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What's behind our tablet Ratings?

Experts at our National Testing and Research Center tested 95 models in tablets to see which ones perform best.
We look for:
  • Overall score
    Based on Ease of use, Display, Versatility, Performance, Touch response, and Portability (which includes battery life, size and weight.) Due to test upgrades, results may vary from past Ratings.
  • Screen size
    The diagonal measure of the screen's active area.
  • Portability
    Combines size, weight, and battery life.
  • Ease of use
    Based on a variety of scenarios, including reading books, playing media, and using email and the Web.
  • Display
    Quality of the screen, including color, viewing angle, brightness and outdoor readability.
  • Versatility
    The presence of useful features.
  • Performance
    Speed of actions and visual smoothness running apps with complex graphics, especially games.
  • Camera: Image quality
    Image quality is based on objective and subjective judgments of test images, which includes evaluating resolution, dynamic range, color accuracy, and visual noise.
  • Camera: Video quality
    Video quality is based on subjective judgments of video recording quality using moving images under several different lighting conditions.
  • Battery life
    The time to takes to deplete a fully charged battery while the tablet loads a sequence of web pages over WiFi. Bluetooth and 3G/4G are disabled and the screen is set to a specific brightness that's usable indoors or outdoors.
  • Weight
    The carrying weight of the tablet, without any case or cover.


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Recommended tablets

Recommended tablets are standout choices with high scores. They include CR Best Buys, which offer exceptional value. When narrowing your choices, weigh features, price, and attributes that matter to you.
  • Buying Guide
  • Price & Shop
Before you shop for a tablet, consider your priorities. If price and portability are tops, consider the Samsung Galaxy Tab with Wi-Fi. If access to the largest selection of apps is high on your list, choose the iPad. Other factors to consider when buying a tablet include the availability of a 3G version, the existence of built-in ports, and the operating system. If you're looking for information about tablets, Consumer Reports is your best resource. Consumer Reports’ tablet reviews will give you honest advice that you can trust. Use our tablet buying guide to discover which features are most important to consider. We also provide unbiased ratings and tablet reviews to help you choose the best tablet for your needs.

Recently reviewed tablets

MediaPad M3 (32GB)
A smaller tablet from Huawei with an 8.4-inch screen and WiFi internet only, running on the Android 6 operating system. Uses the Google Play app store for downloading apps. Tested with 32GB of storage.

Tablet buying guide

No electronics category has changed more in the past year than tablets. Performance is better than ever, especially for the best lower-priced models, and the features and versatility of tablets are expanding fast. The bottom line: There are lots of great models to choose from.

Before you start tablet shopping, consider your priorities.

Is portability a priority? Tablets with 8-inch or smaller displays mostly weigh well less than a pound. Many are very thin. The best in this size range have a battery life of about 13 hours, or more.

Are you on a budget? You can get a great 7- to 8-inch tablet starting at about $200. Even Apple is offering a lower-cost iPad, the iPad Mini, for $300. Tablets with larger display sizes cost more, of course. But very good 10-inch tablets are out there for about $350.

Are you looking for maximum versatility? Then you want a tablet that does it all, and does it well. Consider a larger tablet with at least 10 hours of battery life, and well-equipped app and content stores. Be prepared to spend at least $400. The iPad Air offers a good mix of features and performance, but other tablets have things the iPads don't, like a memory-card slot or remote-control capability.

Are you a bookworm? If you want a tablet mainly for reading--with some e-mailing, Web surfing, and a bit of app-downloading on the side--you can save some money with a tablet from Amazon. A larger screen is better for magazine reading, while a smaller one is more portable, costs less, and is big enough for reading books.

Do you want a tablet that's also a computer? Many Windows-based tablets are either convertibles that use hinges to twist and turn from laptop to tablet, or a detachable, which lets you detach the screen from the keyboard.

Do you have kids? Tablets for tykes have gotten more robust, and parents have more control over what their kids are doing with parental filters. Prices range from $150 to $200, so kids' tablets aren't cheap. Here's how to figure out which is best for your family.

Is there a gamer in the family? Most tablets are good enough for casual games like Angry Birds or 2048. But if you want to play a more-demanding game like Modern Combat 4, you'll need a tablet that can handle it. Here are six great tablets for playing games.

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