iPad versus the rest: which is the best tablet?

The tablet craze is already a few years behind us and new tablets come out less often. Roughly speaking, you still have a choice of iPads from Apple and Android models from Samsung, among others. How good is the current range? Computer!Totaal tests seven popular tablets between 199 and 529 euros.

A few years ago, new tablets of all kinds of brands appeared on the assembly line. From big names such as Apple, Samsung and Acer to lesser known and even obscure parties: the offer was overwhelming and there was something for everyone. A screen of 7, 8, 9 or 10 inches? Or even bigger? Apple sold iPads with its own iOS, while other brands could use Google's Android. In 2019 a number of things have changed. Due to declining demand and the focus on other product groups, few new tablets appear these days. Apple is still the most active and regularly renews its iPad line-up. iPads also come in different price ranges, with different screen sizes and specifications. If you prefer to use an Android tablet, you can go to Samsung, Huawei and Lenovo.

Tablet for your situation

Most tablets available now have a screen between 9.7 and 11 inches. A 10-inch tablet has a screen diagonal of 25.4 centimeters and is therefore suitable for viewing photos and videos, for example on an airplane. There are also 8-inch tablets, including the iPad Mini, which are more compact and lighter. You put such a smaller tablet in your bag faster, but it is less pleasant to watch a movie on it. A few years ago, the 7 inch was especially popular, but it has practically died out because smartphone screens grew.

When purchasing a tablet, consider not only the screen size but also the software. People who already use Apple products are more likely to opt for an iPad. The easy-to-use iOS software also has the best app store, and iPads get updates for years to come. Android tablets have a slightly less good app store and depend on the manufacturer for updates. On the other hand, you can customize Android much more to your own liking and there is good integration with Google apps.

How we test

We test seven popular tablets that have been on sale recently or for a while. From Apple these are the cheapest regular iPad, the smaller iPad Mini and the more expensive iPad Air 2019. We will also work with the affordable Lenovo Tab P10 and the mid-range Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8. Finally, we put the cheap Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1 (2019) and the more expensive Galaxy Tab S5e through its paces. With the exception of the iPad Mini (7.9 inches), the tablets have screens of about 10 inches. We test the versions with the smallest storage capacity: four with 32 GB and three with 64 GB. When testing, we pay attention to the build and screen quality, the general performance and the battery life. We also look at the user-friendliness of the software and the update policy. We don't compare the tablets as direct competitors, because that wouldn't be fair because the prices and specifications vary widely. The tablet with the best price-quality ratio receives the Editorial Tip quality mark and the best tablet receives the Best Tested label. The prices stated are the lowest prices on www.kieskeurig.nl in mid-July 2019 and may be different in the meantime.

iOS becomes iPadOS

Last spring, Apple announced that iPads and iPhones will no longer run the same iOS operating system. This allows Apple to better develop the tablets as devices suitable for productive purposes. The update should be rolled out to iPads from September. Learn more about iPadOS here.

Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1 (2019)

The Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1 (2019) is the cheapest model in the test. You can see that in the average performance and battery life, and the lack of a light sensor. So you have to manually control the screen brightness. Charging the battery takes no less than four hours. On the other hand, the aluminum tablet feels solid and light and it has a beautiful full-HD screen of 10.1 inches. The Samsung software, based on Android 9, also works fine and you will receive updates until April 2021. If you are looking for a tablet for simple tasks such as social media and watching movies, look no further.

Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1 (2019)

Price

€ 189,-

Website

www.samsung.com 9 Score 90

  • Pros
  • Solid design
  • Hardware
  • Software (support)
  • Negatives
  • No light sensor
  • Speakers
  • Battery life and charging

Apple iPad (2018)

The iPad 2018 has been out for a year and a half and is Apple's cheapest 9.7-inch tablet. The price difference with the latest iPad Air (2019) is no less than two hundred euros. And you notice that: the design looks dated and some components have been seen in iPads for four years. The screen is sharp, but not laminated and lacks an anti-reflective coating. You experience that there is air under the display and quickly see fingerprints. The hardware does not win any prizes either, although the battery life is sufficient. Charging takes hours. The iOS 12 software is nice to use and will receive updates for years to come. The iPad is suitable for the first-generation Apple Pencil stylus pen, an expensive separate purchase.

Apple iPad (2018)

Price

€ 319,-

Website

www.apple.com 7 Score 70

  • Pros
  • Premium housing
  • Sharp display
  • Great software and years of updates
  • Negatives
  • Outdated design
  • Older Parts
  • Screen not laminated
  • Charging takes 4.5 hours

These tablets do not participate

In this test we only discuss tablets with iOS and Android. We omit Apple's iPad Pro series because those tablets are just as expensive as laptops, and that does not match the other tablets tested. Microsoft Surface tablets are not mentioned because we see them more as a Windows convertible than a media tablet. Surfaces run on Windows 10, an operating system without a good app store and with a focus on computer programs. There is also one Acer tablet for sale with Chrome OS, which uses the Android app store. However, this particular device does not appear to be recommended and that is why we have decided not to include it in this test.

Lenovo Tab P10

Lenovo's Tab P10 is completely made of glass and we don't think that is practical. The device scratches quickly and is vulnerable to a fall. A good cover is therefore not an unnecessary luxury. The 10.1 inch display (full HD) looks fine and the speakers are above average. The overall performance is unimpressive and heavy games don't run well. The long battery life and fast charging via USB-C are nice. The Tab P10 still runs on Android 8.1 and that is unacceptable. Lenovo's update policy is also unclear. Bottom line, a nice budget tablet, but Samsung's Galaxy Tab A 10.1 (2019) offers more value for money.

Update October 2019: The Android 9 update is now available for the Lenovo P10.

Lenovo Tab P10

Price

€ 199,-

Website

www.lenovo.com 6 Score 60

  • Pros
  • Clean Android Software
  • Speakers
  • Battery life
  • Negatives
  • Software Support
  • Fragile glass
  • Performance sometimes mediocre

Apple iPad Mini (2019)

One look at the iPad Mini (2019) and you think: is this an iPad Mini from four years ago? The tablet has thick edges around the screen and is unnecessarily quite large. Fortunately, the 7.9-inch screen is excellent. A larger display is more pleasant for watching movies. The powerful hardware makes the iPad easy to use and the battery life is good. Charging takes more than three hours and is done via the characteristic Lightning connection. iOS 12 works nicely and Apple assures you of years of software support. The lack of competition makes the good iPad Mini the best smaller tablet out right now.

Apple iPad Mini (2019)

Price

€ 439,-

Website

www.apple.com 8 Score 80

  • Pros
  • Good screen
  • Hardware
  • Software (support)
  • Negatives
  • Dated appearance
  • Pricey

Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e

The most expensive Android tablet in this test logically holds the best cards. The energy-efficient OLED screen is beautiful and razor-sharp and is ideal for gaming and Netflix. The battery life is also very good and the battery charges very quickly. The performance is fine, but on a number of models the WiFi connection appears to be lost when you hold the tablet horizontally. An annoying design flaw. The Tab S5e is very thin at 5.5 millimeters and therefore feels somewhat fragile. The weight is very low which is nice. Unfortunately, a 3.5mm headphone jack is missing. Samsung's software is fine and you will receive updates until at least April 2021.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e

Price

€ 364,-

Website

www.samsung.com 7 Score 70

  • Pros
  • Beautiful screen
  • Battery life
  • Low weight
  • Negatives
  • No 3.5mm jack
  • So thin it's breakable
  • Wifi problems

Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8

The aluminum Huawei MediaPad M5 features a 10.8-inch screen that impresses with its resolution and overall image quality. The performance is also good: all popular games, for example, run without any problems. Unfortunately, a 3.5mm headphone jack is missing, but you can connect your old headphones via the USB-C adapter. The tablet has four speakers that produce full sound and the battery lasts a long time. Charging is smooth. The EMUI software shell looks messy and works differently than the normal Android version. In addition, many unnecessary apps are included. Huawei's update policy is also not that good. Note that there is also a more expensive and better MediaPad M5 Pro for sale.

Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8

Price

€ 299,-

Website

//consumer.huawei.com 8 Score 80

  • Pros
  • Display
  • Speakers
  • Performance
  • Negatives
  • No 3.5mm jack
  • Software(policy)

Apple iPad Air 2019

At 529 euros, the iPad Air 2019 is by far the most expensive tablet in this test. It is also considerably more expensive than the iPad 2018 (starting at 329 euros). The price difference manifests itself in many ways. The Air has better hardware, making it more future-proof. The tablet is lightning fast, lasts a long time on a battery charge and has a crystal clear 10.5-inch screen. You can draw on this with the first generation Pencil, but the latest stylus is not suitable. Too bad, just like the fact that Apple includes a slow charger. You have to buy a fast charger yourself. The iOS 12 operating system works intuitively and you get updates for years to come.

Apple iPad Air 2019

Price

€ 523,-

Website

www.apple.com 9 Score 90

  • Pros
  • Display
  • Software (support)
  • Hardware
  • Battery life
  • Negatives
  • Pricey
  • Fast charger not included
  • Does not work with second generation Apple Pencil

Conclusion

Those looking for a decent tablet have less choice than a few years ago. Fortunately, that does not mean that the range disappoints. The seven tablets we tested all perform well to very well. The Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1 (2019) impresses with its competitive price-performance ratio and is the best choice if you want a large, inexpensive Android tablet. The Huawei MediaPad M5 10.8 and Lenovo Tab P10 are also a nice buy, but have less good software support. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e is the best Android tablet, but that is mainly due to the lack of competition. The device is not perfect. The Apple iPad 2018 is also not without its drawbacks, but it does offer the complete iPad experience for a good price. The iPad Air 2019 is more expensive and by far the best tablet in this test. The iPad Mini (2019) is an odd one out with its smaller screen, and we think it's on the expensive side. However, those who want a compact iPad have no alternative. All in all, there seems to be something for everyone.

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