Mobile gaming is on the rise, not only on your phone but also on tablets. The reason why tablets make for such good portable gaming machines is the fact that you get that increased screen size coupled with a decent amount of power to cope with improved graphics. Additionally, as gaming emulation has become more and more popular, today’s tablets for gaming have the ability to run that software, giving those retro gamers a nice nostalgia trip. We hope this guide of best gaming tablets helps you get into mobile gaming and also have a really powerful piece of kit that can be used for multiple purposes.
How We Picked
Choosing the best gaming tablet in 2021 is one hell of a job with the line between both phones and PCs blurring with that of tablets. You can get tablets with screens as big as laptops and the power to boot so gaming on a tablet in this day in age is actually viable, especially with developers making moves in the mobile gaming industry i.e. Epic with Fortnite and Tencent with PUBG Mobile. With this list we’ve managed to create, you’ll see that we’ve tried to select tablets based on their power, battery life, and specific usage in an effort to provide everyone with a great tablet for gaming option. There’s Apple options, a Samsung option, and even a gaming tablet under $200 so let’s get stuck in.
Best Tablet for Gaming in 2021
Low internal storage
Acquiring a budget tablet for gaming is always going to be tricky due to the cost of the internal components that give the device the capabilities to handle the graphics of today’s mobile titles. Huawei however, is known for its really great value tech that packs a real punch. Granted, there is some news floating around about security issues and data privacy surrounding Huawei but that doesn’t take away from how good their devices are. The MediaPad T5 variant we’ve selected here comes in under $200 and while you might expect lackluster gaming performance, you’d be wrong.
Moving to the actual specs of this budget gaming tablet, we can see that Huawei has included their Kirin 659 Octa-core processor boasting an impressive 2.36GHz providing great performance while consuming less power than other similar processors. Similarly, 2GB of RAM is pretty scarce in this price range but Huawei has managed to cram it in, allowing for a decent amount of multitasking as well as running those more graphically demanding games. The 5100mAh battery also slotted in is really quite impressive delivering up to 10 hours of video playtime.
Looking at the all-important screen, we can see that you’ll be receiving a 10.1” IPS display with a 1920×1200 resolution fantastic for gaming due to the size as well as a better than 1080p resolution, enhancing those crispy details. The brightness and colors are similarly great, making for a superb overall viewing experience. The only real downside is that you only get 16GB of storage which is on the small side but what you can do is boost that with the micro SD card slot, enabling you to get that all the way up to 256GB. All in all, for gaming tablet under $200, you’ll get a really high-quality device that should cost much more and a really good pick for not only the average user but also for those looking to do more serious gaming.
Apple seal of approval
No expandable storage
The first of two Apple tablets to make the cut is the New iPad Pro. While this tablet has all the bells and whistles for other tasks like creative design and photography, it also holds it own when gaming. You’ll receive Apple’s extremely impressive A12Z Bionic chip that has 64-bit desktop-class architecture, making for some serious processing power coupled with a whopping 6GB of RAM. This combination makes even the most graphically intense games available on tablets run very nicely. Battery life is pegged at up to 10 hours, which is pretty standard today so nothing extraordinary there but when its paired with the power behind it, it’s quite impressive.
With the screens of all Apple products, you know you’re getting quality, clarity, and colors that far exceed that of most other alternatives on the market. The new iPad Pro is no different and even incorporates some new tech. Alongside the liquid retina nature, ProMotion technology and True Tone colors allow for silky smooth visuals when gaming, a nice plus over other competing tablets in this price range. Speaking of price, obviously, being an Apple product, it’s going to come at a premium. But, what you always get is a top tier product so it’s up to you if you’re willing to part with that extra cash. Going back to that display, you’ll receive a huge 11 inches of it that goes edge to edge on the device, providing a viewing experience that’s far superior to many Android alternatives. Overall, an Apple tablet is always going to do well, especially for gaming with its crisp display combined with powerful internal components and if you’re willing to pay that Apple price tag, it’s a tablet that does really well now, and into the future.
Super AMOLED display
Great battery life
With Android’s OS being readily available for a lot of developers, that means there’s a huge range of Android tablets available on the market. However, that also means that there’s a decent amount of poor quality android tablets so separating the bad from the good is a challenge. Fortunately, with Samsung being right up there in terms of tech manufacturers, the majority of their products are top tier. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e is one of their tablets that does deliver some solid gaming performance. You’ll see dual 2.0GHz and hexa 1.7GHz processors making for speedy loading and overall gaming capabilities coupled with 4GB of RAM to keep up with intensive titles. This variant also includes 128GB of storage, making it a great option for those who like to store and play a bunch of games simultaneously.
The battery life is where this tablet really separates itself from the rest. While the up to 15-hour statement from Samsung is initially impressive, it’s the fast charging feature that is such a great addition. It’ll get you back into gaming once your battery has depleted faster than most other tablets on the market as well as any other products we’ve detailed so far. The 10.5” display is similarly fantastic, with Super AMOLED qualities as well as a 16:10 aspect ratio that’s a surprisingly welcomed difference. Summing this Samsung gaming tablet up, it’s clear to see you’ll receive a really great specced device that is more than capable of today’s games. With that delightful Super AMOLED display and the battery/charging combo, you’re able to carry on gaming will into the night, perfect for those wanting long play sessions.
Good parental controls
Great battery life
No full HD display
Amazon’s Fire tablets sometimes get a lot of hate due to the lackluster operating system but what they are good for are kids. This specialized kids edition of the Fire HD 8 comes in at a really reasonable price point and still provides enough power to run the games kids of today play. The 1.3 GHz quad-core processor and 1.5 GB of RAM bundled into the tablet make for great everyday use by your kids and enough gaming capabilities for most of the stuff on the app store. There’s also an impressive 32GB of internal storage which is more than the Huawei we’ve previously detailed and good enough to house plenty of games and apps that your kids will surely be downloading. Battery life is a pretty great addition too with up to 10 hours stated by Amazon.
Looking at the screen and overall build quality there are good and bad points. The good points are that this tablet is really tough and pretty much childproof with its rubberized shockproof case, absorbing those bumps and bruises it’ll surely receive. However, the screen, on the other hand, isn’t the best. It’s passable coming in at 8 inches but only at a 1280×800 resolution so no full HD here. But, this is aimed at kids who aren’t resolution enthusiasts so it shouldn’t be a real dealbreaker.
Loads of storage
A small screen size and gaming don’t usually go hand in hand and we wouldn’t immediately recommend it but if you’ve got hands-on the small side or just want a more portable tablet for gaming, a smaller variant might be the only way to go. The Apple iPad Mini is a stellar selection in this category that has the power to compete with some of the larger tablets around. The processor isn’t quite as impressive as the one that goes into the iPad Pro but that’s to be expected. Alas, the A12 Bionic chip that they have put into this version of the iPad Mini still details some top performance and working in synergy with the 3GB of RAM, gaming on this thing is pretty much the best around at this size. This 256GB storage option also allows you to store heaps of games, even the largest ones on the app store, enhancing your gaming library for simultaneous title switching. Moving to the battery life, we can see that you’ll still get up to 10 hours, similar to the iPad Pro, which is always a positive.
Looking at that smaller display, the size is still gaming worthy at 7.9 inches, larger than phones and allowing you to still see sufficient gaming detail. The retina and True Tone aspects of the display itself make gaming a treat, allowing for vivid colors and no screen tearing. As with the iPad Pro, this iPad Mini does come at a premium price but for the quality of the product you’ll receive, it’s always pretty much worth it. To conclude, if you are looking for a smaller tablet for gaming, this 5th generation of the iPad Mini has to be the one you choose. It has all the features that bigger tablets have as well as having enough power to boot and if you look at the brand names offering similar sort of tablets, you’ll almost always be met with underwhelming specs.
Things To Consider
When choosing a tablet for gaming, you’re going to want a screen size that you can actually see what’s happening. That means staying away from anything smaller than the iPad Mini as you’d be getting into phone screen size territory. You can get away with mobile games like Candy Crush on those smaller screens but if you’re looking to play games like Fortnite, PUBG Mobile, or even your favorite racing games, it makes your gaming experience just that little bit worse. We personally would recommend opting for a 10-inch tablet for gaming as this gives you enough real estate to view the smaller details as well as fitting the game’s UI better.
This screen size can sometimes impact resolution too. So, usually opting for a larger tablet will open up options like full HD or in Apple’s iPads, even greater. This will give you a much crisper image that will not only provide you with a stellar gaming experience but also if you use your tablet for watching your favorite Netflix shows.
The processor that your given manufacturer is going to be putting into your tablet is the most important thing to think about. It’s this little chip that will determine for the most part how well your tablet will cope when running games. Apple has some of the best processors around when looking at tablets but that doesn’t mean you should pass on Android as most have enough power to cope with today’s mobile games. Additionally, with Huawei creating their own spin on processors that are powerful yet affordable, you can a real bargain in terms of price vs performance.
Along with the processor that goes into your tablet, RAM is similarly important. Like with traditional PCs, RAM basically does the job of allowing you to multi-task as well as giving you the capabilities to run your games at stable framerates. Most of the time you’re looking between 2-3GB of RAM on a tablet to do sufficient gaming. Any lower and you’re moving toward only handling basic mobile games. If you can get higher than that 3GB, you’re looking at more tablet PC, which are pretty decent for gaming but will have some different onboard software.
With any portable device, battery life is always something that needs to be considered. This especially comes into play when thinking about how gaming will impact said battery life. Manufacturers usually detail around 10 hours battery life as a standard nowadays but this is usually for general web surfing and light app usage so really, for gaming, you’d be lucky to get 8 hours of that. Having features like quick charging built into your tablet is always a plus and really helps when gaming. It’ll not only speed that charging process up but get you back into gaming quicker and for longer than the standard.
As shown above, there are a bunch of top tablets for gaming that provide great specs as well as impressive viewing experiences. However, if we were to pick one, the New iPad Pro from Apple is really hard to say no to. You’re getting a stylish tablet that provides a crisp image coupled with optimized gaming performance. You’ll also receive that Apple standard of quality meaning it’s going to last you a number of years without slowdown. On the other hand, if you’re not flush with cash, our best gaming tablet under $200, the Huawei T5, is a stellar choice, showcasing some of the best budget gaming performance around and if you can move past the bad press Huawei get, we’d definitely recommend even picking this tablet up as a secondary device.