When it comes to playing mobile games on the go, the best gaming tablets definitely have the last word. Sure, the best gaming phones are more portable. But the bigger screen, good battery life, and superior processing power of tablets makes all the difference. The ones listed below will breeze through the likes of Call of Duty Mobile and Apple Arcade releases, not to mention all the day-to-day tasks you may need. And hey, who are we kidding? Squinting at the action on a small phone screen gets old real fast. As a result - and short of grabbing the best Nintendo Switch bundles - a tablet is the best alternative.
Gaming on the go
(Image credit: Sony, Audeze)
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The tricky bit is figuring out what the best gaming tablet for you is. That's because we're spoiled for choice these days; Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, Amazon, and beyond all have seemingly identical products jostling for your attention. Which is where we come in, of course. The GamesRadar+ team are on-hand to give advice about what's worth the time, and why it deserves your hard-earned cash. Because iPads aren't the be-all and end-all anymore; there are more than a few alternatives that are every bit as effective, as well as a good sight cheaper. Which always helps. Who wants to spend more than they have to?
Speaking of cash, don't forget to keep an eye on this page in the coming weeks. Besides new products, it's constantly being updated with the latest and greatest discounts. So be sure to watch out for a bargain - you'll see it here first.
Best gaming tablets
1. 11-inch iPad Pro
The best gaming tablet of 2019
Weight: 468g | Dimensions: 9.75 x 7.03 x 0.23 in | OS: iOS | Screen size: 11.0 inches | 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 | Rear camera: 12 MP | Front camera: 7 MP
Excellent HDR Retina display
Now uses USB-C
If you want to game on iOS, there's no device that can beat the 3rd generation iPad Pro. We chose the 11-inch model since it's a bit lighter and easier to hold, but the 12.9-inch model is just as capable if you prefer a larger screen. The A12X Bionic chip finally brings the iPad Pro's features up to par with the iPhone. Touch ID has been eliminated in favor of Face ID which makes for a smaller bezel and a more attractive design. The screen is big enough that you can use a tablet stand to place it on a table and connect a controller for more precise play, and with such a powerful device there's no worry about lag.
With the iPad Pro you also get a capable device for artwork, watching movies or TV shows, or whatever you can imagine. This device is the pinnacle of tablet design, and paired with the Apple Pencil and a smart keyboard it rivals products like the Microsoft Surface Pro.
2. Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e
The best Android gaming tablet you can get
Weight: 399g (Wi-Fi) | Dimensions: 0.22 x 6.3 x 9.65 in | OS: Android | Screen size: 10.5 inches | Resolution: 2560 x 1600 pixels | CPU: Dual 2.0GHz + Hexa 1.7GHz | RAM: 4GB / 6GB | Storage: 64GB / 256GB | Battery: 7040mAh | Rear camera: 13 MP | Front camera: 8 MP
Amazing AMOLED HDR display
Android OS is very customizable
No headphone jack
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e improves upon the prior model, the S4, in a bunch of ways that shunt it to the top end of our 'best of' pile. However, it remains the same excellent experience. The Super AMOLED screen is gorgeous to look at, quad stereo speakers help get you into the action, and it's a good few pounds lighter as well. That makes it better for gaming overall, as it's more comfortable for long stints.
The S5e has also overcome one of the biggest issues with the Galaxy Tab S4 - its retail price. This successor model starts at a much more reasonable cost, and you're still getting excellent quality for your cash. Yes, it's a real pain that there's no headphone jack, but everything else on offer is of the highest quality.
As such, those looking for a great all-around tablet with quality features and design shouldn't miss the Tab S5e.
3. Amazon Fire HD 10
The best budget tablet for gaming
Weight: 500g | Dimensions: 262 x 159 x 9.8mm | OS: Fire OS | Screen size: 10.1-inch | Resolution: 1920 x 1200 | CPU: Quad-core | Storage: 32/64GB | Battery: Up to 12 hours | Rear camera: 2MP | Front camera: VGA
Full HD display
Plastic design lets it down
If you want a tablet for your children, or for someone who's a casual gamer, you actually can't go wrong with the Amazon Fire HD 10. It still has a huge screen with a lovely full HD resolution, and some lovely design aesthetics (apart from the plastic design), but you're paying a fraction of the cost of other gaming tablets on this list. If you're an Amazon Prime customer, you get a load of other perks, but even non-members can take advantage of the Amazon Underground game store, which offers a tonne of excellent Android games for the very low price of absolutely free. Bonus. It does run the slightly awkward Amazon Fire OS, but for those looking for an affordable table with the majority of the bells and whistles of something at least twice the price, you can't fault the Fire 10 HD.
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4. iPad (2018)
A more affordable, but still brilliant, iPad
Weight: 469g | Dimensions: 240 x 169.5 x 7.5mm | OS: iOS 11 | Screen size: 9.7-inch | Resolution: 1536 x 2048 | CPU: A10 Fusion | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 32/128GB | Battery: Up to 10 hours | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 1.2MP
Most affordable full-sized iPad
Screen quality is wonderful
Storage options are more limited than other models
Okay, okay, so not everyone can afford an iPad Pro, or necessary wants the all-singing, all-dancing top end iPad tablet offering. So instead, check out the new 9.7-inch iPad, which is the best gaming tablet for anyone on a bit more of a budget. It's considerably cheaper than any of the iPad Pro models, but still comes with a crisp display, excellent tech running things behind the scenes and all the access you need to all that iOS gaming goodness. It comes with Apple Pencil support, if that's your bag, but more importantly it comes packing the Apple A10 Fusion chipset, which means a lightning fast iPad experience, both for gaming and productivity. It's a brilliant option for those looking for the Apple gaming experience, and definitely worth a look. There's a reason this is number 3 in our list, and it's not just because it's cheaper.
5. iPad Mini (2019)
A great smaller option
Weight: 300.5 grams | Dimensions: 203.2mm x 134.6mm x 6.1mm | OS: iOS | Screen Size: 7.9 inches | Resolution: 2048x1536 pixels, 4:3 ratio (~326 ppi) | CPU: 2.49GHz Hexa-core (2× high performance Vortex + 4× high efficiency Tempest) | RAM: 3GB LPDDR4X RAM | Storage: 64 or 256GB flash memory | Battery: 5,124 mAh | Rear Camera: 8MP | Front Camera: 7MP
Excellent battery life
Compatible with Apple Pencil
Not much bigger than phones
Pricier than Android mini-tablets
The new iPad Mini doesn't bring a lot of new features or even a new form factor to the product line. It really doesn't have to. The iPad Mini 2019 basically just ups the iPad Mini 4's specs to 2019 standards, and that's just fine with us. Sure, the screen isn't vastly bigger than the current range of + size phones, but that extra realestate makes a significant difference when it comes to games.
With the iPad Mini 2019 you can get the best of iOS gaming in the highest fidelity while paying around half of what you would if you bought an iPad Pro. Additionally, the newest model of the iPad Mini adds support for the 1st gen Apple Pencil, so it makes a handy little tablet for doing art on as well.
6. Microsoft Surface Pro
Steam gaming on a tablet-sized device
Weight: 768/770/784g | Dimensions: 292 x 201 x 8.5mm | OS: Windows 10 Pro | Screen size: 12.3-inch | Resolution: 2736 x 1824 | CPU: Intel Core m3, i5 or i7 | RAM: 4/8/16GB | Storage: 128/256/512GB or 1TB | Battery: Up to 13.5 hours media playback | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 5MP
Plays full PC games
Excelllnt design and screen
Not as powerful as some rival tablets
While PC gaming enthusiasts might want to avert their eyes here, the rest of you, hear me out. Whereas most gaming tablets will only offer you iOS or Android gaming on the go, the Microsoft Surface Pro can actually let you play your Steam and other PC games on a tablet. Yes, it's true. While you won't be playing anything on max settings, middling graphical options can see you running games at a slick 50fps, including the likes of Minecraft and Portal 2, and a perfectly decent 30fps for games including XCOM: Enemy Unknown and Civilization 5. If you want a Windows device with a big, beautiful screen, a full keyboard and all the flexibility of a tablet, then the Windows Surface Pro is an excellent choice. It won't compete with a gaming rig, but when it looks this good - and weighs so comparatively little - you won't regret it.
7. Asus ZenPad 3S 10
Android's answer to the mid-range iPad
Weight: 430g | Dimensions: 240.5 x 163.7 x 7.2mm | OS: Android Marshmallow | Screen size: 9.7-inch | Resolution: 1536 x 2048 | CPU: Mediatek MT8176 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 32/64GB | Battery: Up to 10 hours | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 5MP
Battery life could be better
Speakers are awkwardly placed
Seeing as this is a company best known for making great gaming gear, it's not a total surprise to spot an Asus tablet on this list of best gaming tablets. Clearly inspired by the design of both the Apple iPad and the successful Samsung Galaxy Tab range of slates, the Asus Zenpad is a well-made beast. It boasts a sharp and bright screen, with enough power to run all the games you'd want to play on Android. If we were to have a little niggle, the awkwardly placed speakers can dampen the audio quality you get when playing games, and the build quality could be better. But, at the end of the day, Asus knows how to make gaming hardware, and this little Android gaming tablet does not disappoint.
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