Tablets are among the best devices for lounging on the sofa, browsing through e-books, going on a leisurely shopping spree or playing a game and forgetting the rest of the world. The devices must be handy, have a strong battery, and the display should be first-class.
The Apple iPad Pro 11 inch (2021) can assert itself in most areas and is at the top of the best list as our test winner. The high-end tablet is also quite expensive. Among the Android tablets, there are many robust and cheaper alternatives. And if this selection is not enough for you, we will give you enough tips and buying advice below so that you can finally find your top personal model on your way through the variety of offers.
Top Tablets 2022: Recommended Tablet PCs
The CHIP test centre constantly tests the most exciting models from the relevant manufacturers for our tablet leaderboard. Very different devices are tested: prices range from around 50 euros to well over 1,000 euros, and 7-inch tablets are just as represented as 11- and 12-inch flat computers. So that you can find your personal favourites, this article provides test reports on the most important representatives, purchase advice, tips and answers to frequently asked questions.
First, as an introduction, an overview of some of the most exciting tablets from the CHIP leaderboard. We will then present the top devices from the most prominent manufacturers.
Is there not the right product for you in our recommendations? Then try our step-by-step guide to find the right tablet for you.
Tablet Test Winner: iPad Pro 11 inch (2021)
- Extreme performance
- Perfect battery life
- Top display
- iPadOS reduces the purpose
- Long loading time
The Apple iPad Pro 11 inch (2021) (for price comparison) remains at the top of our tablet leaderboard. The current generation of devices again achieved top marks for the display and the performance in the test. The processor is new because the iPad is now equipped with a notebook chip, the Apple M1. It ensures excellent results: The Apple iPad Pro is twice as fast as the Android competition and can also handle computationally intensive tasks. The 11-inch display offers a high resolution, good test values for brightness and contrast, and a 120 Hertz refresh rate.
The equipment is at a high level; we only find the iPad OS to be somewhat limited, so that not everything can be got out of the tablet. Instead of the Lightning interface, there is USB-C, the camera quality is excellent, and in terms of storage space, you have several options between 128 GB and 2 TB. Mobile internet via 5G is also optional. In the browser’s runtime test, the battery lasted more than 14.5 hours and was recharged in 2.5 hours.
You can get the cheapest version of the Apple iPad Pro 11 inch with 128 GB of memory and without 5G Internet for around 820 euros; the most expensive version is around 2,000 euros. We tested the model with 512 GB of memory and 5G Internet, and you can get this for about 1,300 euros.
Tablet Price Tip: Samsung Galaxy Tab A7
- Low price
- Solid mid-range performance
- Long battery life
- Long battery charging time
- Auto brightness is too dark
The Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 (for price comparison) is now a bit older but offers excellent value for money. The mid-range model is still great for everyday use. The 10.4-inch IPS LC display provides a 2,000 x 1,200 pixels resolution and, therefore, a good pixel density. The maximum brightness is not exceptionally high, and the colour spaces and contrasts are not spectacular either. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 processor does not offer high-end performance, but it can easily handle everyday tasks – gaming, on the other hand, somewhat less.
The memory of 32 GB can be expanded using a microSD memory card; USB-C and a separate jack connection are available as interfaces. The cameras are suitable for video conferences, but the image quality drops significantly, especially in darker environments. The acceptable four speakers offer stereo sound, and the functionality for LTE Internet is available as an option. In the test, we measure the excellent battery life of 14:16 hours in online mode – the charging time is quite long at 05:31 hours. The Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 is available for around 200 euros.
Test Winner Alternative: The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8
- Powerful 120Hz display
- Outstanding Android performance
- Long battery life
- No power adapter included
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 (for price comparison) is the best Android tablet in our list of the best and can also compete with some of the top iPads from Apple. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor plays a large part in this. While it doesn’t come close to Apple’s M1 notebook chip, the performance is still excellent and suitable for both work apps and gaming. The 11-inch LC display is sharp, and there are no stutters thanks to the 120-inch refresh rate. Maximum brightness, contrast and colour space coverage are also high.
The memory size can be selected between 128 and 256 GB but can also be expanded with a MicroSD memory card. The tablet comes with or without 5G mobile internet functionality. The latest radio standards are on board, and the Samsung S Pen is included in the scope of delivery. The quality of the cameras is also convincing.
We measured battery life of around 13 hours online, which is good. With the appropriate power pack, which unfortunately is not included, the battery is recharged in less than 2 hours.
With 128 GB of memory and without mobile Internet, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 costs around 750 euros in the cheapest version, and you pay about 950 euros for the fully equipped variant.
Mid-range tip: Xiaomi Pad 5
- Excellent battery life and charging time
- Good performance
- Beautiful LC display with 120 Hz
- No WLAN-ax and no USB 3.0
- Brightness and contrast could be better
- No mobile version is available
The Xiaomi Pad 5 (for price comparison) is a robust mid-range tablet that scores particularly well in terms of battery life. In the test with simulated browser use, the battery lasted for over 16 hours. The tablet is fully recharged in 2:42 hours with the included power adapter. There is the best battery rating for that. But the Xiaomi Pad 5 is also convincing in the other areas. The performance of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 860 processor is not at the top level. However, the tablet performs well and can handle almost any task. There are certain limitations only in high-end gaming.
The display is good too. A resolution of 2,560 by 1,600 pixels is offered on 11 inches, which results in a sharp image. The 120 Hertz refresh rate also enables smooth scrolling. The brightness is not relatively as high as in the top models, and the contrast is rather mediocre.
Looking at the equipment, not everything is at the upper-class level; for example, WiFi 6 is missing. In addition, the USB-C port does not have USB 3.0 but only an older standard. You can choose between variants with 128 or 256 GB of storage space with no 5G functionality. You pay around 350 euros for the 128 GB model of the Xiaomi Pad 5, which is a reasonable price.
Size and operating system are the most critical tablet classes.
Tablets come in a wide range of size classes. With a 7-inch display diagonal, most miniature models have just the dimensions of a larger smartphone but are usually not that expensive. At the other end of the scale are 12.9-inch models like Apple’s iPad Pro 12.9. It’s now even more significant, so the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra (for the test) with a 14.6-inch display is positioned as a notebook replacement. Or it’s a 2-in-1 tablet; we have a separate leaderboard for those devices.
The suitable device for you depends on your carrying capacity and the intended use. Large tablets weigh up to 700 grams, which you don’t always want to have with you when you’re on the go. You don’t have this problem with a mini-tablet weighing less than 300 grams, but if you want to take handwritten notes or even actively draw, a 7-inch display doesn’t offer enough free space.
The second significant classification possibility is the operating system. In Germany, most tablet users use the Android system ( over 60 per cent, according to Statista ), and almost everyone else uses Apple’s iOS. Android and iOS users cannot use their usual Windows PC software on the new mobile device.
However, the tablet could also be expanded into a small mobile workstation with an additional keyboard and mouse. And the mobile operating systems are, of course, not compatible with each other. That’s not a big problem, though. Both in the Google Play Store (Android) and the Apple App Store(iOS), there are countless applications from all areas that are cheap and, for the most part, even free of charge – even if you often pay with your attention to the built-in advertising or data instead of with money.
Tablets are available in very different sizes – this is firstly a cost factor and secondly affects practicality.
It Would Help If You Considered This When Buying A Tablet.
If you are about to make a purchase decision and wonder which tablet might be the right one for you, a look at the CHIP tablet leaderboard is undoubtedly helpful. But even if you can’t find the model you want there, the technical data already provide essential information. These are not always found in the desired depth in advertising brochures, and we recommend visiting the manufacturer’s website, where more detailed information is usually listed.
Price comparisons via portals such as BestCheck also help. Firstly, here you have an overview of the current prices. And secondly, you will usually find a lot of shop pages, and it increases the chance of finding the desired technical data (or additional visual material for viewing) somewhere. Our test procedure has four main aspects: display, performance, battery, and equipment.
The correct display: It depends on the resolution
The factor with the highest weighting in the CHIP test procedure is the display. As far as technology is concerned, LC displays with IPS (in-plane switching) are the most widespread standard today. If you find this abbreviation in the product description, you can assume at least good contrast values and usable viewing angle stability. And that’s common even with cheap models. You don’t have to fall back on the noticeably weaker TN panels in this price segment. The outdated technology is no longer used often and only in very cheap models.
Now and then, you will also come across AMOLED or Super AMOLED (active-matrix organic light-emitting diode). Both promise exceptional colour brilliance, a deep black value and strong contrasts. The technology also keeps these promises, but that doesn’t mean that conventional IPS panels are no longer justified. They still achieve excellent ratings with a high pixel density and high luminosity.
Personal inspection also plays a vital role in terms of display quality. What one admires as a dazzling blaze of colour, another considers unrealistic, shrill colourfulness. Therefore our tip: Whenever you have the opportunity to look at the display before you buy it – do it.
Performance: Sufficient power should not be missing
The main engine and most influential performer is the central processing unit with all relevant functions integrated into a chip (SoC, system-on-a-chip). Apple has its developments built into current tablets and is now taking a two-pronged approach here: The A series (A15 Bionic or A14 Bionic) are the actual mobile processors that can also be found in the iPhones. In some of the top models of its iPads, however, Apple now uses the M1 notebook processor, which ensures even better performance.
It can be worthwhile to keep an eye out for previous versions of the current chip generation: the price-performance ratio is usually better. It applies even more to the second essential SoC type: the Snapdragon. Here is the current top model, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. However, slightly older chips like the Snapdragon 865+ still offer more than enough performance for everyday use. Other mobile processors are also occasionally used: the HiSilicon Kirin (belongs to Huawei), the Samsung Exynos or various models from the Taiwanese manufacturer Mediatek. There are upper class and middle-class versions everywhere.
In addition to the computing units listed, the size of the main memory also plays a role. Three or four GB used to be standard, but the capacity of top models has now increased to 6 to 8 GB. Some particularly cheap models also get by with 2 GB. In general, the more, the better. However, the memory size is only a very rough guide; the system must also use the available memory correctly.
Running time: interaction of battery and performance
The runtime of all mobile devices essentially depends on two factors: the battery capacity and the load. First to the power: In the CHIP best list, you will find tablets with batteries from 2,750 mAh (milliamp hours) to 11,200 mAh. But that alone says nothing. The measured runtimes of the tablets with the giant batteries vary between 8 and 13 hours. In contrast, some tablets with batteries that only have half the capacity last 15 hours.
More powerful processors usually consume more battery power. The difference between an entry-level tablet with moderate performance and a mid-range or high-end model is evident here. But there are also differences between the high-end chips: The current top Snapdragon processors have poorer energy efficiency than the predecessor models. On the other hand, Apple meticulously adjusts the processor to the rest of the hardware and the iPad OS operating system in its closed system so that the battery life is usually better.
The display is also a factor. Although we set the brightness to 200 candelas per square meter in our battery test, the differences in peak brightness are irrelevant. But of course, a larger display also generally means higher power consumption because more area is illuminated. It also makes a difference whether you prefer to surf the Internet or read e-books with the tablet because the display is often white, and the battery is used more. Whereas with video playback, darker scenes usually predominate.
So if you only want to conclude from the technical data, you have to take them entirely into account. In any case, only rough indications remain.
Amenities: This should be on board
In addition to the display, CPU and battery, every tablet has many components that significantly impact practicality – sometimes more than the three factors mentioned above. First, you should watch the data storage; the bandwidth is enormous here. For example, in our list of the best, you will find tablets with memory modules from 8 GB to 512 GB. With some tablet models, you can even get two terabytes of memory if you wish. More is always better, of course, but memory is a significant cost factor.
If you are not a hobby filmmaker who prefers to have all his video clips with you at all times, it does not necessarily have to be the maximum configuration. On the other end, 8 GB is not enough and is only enough for reading an e-book. 16 GB is probably the lower pain limit for many. The operating system always occupies a few GB, and then it can get tight even with a few hundred photos. If in doubt, check whether the candidate has a slot for MicroSD memory cards to increase the storage capacity inexpensively. However, some manufacturers such as Apple no longer offer this option.
When it comes to wireless standards, you don’t usually have to worry too much: all tablets are equipped with WiFi and Bluetooth. Whether these are the latest versions usually doesn’t have that much impact. WiFi 6 (802.11ax) and Bluetooth 5.0 are standard, but the previous generation does the same. The USB standard only plays a role if you often transfer extensive data between tablet and PC. Then the difference between USB 2 and USB 3 can become noticeable. Apple has now almost wholly switched from Lightning to the USB-C interface. NFC for contactless payment is now rarely installed in tablets because hardly anyone uses the tablet instead of the smartphone to pay.
There are also differences in the quality of the built-in cameras and speakers. You have to decide for yourself whether this is important to you. Most users will probably only use the tablet’s camera for video chats and rarely take photos. Then a camera with fewer megapixels will suffice. And if you usually wear headphones anyway, the speakers play a subordinate role. The same applies to the accessories: there are suitable keyboard covers and stylus models for specific tablet models.
The most frequently asked questions about tablets.
In this section, we answer the most burning questions that users have in our experience on the topic of tablets.
What can you do with a tablet?
Like a desktop, notebook or smartphone, a tablet is another type of computer. There’s nothing that you can’t do with the tablet – provided an application program, i.e. the right app, is available. For some tasks, a tablet is, of course, not the optimal solution. Long texts, for example, are better written on the PC. A typical area of application for tablets is reading e-books. Shopping tours are also popular, with more than 20 per cent of German tablet users doing this regularly. Internet excursions are generally a popular pastime for which the tablet is often used.
How do I connect my tablet to the smartphone?
Computer systems such as PCs, mobile phones or tablets usually use the same data types. Photo or video files in the usual formats can be used anywhere. You can connect your tablet and cell phone; the easiest way to do this is via the direct WiFi function. You have to activate this, scan for compatible devices if necessary, select the appropriate device, and establish the connection.
On both Android and iOS, you can find the function in the “Settings” of the operating system. There is a “Wireless and Networks” section where you can find everything you need. The designations can differ depending on the operating system and OS version, but you are correct with the “WLAN” settings.
The easiest way to connect the mobile devices is via a WLAN network. If WLAN is activated on all devices involved, it only takes seconds.
How much do you have to spend on a tablet?
It mainly depends on your requirements. Cheap tablets with essential functions are available for less than 100 euros. But you can’t do too much with it. Price-performance tips with an appealing performance and display quality are general from 200 euros, slightly better mid-range devices for around 350 to 400 euros. The price scale is open to the top – a little more with each tablet generation.
Prices of 700 to 1,000 euros are now standard for top devices, whether Apple or Android. If you grab the fully equipped iPad Pro, you can even spend 2,000 euros. Therefore, always check whether your desired model is available in different equipment variants and which of these best suits your needs.
What is the difference between a tablet and an iPad?
The generic term for mobile devices is tablet or tablet PC. However, because Apple is constantly differentiating itself from the competition, the iPad often seems like a different device class. In addition, the iPad was the first genuinely successful tablet, although other manufacturers had tried it before.
All iPads are Apple tablets, but there are also tablets from other manufacturers. The main ones are Samsung, Lenovo, Xiaomi, Huawei and Amazon. However, the iPad occupies a unique position in the tablet market, and it is the oldest still active model series and enjoys a particular reputation. In addition, because of Apple’s iOS operating system, iPads are not compatible with other tablets, which are usually equipped with the Android operating system. Of course, both methods can use files in standard formats equally well.