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The best tablet for photo editing and photographers in 2021

best tablet for photo editing and photographers
(Image credit: Emir Memedovski/Getty Images)

The best tablet for photo editing is always changing! With new models coming every year from the likes of Apple, Samsung and more, tablets are getting better and better. Stuffed with ever-more-powerful processors and boasting screens with increasing fidelity, the best tablets combine the power of a laptop and the convenience of a smartphone. It's no surprise that more and more photographers are learning to love tablet editing.  

The processing power of tablets is only set to increase, with rumours circulating that the next iPad Pro might house the M1 chip Apple has been using to run its latest laptops! You can check out our Apple Mac Mini M1 review to see more of what we thought of this new chip. Suffice to say, a tablet powered by one of these chips is going to be a seriously capable photo-editing machine!

If you're a photographer who frequently find themselves on a busy shoot, having an editing tablet you can take everywhere with you is a godsend. Slotting easily into a camera bag, a good editing tablet can be whipped out at a moment's notice. 

It used to be that iPads were pretty much the only game in town, but now great tablets have sprung up from the likes of Microsoft, Samsung and even Amazon, making the choice a lot harder. It depends on your needs, your preferences, and of course, your budget. That's where we come in!

We've scoured the internet for the best tablets you can get right now and the best prices you can get them for. We've made sure to include a mix of tablets for different budgets, so our list includes brand new models and some older tablets from years past. If you're looking to complete your perfect working from home setup (after all, who doesn't want to edit reclined on the sofa, rather than hunching over your desk!) then look no further.

Ultimately, the best tablets for photo editing are an incredibly flexible way to work – so take a look through our picks to find the right one for you.

Choosing the best tablet for photo editing

Just because a tablet has some impressive numbers and a slick design, it doesn't necessarily mean that it's the best tablet for photo editing. There are a few features that you'll want to keep an eye out for, including the size of the screen and its resolution. You'll also want to make sure that the quality of the screen and its color accuracy is assured.

One important aspect to consider is the tablet's battery life. There's nothing more frustrating than sitting down to edit, only to realize that you've only got a few minutes of charge left. You'll also want to consider how much the tablet weighs and whether it'll fit into your camera bag. 

Most crucially, you'll need to consider whether the device you're looking at is capable of powering your favorite photo editing software without any risk of unnecessary lagging. We've put together this guide to help you find the answers to these questions and help you make an informed decision on the best tablet for you.  

Read on for our pick of the best tablets for photo editing and photographers, which includes options for iPad, iOS, Android and Windows users alike.

Best tablet for photo editing

(Image credit: Microsoft)

1. Microsoft Surface Pro 7

This is the best Windows tablet money can buy!

Weight: 771g | Dimensions: 292 x 201 x 8.5mm | OS: Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro | Screen size: 12.3-inch | Resolution: 2736 x 1824 | CPU: Intel 10th Gen Core i3/i5/i7 | RAM: 4/816GB | Storage: 128GB-1TB | Battery life: Up to 10.5 hours

Laptop functionality
High precision
USB-C
Long battery life
Accessories cost extra

If you're in the market for a tablet running Microsoft's OS, you'll be hard pushed to beat the Surface Pro 7. Featuring the processing power of a laptop, a beautiful 12.3-inch PixelSense display and a longer battery life than many, the Surface Pro is, without a doubt, one of the best tablets for photo editing. 

But what really sets the Surface Pro apart is its functionality. The device features the latest multicore processors, which means you're not limited to mobile versions of anything, including the operating system. The Pro 7 is able to run the full Windows OS and, perhaps more importantly, the full version of your favorite photo editing software too.

The Surface Pro 7 also has a dedicated full-size illuminated keyboard, touchpad and precise pressure-sensitive stylus (all sold separately) – the combined package providing photographers with everything they need for high-precision photo editing.

(Image credit: Apple)

2. iPad Pro 12.9" (2020)

It's a photo editing powerhouse and best iPad for photographers

Weight: 639g | Dimensions: 280.4 x 214.8 x 5.8 mm | OS: iOS 1 | Screen size: 12.9-inch | Resolution: 2732 x 2048 | CPU: A12Z Bionic | RAM: 4GB (6GB with 1TB version) | Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB | Battery: 9,720mAh

Very powerful
Big screen
Expensive
Accessories cost extra

Apple has some of most powerful tablets on the market – and topping its tablet charts is the juiced-up 2020 iPad Pro. In general, as tablets go, this one is hard to beat when you take into account its big beautiful screen, portable and stylish design, useful peripherals and iOS running on Apple’s A12Z Bionic chipset. But does that make it one of the best tablets for photo editing? 

The answer is, quite simply, yes. The Pro offers an attractive combination of high power and portability, which can run Lightroom CC Mobile and Photoshop CC for iPad without issue.

The luxury Retina LCD screen is one of the biggest on the tablet market – a whopping 12.9 inches – offering a crystal clear viewing experience and an excellent surface to draw on with the Apple Pencil (sold separately). The downside with the iPad Pro is the price. It doesn't come cheap so anyone thinking of investing would almost certainly be thinking of this as a laptop replacement. And if that's the case, be prepared to shell out extra for accessories (and check out the best iPad Pro cases). 

See also: The best iPads for photo editing and video editing

Best tablets for photo editing: Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+

(Image credit: Samsung)

03. Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+

The latest Samsung flagship is the best Android tablet for photo editing

Weight: 575g | Dimensions: 185.0 x 285.0 x 5.7mm | OS: Android 10 | Screen size: 12.4-inch | Resolution: 1752 x 2800 | CPU: Snapdragon 865 Plus | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 128/256GB | Battery life : up to 10 hours

Gorgeous, high-quality screen
S-Pen included
All-day battery
Android apps less tablet-optimised
Quite pricey

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ is the best Android tablet you can get right now. It's basically a laptop in terms of power, and makes for an excellent productivity tool and photo-editing base. With the S-Pen stylus included, it's easy to get cracking on your projects right away, with no extra cost, and the beautiful display has a refresh rate of 120Hz, making it smooth and enjoyable to use for long periods.

If you like editing with hotkeys, it's worth also picking up the Samsung Book Cover Keyboard. You do have to pay extra for this, but it's a satisfying tactile device that also includes a trackpad, providing more options for those who don't care for working on a touchscreen for long periods. 

When you factor all this in, the large asking price of the S7+ starts to look a little less unreasonable. If it's stretching a little beyond your budget, consider the Galaxy Tab S7, which has a slightly less spectacular display and a smaller battery, but is available for a lower price, and will still do everything you need for photo editing. 

(Image credit: Samsung)

04. Samsung Galaxy Tab S6

The best Android tablet for photo editing you can get right now

Weight: 420g | Dimensions: 244.5 x 159.5 x 5.7mm | OS: Android 9 | Screen size: 10.5-inch | Resolution: 2560 x 1600 | CPU: Snapdragon 855 | RAM: 6/8GB | Storage: 128/256GB | Battery life : Up to 15 hours

Long battery life
Highly portable
Stylus included 
Limited apps 
Keyboard sold separately 

While the S7+ and S7 steal the headlines, the Galaxy Tab S6 is still well worth consideration. Weighing in at just 420 grams, this is one of the lightest, most portable tablets on the market. But don't be fooled by its appearance, this lightweight device features enough power to handle precision photo editing on the go.

The S6 is equipped with desktop-like software, up to 8GB of internal memory and 256GB of internal storage (expandable via MicroSD cards), so plenty of space for uploading images. Under the hood the S6 is powered by a Snapdragon 855  processor, meaning it can handle photo editing software (including Lightroom and Photoshop Express) with ease. 

The S6's 10.5-inch HDR-ready Super AMOLED display makes viewing imagery a pleasure, and unlike with Microsoft or Apple devices, the S Pen is included in the purchase price. The S4 also features a larger batter capacity (7,050mAh), meaning it can last up to 15 hours on one charge, and be back to full force in as little as 200 minutes with fast charging. 

(Image credit: Apple)

5. iPad Air (2019)

A great all-rounder and a good value iPad for photographers

Weight: 456g | Dimensions: 250.6 x 174.1 x 6.1mm | OS: iOS 12 | Screen size: 9.7-inch | Resolution: 2048 x 1536 | CPU: A12 | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 64-256GB | Battery life: Up to 10 hours

Powerful
Super-lightweight
Less memory than other options

If you're an Apple fan but can't (or don't want to) shell out for the iPad Pro, Apple's all-new iPad Air is a more affordable but still highly capable option. A lot of attention has gone into this new model, powered by Apple's A12 chip, it's less powerful than it's older sibling, but still packs enough of a punch to be able to run photo editing software comfortably. 

In fact, the processing power and RAM is really quite impressive when you consider it's working in a device that weighs less than half a kilo and is just 6mm thick. There is, as you would expect, less RAM in the Air, but still a respectable 3GB to play. The 2019 iPad Air also includes support for the Apple Pencil (first generation only), which will be music to many a photographers ears. 

(Image credit: Amazon)

6. Amazon Fire HD 10

This Amazon tablet is a both a bargain and a brilliant photo editing tablet

Weight: 500g | Dimensions: 262 x 159 x 9.8mm | OS: FireOS | Screen size: 10-inch | Resolution: 1920 x 1200 | CPU: Mediatek Quad Core | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 32/64GB | Battery life: Up to 10 hours

Highly affordable
Quality hardware
Limited apps

The cheapest tablet on our list by a mile, the Amazon Fire HD 10 is a fantastic option if you want a portable device for light photo editing work. Its 10.1-inch full HD screen is more than adequate for showcasing work and its highly portable, weighing in at just 500g. 

The Fire HD 10 is available as a 32GB or 64GB version, both of which have a microSD card slot to expand memory up to 256GB should you need it, and the battery life is said to last up to 10 hours after one full charge. 

Very much part of the Amazon eco-system, the Fire HD 10 helpfully has Amazon’s Alexa voice-assistant onboard, however it does mean using the FireHD for anything outside of that system – Google apps, for example – isn't possible. That said, the ever-growing Amazon app store presents a number of lightweight photo editing apps so you won't be short on software. A basic but capable option for anyone wanting a device for light editing work on the go. 

(Image credit: Microsoft)

7. Microsoft Surface Go

It's like getting a pro tablet, but without the pro price tag

Weight: 522g | Dimensions: 245 x 175 x 8.3mm | OS: Windows 10 S | Screen size: 10 inch PixelSense | Resolution: 1800 x 1200 | CPU: Dual Core Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 128GB | Battery life: Up to 9 hours

Full Windows 10 for free
Affordable 
Pen compatibility
Lacks power
Pen and keyboard cost extra

If you prefer to work with the Windows OS and on a budget, Microsoft's Surface Go is the less powerful but still very capable alternative to the Surface Pro 6 we mentioned earlier. With less power comes slightly less functionality and reduced performance, however the Surface Go has enough weight behind it to handle light photo editing work comfortably. 

Unlike its bigger sibling, the Surface Go runs the locked down 10 S version of Windows, but also offers the option to switch to the full version for free. And by doing so, the Go offers the functionality of a standard PC, including running photo editing software, anywhere and everywhere. 

(Image credit: Apple)

8. iPad Mini (2019)

Its size makes this the perfect travel companion for photographers

Weight: 300.5g | Dimensions: 203.2 x 134.8 x 6.1mm | OS: iOS 12 | Screen size: 7.9-inch LED | Resolution: 2048 x 1536 | CPU: A12 Bionic chip | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 64/256GB | Battery life: Up to 9 hours

Compact design
Good battery life
Affordable
Lacks power

Ok so we know that makes three iPads in this list, but each of these devices offer something slightly different and therefore all are worth consideration when choosing the best tablet for photo editing. 

The latest iPad Mini is a top option if you spend a lot of time traveling. The lightest device on this list, the Mini weighs just under 300g, meaning it will fit in almost any camera bag and you'd barely notice its there. 

The cheapest iPad option on the list, it also has the smallest screen size of all the tablets we've mentioned – but what a small but beautiful display it is. There's enough power in the Mini to run the mobile version of Lightroom comfortably and, like the iPad Air, new added support for the Apple Pencil makes the Mini a tablet well worth considering. 

Read more:

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