While almost everyone knows that Samsung makes some of the best smartphones around today, fewer of us are aware that it also makes some great tablets. It launched its first tablet — the Samsung Galaxy Tab — way back in 2010, and since then, it has expanded its lineup with premium models, budget models, and everything in between. If you’re new to its range of tablets, you may be a little bewildered by all of the choices on offer, so we’ve put together this article of the best Samsung tablets to simplify things for you.
We cover the best Samsung tablet overall, as well the best Samsung tablets in a variety of categories, including the best value Samsung tablet, the best 8-inch Samsung tablet, and the best Samsung tablet for children.
Looking for for an iPad? Check out our list of the best iPad deals. If you’re open to Android devices, check out our best tablet deals.
Best tablets at a glance
Best Samsung tablet overall: Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus
Why should you buy this? It’s the Android equivalent of an iPad Pro, featuring an incredible screen, powerful processor, and ample battery life.
Who’s it for? Anyone looking for a high-end and high-powered Android tablet.
Why we picked the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus:
The standard Galaxy Tab S7 may already be one of the best Android tablets available in 2021, but if you really want to go all out and have absolutely the best Samsung tablet available right now, then the Galaxy Tab S7 Plus is the one to pick.
Its main difference from the smaller S7 is its size and display, featuring an amazing 12.4-inch Super AMOLED display compared to an 11-inch LCD on the S7. This 12.4-inch screen packs a resolution of 2800 x 1752 pixels while also offering a super-fluid 120Hz refresh rate and HDR10+ support. In other words, whatever you watch on the S7 Plus looks pretty spectacular, and you’ll have a hard time peeling yourself away from its screen.
It also comes with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor (which also powers the Samsung’s Galaxy S20) and either 6GB or 8GB of RAM, so you’ll have no problem running all of the latest apps and games. You’ll also get either 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB of internal storage, and if you happen to have a microSD card lying around, you can expand your storage even further and download pretty much anything you want.
One other key difference from the standard Tab S7 is that the S7 Plus comes with a semi-gigantic 10,090mAh battery (as opposed to an 8,000mAh one), allowing you to go around two days under medium-to-heavy use without requiring a recharge. It’s also compatible with 45W fast-charging (although you’ll need to buy a 45W charger separately), so you can get back to a 100% charge in no time at all.
The tablet’s audio is almost as impressive as its visuals. Its four speakers are satisfyingly loud, with vocals and speech coming through particularly well. It also has a dual-lens rear camera setup comprising a 13-megapixel main lens and a 5MP ultrawide lens, with the main lens capable of recording 4K video at 30 frames per second. Meanwhile, the 8MP front camera will facilitate decent selfies and let you video chat without any quality issues.
One other nice touch is that the tablet comes with the S Pen stylus, which attaches magnetically to the tablet and recharges wirelessly. It interacts intuitively with the tablet’s screen and will please note-takers, creatives, and professionals alike.
One quibble, however, is that the software experience isn’t quite as smooth or seamless as you might expect from a recent iPad. While the One UI paired with Android 10 is good enough for most purposes, many Android apps still don’t fully support the tablet experience. On the other hand, the Samsung DeX desktop interface lets you use the tablet as if it were a Windows 10 PC, so you can get around any third-party software shortcomings that way.
Aside from the lack of wireless charging, this is really the only downside to the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7. It’s an impressively capable tablet, and its screen is arguably better than anything you’d find on an iPad.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus review
Runner-up: Samsung Galaxy Tab S7
If you’re not too fussed about having the largest possible screen, then the Galaxy Tab S7 is arguably a better choice than the S7 Plus. Save for the 8,000mAh battery and the LCD (as opposed to AMOLED) display, it features identical internals to its bigger sibling, so it remains a top-of-the-line tablet. It also ships with the S Pen, so you can do everything with it that you can do with the Plus. Its official retail price ($650) is also $200 lower than the S7 Plus’, so you will save a little while still enjoying one of the best Samsung tablets you could possibly buy.
Best value tablet: Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e
Why should you buy this? The Galaxy Tab S5e boasts a great screen, a slim profile, and long battery life, and it comes at a fraction of the cost of other similar Samsung tablets.
Who’s it for? Anyone who wants a tablet with a great screen but doesn’t want to spend too much.
Why we picked the Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e:
It may be over a year old, but the Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e is possibly the best dollar-for-value Samsung tablet you can buy right now. As with most other Samsung tablets, its headline feature is its display. Measuring 10.5 inches, it has a Super AMOLED display (as with the S7/S7 Plus) and offers a resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels. It looks fantastic in almost any situation, with colors remaining vibrant and well-balanced throughout. Also, because it’s a lightweight (400 grams) and slim (5.5mm) tablet, it lets you comfortably watch videos or play games for much longer than other devices.
The S5e’s smaller size also stands it in good stead when combined with its 7,040mAh battery, which can last for up to five days if you happen to be more of a casual user (e.g. two hours per day). Similarly, while its Snapdragon 670 processor isn’t quite state-of-the-art anymore, it will be more than enough for most users, with the 4GB or 6GB of RAM also being sufficient to juggle most apps and games.
One weakness of the Tab S5e is its camera, which is decent enough, but not anything to shout about. It has a single 13MP wide lens on the back and an 8MP selfie camera on the front. The 13MP rear lens will take pretty good shots in well-lit situations, but if you try to whip it out at night, you may be a touch disappointed by the results. Another con is the tablet’s speakers, which aren’t as clear as those you can find on more premium Samsung tablets, with voices sometimes getting lost in the mix.
Still, the Tab S5e was only $400 when released in 2019, and you’ll likely find it for cheaper now online. This makes an excellent option for anyone who wants mostly premium features for a less-than-premium price.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e review
Runner-up: Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite
Assuming you can find it for less than the S5e, the Samsung Galaxy S6 Lite is certainly worth a serious look. It features a 10.4-inch LCD display and attractively-slim bezels, as well as surround sound by Dolby Atmos. It’s fantastic for viewing content, while its speaker system is perfect for video calls. One of its major selling points is that it comes with the Pen, while its 64GB of storage (as standard) is great for a tablet of its price, and it also adds a microSD card slot. Its battery is also as big as the S5e’s at 7,040mAh, so you’ll get plenty of use out of it between charges.
Best 8-inch Samsung tablet: Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0
Why should you buy this? The Galaxy Tab A 8.0 combines a smaller, more comfortable size with maximum value while still offering the core Samsung experience.
Who’s it for? Anyone who wants a small and cheap Samsung tablet.
Why we picked the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0:
While it certainly isn’t as powerful as Samsung’s high-end tablets, the Galaxy Tab A 8.0 is still more than enough for more casual users who just want to watch the occasional movie and browse the web from time to time.
As its name suggests, it boasts an 8-inch TFT display with a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels. In other words, it’s not quite HD level, but it’s still ideal for reading documents, watching TV, and surfing the web. This is helped by the fact that the tablet is very light at only 345 grams (or 12 ounces). It’s therefore comfortable to hold for prolonged periods of time, while its screen isn’t too bright on the eyes.
Inside, the tablet is powered by a quad-core 2.0 GHz processor and 2GB of RAM, so it’s suited more to social media, browsing, and media than to playing the latest video games. Meanwhile, its 5,100mAh battery offers up to 13 hours of use on a single charge, which can last you several days if you don’t use it all that much. It also comes with 32GB of internal storage that can be expanded to 512GB using a microSD card, so you’ll have more than enough.
See our best cheap Samsung Galaxy Tab deals
Best Samsung tablet for children: Samsung Galaxy Tab A Kids Edition
Why should you buy this? You want a child-friendly Samsung tablet that offers nice specs for a more-than-reasonable price.
Who’s it for? Samsung fans who want to keep the kids entertained in a safe virtual environment.
Why we picked the Samsung Galaxy Tab A Kids Edition:
In terms of its hardware, the Samsung Galaxy Tab Kids Edition is basically identical to the Galaxy Tab A 8.0. This means you get an 8-inch TFT display with 1280 x 800 pixels, 2GB of RAM, a quad-core 2.0 GHz processor, a 5,100mAh battery, and a single 8MP rear camera with a 2MP selfie camera. However, while this is hardly noteworthy in its own right, what sets the Tab A Kids Edition apart are the children-specific extras Samsung has added.
This begins with the bumper case it comes with, guarding the tablet against the occasional carelessness of the average child. It then extends to the software installed on the device, which has been streamlined for children. Not only is this software simplified, but it includes a wide variety of parental controls, so you can set limits for what your kids can and cannot do. For instance, you can set screen time limits, monitor (from your own device) what they’re doing and viewing, and receive notifications to approve game downloads.
It really does provide a safe virtual environment for your children to take their first steps into the digital world, and it can be used as a normal tablet if your child outgrows it and you want to claim it as your own. Yes, it isn’t the most spectacular performer in the tablet market, but with its capable battery and competent processor, it’s more than adequate for surfing the web, watching media, and play less cutting-edge video games.
Read our best tablets for kids article
Research and buying tips
Can you print from a tablet?
Printing from a tablet is pretty much as easy as printing from a desktop or laptop computer. Check out our guides on how to print from an iPhone and how to print from an Android tablet for further info if you’re unsure of how to do it yourself.
Can you make phone calls on a tablet?
While some tablets can be bought with an LTE cellular connection (for a higher price), you can still make phone calls on a tablet that has only a Wi-Fi connection. To do this on an Android device, you will need to download one of the many video chat apps available on the Google Play Store. This includes such apps as Facebook Messenger, Zoom, WhatsApp, Signal, and Google Duo, and many others.
Bear in mind that the person you want to call will generally need to have the same app on their own device. That said, Skype lets you call regular landline and cell numbers, although you will need to pay for calling credits. Another good app that will work on Samsung tablets that gives you a free number for calling, text messages, and voicemail is Google Voice, although this works only in the U.S.
Can you text on a tablet?
In much the same way that you can make calls on a tablet, you can send text messages, too. There are many, many great text messaging apps that work on Samsung and other Android tablets. Again, you could also use Google Voice if you are based in the U.S. since it gives you a free number for calls and text messages.
How we test
Whenever we receive a new tablet to write about, we test and use it thoroughly as our main, everyday device. This means we spend our time watching movies on it, playing games, downloading lots of apps, reading e-books on it, working on it, and also taking photos (and video) in plenty of different situations. This gives us very a thorough grounding in just how each tablet works in a normal setting, while it also gives us clear insight into its strengths and weaknesses.
As tech junkies, we love new, innovative features, but as normal tech users, we also really appreciate it when a tablet does the basics really well. Ultimately, we most enjoy tablets that fulfill the needs of the “average” user, so we’re rarely swayed by novel gimmicks or tricks.