The Best Tablets You Can Buy Right Now (Oct. 2016)

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The Best Tablets You Can Buy Right Now (Oct. 2016)

Tablets aren’t exactly on the up and up right now. After the buzz of product launches like the iPad and Surface simmered out, the entire form factor has wained in popularity as of late.

However, thanks to all the new multitasking and productivity updates we’ve gotten in both Android, iOS and Windows 10, it’s actually a great time to pick up a new tablet (especially if your first tablet was from more than three or four years ago).

They options range from cheap media devices to high-end productivity products—it all depends on what you’re looking for. So as of now, here are the best tablets you can buy right now:

Best Cheap Tablet: Nvidia Shield Tablet K1

Runner Up: Amazon Fire

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Tablets under $200 don’t always have a great reputation, but there have certainly been exceptions over the years. One big exception is the NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet K1, which comes at a mind-blowing $199 and came out last year. Not only does this tablet have the unique selling point of being a gaming tablet that stream directly from your PC using GeForce Now, it’s also a high-quality Android tablet in its own right.

Unfortunately, we never got a proper follow-up to the tablet this year, as it was reportedly canceled. However, if you can still fined the Shield Tablet K1 online, it’s a great tablet that’s worth a purchase.

Best Small Tablet: Dell Venue 8 7000

Runner Up: iPad mini 4

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This tablet is another case in which a great tablet severely undersold, resulting in the cancelation of the line completely. As of June, Dell stated that they won’t be manufacturing the Venue products anymore and won’t be pushing out further Android updates. It’s a real bummer, considering how stunning of a device the Venue 8 7000 was.

The bezel-less display, front-facing speaker, and great performance made it a real standout in the Android tablet marketplace. It’s still worth checking out if you don’t care about Android updates, but everyone else looking for a 8-inch tablet should turn to last year’s iPad mini 4.

Best Power User Tablet: Surface Pro 4

Runner up: iPad Pro 12.9


In light of declining sales and public interest in tablets, companies like Apple and Microsoft have turned to beefing up their tablets with more productivity software and laptop-like features.

The best of the bunch you can buy right now is the Surface Pro 4, which is a fantastic hybrid device that finally gets tablet/laptop balance right. It comes with Windows 10, a stylus, and an awesome detachable keyboard. Both the Surface Pro 4 and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro aren’t cheap, but they give you a fairly complete computing experience that should be able to function for many people as their primary computer.

Best Overall Android Tablet: Pixel-C

Runner Up: Galaxy Tab S2

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We now have the Pixel phone, but let’s not forget that it comes from a line of Google-built products, including the Pixel-C. When we found out that Google was getting serious about designing and manufacturing its own tablet, there was plenty of reason to be excited.

From the exterior, there’s everything to like about the Pixel-C: the intuitive magnetic hinge, the beautiful aluminum chassis, and the great display. And now that Google has finally introduced some serious multitasking in Android, the Pixel-C is a better product than ever before.

Best Overall Tablet: iPad Pro 9.7

Runner Up: Surface Pro 4

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The whopping 12.9-inch iPad Pro is a beast of a tablet—and will probably be too big for what most people want. We still don’t know what Apple will do with its iPad Air line, but earlier this year we got the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. It’s the same size as the iPad Air 2, except that it comes with all of the new “Pro” features like support for the Apple Pencil and splitscreen multitasking.

When it comes to tablets, it’s still clear that Apple takes its products the most seriously. We’re waiting to see if Microsoft announces a new Surface Pro at its event later this month or if Google announces a follow-up to the Pixel-C—both could have huge potential. But for now, Apple remains the king of the tablet.