Many experts have often declared tablets dead: sooner or later, large smartphones should put an end to tablets. That did not work. The attack on the practical notebook / tablet combination (convertibles) was just as unsuccessful .
- Very high pace of work
- Long battery life
- Memory cannot be expanded
- Very expensive
With the 11-inch iPad Pro, Apple delivered the best tablet of the year in 2020. In 2021, the manufacturer is very likely to improve this title. However, there was already nothing more to be done in terms of adjusting screws. Those that Apple could still find were drawn to the company with 5G support and the M1 processor. Even without a mini-LED, the 11-inch version easily made it to number 1 in the list of the best. For the full experience, however, you also need the necessary change. With 5G and 2 terabytes of storage, the tablet costs a whopping 2,259 euros. Those who are satisfied with less memory can get the 128 GB iPad for 879 euros (prices at the time of the test).
- Very long battery life
- Storage can be expanded using a microSD card
- No cellular variant available
- Moderate work pace
Low price, quick operation and long battery life. Anyone who is already in the Amazon Prime universe and uses the services of the mail order company extensively can choose the Fire HD 10 in the 2021 version (price at the time of the test: 149 euros). But the Fire HD 10 is also great for surfing, watching movies and shopping away from the Amazon world.
This is how we tests tablet PCs
Faster, more brilliant, more versatile: Manufacturers have technically refined tablets – with faster processors, larger memories, sharper displays and more versatile apps. That requires a sophisticated test procedure. The editors explain the most important tests for the tablet PCs here.
The be-all and end-all of a tablet is and remains the display. A good display is just as important for work as it is for surfing the net or for displaying photos and videos. If the display is too dark, there is little to see – especially when strong sunlight hits the screen. In addition, it is extremely important which colors the display can show. Another decisive factor: How faithfully does the tablet display colors? A special sensor measures the color range and color fidelity. In addition, the testers determine the contrast and the pixel density – they determine how sharp tablets display images.
Pace of work
A good display is a must, but so is high speed! In the exams, the tablets not only have to cope with everyday tasks such as writing messages or surfing the net, they also have to process photos and videos quickly. Sophisticated benchmark apps push the tablets to their performance limits in order to determine the maximum working pace. A good speed rating is given to those who also show short loading and response times.
A fast tablet is great. But is it also clever and economical with the energy in the battery? We has also developed a new method for measuring battery life. The Dobot robot arm from Variobotic (see picture above) operates the tablet like a user: write messages, surf the web, shop, watch films and much more. It does this in an endless loop – until the battery is empty and the tablet switches off. This intensive use is therefore a meaningful endurance test. The test laboratory determines the duration of a charging process from 0 to 100 percent.
Further capabilities of the tablets are required in the “Equipment” test point. The speed in the WLAN as well as in the mobile network is evaluated here, whereby the new 5G standard is also taken into account. We also tests bio-metric locks such as fingerprint sensors and face recognition. It’s not just about convenience, but also about security: How easy or difficult can the sensors to unlock the device be tricked?
Last but not least, it comes to the so-called destructive tests: With ten different degrees of hardness of a special scratch pen, it is possible to determine exactly how susceptible the device is to wounds. We check this not only on the screen, but also on the tablet housing.
Tablet test: selection among manufacturers
Times have changed: five years ago dozens of manufacturers tried to sell tablets to men or women, today five manufacturers share over three quarters of the global tablet market:
- Apple: Apple ranks unchallenged at the top with a global market share of around 32 percent. The IT giant brought the iPad to the market in 2010, the first tablet – today Apple’s iPad range includes five models. We has tested all available variants.
- Samsung: With a market share of 20 percent, Samsung is second behind Apple among the tablet manufacturers. With six current models, the South Korean company covers all price ranges from the entry-level to the upper class. We had all current Galaxy tablets in the test.
- Lenovo: With a market share of 9.4 percent, Lenovo catapults itself from fifth to third of the largest tablet manufacturers within a year. The latest models: Lenovo Tab P11 (price at the time of testing: 250 euros) and Lenovo P11 Pro (price at the time of testing: 500 euros).
- Amazon: Number 4 among the tablet manufacturers is Amazon with a market share of 8.7 percent. The mail order company offers its customers four models, all of them entry-level models at affordable prices. Here in the test: a Fire tablet quartet in sizes from 7 to 10 inches.
- Huawei: The Chinese manufacturer Huawei is badly shaken due to the US sanctions – Huawei is only allowed to deliver all Android tablets without Google’s Play Store. This is noticeable in the market share: It slips to 6.8 percent, which means only 5th place – Huawei swapped places with Lenovo (3rd place) within twelve months. Huawei currently serves the middle and upper class – with two devices. The top model is the MatePad Pro 12.6 (price at the time of testing: 500 euros), the new mid-range tablet is called the MatePad 11 (price at the time of testing: 390 euros).
- Nokia: Tablets from Nokia? Right, it was there before! The Finns launched the first tablet as early as 2005 under the awkward name of Internet Tablet 770. Nokia sold the mobile phone division to Microsoft in 2011, and HMD took over in 2017. Until now, the company based in Finland’s second largest city Espoo only offered Android mobile phones – now the Nokia T20 is the first tablet to follow (price at the time of the test: 230 euros).
Basically, you should pay attention to the following things before buying a tablet:
- Dimensions and weight: Sure, you can work better with a large 12-inch tablet over the long term than with a small 7-inch tablet. On the other hand, the giant tablet is not that handy either – rather bulky and significantly heavier. Users therefore often have to take it off in between.
- Hardware: Most of the tablet hardware is located on a small S ystem- o n-a- C hip (SoC for short) – similar to the motherboards of notebooks or PCs, only much smaller. This is where the processor, the graphics chip, but also the main memory and the modules for WLAN and Bluetooth are located. The SoCs Apple M1 or the Qualcom Snapdragon 865 are considered to be particularly powerful.
- Display: The screen is the most important component of a tablet. It should show content sharp, rich in contrast and with colors that are true to the original. In addition, he has to implement inputs at the touch of a finger precisely and without delays.
- With and without SIM: For fast internet access at home, the tablet, like the models tested here, should have a nimble WLAN-ax or -ac. And if you want to access the internet while you are out and about, it is better to choose a tablet with LTE or even 5G functionality. For this, LTE and 5G tablets have a separate slot for the SIM card.
- Expandable memory: The iPads in the equipment variants tested by us come with a lot of memory, but this cannot be expanded using a microSD card, as in the rest of the test field.
- Operating system: Make absolutely sure that the tablet is not an old camel and works with the current operating system. For Android tablets it should be Android 12, for Apple’s iPads it should be iPad OS 15.
- Proper cameras: Manufacturers often and happily save on sensible lenses. The result: In video calls, the front camera captures your own likeness as if it were spongy with the Peaq, while the rear lens delivers blurry photos and videos with falsified colors. The best pictures in the test were delivered by the Galaxy Tab S7 + (price at the time of testing: 800 euros) and the iPad Pro 12.9 (price at the time of testing: 1,199 euros).
There are many types of tablets. Huge models with 12.9-inch displays are ideal as a notebook replacement with a dockable keyboard. 10-inch tablets are widely used. Surfing, shopping, watching films – they are proficient in many applications. And what do you need a 7 or 8 inch tablet for? After all, some smartphones, like the iPhone 13 Pro Max, are almost as big with a 6.7-inch screen. This is also the reason why there are only a few small tablets, including models like the Apple iPad mini 2021 (price at the time of testing: 549 euros), Galaxy Tab A7 Lite (price at the time of testing: 145 euros), and Amazon Fire HD 8 ( price at the time of testing: 100 euros), Fire HD 8 Plus(Price at the time of testing: 120 euros) and Fire 7 (price at the time of testing: 55 euros). Small tablets are ideal, for example, for vacations, as an eBook reader replacement, for YouTube, Facebook, Instagram & Co. or for reading the latest news every day.
Giant tablet: Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2021)
- Very high pace of work
- Long battery life
- Memory cannot be expanded
- Very expensive
With the iPad Pro 12.9, Apple impressively shows what is possible with a tablet: more than with many computers. The speed is enormous, the display is amazing. It’s not quite enough for first place in the best list – the 11-inch model with the significantly better battery life has to be beaten. You will hardly find a better screen in a tablet at the moment. It doesn’t get cheap because of that. The cheapest version costs 1,199 euros, the fully equipped model tested here even costs 2,579 euros.
Tablets come in many price ranges. The mail order company Amazon covers the entry-level segment from around 50 euros to 200 euros with its Fire tablets, Samsung has a large range of entry-level models such as the Galaxy Tab A7 Lite to top devices such as the Galaxy Tab S7 +, which costs over 1,000 euros Bandwidth in the program. With its tablets, Apple focuses on the upper middle class ( iPad 2021 ) and the upper class ( iPad Pro ).
Compact and affordable: Samsung Galaxy A7 Lite
- Long battery life
- Expandable memory
- Brick wall screen
- Slow pace
The Galaxy Tab A7 Lite (price at the time of review: 145 euros) with its compact housing almost fits in a jacket pocket. Otherwise, it scores above all with its low price and long battery life. But it has nothing more of a daily companion. The screen and performance are far less impressive. Demanding users avoid the tablet, but it’s okay for the couch.
Feel and see the processing
The test begins right after unpacking: Your eyes and hands also buy technology when it comes to technology. Therefore the first questions are: How do the examinees feel? How do you look? How is the processing? Sure, the cheap models like the Amazon Fire tablets don’t exactly provide a haptic aha experience, their technology is encased in simple plastic. However, customers in the price range of less than 200 euros cannot ask for a noble aluminum dress. Not to mention such high quality workmanship as in Apple’s iPads , Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S series or the MatePad Profrom Huawei. It’s just a different league: the cases are torsion-resistant, the backs cannot be dented – the tablets literally nestle in the hands of their new owner.
The display is the most important component
But as chic and classy as the tablet is, a good screen is much more important. After all, it not only has to ensure precise and delay-free implementation of inputs at the touch of a finger, but also the flawless reproduction of websites, photos and videos. But what exactly is it?
- Resolution: A lot doesn’t always help a lot, but an up-to-date tablet display should show photos and videos with at least 1920×1200 pixels. Otherwise, as with the Fire 7, details will fall by the wayside. When it comes to sharpness, the Amazon tablet clearly lags behind the competition because its display can only reproduce 1024×600 pixels.
- Color fidelity: The tablet must show colors as true to the original as possible. After all, the blue sky of the vacation photo shouldn’t appear as gray soup on the tablet. Buyers of the Amazon Fire 7 have to come to terms with falsified color reproduction. The normal, 10.2-inch iPad showed really brilliant colors – with the highest color fidelity in the test. And the two iPad Pros are the only tablets to cover 100 percent of the sRGB color space, which is important for many photographers and image editors – so they display all the required colors.
- Contrast: A high contrast is also required for a crisp display. And the Galaxy Tab S7 + , Galaxy Tab S6 and Galaxy Tab S5e with their OLED displays delivered like no other tablets in the test: They showed image areas with little light perfectly dark and bright areas beautifully radiant.
- Brightness: Anyone who travels a lot with their tablet will appreciate a display with a lot of brightness. This is the only way to see something on the screen even when the sun is shining. And there are big differences here: While the Peaq PET 100 looks dim even at maximum brightness settings (250 candela / m 2 ), the iPad Pro 12.9 shines with a full 660 candela / m 2 .
- Touchscreen: The display is not just a plain screen, after all, it must also implement inputs with a fingertip precisely and without delay. In this test point, the Peaq drove even the most patient tester to white heat: the testers had to wait just under four seconds for the tablet to process inputs. For comparison: With the iPad Pro 12.9 , the delay was almost imperceptible 41.6 milliseconds.
Brilliant OLED display: Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 +
- Great screen
- A lot of power
- Somewhat short battery life
- Face scan unsure
With the Galaxy Tab S7 +, Samsung has created a stylish and powerful tablet with many special functions that the biggest competitor, the iPad Pro, in some cases does not offer. In terms of work speed and especially in terms of battery life, the Tab S7 + is inferior to the Apple tablet (grade 1.6). That’s why it’s not quite enough to make the leap to the top. If you still want to enjoy the great screen, you need the necessary budget: the tablet starts at 954 euros, the 5G version costs 1,149 euros.
Performance costs runtime
The given performance puts a strain on the battery: This was particularly evident on the fastest tablet in the test. The large iPad Pro 12.9 achieved top values in the speed tests, but only below-average results in terms of battery life (see comparison above). The tablet screen remained black after just six and a half hours of intensive use. And that despite the largest battery in the test with 9,660 mAh. Such a short breath is no longer appropriate. The Amazon Fire HD 8 (2020) showed how it should be : With its 4,850 mAh battery, it managed eleven hours and ten minutes without stopping at the socket. But it’s also nowhere near as fast as the iPad Pro .
- Fast work pace
- Long battery life
- No 5G option
- Face scan unsure
The Tab S7 cannot keep up with the Plus version in terms of display and mobile communications. The tablet becomes a hero thanks to the significantly longer battery life. Because the screen can be seen without OLED technology and the device is almost as fast as the Tab S7 +, it even deserves a slightly better test grade (1.8, “good”) than its bigger brother. Another important criterion is the price: At 681 euros, the tablet in the WLAN version is significantly cheaper than the 954 euros expensive Tab S7 +. The prices for mobile communications are also clearly different at 779 and 1,149 euros – in favor of the Tab S7.
Impeccable workmanship, great display, really fast and a decent battery life: the iPad Pro 11 is currently the blueprint for a perfect tablet and thus the deserved test winner. But it is really expensive at 1,350 euros – Amazon’s Fire HD 10 is available seven times for the coal. This did not make any huge mistakes in the test, is enough for surfing, shopping and watching movies and is therefore the price-performance winner.
Tablet test: conclusion
Nice extra: With a tablet it is now possible to do more than just read, play or watch videos. Many manufacturers are currently selling their higher-priced devices as full-fledged notebook replacements. But you can also work properly with inexpensive models – especially with a decent keyboard for typing. Which models are convincing?
A pen is also a nice extra. For example, you can quickly and easily mark corrections in texts, create notes or make sketches and drawings. Such pens are only included in a few tablets, including the Galaxy models Tab S6 Lite , Tab S7, Tab S7 Fan Edition and Tab S7 +. Users can also purchase these pens separately ; they are available for less than 10 euros.
Tablets for kids? There aren’t too many. The best-known models include Amazon’s Fire HD 10 Kids Edition , Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Pro and the Medion E10440 Kids Tablet . What they all have in common: They have a child-friendly user interface, the app selection and the usage times can be restricted.
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