The idea of a list of the best gaming tablets might have once seemed a pipe dream. But with new models of tablets being powered by more and more powerful central processing units, it’s now not only possible to play high-end games on a tablet, but practical. And fun!
Tablets can be taken everywhere after all, so you can game on the train or while waiting for a meeting. What’s more, many tablets have compatible keyboard accessories, so your gaming experience doesn't have to be limited to the touchscreen.
In this guide, we’ve picked out the best tablets for gaming right now. We’ve taken all the key factors into account when making our selections. The size of the screen is important, as you need to be able to see what you’re doing if you’re going to conquer the world in Civilization VI, solve the mystery of Oxenfree or defeat the rebel flagship in FTL. But this also requires computing power and storage. There’s also the weight of the tablet if you’re planning to take it on the move. And, of course, your budget. We’ve factored in price when making our picks and included options at different price points.
The best gaming tablets you can buy right now!
The iPad Pro 12.9 (2020) is quite simply a technological marvel, and our top pick of the best gaming tablets. It’s not as powerful as a gaming laptop, but it’s damn near close, and thanks to its incredible A12Z Bionic chip, it’s more than capable of handling resource-hungry games. The long battery life also lets you go on gaming for longer without interruption (that short charging cord may irritate some, but hey, that’s Apple). It’s expensive, of course, and you may find that a previous iPad Pro works out to be a good deal if you’re struggling budget-wise. If, however, you are simply looking for the best gaming tablet, this objectively is it.
Sometimes looking for budget tablets means going back a couple of generations, but this release from Samsung is pretty fresh, arriving in late 2020. It’s clearly specifically tailored to undercut Apple’s entry-level iPads, offering similar functionality for a price of about $100 less. Though performance can stutter sometimes, overall games run very well on it. You can get through a session of PUBG Mobile or Call of Duty without incident. The screen is a little dim compared to Apple tablets, and the Android experience isn’t as well-optimised for tablets. But it’s a great choice, especially for the price, and a strong entry in our best gaming tablets list.
While the whole point of tablets was once that you could take them anywhere, more recent models have arguably strayed from that formula, getting chunkier and heavier. You suspect this is the reason the diminutive iPad Mini series has remained consistently popular, with this 2019 version representing its fifth generation. It’s not got as much RAM or display power as larger models, but is still perfectly capable of running the majority of iPad games – as long as you don’t mind working on a smaller screen. It feels very comfortable to hold for long periods, and with a weight of just 300g, is easy to throw in a bag and take with you for on-the-move gaming.
Did you know that you can run Fortnite at 90fps on a Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus? Granted, you may not particularly want to. But you can, and that gives some indication of how seriously Samsung is taking this tablet as a gaming machine. With the big screen and quad speakers, the gaming experience is gorgeous, and the ability to sign up for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and play Xbox games via streaming with a controller is seriously cool. It’s the future of gaming, and it’s a really exciting thing to be a part of. And if you can justify the price, this is definitely our pick for the best gaming tablets for Android users.
If you want one of the best gaming tablets for a little one but want to be able to control what they have access to, the Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition. You can stay in complete control over accessible content, set time limits, and have access to loads of other useful features. The game selection is pretty good, though the bias towards Amazon’s inferior appstore is a shame (it’s understandable given the provenance of the tablet, but still). The only real negative is that this is quite a lot to spend on a tablet that’s really just for kids. Can you justify buying separate tablets for a child and for yourself? If yes, this is a great option.
When on the hunt for affordable Android tablets, Huawei is a name you’ll see a lot. It’s known for making tablets that are great in some areas and make trade-offs in others. The MediaPad T5 10.1 is a solid choice for gaming because its main trade-off is in the fairly crappy camera system – which obviously doesn’t affect gaming at all. The processing power is good enough that most games run really well, and they look good on the 10-inch display. Huawei does tend to be a bit lacklustre about updating the version of Android its tablets run, so you may find yourself running an older version compared to a Samsung tablet. Still, for a few-frills experience, the Huawei MediaPad T5 10.1 does the job very well.
If you’re looking to save money on a gaming tablet, it makes sense to go back a couple of years. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e may not be the newest and flashiest gaming tablet, but it’s still seriously capable, and makes for a great bargain. You may notice when you start playing that your games sound fantastic – that’s due to the AKG-branded speaker setup on the rear of the tablet. It’s a little disappointing that this is your only option for sound (no headphone jack? What is this, an iPhone?) but it’s nice to have, and if you regularly use wireless headphones this is still an option.
While it’s not going to compete with a high-end gaming laptop, the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 is undoubtedly the best Windows tablet for playing games. Its CPU will run most games fine, it’s only when you get into really high-end stuff that you’d have to worry. Games look great on its display, and as it’s a Windows device you also have the obvious advantage of an absolutely huge library of games to choose from – considerably more than the Apple Store! The battery life is a little disappointing, and it’s pretty expensive overall, but this really is the best Windows gaming tablet, that much isn’t in question.