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Amazon Fire HD 10 (2017)

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Apple iPad 9.7

When Apple released the iPad in 2010, almost everyone wanted one for its large screen and faster processing power. However, as the years passed the tablet market slowly shrunk as phone screens became larger.

But Apple hasn’t given up on tablets.

The iPad Pro offered even more screen space, higher specs and touch sensitivity that rivals drawing tablet. Unfortunately, the price tag scared off regular users.

That’s why Apple has unveiled the 9.7-inch iPad, an affordable tablet that has some of the bells and whistles of the pro at a more reasonable cost.

Does it cut costs without sacrificing the high-end Apple experience? Reviews are rolling in! Let’s see what they’re saying.

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Apple iPad Pro 12.9

Apple revolutionized the digital world with the iPhone and upped the ante with the release of the first iPad. It’s no surprise why they dominate the tablet market.

But for the past few years sales and demand have declined as phones have gotten larger...

They released the iPad Pro 12.9 back in 2015 to tap into a larger market—people who want a laptop replacement.

With the release of the 2017 iPad Pro 12.9, Apple hopes to bolster the original’s goal.

Does it work? Let’s see what reviewers are saying!

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 9.7

Taking aim at the iPad, Samsung’s latest tablet claims to offer the best of a laptop and tablet in one. But few Android tablets have yet to compete in the market against the iPad and with the bounty of affordable options out there, does a premium tablet make it worth the investment?

Reviews are rolling in for Samsung’s new flagship tablet and we’ve scoured them all to bring you this summary!

Let’s see what they’re saying…

If you’re expecting a larger version of Samsung’s Galaxy S8, the design of the Galaxy Tab S3 9.7 might disappoint. It sticks to the 7-series design aesthetic with chunky bezels and physical buttons along the bottom of the display.

That said, while reviewers weren’t hugely impressed by the design of the tablet, they loved its lightweight and how the glass back felt in their hands. Unfortunately, they also found that the glass back was horrible for fingerprints.

Heading around front, the reviews get better. The 9.7-inch 1536-by-2048 AMOLED screen impressed most reviewers. While the display is HDR-ready, reviewers had trouble sourcing HDR content. And the 4:3 screen ratio means you’ll be dealing with black bars when watching video.

However, this is balanced by ultra-rich colors and a display that looks good both in dim lighting or broad daylight. Pocket Lint summed up opinions well, saying, “... the point to take away from the S3's screen is that it's as good as any competitor. It's resolute, plenty bright and images really seem to pop from its surface.”

The design isn’t the only thing borrowed from a past release—the 2.15Ghz octa-core Snapdragon 820 processor is from last year’s flagship line as well. Fortunately, when paired with 4GB of RAM, no one complained about performance.

The tablet’s four speakers lead to high marks for gaming and media viewing while the included S Pen earned praise on the productivity front. While the tablet might not be a complete laptop replacement, reviews show it’s flexible.

Storage space is a mixed bag. While the tablet offers 32GB of storage, nearly 10GB is reserved for the system files. If you need more space, you'll need a microSD card.

The tablet runs Android 7.0 Nougat. Reviews on Samsung’s TouchWiz were mixed. While most felt it was simple enough to use, many questioned why they didn’t use their newer interface and found the duplicated apps frustrating.

If you’re hoping to use your tablet for video chat, the front-facing 7MP camera was a hit. However, the 13MP camera didn’t fare as well. Most reviewers had issues getting clear shots in anything other than bright daylight.

While many reviewers questioned the 6,000mAh battery included in the tablet, no one complained about battery life. TechRadar put it through its paces and said, “Samsung says the Tab S3 has enough juice for 12 hours of video playback, and that claim is just about backed up by our testing, with 30 minutes difference between what we saw and the official estimate.”

Overall, reviews are positive. While the tablet includes the updated S Pen, it doesn’t include a keyboard. So if you’re planning serious productivity work, expect to shell out more than the sticker price. However, outside of price, there was little to find fault with. TechRadar summarized thoughts well, saying, “It’s the best Android tablet today, but just be aware that its solid entertainment value leans more heavily on the tablet side of its 2-in-1 classification, at the expense of your productivity efforts.”

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Samsung Galaxy Book 12

While Samsung is a leader in the smartphone market, their tablets and hybrids have had trouble keeping up. Their latest release, the Samsung Galaxy Book 12, hopes to change that.

The hybrid includes both a keyboard and pen out of the box—something you won’t find with competitors. But does the performance and experience make the savings worth it?

Reviewers have had time to test out this new release and we’ve scoured what they’re saying to bring you this summary!

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Microsoft Surface Pro 5

Offering both laptop-like performance and an ultra-portable, lightweight package, Microsoft’s Surface redefined the hybrid experience. Their latest release features fewer major upgrades and more refinement compared to the differences between earlier models.

Does the Surface still have what it takes to keep the competition at bay? Reviewers are chiming in with their thoughts on their power new piece of kit.

Let’s see what they’re saying!

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ZTE Grand X View 2

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LG G Pad IV 8.0 FHD

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Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 (2017)

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Lenovo Moto Tab

Tools & Resources

Not sure what to look for in a tablet? Check out some of our in-depth guides, comparison tools, & resources!

Common Questions

If your tablet and smartphone run the same operating system (Apple iOS, Google Android, Microsoft Windows 10, etc) there’s a good chance that both devices will be compatible with the same apps.

However, if the app isn’t optimized for the larger screen size of the tablet, you might notice it doesn’t look the same. While less common now thanks to improvements in how apps are made, there might be a tablet-specific version of your favorite app to download as well.

For most a tablet 9-inches or larger is ideal for productivity. Most tablets are still weak multitaskers. By having a larger screen size, you can take advantage of any split screen capabilities to make multitasking simpler. A larger screen also allows you to view documents, images or spreadsheets without constant scrolling or zooming.

If you intend to use your tablet primarily in an office setting, even larger options--such as the Apple iPad Pro--offer increased ability to dig into your work. At 12+ inches, these tablets are not ideal for portability. There’s also the substantial cost to consider. Before making an investment in this tier, find a retailer that will give you some hands-on time with the device.

This question is best answered depending on where you want to watch movies or games.

Planning to watch on the go? A six-inch tablet makes it easy to just toss your tablet in your bag or set it up on your tray table on the plane. While the screen won’t be a massive upgrade over many flagship smartphones, it will still make a large difference in the immersion and enjoyment of your favorite media.

Planning to watch at home? A nine-inch tablet is great for getting into your favorite TV shows or making the latest mobile games come alive. Most are comfortable to hold while you watch though a small stand will help for those all-night Netflix binges or Candy Crush marathons.

YES! Not only are they available, most are very affordable. If you’re looking for an ultra-rugged option, Amazon’s Fire for Kids is a great choice with its foam case and extended warranty, it’s ready for anything tiny hands might dish out. Other leading options include the Fuhu Nabi series, the Kurio series and LeapFrog’s full-feature tablets.

Kids’ tablets are still hit or miss in performance and quality. If you’re looking for the full tablet experience, be sure to check that the tablet supports one of the major app stores before purchasing. The ability to expand memory will also help with tap-happy little fingers.

Most tablets will perform basic functions with no need for an Internet connection. However, many free apps earn their income through advertising, this means you cannot use the app without a connection unless you pay for the premium edition of the app.

Other common tasks that require an Internet connection include social media apps, web browsing and music or video streaming.

No - in fact, outside the flagship markets, many tablets do not support data service at all. If you’re not sure, check the specifications for the tablet for any mentions of SIM support. As with your mobile phone, data plans for tablets will require a monthly payment in most cases to remain active. Looking for suggestions? You can view all of our summaries for 4G-compatible tablets here!

Not sure how much data you might need? Our guide for choosing a smartphone data plan applies to data-enabled tablets as well!

Yes and no. There are a few features that will determine how “phone-like” your tablet behaves.

The biggest issue is mobile data. Without it, you can only receive calls when in Wi-Fi range. Even still, you’re likely limited to an app instead of a dedicated phone number through a carrier. However, most tablets feature microphones and loudspeakers, making them great voice-over-IP options. Popular apps include Skype, Line2 and Google Voice.

You also have the issue of holding a huge tablet up to your head to talk. For most, a Bluetooth headset is a must. If you’re not sure where to start, we offer an in-depth buyer’s guide for Bluetooth Headsets!

If you’re looking for a true phone experience with the large-screen convenience of a tablet, you’re probably better looking for a large smartphone or ‘phablet.’ You can view summaries for many of the best options here!

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