A killer media machine, but you'll pay for the privilege
Samsung's hardware seems to have peaked recently: the company's phones, smartwatches, and tablets all get just a little better with each new release. The Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra is no exception. It's almost indistinguishable from the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra Samsung released in early 2022, with the same 14.6-inch AMOLED display, the same size and shape, the same quad speakers... you get the idea.
With an AMOLED display and great performance, the only question surrounding the Tab S9 is whether it's worth $800
Tablets are hitting a point of no return in their ongoing identity crisis. The earliest models of the modern tablet — the first-gen iPad and its Android-powered rivals — were centered around media consumption above all else. But the arrival of Microsoft's Surface brought with it a new focus on an ever-growing lineup of productivity tools, including keyboards, styluses, and larger screens to better compete against standard laptops.
Amazon's most expensive tablet yet is held back by a pitiful app experience
For years, Amazon's Fire tablet lineup has split into three models. Despite the low entry costs for the Fire 7 and Fire HD 8, it was tough to avoid the siren song of the Fire HD 10. The biggest, baddest Amazon slate was nearly always the most usable of the bunch, thanks in part to a 1080p panel and faster hardware. But the toy-like design — not to mention the lack of Google Play Services — was always enough to turn off some potential buyers, no matter how cheap the price.
A beefier Snapdragon chip and Android 13 make this Samsung's 'Goldilocks' tablet
Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S6 Lite raised quite a stir when it arrived on the scene three years ago, offering a solid alternative to the ever-dominant iPad for those who preferred to stay within the Android ecosystem. While it naturally didn’t pack in everything that the more premium Galaxy Tab S6 had to offer, Samsung cut just the right corners to make it an affordable — and popular — choice.
Despite Apple's restrictions, the iPad is still one of the best values in tablets
It just works. Nothing causes an Apple critic’s blood to boil faster than those three words used to defend a product from Cupertino. And while that phrase has practically become a meme, not enough people understand what it means to the average user. It’s not to imply Apple products are bug-free — they aren’t. It certainly isn’t meant to suggest that Apple always makes decisions in the best interest of the customer — it doesn’t.
It's a fine midranger, but the Pixel Tablet's best ideas are half-baked
We're all familiar with Google's rocky relationship with tablets: after early success with the affordable Nexus 7, the company struggled to maintain momentum. Following poor commercial and critical reception of 2018's ChromeOS-based Pixel Slate, Google gave up on tablet hardware altogether for quite some time.
Merging Android with E Ink and a splash of color is pure magic
Onyx is continuing its crusade in the name of e-reading, though it might be more appropriate to call its devices E Ink Android tablets, as they don't come running locked down operating systems like Amazon's Kindle e-readers or reMarkable's tablets. One of the latest models from Onyx is the Boox Tab Ultra C, and it puts a colorful spin on the Boox Tab Ultra we reviewed in March, which is already an appealing device.
Your eyes will thank you after your next 8-hour marathon
As a kid, I remember going through ads in PC Magazine and seeing all those top-of-the-line laptops displayed. I would read down the list of specs: a 266MHz Pentium II processor, 32MB of RAM, a cutting-edge TFT active matrix display — and yes, I know I’m dating myself here. And I knew that the sticker shock at the end of the listing would hit me harder than a Shohei Ohtani fastball. Sure enough, I’d see figures as high as $5,500, and I would keep dreaming.
This is the dream come true for serial note takers and document readers, but it costs a pretty penny
Onyx has made a name for itself with its high-end E Ink readers and tablets, offering the full Android and Google experience on E Ink screens. Most recently, the company released the Onyx Boox Tab Ultra, a 10-inch note-taking powerhouse. However, tablets are growing bigger and bigger these days, and that 10-inch screen still doesn’t give you the full letter-sized paper experience. That’s where Onyx’s new tablet comes in, the Boox Tab X.
A welcome addition to the Android tablet market, despite a few questionable choices
After a decade of lukewarm releases and outright bombs, I'm not sure anyone could've seen the coming Android tablet renaissance (tablet-aissance?). For years, consumers have had the choice between a dozen different Samsung variants, cheap-for-good-reason Amazon Fire Tablets, or… an iPad. Occasionally, you could find yourself a ChromeOS-powered slate, though even then, you were usually looking at hybrids or 2-in-1s, not full-blown tablets.
Speakers, and page-turn buttons, and running Android, oh my!
With so many e-readers on the market, choosing the right one for your needs can be challenging. You'll often find a device that checks a few boxes but not all. The Boox Leaf2 from Onyx, on the other hand, will tick plenty of those boxes thanks to its pleasant reading experience, range of features, and excellent software. It boasts a high-quality E Ink Carta 1200 display that mimics the look of real paper, making it ideal for long reading sessions without causing eye strain or discomfort.
The Onyx Boox Tab Ultra aims to be a great e-reader that doubles as a tablet or PC, but it comes at a high price
The Onyx Boox Tab Ultra aims to combine Android capabilities with an E Ink tablet, so when it was announced last October, I was pumped for it. Its paper-like screen, stylus for doodling and taking notes, media playback capabilities, and support for millions of Android apps are enough to entice anyone interested in using an excellent e-reader.
It won't turn many heads, but the M10 Plus is a great media tablet at a reasonable price
Not long ago, if someone asked for a 10-inch tablet recommendation under $200, I would have told them, without hesitation, to get an Amazon Fire 10 HD. It had the best mix of value, performance, and display quality in the category. Sure, they'd have to install the Play Store manually, but similarly-priced Android competitors couldn't compete on functionality alone.
Samsung's low-cost tablet is built for entertainment, not work
With Samsung offering some of the most expensive devices on the market, a good deal goes a long way. As far as the best Android tablets are concerned, the Tab A series has provided affordability without sacrificing too much, so those on a budget can enjoy the tablet experience. The most recent slate, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8, is exactly that. It offers a solid tablet experience for an affordable $230 price point, matching the same cost as its predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A7, while beating out the entry-level iPad by $100.
The first Kobo e-reader made entirely from recycled and ocean-bound materials is lightweight, portable, and has a crisp display
When you think of the top e-readers on the market, Kobo often comes up as a company known for selling e-readers and e-books through Rakuten. Released in 2018, the Kobo Clara HD is one of its most popular compact e-readers. The Kobo Clara 2E, the successor to this lightweight e-reader, was introduced in September 2022. While the follow-up offers plenty of similarities, many people will appreciate a few welcome changes.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite gives the Amazon Fire 8 a run for its money as the budget king for streaming content
The Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite reminds me of my childhood dog. He was a cute and cuddly little guy, but if you pet him the wrong way, he would bite you. However, if you knew how to approach him, he was your best friend, but you had to know his limitations.
Samsung's smallest flagship tablet is fine, but it doesn't live up to the premium experience of the larger models
For the last few years, Samsung has offered its flagship lineup of tablets in two unique sizes: a basic 11-inch model and one with a more premium 12-inch screen. Then in early 2022, Samsung surprised us with a third edition — the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra, an absolute behemoth with a nearly 15-inch display capable of replacing your laptop without breaking a sweat. Combined with the Galaxy Tab S8 and Tab S8+, it seemed like Samsung was building a good-better-best lineup for its latest slates.
After two years, the latest version of Amazon's affordable tablet has finally arrived, but the improvements are minimal
Amazon's smaller Fire tablets are known for being extremely portable and easy to navigate, but cheaper and slower than competing tablets. Just type "why are Fire tablets" into Google, and you'll see that the auto-complete options aren't pretty. This isn't to say that these tablets aren't good. They're great for certain uses, which is why the Amazon Fire HD 10 is one of the best Android tablets. However, the Fire tablet line doesn't live up to its full potential.
We finally get a Kindle DX successor, but taking notes and drawing feels tacked on
In 2012, Amazon finally discontinued the Kindle DX, the first and last large-screen Kindle. Ten years later, a handful of competitively large e-reading devices exist and are excellent at taking notes, and are clearly eating Amazon's lunch.
The new Kindle for 2022 brings some big upgrades, including USB-C
Amazon is back again with the latest base Kindle, and it's called the All-new Kindle (taking a page out of Nintendo's misguided book.) This 11th-generation model is finally bringing plenty of long-requested features at a $99 price point. The most significant addition is the new 300ppi high-res screen, alleviating the blurry text the base Kindle was known for.