Saturday, June 22, 2024

The 6 best tablets for travel in 2024

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OnePlus Pad held in handChristine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

With the world opening up once again for tourists, you’re going to want to buy a tablet to beat the boredom of long flights and waiting times. Not all models will be able to serve this purpose though, so to help you decide what to purchase, we’ve rounded up our recommendations for the best tablets for travel. We acknowledge that there are different types of travelers, so we picked devices that will cater to each of them, while considering a specific set of criteria when making our selections.

While you can also use your smartphone during your trips, the larger screen of tablets will help provide more amusing entertainment when you need it. The best tablets for travel will let you catch up on work, watch streaming shows, check social media, and whatever else you may think of doing while you’re on the way to your destination, or while you’re taking a break from all the sights and sounds. Read onward to figure out the best tablet for travel for you, then go ahead and purchase it so that the device will be ready and waiting for your next adventure.

The best tablets for travel in 2024

  • Buy the if you want the best overall tablet for travel.
  • Buy the if you want a tablet for travel that will keep you productive.
  • Buy the if you want a tablet for travel to watch streaming content and play mobile games.
  • Buy the if you want to get your child a tablet for travel.
  • Buy the if you want a tablet for travel that’s extremely portable.
  • Buy the if you want a tablet for travel for an affordable price.

Apple iPad Air 5th Gen

Best tablet for travel for most people

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Pros
Cons

Powerful performance of Apple’s M1
Locked to iPadOS

Bright and colorful display

USB-C port

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It’s not a surprise that our top choice among the best tablets is also the first tablet for travel that we recommend. Simply put, the fifth-generation Apple iPad Air is that good. Performance is amazing with Apple’s M1 processor, as you wouldn’t want to get even more frustrated when you’re already dealing with the stress of travel. The tablet also features a 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display, which is bright and colorful to help you better enjoy your favorite content.

The Apple iPad Air 5th Gen will take advantage of the features of the iPadOS 17, which is the latest version of Apple’s operating system for tablets. It’s slim and light so it’s easy to bring with you during your travels, it comes with a USB-C port for wide compatibility, and it works with the Apple Pencil 2 and the Magic Keyboard as extra accessories for additional input options.

Specifications

Storage
64GB, 256GB

Display size and resolution
10.9 inches, 2360 x 1640

Operating system
iPadOS

Microsoft Surface Pro 9

Best tablet for travel for professionals

Luke Larsen / Digital Trends

Pros
Cons

Powered by Windows 11 Home
Relatively expensive

13-inch touchscreen

2-in-1 laptop design

For those who are planning to work even while they’re traveling, the Microsoft Surface Pro 9 will make sure that you’ll remain productive. It runs on Windows 11 Home, so you’ll be able to use it with the most popular productivity apps — Microsoft Office — and it will make sure that you can get all your tasks done quickly with its 12th-generation Intel Core i7 Evo processor and 16GB of RAM.

As a tablet, the Microsoft Surface Pro 9 offers a 13-inch PixelSense touchscreen with a 120Hz refresh rate, and you can prop it up using its built-in kickstand. However, it transforms into a laptop using the Surface Keyboard that comes bundled with it, in case you need to respond to an email or make a quick report. Some people prefer bringing their work with them on their trips, but that’s why the Microsoft Surface Pro 9  is one of the best tablets for travel — it will help you get back to your vacation as soon as possible.

Specifications

Storage
256GB, 512GB, 1TB

Display size and resolution
13 inches, 2880 x 1920

Operating system
Windows 11 Home

OnePlus Pad

Best tablet for travel to watch movies and play games

Tushar Mehta / Digital Trends

Pros
Cons

Up to 144Hz refresh rate
Weird placement of rear camera

Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos

Slim and lightweight

The OnePlus Pad sits on top of our rankings of the best Android tablets, and that’s partly because of its sharp and vibrant 11.6-inch LCD touchscreen. With 2800 x 2000 pixel resolution and an up to 144Hz refresh rate, it’s an excellent display for watching streaming content and playing mobile games because you’ll be seeing sharp images and smooth movements. The tablet also supports Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos to enable a personal cinema, and the viewing is even more immersive because of the narrow bezels surrounding the screen.

Adding to the reasons why the OnePlus Pad is one of our best tablets for travel are its slim and lightweight design with a thickness of just 6.5 millimeters and weight of 552 grams, its smooth CNC aluminum unibody, and an all-day battery life that will go from zero to full charge after just over 60 minutes of being plugged in.

Specifications

Storage
128GB

Display size and resolution
11.6 inches, 2800 x 2000

Operating system
Android

Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Pro

Best tablet for travel to keep your children entertained

Amazon

Pros
Cons

Designed for children
Limited performance

One year of Amazon Kids+

Two-year replacement guarantee

If you want to keep your children busy during your travels, giving them a tablet is one of the easiest options, and the Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Pro will be your best bet. It’s not the most powerful device out there with just 3GB of RAM, but it will be more than enough for your children as they play games and watch videos on its 10.1-inch touchscreen with Full HD resolution, and they’ll be kept busy with its 13-hour battery life.

The Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Pro is great for children because it comes with a one-year subscription to Amazon Kids+, which offers age-appropriate books, games, videos, and apps. It’s also bundled with a kid-proof case to keep the tablet safe from damage, though it features a two-year worry-free guarantee — if the tablet breaks within that period, it will be replaced for free.

Specifications

Storage
32GB

Display size and resolution
10.1 inches, 1920 x 1200

Operating system
Fire OS

Apple iPad Mini 6th Gen

Best tablet for travel that’s easy to carry

Adam Doud / Digital Trends

Pros
Cons

Compact and lightweight
No headphone jack

Works with Apple Pencil 2

USB-C port

If you want to make sure that you won’t have trouble finding a place for your tablet in your luggage, get something compact like the Apple iPad Mini 6th Gen. It’s very portable with its 8.3-inch Liquid Retina display and weight of just below 300 grams. However, despite its small size, it offers fast performance for your apps with Apple’s A15 Bionic chip and 4GB of RAM, which is the same configuration that you’ll find in the iPhone 13.

The Apple iPad Mini 6th Gen is compatible with the Apple Pencil 2 if you’re thinking about using it to take notes or draw sketches of the places you visit, and it may be upgraded to iPadOS 17 so that you have access to the operating system’s latest features. It’s also equipped with a USB-C port for charging and other accessories.

Specifications

Storage
64GB, 256GB

Display size and resolution
8.3 inches, 2266 x 1488

Operating system
iPadOS

Lenovo Tab M10 Plus 3rd Gen

Best tablet for travel with a cheap price

Peter Szpytek/Digital Trends / Digital Trends

Pros
Cons

Very affordable
Can’t handle demanding tasks

2K resolution

Immersive Reading Mode

For those who just need a simple tablet for their travels, the Lenovo Tab M10 Plus 3rd Gen is an affordable but decent option. Its display is relatively large for a budget device at 10.6 inches, and it’s bright and sharp enough for most purposes. The tablet also features a quad-speaker system with Dolby Atmos, so that you can better enjoy watching streaming shows and the videos that you’ll take with it.

The Lenovo Tab M10 Plus 3rd Gen is equipped with an all-day battery so it can keep you company throughout your trip, and it’s protected by a durable aluminum chassis that keeps the tablet light at 465 grams. Book lovers can activate the device’s Immersive Reading Mode to make the screen easier on the eyes, which will be helpful if you’ll be stuck on a plane or train for hours.

Specifications

Storage
32GB, 64GB

Display size and resolution
10.6 inches, 2000 x 1200

Operating system
Android

How we chose these tablets for travel

Not all tablets are excellent choices as travel companions, and to determine which ones are, we came up with this set of criteria that we followed to narrow down our choices for the best tablets for travel. While certain characteristics will be more important for different types of travelers, you generally want a tablet that will check all these boxes so that you won’t find it lacking once you’re already on your trip.

Portability

The first thing that most people will think about when choosing a tablet for travel purposes is whether the device will be portable. While tablets with larger screens will need a bit more effort if you want to make space for it in your luggage, they may still be considered portable if they’re slim enough to easily slide into your bag. As an electronic device, you wouldn’t want to have your tablet placed somewhere that’s going to be out of your sight, so it’s important that the device you buy will fit into the hand-carry bag that you always bring with you during your travels.

In selecting the best tablets for travel, we chose devices that maintain portability even if they have relatively large displays, though of course, that will still depend on the biggest device that you’ll be comfortable bringing with you.

Versatility

While you may have a specific purpose in mind for your tablet while you travel, it would be better if the device is versatile enough to handle different kinds of activities. For example, if your tablet is primarily for browsing the internet, it should still have a display with decent resolution in case you decide to watch a video. If you think you’re going to be playing mobile games most of the time on your tablet, you should still think about having enough storage space left over when you need it to take footage of anything awesome that you come across in your trip.

Some tablets have accessories, either bundled with the device or requiring a separate purchase, that will give you extra options. A stylus will help you pass the time by drawing the sights that you see, while a keyboard will make it easier to compose emails or write on your travel blog. This versatility helps make the best tablets for travel very valuable companions.

Compatibility

If you use a specific set of apps for work and play, or if you have accessories that you can’t leave home without, you better make sure that they will work with the tablet that you buy. The best tablets for travel are widely compatible with all of the popular apps and accessories, as they’re powered by top operating systems and they come with a complete set of ports.

We made sure to select tablets that will work with everything that you usually use, which means going for trusted brands that have taken this into consideration when building their devices. Whether you’re an iPadOS or Android fan, there’s something for you in our list of the best tablets for travel if you want to stick to the ecosystem that you’re used to back home.

Durability

Traveling requires a lot of movement, which will possibly expose your tablet to much more wear and tear compared to using it at home. We chose devices that are relatively durable because you wouldn’t want to go home with a broken tablet, which will be an additional expense to repair or replace. Tablets with built-in protection for their touchscreens and made with tough materials are excellent choices as travel companions.

For the more adventurous travelers, you may want to buy a rugged case or something similar for your tablet so that it will better withstand potential damage. This is partly why we chose some of the most popular models for our list of the best tablets for travel, as there will surely be rugged cases and similar accessories available for them.

Value for money

Last but not least, we believe that you should receive fantastic value for money with every purchase, and getting a tablet for travel is no exception. Whether you’re on a tight budget or you’re willing to make a significant investment, the device that you buy should make you feel that you paid more than what it cost you.

Affordable tablets should still provide decent performance, and premium tablets should pack all the latest features. It would be a good idea to set a maximum budget for your purchase to further narrow down your options, but no matter what, you won’t regret spending your cash on any of the best tablets for travel that we’ve highlighted above.

This article is managed and created separately from the Digital Trends Editorial team.

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