Best Gaming Tablet in 2021
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Gaming has more than evolved in recent times moving away from the more traditional boxy console that sits underneath your TV to more portable devices that can even access titles straight from the cloud. While mobile gaming has settled for more less graphically intensive games that require minimal controls, gaming on a tablet can sometimes mirror that of playing a console in the palm of your hands.
With this piece, we aim to provide you with the best gaming tablet around coupled with a bunch of other great picks so that you can get your game on without having to go down the traditional route of being tied to a large console.
In curating this list of the best gaming tablets, we wanted to make sure that you got the best of both worlds in terms of performance and screen size so that you can game effectively. We also wanted to cater to different budgets so the tablets in this roundup should be applicable to not only those looking for higher-end models but also those that have a bit of a stricter budget.
Best Gaming Tablets
Best Gaming Tablet
Apple iPad Pro 11″
As we’re sure you’re aware by now, Apple puts a lot of care into the design of their products, whether that’s their phones or in this case, tablets. But what they also create are extremely powerful tablets that last the test of time. This is especially true when it comes to gaming thanks to the processors and in-built graphics they’re able to pack into their devices. This makes an Apple iPad an excellent gaming tablet even considering the cost. The model of iPad that we think offers up the best overall gaming capabilities is the iPad Pro 11” so let’s get into why.
First off, as always, the screen quality is exceptional on this iPad. It boasts an 11-inch edge-to-edge Liquid Retina display which is not only large enough for you to game effectively on, it’s also rich in detail and emits strong, vivid colors. Moreover, thank s to it being edge to edge, you can feel a sense of immersion that you wouldn’t really get from a mobile gaming device.
In terms of gaming performance, Apple has packed in its incredible A12Z Bionic chip with Neural Engine which is more than capable of running all of the games on the App Store with ease as well as being futureproof for most titles that will come in the near future.
Battery life hovers around 9 to 10 hours depending on how hard you push the iPad Pro which is a solid chunk of time and more than you’d probably need for an average gaming session on a tablet.
Obviously, you’re going to have to be a little shackled by the iOS operating system but if you’re an Apple fan and already have other products from the company, this tablet should feel right at home.
Best Android Gaming Tablet
Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite
Samsung develops a whole host of tablets that are suitable for gaming but in our opinion, the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite is a great balance between cost vs performance and the one you should opt for.
Similar to that of the iPad above, it sports a 10.4” screen that’s not hindered by any buttons, making it edge to edge. This definitely makes for a better gaming experience and give more of a TV or monitor feel to the tablet. The resolution you can expect from the display is 2000×1200, improving on the 1080p full HD screens you typically see. This is certainly welcomed and you can see the difference in the crisp details when playing those more graphically intense titles.
When looking under the hood at what this gaming tablet is capable of, it leverages an Octa-Core Exynos 9610 processor in conjunction with 4GB RAM to create a silky smooth gaming experience in a vast majority of titles. This is a little surprising considering the cost and is perfect for those that have a somewhat limited budget.
For how long you can expect the S6 Lite last in the battery department, it boasts up to 12 hours which is particularly fantastic and something that could sway those looking to play for longer sessions.
Best Budget Gaming Tablet
Lenovo Tab M10 Plus
If our Samsung pick wasn’t budget enough for you and you’re on a bit of a stricter leash, the Lenovo Tab M10 Plus could be the exact tablet for gaming you’ve been looking for. It comes in under $200 which seems mind-boggling considering that the specs Lenovo has crammed into this thing are nothing short of stellar.
Looking initially at the screen, it again has that edge to edge feel that our two more expensive choices above have, and will cater to your gaming needs. It’s also 10.3 inches in size making it plenty big enough for you to see in-game details and HUDs. The only place it really falls down is the resolution as it does max out at 1080p. However, when gaming on a tablet, going above 1080p for gaming doesn’t make the same jump as it would on the big screen and therefore, is perfectly acceptable.
For the processing specs, you’re looking at an Octa-Core chip with up to 2.3 GHz main frequency for quick performance. This is more than respectable and should be plenty good enough for the average gamer wanting to play titles on their tablet. It also boasts 4GB RAM which, considering the budget nature of the Lenovo, is astounding.
Up to this point, there’s been no real downside to the M10 Plus but here’s where it might be a dealbreaker for you. The battery life, unfortunately, is limited to a maximum of 7 hours which when put under high-performance games could be reduced even further. Like we’ve mentioned, this could be a dealbreaker for some but if you want those shorter sessions, it’s not too annoying.
Best All-Round Gaming Tablet
Apple iPad Air 10.5″ 4th Generation
While we’ve stated that we think the iPad Pro details the best overall gaming performance, we also think that the iPad Air 10.5” deserves a spot on our best gaming tablet roundup.
The iPad Air is kind of like a baby brother to that of the iPad Pro both in terms of specs and price but is still a top tier gaming tablet in its own right. It similarly boasts that edge-to-edge Liquid Retina display of the iPad Pro but it is a tiny bit smaller coming in at 10.9 inches. This means you know you’re getting crystal clear clarity when loading up those games and will be able to see every bit of detail.
For the processor, Apple chose to throw in the A14 Bionic chip with 64-bit architecture Neural Engine which is incredibly powerful; and will definitely satisfy your gaming requirements. Moreover, the battery life of the Air is pretty great too, giving you 10 hours to jump into your favorite titles.
Again, you’re obviously a little limited when it comes to iOS compared to Android but you shouldn’t fret too much because of this.
Best Windows Gaming Tablet
Microsoft Surface Pro 7
Finally, let’s talk about the Surface Pro 7. While you might associate the Surface range with productivity, these tablets are also solid gaming devices. This particular model offers up serious internal specs with the screen to boot.
The display on the Surface Pro 7 is the largest we’ve seen so far coming in at 12.3 inches and when gaming on a tablet the bigger the screen the better. There are no buttons on there too making it edge to edge.
There’s a 10th generation Intel i5 CPU in the Surface Pro 7 which is a hell of a lot of processing power for a tablet and probably more than you’ll need for simply gaming. Speaking of gaming though, the graphics that Microsoft has utilized are Intel Iris Plus which are top of the line at this current moment.
The big downside to a tablet of this ilk though is that it doesn’t have the same style OS as Apple or Android devices. This could be a huge plus with Windows installed instead, allowing you to access more high-performance games, but if you’re looking for more of a mobile gaming experience, maybe this tablet isn’t for you.
Things To Consider
The major drawback to gaming tablets is that you don’t get the luxury of a massive screen. This is obviously to make it a more portable gaming solution rather than having to be encumbered with a bunch of tech to carry. So, if you do want that bigger screen experience, you’re probably going to want to maximize the screen real estate your tablet has.
We think around 10 inches is the sweet spot for gaming tablets as this allows for you to be seeing what’s going on in-game and not have to squint. Of course, you can go larger than this but that will affect portability.
There are two main operating systems when it comes to gaming tablets – iOS and Android. Obviously, iOS is limited to simply Apple products but Android is used throughout a plethora of different gaming tablets with varying specs to accompany it.
There are the usual drawbacks to an iOS gaming tablet being limited in its customization and a number of different settings. But, this has improved in recent times and Apple has opened up a bit of tweaking you can do. Without a doubt though, if you want a more budget option then an Android gaming tablet is your go-to and might even be better than iOS options in some peoples’ opinion.
Apple iPad Pro 11″
All in all, there’s not really any doubt that the iPad Pro is the route to go down if you want the best gaming tablet. This is down to the incredible 11” display coupled with the raw power that’s more than capable of coping with any tablet games. However, if you’re not really a fan of Apple or want a tablet that has a lower cost, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite is a solid alternative bringing to the table everything you realistically need to game on the go as well as that Android operating system that many do prefer.