Last Updated on November 30, 2021
Getting a good tablet for gaming is not hard.
But who wants just a ‘good’ tablet for gaming. Right?
You want at least a great tablet for gaming, and these days, with new innovations, new games, new developments hitting the market like snowflakes in a blizzard, what you really need is the best tablet for gaming. That takes more discernment to find.
What’s more, every gamer is different. The best gaming tablet for one player won’t be the best gaming tablet for another. Differences of price, differences of upscaling, differences, even, of preferred operating system, will form the final criteria by which you’ll judge what’s the best tablet for your gaming. That’s on you.
What we can do is cut out the white noise. Hone the massive tablet market down into a handful of best options for you, so you can choose the one that best suits your gaming needs from the absolute best around. Then you just click, wait, unbox, and game your happy little face off.
So that’s what we’ve done. Behold – the best tablets for gaming available anywhere right now.
When choosing the best gaming tablet for your needs, remember a few key points.
The Need for Speed
Check out your tablet’s processing speed, core number, and ability to translate that speed into gaming action. Without those being higher than average, you have a moving clipboard, not a gaming tablet.
Don’t settle for the kind of screen people read documents on. Look for screens with extra color translation, extra vividness, like the Super AMOLED or the Liquid Retina. Those will genuinely enhance your gaming experience.
From the thinness and light weight of the tablet to elements like battery life between charges and ease of wi-fi connection, make sure you can genuinely game untethered in the wild. If you can’t, you might as well get a laptop.
Frequently Asked Questions
- High processing speed, so it can react fast enough for modern gaming environments.
- A great, clear, vivid screen to translate the gaming action with fidelity.
- Excellent wi-fi connectivity, so you can game on the go.
- Good battery life between charges, so your tablet doesn’t die on you in the middle of a game.
Why Get a Tablet Over A Laptop?
Portability is the key. Sure, laptops themselves were designed to be portable compared to desktops, but a tablet is a stripped-back, lightweight alternative that you can take anywhere.
Are Tablets Really Suited To High-Performance Gaming?
That depends on what you mean by gaming. Old-fashioned, hardware-dependent PC gaming? Not really – though some are now getting processing speeds and storage levels that allow you to do that.
But for more modern, wi-fi-connected, worldwide-hub gaming, they’re better because they’re simpler, lighter, and more portable. So yes, on those terms, they’re great gaming machines.
What Should I Be Looking For In A Gaming Tablet?
Best Tablet For Gaming in 2021
There are only a handful of names at the very top of the gaming tablet tree, The iPad is one of them.
Apple kicked off the whole tablet revolution, and it’s still right up there, innovating to meet the needs that gamers don’t even know they have yet.
The 4th generation of iPad Pro should come with a throne.
It doesn’t, but it should. What it does come with is the A12 Bionic processor and a Liquid Retina display, with ProMotion technology that’ll make you weep real tears at its beauty.
Here’s the thing. You might at first look at the 4th Generation version of the iPad Pro and think it’s just the 3rd Generation version, but newer.
Now arguably, newer is important in its own right. But the 4th Generation version has had its OS tweaked so it can offer trackpad and mouse support – which in gaming terms takes the whole offering up several notches.
Just as importantly, the 3rd Generation version has only seven cores.
8 cores right here, no waiting.
What does that mean? Well, it means…no waiting. It means a kick of extra speed, even on intensive, heavyweight programs. Like…say…the latest kickass, processor-thirsty games.
That’s one of the main points about tablet gaming – it’s not first and foremost what tablets were originally designed for, so you can easily fall by the wayside in terms of technological readiness for hardcore gaming if you get a tablet more focused on its hey-wow business functions.
The 4th Generation iPad Pro will give you all the hey-wow business functions you could need right now, but boosts like the extra core and the mouse adaptation give you a real gaming reason to seek it out and give it all your money.
It also gives you extras that might well be important in the next generation of gaming. Dual-camera setups and LIDAR sensors give you better augmented reality performance, by helping the iPad judge more accurately where it is in relation to other things.
AR gaming is not yet as huge as it’s going to be, but when the moment comes, you’ll be more ready with the 4th Generation iPad Pro than you will with most other tablets on the market.
Did we…Did we mention the Liquid Retina screen?
Oh, the clarity. The sweet, sweet translation of pixels into whole worlds of adventure. It’s the sort of screen you’d write Valentine’s Day cards to.
Ten hours of battery life away from any power outlet give you a reasonable amount of 21st-century gaming between charges, and the 4th Generation iPad Pro is scalable all the way up to the 512GB version so it has enough storage to keep your gaming up-to-date.
This is a tablet that’s great for gaming today, with unique advantages over many on the market. But it’s also a gaming tablet with enough future-proofing crammed into it to stop you needing to jump ship any time soon.
If off-the-peg scalability and storage is your game, you’re not really looking for the Fire 7 – the 4th Generation iPad Pro probably has your name on it. As does the second mortgage/lottery win/bank job/years in the service industry (delete as applicable) you’ll need to get hold of one brand new.
Need a gaming tablet on the more budget-friendly end of the spectrum? You’re by no means alone. The Fire 7 sells in droves, and it can deliver you solid gaming performance despite its relatively low spec and price point.
Now, we know we scoffed at anything less than the iPad Pro’s octa-core sleekness. That was wrong of us and we feel sorry. The Fire 7 brings you a quad-core (that’s four cores) offering, but it’s a cunning beast. It’s engineered in such a way that your four cores here feel like you’re getting more than that for your gaming tablet money, and the speed and slickness don’t feel like they belong on a budget tablet, except when you view them side-by-side with the eight-core monster.
Now, the Fire 7 only has a 7-inch screen to its name. That feels like a more visible indication of where your money’s not going, but it also helps the Fire 7 pull off its whole schtick, which is of being the steak and potatoes offering for the everyday gamer in a world hyped up on superlatives. It feels like the tablet you throw in a jacket and take along, never worried about your poor electronic darling being out in the wild. And that 7-inch screen can handle everything you throw at it, from gaming to emails, e-books to art.
If you’re looking for bells, whistles, and other fancy noisemakers, you’re not a Fire 7 kind of gamer. It’s also important to remember that as an Amazon tablet, you get access to the Amazon app store, rather than the Play Store. But if a 7-hour battery life, a 1.3GHz processor, hands-free Alexa, and up to 32GB of storage as sold (upgradable to 512GB – the same as the iPad Pro’s maximum) are your speed, you can cut a lot of the cost out of your tablet gaming and still have a heck of a good time with the Amazon Fire 7.
Finding ‘the best’ of anything usually means finding a balance between elements.
The 4th Generation iPad Air pretty much lives at that balance point.
The price, while it might still make an Amazon Fire fan choke on their Wheaties, is fair for an Apple tablet, so it feels like it should be perhaps a little underpowered compared to the double espresso hardcore version.
Nnnnope. For a mid-range price, you get the best of the mid-range gaming tablets. Simple, straightforward, and effective gaming in your hands.
A 10.9-inch Liquid Retina screen gives you a comfortable mid-point between the iPad Pro’s 12.9-inch and the Fire 7’s 7-inch. Also, you get the same Liquid Retina clarity and crispness from the larger model. Meanwhile, an A14 Bionic chip, with a neural engine, means you’re getting the best speed and slickness in this iPad’s class – equivalent to a 40% performance bump over the 3rd Generation Air.
Also, Apple has ditched the home button in the 4th Generation, so you get more edge-to-edge gameplay real estate on the screen.
What you get in the 4th Generation iPad Air is that mid-point of excellence that really does qualify this gaming tablet as one of the best available. The bones of the best at any price, without that gullet-punch of sticker shock.
The same 10 hours of battery life between charge as you’ll find on the iPad Pro gives the iPad Air a real shot of gamer chic, and cutting edge Wi-Fi 6 means you’re more likely than ever before to be able to game on the go – which after all is most of the point of a gaming tablet.
If you don’t have your own alpaca farm, but aren’t keen to sacrifice the sexy gameplay speeds, Bionic chips, and Liquid Retina goodness of the newest iPads…step right this way.
We know we said you’d find the best gaming tablets here. And you will. The Microsoft Surface Pro 7 is the best gaming tablet in a business suit and tie.
No, wait, come back. People in business suits and ties have some awesome stuff. What’s more, they tend to get it all going on without paying the earth for it. That’s the vibe of the Bill Gates version of gaming tablets.
What are we talking about? Well, you’re looking at an Intel 10th-gen Quad Core i5 processor, with 8GB RAM, and a 128GB SSD for blink-and-you-missed-it loading.
Sure, that sounds like a lot of what-now, but what it means is that the Pro 7 is right up there in terms of performance. Heck, this thing would throw down against some laptops, never mind tablets. o challenge some of the best gaming laptops out there in terms of performance, never mind tablets. You can run full-on PC games on this deceptively powerful tablet. Maybe not the higher-end capacity-crunchers, but some of the more popular lower-end PC games will be no problem for the Surface Pro 7.
Also – remember we lauded the iPad Pro for its add-on capabilities? Microsoft has never been shy of its geeky love for adding bits and pieces to its main offering, so you can connect keyboards and a mouse to the Surface Pro 7, to replicate that laptop gaming vibe.
In a move that feels calculated purely to get on Apple’s nerves, the Surface Pro 7 comes with a battery life of 10…and a half hours between charges. It also comes with Bluetooth 5.0, and weighs in at an almost ethereal 1.7 pounds.
Now, if you’re going to have a tablet that’s dressed like Bruce Wayne and powered like Batman, it’s going to cost you a Bruce Wayne price – this is aimed at the iPad Pro buyer who feels like a change from the Apple architecture. And the price is a feature that pushes it further down our list than it would otherwise be. It’s also true that some of the business focus takes away from the Surface Pro 7 as a pure gaming tablet. But that slickness, speed, and power are still an impressive combination for those with the money who aren’t die-hard Apple fans.
One of Apple’s biggest rivals, both in phones and tablets, is the Samsung Galaxy range, and the Tab S7+ is by several miles the best gaming tablet Samsung has ever made.
With a drool-worthy 12.4-inch Super AMOLED screen offering a 120Hz refresh rate, the S7+ can translate its rapid processing to your eyeballs in a breathtaking style.
Rapid processing? That’ll be an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus chipset, which will give your gaming more grunt than you may be used to, and plenty of speed.
Thinner and more lightweight than the iPad Pro, the S7 is more portable too, making it a better option for gaming on the go. And with storage expandable to a full 1TB, you’re not running out of breathing space any time soon with the Galaxy.