Apple has just announced its new line of iPad Pro tablets — the new 11-inch iPad Pro and the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro — sporting its recently launched M1 chip for enhanced performance, among a litany of other hardware upgrades.
- Apple’s new iPad Pro models will feature an 8-core GPU processor that Apple says means 75 percent faster performance compared to the previous model.
- A redesigned “Center Stage” front-facing 12-megapixel camera features AI to recognize your place in the frame and adjust its pan to your location.
- The iPad Pro’s display has been enhanced with the new Liquid Retina XDR display (for the 12.9-inch model) comprising more than 10,000 internal so-called mini-LEDs for better color contrast, grouping them into dimming zones akin to high-contrast TVs.
- New iPad Pro models equip up to 2 terabytes of storage, too, a first for the line of tablets.
- Apple also added a Thunderbolt port to the new iPad Pro, allowing for more and higher-performing accessories.
Prices for the new iPad Pro start at $799 for the 11-inch model and $1,099 for the 12.9-inch model and you can pre-order the new iPad Pro starting on April 30 — they’ll start shipping in the second half of May.
The best alternatives to the new iPad Pro
Before you choose a tablet, you should consider what you want to use that tablet for. Most tablets sport basic Wi-Fi connectivity, a camera and a touchscreen display — some features to consider depending on your needs include device storage, screen resolution and camera resolution. Major brands and their highly rated options include Apple iPads, Samsung Galaxy Tabs and Amazon Fire Tablets. To give you an idea of the best options on the market, we consulted data and recommendations from the U.S. News’ 360 Reviews team, which analyzed both professional and customer reviews to give tablets a weighted average on a 5-star scale.
Based on your needs and price range, here are the best tablets to consider buying right now.
The best tablets to shop
Best overall tablet: Apple
With an overall 4.3-star rating from 360 Reviews, the 10.2-inch Apple iPad was deemed the best overall tablet thanks to its user-friendly interface and relatively affordable price (the 10.2-inch model starts at $329). The eighth-generation iPad also connects via Wi-Fi or cellular, which makes it a good tablet for traveling and business trips. U.S. News noted that some of the drawbacks of the iPad include a lower-quality front-facing camera and an “underwhelming” base storage of 32 gigabytes.
Best midrange tablet: Apple
Though the iPad Air boasts more features than the iPad, 360 Reviews gave it a 4.2-star rating overall because of its above-average price and missing headphone jack that forces you to either use wireless earbuds or connect through the USB-C port (which means you can’t charge while you listen to music). Weighing 16 ounces, the relatively lightweight tablet comes with 64 gigabytes of storage, though the base option only comes with Wi-Fi capabilities. (Adding cellular connectivity costs another $130.)
Best kids tablet: Amazon
Amazon’s Fire HD 8 Kids Tablet earned a 4-star overall rating and was deemed the best tablet for kids by the 360 Reviews team. The relatively affordable tablet comes in Blue, Pink and Purple, and each purchase comes with a two-year “worry-free” warranty that covers electrical and mechanical malfunctions. It also comes with a durable case, parental controls like time limits and content filters and one year of Amazon Kids+.
Best tablet for photos and video: Samsung
Though the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 has notable features like fingerprint ID and an included Samsung S Pen, it’s also on the pricier side with the most basic model starting at $650, which is why 360 Reviews gave it a 4-star rating. However, if you’re particularly interested in using your tablet to take photos and videos, 360 Reviews noted that the tablet has “excellent camera resolution” and can record video in UHD 4K. Though the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 is an investment, it’s still more affordable than the iPad Pro, and you can trade in an old phone or tablet for up to $500 off your purchase.
Best drawing tablet: Samsung
According to 360 Reviews, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ is ideal for artists thanks to its large 12.4-inch screen and Octa Core CPU that is designed to effortlessly run any drawing apps. It also comes with the Samsung S Pen, which makes it easier to draw on the tablet touch screen. The 360 Reviews team gave the Tab S7+ a 3.8-star rating, noting cons like its relatively high base price (the most affordable model is $850) and lack of a headphone jack.