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Amazon Kindle (8th Gen)

What's good  

  • Light and thin
  • Rounded edges make it easier to hold
  • More RAM for faster responsiveness
  • Bluetooth connectivity for blind or visually impaired users

What's bad  

  • No front lighting
  • Not enough changes from 2014 version to warrant an upgrade
  • No 3G connectivity

It’s been two years since Amazon revamped their entry-level Kindle. The 8th generation Kindle comes with a handful of upgrades and comes in two colors: black and white. When compared to the 7th generation Kindle, the 2016 Kindle is 11 percent thinner and 16 percent lighter and has a more rounded design making it easier for experts to hold for long amounts of time.

As far as the screen goes, there’s no change from the previous version. It uses the same 6-inch, 167ppi resolution touch screen. While good enough, critics did notice text looked blurry from far away, although they mention at regular reading distance the text was sharp enough. Those hoping for page turn buttons will have to pay extra for the Oasis or Voyage as this entry-level device only offers a touchscreen. For most, this is no issue as they found the touch screen perfectly usable for turning pages and navigating the user interface. The one issue they did notice, however, was the darkness of the screen. Unlike other members of the Kindle lineup, his one does not offer front lighting, The eBook Readers states “My biggest problem with the new Kindle is how dark and gray the screen looks. Maybe it’s partially because I got a white one and it highlights how not white the screen background color is.”

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Microsoft Surface Pro 4

What's good  

  • Sharp, beautiful display with vibrant colors
  • Speedy performance
  • Extremely portable and light
  • Improved Touch Cover for excellent typing experience
  • Responsive touch screen

What's bad  

  • Type Cover sold separately
  • Poor battery life
  • Core package comes with lower processor than the Pro 3

When Microsoft released their first Surface, critics and consumers alike were excited by the idea but disappointed with the end result. Now onto the fourth iteration however, the Surface series has seen huge upgrades to the hardware and continued to receive some subtle design updates.

The tablet sports the same all-magnesium unibody as its predecessors and almost the same dimensions at 7.9 x 11.5 inches. It just so happens to be slightly thinner at 0.33 inches and a bit lighter as well at 766 grams. While light, critics add that it does get a bit uncomfortable to hold for long periods of time when used as a tablet.

A closer look revealed to reviewers that Microsoft also managed to trim the bezel around the screen despite the fact the display on the Pro 4 is larger than the Pro 3 at 12.3 inches. But the screen is more than just slightly larger, it packs in more pixels as well. With a resolution of 2736 x 1824 it offers a pixel density of 267ppi, which is higher than its main competitor – the iPad Pro. The high resolution naturally offered testers a very crisp and sharp experience whether they were reading text, viewing images or watching movies.

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Samsung Galaxy TabPro S

What's good  

  • Beautiful display
  • Windows 10
  • Decent multitasking
  • Bright screen
  • All-day battery life

What's bad  

  • Limited connectivity options
  • Mushy keyboard
  • Limited kickstand positions
  • Average camera

When you think of Samsung, you probably think of their flagship line of mobile phones and tablets. With the Galaxy TabPro S, the Galaxy series transitions to the world of Windows. The specs on paper look solid, but does the real-life performance and experience of this new hybrid tablet stack up? Let’s see what the reviews are saying!

Across the board, reviewers were impressed with the design of the TabPro S. Combining a matte-finish plastic case with shiny metal trim and the sleek Samsung aesthetic, most reviewers noted it felt as good, if not better, than any Samsung Galaxy flagship they’ve used. Even with the included keyboard case, the hybrid also comes in thinner than most of the competition at the time of writing. At just over 1.5lbs, this tablet/laptop mash-up is ready to hit the road without weighing you down. The Inquirer took their test model around town for a few days and proclaimed, “
The device proved itself a robust piece of kit despite measuring just 6.3mm thick.”

One area where reviewers were less happy with the design was Samsung’s choice to include only a single USB-C port and a 3.5mm jack. If you’re looking to connect older devices, or use a thumb drive while charging, you’ll need to pick up an adapter.

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Kindle Oasis

What's good  

  • Lightweight and thin
  • Uniform lighting
  • Accelerometer to adjust screen orientation

What's bad  

  • Without case only 2 weeks of battery life
  • Expensive
  • No waterproofing

Amazon has successfully cornered the eReader market and each new Kindle release is better than the last. The Kindle Oasis is no exception. It is thinner than its predecessor measure in at 0.14 inches and weighs a mere 4.6 ounces, lighter than a standard paperback. Reviewers were surprised by its sturdiness despite its light weight and thinness. There were no creaks or any flex thanks to the electroplated metal alloy over the plastic case.

Besides making it lighter and thinner, Amazon also updated the design slightly. Rather than having the same thickness throughout, one edge of the Oasis is thicker than the center. This slight change provided reviewers with a better grip, though it only works when there is no cover.

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7

What's good  

  • Vibrant, punchy colors and excellent contrast
  • Smooth performance
  • Incredibly thin and light for better ease of use and comfort

What's bad  

  • Mediocre battery life
  • 4:3 aspect ratio not great for movie viewing
  • Some flexing when twisted

A year after the Galaxy Tab 2 10.5, Samsung released the Tab S2 9.7 – an updated and redesigned version of the popular tablet and direct rival to Apples iPad Air 2. It is actually both thinner (0.22 inches) and lighter (390 grams) than the iPad Air 2. Like other Samsung devices, it comes with a matte, plastic back and a metal trim. For the most part experts call the overall look and design "professional" though they add the build quality leaves much to be desired as they noticed some flex when applying pressure or twisting. Still, they add they'd rather have it thin and compact as it improves comfort and overall ease of use.

The 9.7 part of the Tab S2 comes from the 9.7-inch, Super AMOLED display. The 2048 x 1,536 resolution only works out to around 264ppi due to its large size. While not as sharp as its predecessor, critics still described it as very crisp and clear. Like other Samsung products, the AMOLED screen on the Tab S2 9.7 provided experts with vivid albeit oversaturated colors, excellent contrast and dark, inky blacks. They also were impressed with the screen brightness with Stuff.TV states, "…you can reach eye-searing levels, bright enough for outdoor reading on a sunny day." Perhaps the biggest change is in the aspect ratio from 16:10 to 4:3. This means the screen is squarer, which experts preferred as it made it easier for them to browse the web and improved their experience with productivity tasks like spreadsheet work. Still, they found movie viewing experience better on a 16:10 as this size matches most TV screens.

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Apple iPad Pro 9.7

What's good  

  • Great display
  • True Tone technology
  • Tablet design
  • Apple Pencil support
  • Flawless performance
  • Outstanding audio quality

What's bad  

  • Cost
  • Storage capacity
  • Multitasking limited by iOS

There’s no disputing that Apple’s iPad is one of the most popular tablets in history. With each release, they manage to add something new to the mix that keeps things interesting. When the original iPad Pro released, it made waves with it’s huge screen and powerful specs. But some questioned the sheer size of the tablet.

Much has changed since then. With their latest release, Apple is cramming all of the power of the Pro series into a smaller format. But does the iPad Pro’s smaller sibling have what it takes to keep up with the pack? We’ve scoured the reviews of the biggest tech sites on the web so that you don’t have to.

Let’s see what they have to say!

If you’ve seen any pictures of the iPad Pro 9.7-inch, you’ve probably come to the same conclusion most reviews were quick to point out. On the outside, the new iPad is essentially an iPad Air 2. The two exceptions are a slightly protruding camera lens and the small dots along the edge for the Smart Connector.

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Amazon Fire 7 (2017)

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 9.7

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Kobo Aura H2O (2017)

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Apple iPad 9.7

What's good  

  • Mid-range price
  • Impressive photo quality (for a tablet)
  • Long battery life
  • Smooth performance

What's bad  

  • No 3D Touch or Apple Pencil support
  • Air gap between display and glass
  • Sound through speakers is off-center

When Apple released the iPad in 2010, almost everyone wanted one for its large screen and faster processing power. However, as the years passed the tablet market slowly shrunk as phone screens became larger.

But Apple hasn’t given up on tablets.

The iPad Pro offered even more screen space, higher specs and touch sensitivity that rivals drawing tablet. Unfortunately, the price tag scared off regular users.

That’s why Apple has unveiled the 9.7-inch iPad, an affordable tablet that has some of the bells and whistles of the pro at a more reasonable cost.

Does it cut costs without sacrificing the high-end Apple experience? Reviews are rolling in! Let’s see what they’re saying.

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Tools & Resources

Not sure what to look for in a tablet? Check out some of our in-depth guides, comparison tools, & resources!


Common Questions


If your tablet and smartphone run the same operating system (Apple iOS, Google Android, Microsoft Windows 10, etc) there’s a good chance that both devices will be compatible with the same apps.

However, if the app isn’t optimized for the larger screen size of the tablet, you might notice it doesn’t look the same. While less common now thanks to improvements in how apps are made, there might be a tablet-specific version of your favorite app to download as well.


For most a tablet 9-inches or larger is ideal for productivity. Most tablets are still weak multitaskers. By having a larger screen size, you can take advantage of any split screen capabilities to make multitasking simpler. A larger screen also allows you to view documents, images or spreadsheets without constant scrolling or zooming.

If you intend to use your tablet primarily in an office setting, even larger options--such as the Apple iPad Pro--offer increased ability to dig into your work. At 12+ inches, these tablets are not ideal for portability. There’s also the substantial cost to consider. Before making an investment in this tier, find a retailer that will give you some hands-on time with the device.


This question is best answered depending on where you want to watch movies or games.

Planning to watch on the go? A six-inch tablet makes it easy to just toss your tablet in your bag or set it up on your tray table on the plane. While the screen won’t be a massive upgrade over many flagship smartphones, it will still make a large difference in the immersion and enjoyment of your favorite media.

Planning to watch at home? A nine-inch tablet is great for getting into your favorite TV shows or making the latest mobile games come alive. Most are comfortable to hold while you watch though a small stand will help for those all-night Netflix binges or Candy Crush marathons.


YES! Not only are they available, most are very affordable. If you’re looking for an ultra-rugged option, Amazon’s Fire for Kids is a great choice with its foam case and extended warranty, it’s ready for anything tiny hands might dish out. Other leading options include the Fuhu Nabi series, the Kurio series and LeapFrog’s full-feature tablets.

Kids’ tablets are still hit or miss in performance and quality. If you’re looking for the full tablet experience, be sure to check that the tablet supports one of the major app stores before purchasing. The ability to expand memory will also help with tap-happy little fingers.


Most tablets will perform basic functions with no need for an Internet connection. However, many free apps earn their income through advertising, this means you cannot use the app without a connection unless you pay for the premium edition of the app.

Other common tasks that require an Internet connection include social media apps, web browsing and music or video streaming.


No - in fact, outside the flagship markets, many tablets do not support data service at all. If you’re not sure, check the specifications for the tablet for any mentions of SIM support. As with your mobile phone, data plans for tablets will require a monthly payment in most cases to remain active. Looking for suggestions? You can view all of our summaries for 4G-compatible tablets here!

Not sure how much data you might need? Our guide for choosing a smartphone data plan applies to data-enabled tablets as well!


Yes and no. There are a few features that will determine how “phone-like” your tablet behaves.

The biggest issue is mobile data. Without it, you can only receive calls when in Wi-Fi range. Even still, you’re likely limited to an app instead of a dedicated phone number through a carrier. However, most tablets feature microphones and loudspeakers, making them great voice-over-IP options. Popular apps include Skype, Line2 and Google Voice.

You also have the issue of holding a huge tablet up to your head to talk. For most, a Bluetooth headset is a must. If you’re not sure where to start, we offer an in-depth buyer’s guide for Bluetooth Headsets!

If you’re looking for a true phone experience with the large-screen convenience of a tablet, you’re probably better looking for a large smartphone or ‘phablet.’ You can view summaries for many of the best options here!



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