 11 inches, the screen should be more than big enough for most people. (It may be too big for some.) But if you’re doing work that calls for even more real estate, you could try the Galaxy Tab S8+, which is very similar aside from its 12.4-inch screen and shorter battery life. There’s also the S8 Ultra, the biggest tablet in our ratings. It has an enormous 14.6-inch display and a super-sized $1,300 price.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 (128 GB, Wifi)

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8+ (5G, 128GB)

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra (128 GB, Wifi)

Best Tablet for Pro Use

There’s no denying it: The Apple iPad Pro (12.9-inch) is at the pinnacle of what a tablet can be. It’s incredibly powerful. But the bleeding edge of performance and design doesn’t come cheap. Prices start at $1,100, and you can add $200 to that if you want the model with built-in 5G wireless networking.

The generous 12.9-inch display features new Mini LED technology that can produce much better black levels than traditional LCD screens. (No other tablet uses Mini LED, though the tech is found in some TVs and laptops.) Our testers find the display to have very accurate colors, good contrast levels, and very wide viewing angles, meaning the picture is vibrant and sharp even when seen from an angle. That’s helpful if a couple of people are watching a movie together.

The performance is very strong, as you might expect from a tablet aimed at professional users and powered by Apple’s M1 processor. Editing video, playing demanding games, writing code—that’s all easily possible here.

Note that Apple also makes an 11-inch version of the iPad Pro that starts at $800, but it doesn’t use Mini LED tech. Apple’s iPad Air, which has a 10.9-inch display, slots in between the entry-level iPad and the Pro in terms of features and performance, and starts at $600.

Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (128GB) - 2021

Apple iPad Pro 11 (128GB) - 2021

Apple iPad Air (64GB)-2022

Best Tablet for Kids

The first thing you’ll notice about the Amazon Fire Kids Edition is the robust, cheerfully colored rubber case. That should make it tough enough for a fall, but for those with kids skilled in the art of destruction, Amazon has an equally powerful warranty. Just send it back to Amazon if it breaks in the first two years and Amazon gives you another. There’s no limit within that two years on how many replacements you can get. Note that the coverage doesn’t protect against loss or theft. You’ll also get the great parental controls that come with Amazon’s other tablet.

This is basically just an Amazon Fire 7. You can get a regular one for cheaper, but the warranty may be worth the extra $50 alone. This tablet also comes with a one-year subscription to Amazon Kids+, which gives you and your kids access to thousands of kid-friendly movies, TV shows, books, and apps. Better yet, Amazon’s robust parental controls allow you to create different profiles for different kids, setting hard limits on what each can look at, and when and how long the tablet can be used.

Though we haven’t tested other Kids Edition models, Amazon also sells Fire 8 HD and Fire 10 versions with rubber bumpers, the two-year worry-free guarantee, and the free year of Kids+.

Amazon Fire Kids Edition (16GB)

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