The best tablets for photo and video editing are a great option for a busy designer. Tablets are simpler and more portable than laptops which means they offer more creative freedom to dive into your design work.
If you work with lots of imagery and are constantly on the go, you could be better suited to a tablet for photo and video editing. High-end models now have enough performance to work with video and photo editing software that’s every bit as complex as that on laptops and desktops, and they can even edit high-resolution media (check out our list of the best video editing apps to find out exactly what you can do on a tablet).
Adobe is gearing up to release its new version of Photoshop for iOS this year, with full support for layered images, cloud-based document support and every editing feature that’s in the desktop version. This means opting for the portability of a tablet now means giving up fewer freedoms from a full-sized computer.
Below you'll find a list of the best tablets for photo and video editing and although Apple’s iPad and iOS software dominates the tablet market, if it’s not your cup of tea, we’ve pulled out some Android and Windows alternatives too. We've also got the best video editing laptops too if you think a tablet won't quite meet your needs.
01. iPad Pro 12.9 (2018)
An iOS powerhouse
OS: iOS 12 | Screen size: 12.9-inch | Resolution: 2732 x 2048 | CPU: Apple A12X Bionic | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64/256/512GB/1TB | Weight: 631g | Dimensions: 280.6 x 214.9 x 5.9mm
A new iPad Pro launched late last year that introduced a beautifully portable and lightweight new design in two screen sizes, 12.9-inch and 11 inch. It's ditched the home button to offer a (nearly) edge-to-edge Liquid Retina display, with 120Hz refresh rates thanks to Apple’s ProMotion technology and new support for the DCI-P3 colour standard.
It introduces a USB-C port that can be used to load data off SD cards and an excellent second-generation Pencil stylus that clips magnetically to the top of the iPad Pro for charging wirelessly.
With Apple’s powerful A12X processor behind it, and 4GB of system memory (6GB in iPad Pro with 1TB storage) it goes head-to-head with x86 laptops for performance in the multitude of design applications available for iOS. Indeed, the iPad Pro is currently Apple’s most powerful iOS device, with enough performance to cope with anything thrown at it, super portable and compact, with excellent battery life.
02. Microsoft Surface Pro 6
The desktop experience in a tablet
Weight: 771g | Dimensions: 292.1 x 201.4 x 8.5mm | OS: Windows 10 Pro | Screen size: 12.3-inch | Resolution: 2736 x 1824 | CPU: Intel 8th Gen Core-i5/i7 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 128GB-1TB
The biggest advantage of the Surface Pro is that it’s a lightweight, solidly designed tablet built from standard PC hardware that allows it to run all Windows software.
So whatever photo editing software, browser or email client you’re used to on a desktop, you can switch to Surface and use the same software, without losing any features at all, or having to acquire it from some pesky store.
The 12.3-inch PixelSense Display looks great and there’s a quad core Intel Core i5 or Core i7 chip in different configurations, with up to 16GB of system memory and 1TB of storage, perfect for desktop-class performance.
03. iPad Air (2019)
The best all-round iPad choice
OS: iOS 12 | Screen size: 9.7-inch | Resolution: 2048 x 1536 | CPU: A12 | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 64-256GB | Dimensions: 240 x 169.5 x 7.5mm | Weight: 469g
Apple’s newly launched mainstream 10.5-inch iPad Air brings some welcome upgrades that makes it a great all-round purchase and far more capable at photo editing tasks than last year’s iPad.
The internal memory has been bumped to 3GB, and it now has a fully laminated screen that works better in direct sunlight. But more importantly, at its heart is Apple’s A12 processor, a scaled back version of the A12X in the iPad Pro. For a much lower price, you’ll get performance that’s close to that of the iPad Pro and that means super fast performance when messing about with photos and videos.
04. Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
The fastest Android tablet there is
OS: Android 7 | Screen size: 10.5-inch | Resolution: 2560 x 1600 | CPU: Snapdragon 835 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64/256GB | Battery: 7,300mAh | Dimensions: 249.3 x 164.3 x 7.1mm | Weight: 482g
If Android is your OS of choice, and you’re after the most powerful Android tablet there is, you’ve come to the right place with Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S4. With 4GB of internal memory, 64GB of internal storage (expandable via MicroSD cards) and a Snapdragon 835 processor that delivers solid performance, it will have no issue processing complex photo edits, whatever software you opt for.
And photos look great on it too thanks to the brilliant 10.5-inch 2560x1600 resolution AMOLED display that rivals that of the iPad Pro.
05. iPad mini (2019)
Portable but extremely capable
OS: iOS 12 | Screen size: 7.9-inch | Resolution: 2048 x 1536 | CPU: A12 | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 64-256GB | Battery: 7,300mAh | Dimensions: 203.2 x 134.8 x 6.1mm | Weight: 300g
The fifth generation 7.9-inch iPad mini launched at the same time as the 2019 iPad Air, replacing the previous four-year-old model, which was getting particularly long in the tooth and falling behind other tablets in the performance stakes.
As with the 2019 iPad Air it has 3GB of system memory and is based on the A12 processor, meaning super fast performance in iOS design applications, and it now work with the first-generation Pencil support too, making it the most portable iOS device for working with illustration and drawing tools.
06. Amazon Fire HD 10 (2017)
Simply a bargain
OS: FireOS | Screen size: 10-inch | Resolution: 1920 x 1200 | CPU: Mediatek Quad Core | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 32/64GB | Dimensions: 262 x 159 x 9.8mm | Weight: 500g
The Amazon Fire HD 10 is superb value for money, given that it’s absolutely capable of just about any basic task you might want a tablet for, including viewing and editing photos, and costs small change compared with some other tablets on the market.
The new version of the FireHD 10 has much better specifications than the smaller Fire HD 8, with more storage and a far better display.
Out of the box it runs an Amazon-branded variant of Android, which is restricted to apps from Amazon’s store, but a quick poke around the internet will explain how easy it is to root a Fire HD tablet and load apps from the Google Play store as well.
Best of all, they’re often discounted even further. Check out our deals, or hang for Amazon’s Black Friday for deals that are so good, it can be worth picking one up even if you already have another tablet.
07. Huawei MediaPad M5 8.4
Cute and affordable
OS: Android 8.0 | Screen size: 8.4 inch | Resolution: 2560 x 1600 | CPU: Kirin 960 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 32/64/128GB | Battery: 5100mAh | Weight: 316g | Dimensions: 212.6 x 124.8 x 7.3 mm
With an 8.4-inch screen size, Huawei’s neat Android tablet has a bright high resolution display that’s really great for viewing images.
It’s also very competitively priced, one of the cheapest tablets around. The downside is the software, it behaves more like a phone than a tablet at times, and there’s some junk supplied by Hauwei that really isn’t worth using, but you can still download your favourite Android apps and work away, with enough performance to cope with most photo editing tools and filters.
08. Microsoft Surface Go
Windows running on an affordable tablet
OS: Windows 10 S | Screen size: 10 inch PixelSense | Resolution: 1800 x 1200 | CPU: Dual Core Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 128GB | Dimensions: 245 x 175 x 8.3mm | Weight: 520g
The Surface Go is the “lite” experience of Surface, running Windows 10 S out of the box, which means you have to load apps from the Microsoft Store, but this can be upgraded to full Windows 10, with all the features and flexibility you’ll be used to.
It does so at a much lower price point, but before ignoring a more expensive tablet, be warned that there are a few catches. Although the screen stands out with some excellent brightness and contrast, it lacks the colour accuracy of the Surface Pro, and performance isn’t amazing.
09. iPad (2018)
The best value Apple product there is
OS: iOS 12.1 | Screen size: 9.7-inch | Resolution: 2048 x 1536 | CPU: Apple A10 | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 32/128GB | Weight: 469g | Dimensions: 240 x 169.5 x 7.5mm
Even though Apple has launched new iPad models this year, the 2018 iPad is still available to buy and less than the half the price of an iPad Pro, making it by far the best value iOS device currently on the market.
For that reduced expenditure, you get 2GB of internal system memory and an A10 Fusion processor that’s now ageing slightly, but is still one of the fastest mobile processors around, capable of running both photo and video editing software without any serious slowdown. And the 2018 iPad supports the excellent Apple Pencil stylus as well.