The best iPad alternatives in 2023

Two students talk while using one of the best iPad alternatives
(Image credit: Marko Geber via Getty Images)

The best iPad alternatives give you the power and features of Apple's tablet, but without the price tag. Some of them will even offer up different features that the iPad lacks. The likes of Samsung, Lenovo and Microsoft dominate this space but there are some other players, such as Amazon, you might want to consider too.

In this guide we've included a range of devices that mimic the functions of the iPad – portable tablets that will enable you to stream content, create work and use a variety of apps. We've tried and tested the majority of these tablets – see our how we test page for more info on how we put products through their paces. If you specifically want something for creating digital art, then check out our list of the best drawing tablets

The best iPad alternatives available now

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra product photo

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli)
The best iPad Pro alternative

Specifications

Screen size: 14.6-inches
Storage: 128GB
Weight: 503g
Dimensions: 165.3 x 253.8 x 6.3mm

Reasons to buy

+
Incredibly vibrant display
+
S Pen included
+
Slim design

Reasons to avoid

-
Some creative apps missing

At 14.6-inches, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is larger than the biggest iPad Pro. Its slim design means it's very portable, and Samsung's AMOLED screen technology makes for an impressively rich display. It's ideal for watching films on, or for viewing or making your latest art creation. The tablet ships with an S Pen in the box, whereas you'd have to buy an Apple Pencil separately if you were using an iPad. One downside of this tablet compared to the iPad is that the caliber of creative apps is better on Apple's App Store than on Android's Google Play Store. If you're happy with Android apps, then the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is a very viable iPad Pro alternative. Find out more in our Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra review.

Microsoft Surface Pro 9 tablet with a web site shown on its screen

(Image credit: Future)
Microsoft's latest 2-in-1 takes on the iPad Pro

Specifications

Screen size: 13-inch
Storage: 256GB-1TB
Weight: 879g
Dimensions: 287 x 209 x 9.3mm

Reasons to buy

+
Fantastic quality
+
Runs full software
+
Beautiful screen and keyboard

Reasons to avoid

-
SQ3 model is poor

Microsoft's Surface Pro 9 is another device taking on the iPad Pro. Its PixelSense screen has a smooth 120Hz refresh rate – a rate usually found on gaming monitors. As well as being great for gaming, it also works well for work, watching films and creating digital art. The 10MP camera's also impressive, and can follow you around a room, like Apple's Centre Stage feature. The Surface Pro 9 comes in three iterations, an Intel i5 or i7 versions as well as an SQ3 5G variant, which is designed for working on the go. In our Surface Pro 9 review, we found that the 5G version was unable to run some digital art software, such as Rebelle 5, and would recommend the Intel versions for anyone wanting to do more serious art work or intensive gaming. One plus compared to the iPad, though, is that the Surface Pro 9 will run full software rather than apps. And of course, as it's a laptop/tablet hybrid, those who want to use it like a laptop might find it preferable to Apple's tablet. 

a photo of a Chromebook on a wooden table

(Image credit: Future)
The best iPad Air competitor

Specifications

Screen size: 11-inch
Storage: 128GB
Weight: 560g
Dimensions: 252 x 176 x 75mm

Reasons to buy

+
1440p QHD screen
+
Clean design
+
Speedy

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited by Chrome OS

The HP Chromebook x2 11 is a premium Chrome OS device, which will be ideal for anyone already a Chromebook convert, and could impress those who've yet to try out the Chrome OS, too. The 11-inch tablet doubles up as a laptop and can handle common tablet uses such as streaming, working and creating art. However, it's worth noting that you are limited by Chrome OS – there's no full version of Photoshop on Chrome, for example. Its screen isn't as impressive as the iPad Air, offering 400 nits compared with the Air's 1,000, and it's slightly bulkier, though this does make room for more ports. Unlike similar offerings from Microsoft or Apple, this tablet comes bundled with a keyboard and stand, the former of which cleverly doubles up as a screen protector. Overall this is a user-friendly tablet and how well you get on with it will largely come down to how you feel about Chrome OS. Find out more with our HP Chromebook x2 11 review.

Lenovo Tab 11 Pro Gen 2 product shot

(Image credit: Lenovo)

04. Lenovo Tab P11 Pro Gen 2

An impressive budget iPad alternative

Specifications

Screen size: 11.2-inch
Storage: 128GB
Weight: 480g
Dimensions: 263 x 166 x 6.8mm

Reasons to buy

+
Decent performance
+
Vibrant screen
+
Integrated stylus storage

Reasons to avoid

-
Average camera

This offering from Lenovo takes on the standard iPad in terms of cost and performance. It isn't quite as fast as the standard iPad, but it is cheaper, and has decent performance and battery life. A panel attaches to the back of the tablet to form a stand, and there's even a little nook for a stylus to slot in neatly, and charge. Bear in mind that this tablet doesn't support LTE, which means you can't connect to the internet without a WiFi connection – a pain if you work a lot on the go. Overall, though, this is a solid tablet at a great price.

Amazon Fire 7 tablet product shot

(Image credit: Amazon)

05. Amazon Fire 7

A cheap and basic iPad alternative

Specifications

Screen size: 7-inch
Storage: 16-32GB
Weight: 282g
Dimensions: 180 x 117 x 9.67mm

Reasons to buy

+
Low price
+
10 hours of battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Poor camera

Okay, so it doesn't exactly rival any of the iPads, but if just need something that enables you to browse the web and stream some content, then Amazon's Fire 7 tablet is a cheap and cheerful solution. You won't be able to run all the apps you're used to, as neither the Google Play Store nor Apple's App Store are supported, but Amazon does have its own alternatives. The camera isn't really up to much, especially compared to Apple's offerings, but again, you get what you pay for, and you're not paying an awful lot for this tablet.

Microsoft Surface Go 3 with keyboard on desk

(Image credit: Future)
A lightweight hybrid alternative to the iPad

Specifications

Screen size: 10.5-inch
Storage: 64GB
Weight: 544g
Dimensions: 245 x 175 x 8.3mm

Reasons to buy

+
Pleasing design
+
Lightweight
+
Decent 5MP camera

Reasons to avoid

-
Underwhelming performance

Another of Microsoft's hybrid laptop-tablets, the Surface Go 3 has a gorgeous design and is the cheapest in the software giant's range. When we reviewed the Surface Go 3, we found the 10.5-inch screen to be impressively bright and also liked the size of the device – nifty enough to carry in a tote but solid enough not to feel cheap. It's worth noting that the Surface Pen and Type Cover cost extra, and to get the most our of this device we think you'll need both. We also found that in our tests that performance was a little underwhelming, but for light tasks and stylish design, you can't go wrong with the Surface Go 3.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus product shot

(Image credit: Samsung)

07. Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+

Still a really decent tablet

Specifications

Screen size: 12.4-inch
Storage: 128/256GB
Weight: 575g
Dimensions: 285 x 185 x 5.7mm

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent performance
+
Great OLED display

Reasons to avoid

-
Other options are cheaper

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus may have been superseded by the S8, but that doesn't mean that it should be overlooked as an iPad alternative. It's got a gorgeous 12.4-inch screen to start with, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus Processor offers decent processing power and it boats a 120Hz refresh rate, which will keep up with most users. There's a 10,000mAH battery too, which means you don't have to worry about running out of juice too often. As an iPad Pro rival, it is still on the more expensive side. If you've not got the budget but want a Samsung tablet you might want to consider the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 or the S6.  

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Rosie Hilder is Creative Bloq's Deputy Editor. After beginning her career in journalism in Argentina – where her blogging prowess led her to become Deputy Editor of Time Out Buenos Aires – she moved back to the UK and joined Future Plc in 2016. Since then, she's worked as Operations Editor on art and design magazines, including Computer Arts, 3D World and Paint & Draw, and got the 'Apple bug' when working on US title, Mac|Life. In 2018, she left the world of print behind and moved to Creative Bloq, where she helps take care of the daily management of the site, including growing the site's reach through trying to please the Google Gods, getting involved in events, such as judging the Brand Impact Awards, and helping make sure its content serves its readers as best it can. Her interests lie in branding and illustration, tech and sexism, and plenty more in-between.