Best tablet 2019: slim, stylish and powerful slates


If you're looking for the very best tablet of 2019 you don't want to cut corners: you want something that's sleek, versatile, packed with power, and able to cope with everything you need it to do… and that's where T3 comes in.

Here we'll guide you to the very best tablets available today. From the best cheap tablets to the best Android tablets, and through the best tablets for kids and best iPads, this guide has you covered.

For a lot of people, a new 2019 Apple iPad Air is going to be the most appealing tablet, but the best tablet is actually going to be different for each person depending on their intended usage scenarios and budget. It really pays to take you time and properly evaluate exactly what you need from a tablet before pulling the trigger on a purchase.ADVERTISING

Luckily there's currently a whole host of top-quality tablets on the market right now, able to meet every budget and desired spec sheet – so no matter what your requirements are, we're sure you'll be able to find the best tablet for you below.

To make this ideal tablet discovery as easy as possible, we've also included some valuable buying advice that is geared to explaining exactly what you should be looking out for in a top tablet, be that shopping at the high-end or for a tablet for a kid.


Black Friday deals are coming and tablets are one of the product categories that, historically, we've seen the most action in, with a host of major retailers in the US and the UK slashing prices on super slates.

Tablet deal hunters should therefore pay close attention to the Amazon Black Friday dealsWalmart Black Friday dealsBest Buy Black Friday deals, and Currys Black Friday deals pages come the Black Event for the biggest reductions.

Insider gossip has also pointed to a strong Black Friday iPad deals, with talk of £140 being cut off the Apple iPad 9.7.

What we personally want to see is serious price cuts on the Apple iPad Mini, which remains one of the absolute best tablet experiences for our money on the market. Chances of that happening are high, but right now we haven't had any inkling of the scale of discount to expect. Keep your eyes glued to T3 from mid-November…


More than ever before, choosing a tablet is about choosing an ecosystem. If you plump for a Kindle Fire you're electing to join Amazon’s ecosystem, which is based on Android but does its own proprietary thing with its own proprietary App Store. 

Go for Android and you're betting on Google, even though Google's enthusiasm for tablets is tepid t the moment – it seems to prefer Chromebooks that also double as tablets. If you go for an iPad you're embracing Apple, and if you buy a Windows tablet you're going down the Microsoft road.

There are pros and cons of each. Apple and Amazon are the safest for kids, and Apple the most secure. Android has arguably the worst user experience, and Windows fewer really good tablet apps. But it really comes down to what you want to do, and what apps you intend to do it with.

As far as the hardware goes, screen size is perhaps the most important factor. Right now 7 inches seems too small when smartphones are just a fraction smaller, while anything over 11 inches is difficult to carry around. On-board storage can be paltry too, so look out for expansion options and/or good cloud storage services.


1. APPLE IPAD PRO 12.9 (2018)

If you need to go Pro, and need to go big, this is the only tablet for you

There's a top-level supporting suite of tech and features, too, including a capacious and long-lasting 9720 mAh battery, 6GB of RAM and 1TB of internal storage space, as well as 4K video capture functionality and support for Apple's great new Apple Pencil, too. The tablet runs the latest iOS and comes installed with four powerful speakers behind the screen, which make consuming media a joy.

In our review of the all new 12.9-inch Apple iPad Pro, T3's own Matt Bolton concluded that it is “the best tablet on the market – it's slick, the design is class-leading, and it's insanely powerful, which means it's only going to get more capable with updates as time goes on.” Enough said.


This technically the iPad Air 3, but is more like the second-gen 10.5-inch iPad Pro – it's that latter 2017 tablet that the 2019 version of the iPad Air is replacing in the Apple line-up. The dimensions and screen stay largely the same, but the internal processor gets a boost.

Apple Pencil support is here, but only for the first-gen stylus. There's smart connector for a keyboard too, so this is a slightly better proposition than the entry-level iPad for serious typists. It's also a little more expensive too, of course…

Price-wise and specs-wise this sits in the middle of the Apple iPad tablet range at the moment, and that should tell you all you need to know about whether it's the best tablet for you. It's a really good balance of price, performance and portability.


The best Android tablet in the world


As we noted in our official Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 review, this slate is the best Android tablet available today, combining powerful internal hardware with a quality bright and crisp screen, quality stylus that comes free in the box, and excellent (for a tablet) audio system.

Compare the Tab S4 to the above Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2018) and it gets clobbered, but then again you should fully expect that considering the Apple tablet costs twice as much as the Samsung slate. 

Compare the Tab S4 to the standard iPad, however, and things get a lot tighter with, for our money, the Samsung tablet just about getting the nod due to its superior hardware overall.

The fact of the matter is, though, that the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 is the best tablet for users already hooked into the Android ecosystem on the market today in 2019. Give the Tab S5e a look as well though (see below).


The iPad mini is now a little powerhouse of a tablet, packing in an incredible fast Apple A12 processor (the same as the iPad Air above, and the same generation as the iPad Pro, though in a less powerful form).

This turns the iPad mini into a fantastic creativity machine – with a wide-colour high-res display and Apple Pencil support, it’s a beautiful little machine for drawing on or editing photos. It’s capable of handling huge raw photography files, editing multiple 4K videos at once, creating music projects with loads of tracks… you name it, the iPad mini can power it.

Being such a small size and weighing barely anything, that makes it the ideal ‘throw it in your bag every day’ companion. It’s also great for games, of course, or entertainment (though the screen isn’t OLED, which makes it weaker for movie viewing than the Samsung Tab S4 above).

But while the iPad mini has all the strengths of iOS – including its huge collection of dedicated apps and stable performance even when multitasking – the smaller screen means it can’t always make the most of them. This isn’t suited to office-style productivity (spreadsheets, documents, etc), just due to the size of the screen and how that limits what you can see when multi-tasking. 

If it’s a versatile productivity machine you want, the iPad Air is better. If it’s a media-watching machine, the better speakers and OLED screen on the Samsung Tab S4 are maybe a better bet. But as a fun super-portable tablet you can do anything on, this is impossible to beat.

5. APPLE IPAD 9.7 (2018)

The 2018 iPad is the sweet spot in Apple’s current lineup: Pro features without the Pro price.

Absolutely one of the best tablets money can buy in 2019, the 2018 9.7-inch iPad is simply a cracking all-rounder, especially for the price.

The iPad is nearly an iPad Pro. Its screen is 9.7″ (compared to 11″ or 12.9″) and it makes do with a slower processor, but it's still very nippy and is going to save you a lot of money compared with the Pro (and Air) editions. In other words, you're not paying for powers and features you won't use. 

The cheapest iPad Pro is £619, or £769 for the 12.9-inch model. The iPad starts at £319. It's not a direct rival to the pricier Pro models, but you really need to be sure you need the marginally better camera, display and speakers if you're going to spend twice as much money on a Pro.

Read the full review: New Apple iPad (2018)

Adding a TrueTone screen and stereo speakers would make it more of a killer product but as it is, Apple still makes the mid-range tablet to beat. It's sure to continue to dominate its market, even if owners of iPads from the last few years have little reason to upgrade. Why buy anything else?
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