Best Gaming Tablets: The Ultimate Guide

Man playing on a table

It’s your nephew’s birthday, and your sister has hinted that he’d like a tablet to play Minecraft on this year. Or maybe your kid is always using your smartphone to play games, running down the battery, and keeping you from your important phone calls (or another round of Candy Crush). 

Christmas will be here before you know it and your boyfriend has mentioned that he’d like to get a tablet to play Fortnite. Well, then, it’s time to take a look at the best gaming tablets available.

​Comparison Table

Gaming Tablet FAQs

a boy is using a gaming tablets

image source: Unsplash

Before running out and purchasing the make and model the salesclerk suggests, you might want to have just a bit more information under your belt. Let’s break it down a little. 

  1. What is a gaming tablet?
  2. What features should you consider when buying a gaming tablet?
  3. How does a tablet work with games?
  4. How much do gaming tablets cost?

What Is A Gaming Tablet?

gaming tablet is merely a tablet for which the primary purpose is playing games rather than checking social media, streaming movies or reading ebooks.  It uses the touch-screen interactivity to involve the player in the game. Some tablets have optional gaming control additions. 

What Features Should You Consider When Buying A Gaming Tablet?

For you to get the best gaming experience you should consider the following features when deciding which tablet to buy:

  • OS (operating system)
  • Screen Size
  • Screen Resolution
  • CPU
  • RAM
  • Storage
  • Battery

OS (Operating System)

The operating system (os) determines which games you will be able to use on your tablet. 

iOS:​ 

Apple products use iOS. Many games are not compatible with iOS. Only about 24 percent of the tablet market uses iOS. 

Windows 10:​​

Windows 10 OS will run PC games without compatibility issues. These include games from Steam, Origin, Bethesda, and Blizzard. It can also run Google Play Store games with some modifications. Approximately 15 percent of the tablets on the market use the Windows 10 OS.

​Android:

​Android OS is compatible with Google Play. Using Steam, you can play most games available on your tablet with the Android OS if your device is powerful enough. Sixty-two percent of the tablets available use the Android OS.

​Fire OS:

​Amazon’s Kindle Fire uses the Fire OS which is compatible with the Android OS. It is heavily geared toward Amazon products, however.

Screen Size

There are two size classifications available for tablets. Tablets with smaller screen sizes, between seven and nine inches, tend to be less expensive and are more portable. If you plan to use your gaming tablet on the go, this might be a better option. 

Larger tablets, nine inches and up, typically have faster processors and provide a better viewing experience. Games feel more interactive on a larger screen, but tablets of that size are more expensive.

Screen Resolution

The higher the resolution, the sharper the display will be. Screen resolution is measured in pixels. Pixel density is essential in the overall quality of the resolution. The minimum resolution you should look for on your gaming tablet is 1800 X 1200 or about 1080p.

​CPU

​Not all games use the CPU intensively during play, although some such as Assassins Creed Origins and Final Fantasy VX do. Look for a dual-core CPU or a single-core CPU that's at least 1GHz.

​RAM

​Ram stands for Random Access Memory. Your gaming tablet should have at least 4GB for a good performance. For the best performance, 8GB is the best you can get with a tablet. Hybrid tablet/laptops may offer even more memory. More RAM means faster performance.

​STORAGE

​RAM is included in the disk space available. Therefore a tablet with 16GB might only have 12GB available for storage after the RAM is deducted. The larger the number, the more applications you can have on your tablet. Some tablets include SD card readers which will allow you to expand the device’s storage capacity. Look for at least 32GB of storage space.

​BATTERY

​Unless you want to be tethered to the socket, you should look for a battery life of about 10 hours of active use, certainly no less than 7 hours, before you need to recharge.

How Does A Tablet Work With Games?

Tablets have a touch-screen interface which makes gameplay more interactive. Game movements and selections are activated by a finger press or a stylus pen for more precision interaction. Some tablets can be connected to gaming controls as well. 

They are smaller than a laptop and more portable than desktop computers, so you can game and go. Tablets can be handheld or used with a stand. 

With some notable exceptions, the speakers are not as advanced as other gaming devices unless you use a gaming headset. 

How Much Do Gaming Tablets Cost?

Tablets can cost as much as $2000 or as low as $50. Android and Amazon Fire tablets can be purchased for around $100. These devices often have lower storage capability and smaller screens. 

Android tablets with a little more capability can be found around $200. Larger devices cost around $300. Better quality tablets are priced at about $400.

Anything over $400 is considered a high-end tablet. Tablets at this level could theoretically replace your laptop. The processors are faster, the screens are bigger, and there is typically more storage space available on high-end tablets.

How We Reviewed

pile of gaming tablet

image source: Unsplash

Based on the criteria that make up the specs of a great gaming tablet, we compared a variety of models to help you find the best tablet for your gaming preferences. We considered the OS (operating system), screen size and resolution, the CPU, RAM, and storage capacity, battery life and price to compile our list of the best gaming tablets on the market today. We also looked at the professional gamers’ opinions about their gaming experiences using these tablets. 

Overall Price Range For Gaming Tablets

The price for a gaming tablet varies greatly and is often dependent on the type of operating system the tablet has installed. It may not be in your best interest to choose the most expensive tablet if the operating system is not compatible with the games you want to play. A decent gaming tablet will cost depending on the type of game you play.

Top 6 Best Gaming Tablets

Microsoft Surface Pro 6

  • OS: Windows 10 Pro
  • Screen Size: 12.3-inch
  • Screen Resolution: 2736 x 1824
  • CPU: Intel Core m3, i5 or i7
  • RAM: 4/8/16GB 
  • Storage: 128/256/512GB or 1TB 
  • Battery: 13 hours of battery life
  • Pros: Plays PC games including Steam, Pairs with Xbox controllers and uses Xbox Play Anywhere
  • Cons: Expensive
  • Where to buy: Microsoft, Amazon, BestBuy
  • Warranty: One-year limited hardware warranty

The price for the Microsoft Surface Pro varies greatly depending on the amount of storage capability. With the Windows 10 Pro, you can play PC games on the tablet. Additional components include the surface dial, pen, type cover, and arc mouse.  

Apple 11-inch iPad Pro

  • OS: iOS
  • Screen Size: 11.0 inches
  • Screen Resolution: 1668 x 2388 pixels (~265 ppi density)
  • CPU: Octa-core (4x2.5 GHz Vortex + 4x1.6 GHz Tempest)
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 1TB, 6GB RAM or 64/256/512 GB, 4GB RAM
  • Battery: 7812 mAh up to 10 hours of battery life
  • Pros: Excellent screen resolution, can be connected to a controller 
  • Con: Expensive, cannot use Steam
  • Where to buy: Apple, Amazon, BestBuy, Verizon
  • Warranty: one-year warranty. Additional 2-year AppleCare+ warranty available.
  • Apple offers 18-month financing.

The Apple 11-inch iPad Pro has excellent screen resolution with Liquid Retina display technology. It also has one of the best audio setups with four speakers and stereo sound. Not necessary for gaming, but nifty nonetheless, the iPad Pro has a facial recognition authentication system. The A12 Bionic chip lets this tablet run faster than most computers, which is a definite plus in the gaming world. It can be used with the Apple pencil stylus. It has a USB-C to add external gaming controls. 

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4

  • OS: Android O
  • Screen Size: 10.5 inches
  • Screen Resolution: 1600 x 2560 pixels, 16:10 ratio (~287 ppi density) 
  • CPU: Octa-core (4x2.35 GHz Kryo & 4x1.9 GHz Kryo)
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 64/256 GB, 4GB RAM or 6GB RAM expandable up to 400GB via microSD card
  • Battery: 7300 mAh Up to 16 hours of video playback
  • Pros: Great sound quality and screen resolution, customizable 
  • Cons: Expensive, Google Play games only
  • Where to buy: BestBuy, Samsung, Amazon, Verizon
  • Warranty: one-year limited warranty on device, battery, and accessories

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 has four speakers, two on the top and two on the bottom of the tablet and uses surround sound with Dolby Atmos technology. It can be used with the S pen stylus. Super AMOLED display technology for a clear screen resolution. It also has a vast potential for memory storage with the SD card.

​Huawei MediaPad M5 10 Pro

  • OS: Android 8.0
  • Screen Size: 10.8 inches
  • Screen Resolution: 2560 x 1600 pixels, 16:10 ratio (~280 ppi density) 
  • CPU: Octa-core
  • RAM: 4GB 
  • Storage: 64/128GB, 4GB RAM
  • Battery:7500 mAh up to 11 hours of battery life
  • Pros: Good battery life, comes with a stylus pen, affordable 
  • Cons: Issues with Bluetooth/wifi
  • Where to buy: Amazon
  • Warranty: One-year limited warranty

The Huawei MediaPad M5 10 Pro has a 2.5D curved edge display for more extensive views and high-resolution viewing. The Quad stereo speakers create an exceptional audio experience and support HiFi headphones. It can be used with the M Pen stylus. It takes less than 3 hours to charge fully. It even has advanced fingerprint recognition technology.

​Asus ZenPad 3S 10

  • OS: Android Marshmallow
  • Screen Size: 9.7-inch
  • Screen Resolution: 1536 x 2048
  • CPU: MediaTek Hexa-core processor
  • RAM: 4GB 
  • Storage: 32/64GB up to 128GB with micro SD card
  • Battery: 5900 mAh battery with up to 10 hours of battery life
  • Pros: Fast gameplay, great screen resolution, can be used with a stylus
  • Cons: Less than ideal speakers
  • Where to buy: Asus, Amazon, BestBuy, 
  • Warranty: One-year limited

The Asus ZenPad has only two speakers with DTS HD Premium Sound but is compatible with DTS headphones which improves the audio experience. High-speed gameplay with 6250 image GPU and 5-finger recognition. Best of all, it has ZenUI Game Genie pop up toolbar and built-in system enhancement boosters for live streaming your games.

​Amazon Fire HD 10

  • OS: Fire OS
  • Screen Size: 10.1-inch
  • Screen Resolution: 1920 x 1200 (1080p HD ~224 ppi density)
  • CPU: Quad-Core up to 1.8 GHz
  • RAM: 2GB 
  • Storage: 32/64GB internal storage expandable by up to 256 GB using microSD
  • Battery: Up to 10 hours
  • Pros: Affordable, great screen resolution, durable, quick charge
  • Cons: Uses Fire OS which limits gaming options
  • Where to buy: Amazon, BestBuy, Target
  • Warranty: One-year limited warranty. There are optional 1, 2, and 3-year extended warranty available.
  • Coupons/deals: Comes with Alexa

The Amazon Fire HD 10 has Dolby Atmos dual stereo speakers. It’s more durable than some of the other models, so a great option for kids. It charges completely in under five hours. It certainly is less expensive.

The Verdict

It’s hard to pinpoint which gaming tablet is best for you. If you prefer playing PC games, then the Microsoft Surface Pro 6 is your best option. If you are buying a tablet for a child, a less expensive Kindle Fire will work well. 

The Apple 11-inch iPad Pro is a quality product but not have the gaming compatibility you find on an Android tablet. For fast gaming and neat gaming features, the Asus ZenPad 3S 10 fits the bill. If you are looking for something that charges quickly, then consider the Huawei MediaPad M5 10 Pro. 

Keeping the critical recommended features that optimize your gaming experience in mind, feel free to explore these and other gaming tablet options to find the one that meets your needs and pocketbook.  

​Featured image source: Unsplash

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