Best-Rated Tablets (Reviews)

Canstar Blue’s tablet computer review compares Samsung, Apple and Lenovo on user friendliness, ease of handling, battery life, customer service, value for money and overall satisfaction.

See our Ratings Methodology.

Best Tablets 2021

Most Satisfied Customers | Samsung

Samsung was rated best in Canstar Blue’s tablet computer ratings, earning five-star reviews across the board, namely for user friendliness, ease of handling, battery life, customer service, value for money and overall satisfaction.

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Samsung taps into first place in tablet ratings

Tablets used to exist in a chasm between smartphones and laptops, but today they combine the best of both worlds for ultimate performance and portability. Many feature detachable keyboards to become what’s called a ‘2-in-1’ laptop, and the top models feature power figures similar to those of high-spec laptops. Many computer brands also make tablets, so there’s a lot of choices, but where do you begin?

To help you decide which tablet could be best for your needs and budget, we’ve surveyed nearly 600 Australians to get their feedback on the tablet computer(s) they’ve purchased in the last two years. Respondents rated brands on user friendliness, ease of handling, battery life, customer service, value for money, and overall satisfaction. Brands that received at least 30 responses are compared in this year’s ratings.

Samsung typed up a huge win in our latest tablet ratings, earning top marks across the board, including for user friendliness, ease of handling, battery life, customer service, value for money, and overall satisfaction.

Best Tablet Computers

Samsung tablets

Here are the best tablets in Australia, as rated by consumers in Canstar Blue’s latest review:

  1. Samsung
  2. Apple
  3. Lenovo

Samsung swiped Lenovo’s crown after rating best for overall satisfaction and achieving top marks in all other categories. However, Lenovo still raced ahead as the only other brand to score full marks in any category, namely value for money. When it came to overall satisfaction, Apple dragged slightly behind Samsung on four stars while Lenovo ended on three stars.

Top Tablet Brands

Samsung

Samsung tablets review

Samsung is the orange to Apple’s, well, apple. The very popular Samsung Galaxy S series, Galaxy Tab A series and Galaxy Tab Active series from the South Korean technology brand are strong rivals of the iPad, offering a large range to choose from and at comparably more affordable prices.

The Galaxy Tab S range can cost up to $1,949 for the Galaxy Tab S7+ 5G with 256GB of storage. The least expensive option is alternatively the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite, which contains 64GB of storage and Wi-Fi functionality. Otherwise, you can find some of Samsung’s cheapest tablets from the Galaxy Tab A range, which offers products priced between $249 and $529. Unlike the brand’s other tablet series, Galaxy Tab A products currently provide either Wi-Fi or 4G capabilities.

Samsung’s Galaxy Tab Active range is slightly on the pricier side. The Galaxy Tab Active3 retails for $799 and, as the name suggests, is designed to be robust and capable of withstanding harsh conditions. Similar to many other Samsung tablets, this model comes with an S Pen so you don’t need to spend an extra $200 just to get started.

Samsung’s tablets typically run on the Android platform, as is usually the case with many non-Apple devices. Screen sizes usually vary from 8-inch to 10.1-inch for Galaxy Tab A and Galaxy Tab Active tablets.

  • Samsung clicked with consumers on all fronts, receiving five stars for battery life, user friendliness, ease of handling, customer service, value for money and overall satisfaction.

Apple

Apple iPads review

Apple arguably planted the seed of the tablet computer, or at least popularised it with the introduction of the iPad. The brand has given birth to a few more generations since these products first launched in 2010. Prices start from $499 for the Apple iPad Mini, and go up to $3,549 for the latest Apple iPad Pro with all the bells and whistles of a 12.9-inch screen, 2TB of storage and both Wi-Fi and cellular functionalities. Other versions include the iPad Air and iPad Mini.

If you’re unsure which version of a specific model to buy, iPads with Wi-Fi-only functionality usually cost approximately $300 less than models with both Wi-Fi and cellular capabilities. However, there’s only a slight difference when it comes to battery life. Products such as the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, along with the latest versions of the iPad and iPad Air, are said to provide up to 10 hours of battery on Wi-Fi or nine hours when using a mobile data network.

Later generations of the iPad and iPad Air also now support Apple’s full-sized Smart Keyboard and the Apple Pencil (1st generation). The newer version of the iPad Pro is similarly compatible with Apple’s Magic Keyboard, Smart Keyboard, and Apple Pencil (2nd generation).

  • Apple glided on four stars for all factors, including user friendliness, battery life, customer service, value for money and overall satisfaction.

Lenovo

Lenovo tablets review

Lenovo offers a variety of tablets from its Tab series and YOGA Tablet range. For a budget buy, the ‘Tab’ series is the most affordable and includes several entertainment tablets which typically contain 32GB or 64GB worth of storage, while the priciest option in this particular range comes with a 128GB memory. These Android tablets usually retail from just $149 and reach up to $499.

Lenovo also offers the Yoga Tab 11 tablet for $699 which contains 256GB of storage plus an 11-inch 2K display, quad speakers, stainless steel kickstand and access to Entertainment Space & Google Kids Space.

  • Lenovo impressed in terms of value for money, achieving a five-star review for the category. It got three stars everywhere else, including for user friendliness, battery life and overall satisfaction.

What is the best tablet?Which tablet should I buy?

What makes the best tablet computer ultimately depends on what you need. Nearly one in five Aussies (16%) admitted they don’t use their tablet as much as they thought they would, so maybe try making a list of things you’ll realistically do, need and want from a tablet before you get out your credit card.

Are you a student looking to ditch the notebook and go digital? Then you might want to consider models that come with a stylus to mimic the traditional notetaking approach of putting pen to paper, such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7.

The Apple iPad could also be worth thinking about, especially if you’re looking for a pocket rocket. If you prefer to use a keyboard like the 16% of consumers we surveyed, Apple offers the Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro and iPad Air. It contains a built-in trackpad, unlike most detachable keyboards. Otherwise, Lenovo has a couple of YOGA 6 and YOGA 7 models that promise all-day battery life.

A third (37%) of respondents surveyed said they bought a new tablet because they like to use a device that’s bigger than their phone, while others were happy to replace their laptop or home computer for a smaller tablet (12%). But whatever type you choose, compare models from a variety of brands to make sure you’re getting the best deal out there.

About the author of this page

This report was written by Canstar Blue’s home & lifestyle journalist, Tahnee-Jae Lopez-Vito. She’s an expert on household appliances, grooming products and all things grocery and shopping. In addition to translating our expert research into consumer-friendly ratings reports, Tahnee spends her time helping consumers make better-informed purchase decisions on all manner of consumer goods and services, while highlighting the best deals and anything you need to be aware of.

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Picture credits: Denys Prykhodov / Shutterstock.com

*Prices are taken from respective retailers, correct as of November 2021.

Frequently Asked Questions

Canstar Blue surveyed more than 3,000 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have purchased a tablet computer in the last two years – in this case, 573 people. Note: this includes standalone tablets, such as iPads and tablets with detachable keypads, not laptops.

Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.

Here are the brands that previously rated best in Canstar Blue’s tablets review:

  • 2020: Lenovo
  • 2018: Apple
  • 2015: Apple

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