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The best iPad alternatives in 2022

best iPad alternatives - Group of young people in office gathered around tablet
(Image credit: Jopwell from Pexels)

The best iPad alternatives mean you needn’t break the bank to have a great tablet. Apple is as much a fashion brand as a tech company, and so its products tend to be a lot more expensive than rivals. Yet some of the best iPad alternatives are actually just as slick, despite being generally much cheaper. 

Money, though, may not be the only reason you want an alternative to the iPad. Once you buy into the Apple ecosystem, you tend to get sucked into buying everything else that supports the same platform: a Mac, an iPhone, AirPods, Apple Music, Apple News, Apple Podcasts and so on. So there’s a lot to be said to not tying yourself down to Apple, giving you more freedom to shop around among other manufacturers. 

You might also want to avoid Apple because of its deep involvement in China, particularly given recent reports linking some suppliers in Xinjiang with forced labor of the Muslim minority population.

Whatever your reason for seeking other options, we’ve brought together the best iPad alternatives to suit a variety of budgets. Read on, and you’ll discover the best Windows tablets, the best Android tablets and the best Amazon tablets available right now. All of them are great tablets which can give the iPad a run for its money… while costing a lot less. 

The best iPad alternatives in 2021

(Image credit: Samsung)

1. Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+

The best iPad alternative overall

Specifications
Screen size: 12.4-inch
Resolution: 1752 x 2800
Weight: 575g
Dimensions: 185.0 x 285.0 x 5.7mm
OS: Android 10
CPU: Snapdragon 865 Plus
RAM: 6-8GB
Storage: 128/256GB
Battery: 10,090mAh
Rear cameras (2): Wide: 13MP, f/2.0, 26mm, 1/3.4", 1.0µm, AF; Ultrawide: 5 MP, f/2.2, 12mm (ultrawide), 1.12µm
Front camera: 8 MP, f/2.0, 26mm (wide), 1/4", 1.12µm
Reasons to buy
+Powerful processor +Long battery life +Beautiful screen
Reasons to avoid
-No cheaper than an iPad

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ won’t necessarily be cheaper than an iPad. And it certainly won’t be a lot cheaper. But it is the best iPad alternative overall. So if you mainly want to avoid Apple for other reasons than saving money, it’s well worth investigating.

This is a premium tablet indeed, with its Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus processor making everything run quickly and smoothly, and its impressive 10,090mAh battery saving you having to plug it in for hours on end. The 12.4in Super AMOLED screen, with its 120Hz refresh rate, is a joy to behold, and the S Pen stylus is a close match for the sensitivity of the Apple Pencil 2.

It’s a great choice for photography, with its 13MP wide and 5MP ultrawide cameras giving you gorgeous, vivid colours, especially when teamed with the Panorama, Night and Live Focus modes. There’s also a great Single Take mode, too. You tap the shutter once and move around a bit for up to 10 seconds, and you'll get a variety of stills with different styles, angles, and formats created automatically. 

The 8MP front facing camera also provides a first-rate experience for video calls and selfies, although note there’s no equivalent to the way the iPad Pro automatically centres you. 

(Image credit: Microsoft)

2. Microsoft Surface Pro 8

The best iPad alternative for productive work

Specifications
Screen size: 13-inch
Resolution: 2880 x 1920
Weight: 891g
Dimensions: 287mm x 208mm x 9.3mm
OS: Windows 11
CPU: 11th Gen Intel Core i5-i7
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 128-1TB
Battery: 6200 mAh
Rear camera: 10MP
Front camera: 5MP
Reasons to buy
+Runs Windows 11 +Fast performance +Good connectivity 
Reasons to avoid
-Can’t run mobile apps

Launched this September, Surface Pro 8 is Microsoft’s latest rival to the iPad, although it offers quite a different experience overall. That’s because it’s really designed to be teamed with a clip-on keyboard (sold separately), making it easy to swap between using it as a tablet and a hybrid laptop. 

Sure, you can do that with an Apple as well, but you’ll still be using iOS software. The Surface Pro 8, though, runs full-blooded Windows 11, so you’re get a proper PC experience rather than just running mobile apps. On the other side of the equation, we’re still waiting for Windows 11 to be able to run Android apps.

Photography-wise, you get a 10MP rear-facing autofocus camera with 1080p HD and 4K video, that offers clean and clear images, and an impressive amount of detail. The 5MP front-facing camera, meanwhile, offers 1080p Full HD video and does good job of making video calls in less-than-perfect light, thanks to its Ambient Color Sensor.

More broadly, Intel's latest 11th-gen Core i5 and i7 processors give this tablet super-fast performance. The high-res screen with a 120Hz refresh rate makes for a lovely looking display. And connectivity is good too, with two USB-C Thunderbolt 4 ports (the iPad Pro only has one), plus a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a Surface Connect port. 

(Image credit: Samsung)

3. Samsung Galaxy Tab S6

The best iPad alternative for value

Specifications
Screen size: 10.5-inch
Resolution: 2560 x 1600
Weight: 420g
Dimensions: 244.5 x 159.5 x 5.7mm
OS: Android 9
CPU: Snapdragon 855
RAM: 4-8GB
Storage: 128/256GB
Battery: 7040mAh
Rear cameras: Wide: 13 MP, f/2.0, 26mm, 1/3.4", 1.0µm, AF; Ultrawide: 5MP, f/2.2, 12mm, 1.12µm
Front camera: 8 MP, f/2.0, 26mm (wide), 1/4", 1.12µm
Reasons to buy
+Fast performance +Excellent cameras +Great value 
Reasons to avoid
-A little outdated

If you’re looking for a premium tablet experience but don’t want to pay top dollar, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 is a great choice. Released in 2019, it’s cheaper than the Samsung Galaxy S7+ (number one on our list), but still a very capable device.

Compared to the S7, you’re getting a smaller screen (10.5 to 12.4 inches) with half the refresh rate (60Hz to 120Hz), no 5G support, and a slightly smaller battery (7,040 mAh to 10,090 mAh). There’s also an older Qualcomm processor, slightly less RAM and it runs a slightly older version of Android. 

But these are pretty minor differences, and on the whole this is a high-end tablet indeed. In particularly, the cameras are exactly the same on most models. And so if your budget can’t quite stretch to a Samsung Galaxy S7+, then the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 is a very worthy alternative.

(Image credit: Apple)

4. Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.5-inch (2018)

The best cheap iPad alternative overall

Specifications
Screen size: 10.5-inch
Resolution: 1200 x 1920
Weight: 529g
Dimensions: 260 x 161.1 x 8mm
OS: Android 8.1
CPU: Snapdragon 450
RAM: 3GB
Storage: 32GB
Battery: 7300mAh
Rear camera: 8MP, f/1.9, AF
Front camera: 5MP, f/2.2
Reasons to buy
+Nice screen +Good battery life +Budget price 
Reasons to avoid
-A little outdated

Short on cash? The Samsung Galaxy Tab A was first released in 2018, and so doesn’t cost much at all these days, especially if you get a refurbished or used model. And yet it’s still very capable. With a large HD display and impressive battery life, this now classic tablet is a great choice for a little light surfing, casual gaming, listening to music and watching videos. 

Obviously, you get what you pay for. So the Tab A hasn’t got the fastest processor, its 8MP and 5MP cameras are nothing special and it’s running an older version of Android. But still, for a budget buy, this is a solid choice.

(Image credit: Microsoft)

5. Microsoft Surface Go 2

The best cheap iPad alternative for productivity

Specifications
Screen size: 10.5 inch
Resolution: 1920 x 1280
Weight: 553g
Dimensions: 245 x 175 x 8.3mm
OS: Windows 10 S
CPU: Dual Core Intel Pentium Gold 4425Y
RAM: 4-8GB
Storage: 64-128GB
Battery: 8,000MAh
Rear camera: 8MP
Front camera: 5MP
Reasons to buy
+Hybrid device+Powerful battery+Great value
Reasons to avoid
-Only runs S Mode

Want a cheap tablet that will run Windows? Then our recommendation is the Microsoft Surface Go 2. Like the pricier Surface Pro 8 (number two on our list), this is a hybrid device that can be transformed into a laptop with Microsoft's Type Cover (sold separately). It’s a lot cheaper though. This reflects its less powerful processor, which means it runs by default in Windows 10 S Mode. You can switch to Windows 10 Pro if you need to, though: it’ll just run a little slower. 

On the plus side, the Go 2 comes with a powerful 8,000MAh battery, and there’s good connectivity, with a USB-C, a Surface Connector and microSD ports. The HD screen is bright and colourful, and offers a range of viewing angles. If you need a stylus, the Surface Pen snaps magnetically to the side. And the 8MP rear camera does a great job of dealing with natural light. 

In short, if you’re short on funds but want a tablet that’s focused on productivity rather than media consumption, it’s an excellent buy. If, however, your priorities are the reverse of that, then check out the next tablet on our list.

(Image credit: Amazon)

6. Amazon Fire HD 10 (2021)

The best cheap iPad alternative for media consumption

Specifications
Screen size: 10.1-inch
Resolution: 1920 x 1200
Weight: 465g
Dimensions: 247 x 166 x 9.2 mm
OS: FireOS 7
CPU: 8-core (4x2.0 GHz Cortex-A73 & 4x2.0 GHz Cortex-A53)
RAM: 3GB
Storage: 32-64GB
Battery: 6,300mAh
Rear cameras: 5 MP
Front camera: 2MP
Reasons to buy
+Nice display+Decent audio+Great value
Reasons to avoid
-Doesn't run Android

If you mainly want to use a tablet for media consumption – that’s a fancy way of saying watch video and listen to music – then consider the Amazon Fire HD 10, which is by far the cheapest tablet on this list. 

It’s got a great HD-resolution screen for all your entertainment needs, and very good audio for the price. Neither match up to the superior quality of the latest iPad Pro, but for most people they’ll be perfectly acceptable, particularly if you’re using a decent pair of headphones. 

Note that this isn’t an Android tablet, but runs Amazon’s own FireOS operating system. This means a lot of well-known apps, such as Google Maps, Gmail, Chrome and WhatsApp, are noticeable by their absence. There are FireOS equivalents, but if you’re wedded to particular apps that may not be much comfort. The cameras (5MP on the front, 2MP on the back) are nothing to write home about, either.

The Amazon Fire HD 10, then, should mainly be considered as a device for light web browsing and enjoying films and music rather than anything more serious and business-like.

(Image credit: Lenovo)

7. Lenovo Tab P11 Pro

Great battery life and a lovely screen

Specifications
Screen size: 11.5-inch
Resolution: 1600 x 2560 pixels
Weight: 485g
Dimensions: 264.3 x 171.4 x 6.9mm
OS: Android 10
CPU: Snapdragon 730G
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 128GB
Battery: 8,600mAh
Rear camera: 13MP + 5MP
Front camera: 8MP + 8MP
Reasons to buy
+Excellent display+Long battery life+Affordable price
Reasons to avoid
-Doesn't excel elsewhere

Choosing the best iPad alternative is largely about striking a balance between features and price. And the Lenovo Tab P11 Pro manages to offer a number of premium features at a surprisingly affordable cost. 

Its display, for example, is much higher quality than you might expect at this price. Offering 2K resolution of 1600 x 2560 pixels, this OLED screen is beautifully colour-accurate and offers an impressive 500 nits of brightness. This is matched by decent audio, too, coming from the P11 Pro’s four stereo-effect speakers.

The battery life is another highlight, with the 8,600mAh battery keeping the tablet going over multiple days. You also get a fast charger as a free extra, making this a great choice for trips and long journeys. 

If these two elements were matched elsewhere, this could be a real iPad Pro killer. As it is, in all other respects this tablet is fairly so-so. For example, it doesn’t have the fastest processor, the 13MP + 5MP rear cameras are competent but uninspiring, and it’s not great for productive work. Still, if a high-end screen and long battery life are the main things you’re looking for, this tablet will offer you excellent value.

Read more

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Tom May

Tom May is a freelance writer and editor specializing in art, photography, design and travel. He has been editor of Professional Photography magazine, associate editor at Creative Bloq, and deputy editor at net magazine. He has also worked for a wide range of mainstream titles including The Sun, Radio Times, NME, T3, Heat, Company and Bella.