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Best gaming tablets in 2021

best gaming tablets
(Image credit: Apple, Gameloft)

When it comes to playing mobile games on the go, the best gaming tablets have the last word. Sure, the best gaming phones are more portable. But a bigger screen, increased battery life, and superior processing power makes all the difference. And hey, who are we kidding? Squinting at the action on a small screen gets old real fast.

The hard part is finding the best gaming tablet for you. There's plenty to choose from, after all. Everyone seems to be making tablets these days, and many of them seem damn-near identical to each other at first glance.

That's where we come in. The recommendations listed below will breeze through everything from Call of Duty Mobile to Apple Arcade, not to mention all the day-to-day tasks you need. This page is constantly updated with the lowest prices too, so check back every now and then to see the latest discounts on the greatest slabs.

Oh, and one last thing. Going for a non-Apple device? Remember to pick up the best antivirus software. It'll keep your tablet safe and secure.

Best gaming tablets

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iPad Pro (2020)

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iPad Pro (2020)

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iPad Pro (2020)

(Apple Smart Keyboard Folio sold separately) (Image credit: Apple)

1. iPad Pro (2020)

The best gaming tablet overall

Operating system: iOS | Screen: 12.9-inch Liquid Retina (2732 x 2048) | CPU: A12Z Bionic | Storage: 128GB / 256GB / 512GB / 1TB | Rear camera: 12MP Wide, 10MP Ultra Wide, LiDAR Scanner | Front camera: 7MP TrueDepth | Weight: 1.41lbs (641g)

Incredibly versatile
Features mouse support
Powerful chipset
Very expensive

Want to game on a tablet? You can't beat the new generation of iPad Pro. With a powerful A12 Bionic processor, trackpad and keyboard functionality, and a truly gorgeous Liquid Retina display with ProMotion technology, this is one of the best gaming tablets on the market by a long shot.

Although it may not seem all that different to the 2018 version, this modern update pushes the boat out where it counts. Namely, its new iPadOS offers trackpad and mouse support to put it on a level playing field with laptops. In addition, the 2020 Pro upgrades its predecessor's seven-core CPU to an eight-core alternative.That makes it ever so slightly faster and more capable of running intensive programs. You probably won't notice a difference in everyday computing, but having some extra oomph is always handy when it comes to gaming.

Elsewhere, the new Pro offers a dual-camera setup and lidar sensors. These boost the performance of augmented reality apps by allowing the iPad to better judge distances.When combined with an excellent Liquid Retina screen that's perfect for games and movies, FaceID, and compatibility with the must-have Apple Pencil, this is pinnacle tech.

Sure, the 2018 model is a fraction cheaper. But if you want to future-proof yourself and get the very best tablet technology available, opting for the iPad Pro 2020 instead is the only choice.

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Amazon Fire 7

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Amazon Fire 7

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Amazon Fire 7

(Case sold separately) (Image credit: Amazon)

2. Amazon Fire 7

The best gaming tablet on a budget

Operating system: Fire | Screen: 7-inch IPS (1024 x 600) | CPU: Quad-core | Storage: 16GB / 32GB | Rear camera: 2MP | Front camera: 2MP | Weight: 0.63lbs (286g)

Very affordable
Sleek design
Light and portable
Poor storage

Searching for a tablet on the cheap? Hoping to get one for your kids? The Amazon Fire 7 is pleased to make your acquaintance. It's the best gaming tablet for anyone on a budget, and it still brings the goods in terms of performance despite costing much less than the competition.

With a quad-core processor under the hood, the Fire 7 is no slouch when it comes to hardware. In fact, it's better than it has any right to be.Throw in a dainty seven-inch screen to go with that sturdy design and you've got the ideal travel companion. Because the 7 can handle anything from streaming to books, it's not just for games either.

We'll admit that its Amazon Fire operating system is awkward, but that can't detract from the value on offer here. The 7 is a perfect device for everyday usage, and it'll cost you less than the average video game (just be aware that the least expensive version comes with lock-screen ads).  

Don't worry about being held back by a lack of bells and whistles, either. Few mobile games require the horsepower you'll find on pricier tablets, so cutting costs and going for the Amazon Fire 7 won't get in your way all that much.

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iPad Air (2020)

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iPad Air (2020)

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iPad Air (2020)

(Image credit: Apple)

3. iPad Air (2020)

The best mid-range gaming tablet

Operating system: iOS | Screen: 10.9-inch Liquid Retina (2360 x 1640) | CPU: A14 Bionic | Storage: 64GB / 256GB | Rear camera: 12MP wide | Front camera: 7MP FaceTime HD | Weight: 1lb (458g)

Lightweight
Powerful tech
Larger screen
Storage options are limited

Apple's latest iPad Air lives in the Goldilocks 'just right' zone of the best gaming tablets. Thanks to a reasonable price - for Apple, anyway - and oodles of power beneath a chic design, it's everything you could want from a mid-range device.

As a fourth-gen version of the iPad Air, this one has plenty of feathers in its cap. Besides a more powerful processor that provides 40% better performance overall, it offers a handsome 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display that'll show off your games, movies, and TV shows at their best. Because there's no home button, that screen has a bit more real-estate to play with as well.

Thanks to compatibility with Apple's own keyboard and trackpad, the Air is also giving you the functionality of an iPad Pro without the associated price tag. That makes it an excellent choice for those who don't want to destroy their bank balance for the best of the best, but equally aren't keen on budget alternatives.

As a cherry on top, you can use a second-gen Apple Pencil with this 2020 version of the iPad Air. These things really are fantastic, and they're miles better than standard drawing tablets; their responsiveness to pressure and direction makes them a dream for any budding artists out there.

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Microsoft Surface Pro 7

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Microsoft Surface Pro 7

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Microsoft Surface Pro 7

(Mouse and keyboard sold separately) (Image credit: Microsoft)

4. Microsoft Surface Pro 7

The best premium gaming tablet

Operating system: Windows 10 | Screen: 12.3-inch PixelSense (2736 x 1824) | CPU: Dual-core i3 / Quad-core i5 / Quad-core i7 | Storage: 128GB / 256GB / 512GB / 1TB | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 5MP | Weight: 1.70lbs (775g)

Plays full PC games
Excellent screen
Great keyboard attachment
Very expensive

If you're angling for a device that has the versatility of a tablet to go with the power of a laptop, Microsoft's Surface Pro 7 is calling your name. It's arguably the best gaming tablet for users wanting a high-end experience.

That's because it's crammed with premium gear including an Intel 10th-gen Quad Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, and a 128GB SSD for super-fast loading. This allows the Pro 7 to challenge some of the best gaming laptops out there in terms of performance, never mind tablets. In fact, this particular Surface is capable of running full-blown PC games. You'll need to stick with lower-end ones, sure, but you're still getting PC games nonetheless. How's that for peak performance?

Additionally, it's possible to attach a keyboard and mouse to the Pro 7 for a more traditional experience. That makes it a great choice for work as well as play, offering the best of both worlds in one easy-to-transport package.

Naturally, you're paying rather a lot for that kind of excellence. But if you're happy to foot the bill, you'll be getting a device at the top of its game which bridges the gap between laptops and mobile beautifully.

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus

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5. Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus

The best Android gaming tablet

Operating system: Android | Screen: 12.4-inch Super AMOLED (2800 x 1752) | CPU: Octa-Core | Storage: 128GB / 256GB / 512GB | Rear camera: 13MP + 5MP | Front camera: 8MP | Weight: 1.26lbs (575g)

Amazing AMOLED display
Gives Apple a run for its money
Expandable storage
No headphone jack

Samsung has carved out a name for itself within the crowded world of tablets, and now its products rival any on offer from Apple. Indeed, the latest Galaxy might be Samsung's best one yet. Driven by incredible technology and capped with a beautiful 12.4-inch Super AMOLED screen that can offer a 120Hz refresh rate, the S7 Plus is the best gaming tablet running Android by a wide margin.

Thanks to a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus chipset, it has plenty of oomph that allows it to power even the most demanding games. What's more, it'll do so at an impressive speed. Sure, most mobile games don't require that kind of grunt. But if you're playing something a bit more intensive (Fortnite, say), you'll appreciate the boost.

It's not too bulky, either. Despite having a narrower screen than your common iPad Pro, this keeps the weight down and allows the S7 Plus to be more portable than earlier models. Because the point of mobile gaming is to play anywhere, that's a real plus.

Finally, you won't need to worry about being outdated with this one. 5G versions are available alongside the wi-fi only ones, and all of them feature compatibility with the Samsung S Pen. If you get one of the 5G S7 Plus deals, you should actually get an S Pen in the box.

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6. iPad Mini (2019)

The best mini gaming tablet

Operating System: iOS | Screen: 7.9-inch Retina (2048x1536) | CPU: Hexa-core | Storage: 64GB / 256GB | Rear Camera: 8MP | Front Camera: 7MP | Weight: 0.66lbs (300.5g)

Portable
Lightweight
Surprisingly powerful
Not much bigger than a phone

If you'd prefer something a little smaller, the iPad Mini is one of the best gaming tablets you can get. Dainty but powerful, it's as capable of running the latest releases as it is a movie or TV show. It runs rings around the competition as well - you won't find a pint-sized tablet that performs better than this.

Even so, you're still getting the same great iPad experience for a more palatable - yet admittedly hefty - price. Considering how costly Apple products can be, that's no bad thing. Particularly because it offers extra value thanks to its compatibility with the 1st-gen Apple Pencil (it's a good choice for anyone who wants to develop their artistic streak as a result).

Sure, the screen isn't that much bigger than some cell phones. Nevertheless, it's enough of an improvement to split the difference. Plus, that tighter footprint makes it ideal for commutes, vacations, or being curled up on the sofa.

While this 2019 version doesn't shake things up drastically from the previous model, its predecessor was already excellent so there's no need to reinvent the wheel. As such, you should be pretty well set until a new iPad Mini is announced at some point in the future.

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iPad 10.2 (2020)

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iPad 10.2 (2020)

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iPad 10.2 (2020)

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7. iPad 10.2 (2020)

The best cheap Apple gaming tablet

Operating system: iOS | Screen: 10.2-inch Liquid Retina (2160 x 1620) | CPU: A12 Bionic | Storage: 32GB / 128GB | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 1.2MP FaceTime HD | Weight: 1.08lbs (490g)

More affordable
Excellent screen quality
Classy design
Storage options are limited

You don't need an iPad Pro to experience everything Apple tablets have to offer. Its mid-range cousin is brilliant in its own right, and the iPad 10.2 (2020) is an all-rounder and the best gaming tablet for most people.

That's because there's a lot of advanced technology under the hood. Thanks to an A12 Bionic chip with more than enough grunt to handle most games, it offers everything you need - and then some - from an everyday tablet. Plus, that 10.2-inch Retina display makes sure everything looks its best at all times. It's a gorgeous device.

What's more, this iPad makes up for its lack of storage options and a disappointing selfie camera by being compatible with the Apple Pencil. The latter is a revelation for artists and doodlers alike, responding to pressure in a way that blows many digital drawing pads out of the water.

Thanks to a 20W plug, the iPad 10.2 also charges much faster than earlier versions. This (along with an iconic, timeless design) results in a tablet that feels premium without the crippling price tag to match.

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Samsung Galaxy Tab A7

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Samsung Galaxy Tab A7

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Samsung Galaxy Tab A7

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8. Samsung Galaxy Tab A7

The best cheap Android gaming tablet

Operating system: Android | Screen: 10.4-inch (2000 x 1200) | CPU: Octa-Core | Storage: 32GB | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 5MP | Weight: 1.04lbs (476g)

Cheaper Galaxy Tab
Fast processor
Lightweight
Screen could be sharper

Sure, you can get Android or Apple products that are flashier. But few provide the same level of bang for buck as the Samsung Galaxy Tab A7. It's one of the best gaming tablets around if you're trying to save money and aren't keen on getting an iPad.

While its Qualcomm SM6115 processor won't be able to keep up with more expensive competitors, the Tab A7 is still miles ahead of cheap and cheerful alternatives. That means it'll be able to take most games in its stride. Indeed, it'll only struggle when you ask it to run more demanding software, or lots of programs at once.

A sleeker design with smaller bezels helps maintain that image of quality; as well as looking modern, it allows more space for a larger screen. In turn, that's backed up by a quad speaker and Dolby Atmos for a more cinematic experience. 

You get some cool toys to play with despite cutting costs, too. Namely, the A7 features facial recognition for faster unlocks. After using the feature for a while, it's difficult to go back.

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Microsoft Surface Go 2

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Microsoft Surface Go 2

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Microsoft Surface Go 2

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9. Microsoft Surface Go 2

The best cheap Microsoft gaming tablet

Operating system: Windows 10 (S Mode) | Screen: 10.5-inch PixelSense (1920 x 1280) | CPU: Intel Pentium Gold / 8th-gen Intel Core m3 | Storage: 64GB / 128GB / 256GB | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 5MP | Weight: 1.2lbs (544g)

Excellent 2-in-1
Windows on the go
Great for work
Will only manage light gaming

Want a device that can handle light mobile games but is still a force to be reckoned with when it comes to work use? Microsoft's Surface Go 2 fits the bill nicely. It's one of the best gaming tablets if you need tech that can do a little bit of everything.

Designed to serve those who work on the move but don't want to lug a heavy laptop around, this version of the Surface provides a more lightweight solution that still has more get up and go than many of its competitors. It's chunkier than other dedicated tablets, yes, but it's also more powerful.  

The result is a device that will breeze through light gaming. While it isn't going to manage anything heavy-duty and is outclassed by the Surface Pro 7 (naturally), it's perfect if you just want to boot up a mobile game during your commute or on the sofa every now and then.

Having Windows 10 - even a reduced version of it - is a huge benefit, too. It takes away the need for a full-blown laptop, particularly if you get the clip-on keyboard. Add in the brilliant kickstand and you're left with a very respectable piece of kit.

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Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition

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Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition

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Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition

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10. Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition

The best gaming tablet for kids

Operating system: Fire | Screen: 8-inch HD (1280 x 800) | CPU: Quad-core | Storage: 32GB | Rear camera: 2MP | Front camera: 2MP | Weight: 1.21lbs (550g)

Hard-wearing
Parental features
HD display
Expensive

You can't do much better than the Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition if you want the best gaming tablet for your child. Hard-wearing, safe, and eminently portable, it's the perfect device for any young gamer.

First off, that bulky plastic casing could probably survive a nuclear blast. With that in mind, it won't have any problems with being dropped or bumped every now and then. Considering how expensive tablets can be, that's a welcome feature.

Secondly, the Fire HD 8 Kids Edition has child-safety features that are truly fantastic. Your little ones won't be able to use social media or the internet without your say-so, and you'll also be able to limit screen time and establish educational goals. 

Most importantly, the Fire HD 8 is still a great tablet in its own right. It's more powerful than the cheaper Fire 7, packs stronger tech, and features a sharper HD screen. Considering Amazon's two-year "if you break it, we'll replace it" policy, we're not sure what else you could ask for.

As one of our Hardware Editors, Benjamin looks after many of the tech reviews, board game features, deals, and buying guides you’ll see on GamesRadar+.