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Best small tablets in 2024

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A render of one Nokia T10 tablet standing vertically, and another on its back

In some ways, the Android tablet market’s in a great place right now. If you’re looking for a 10-inch+ tablet and willing to spend several hundred dollars, there’s a slew of high-end Android slates to choose from. Even just a few hundred bucks can land you a surprisingly great midrange tablet with impressive specs and a quality display. And software developers on both the operating system and app sides constantly work to improve the big-screen Android experience.



But as Android Police Phones Editor Will Sattelberg recently decried, there’s a dearth of premium small tablets, with the most portable devices missing out on modern hardware and convenient features. Sure, you could opt for a tablet-style foldable, but their aspect ratio, price, and relative fragility make them a non-starter for most people. So we dug deep to see if Will’s Christmas wish has actually come true, and while the answer’s not a definitive “yes”, there are some worthwhile smaller tablets to consider.


The top compact Android tablets right now

Nokia T10

Best overall

All things considered, a pretty darn good tablet

$130 $170 Save $40

In a world of compact, yet underpowered devices, the Nokia T10’s decent hardware and reliable manufacturing stand out. Its display looks good, the SoC and RAM perform well, and the software isn’t too shabby. You also won’t have to spend much to get your hands on one.

Pros

  • No major faults
  • Sturdy, reasonably premium build
  • Slated to get Android 14
Cons

  • Subpar selfie camera
  • Display could be better

The Nokia T10 and its decent hardware make for a relatively frustration-free experience in casual use. It’s reasonably thin and light, and the battery lasts for a few days of periodic use. The Unisoc T606 system-on-a-chip inside pairs with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage to deliver, believe it or not, some of the best performance in this size class. What’s more, it shipped with Android 12, currently runs Android 13, and will receive Android 14 plus an additional year of security updates after that. It’s clear that Nokia put this together to provide an actually worthwhile compact tablet experience.

Naturally, it’s not without its faults, but none are deal-breakers. The display could be brighter, and we’re not in love with the middling resolution. It also won’t make your video calls look very good, due to the mediocre 2MP front camera.

But it promises what some other small tablets can’t: a relatively smooth experience running low-overhead apps like web browsers and streaming services. It also feels pretty sturdy, and the Ocean Blue back panel makes it nicer than its low price might indicate.


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apple ipad mini 6

Apple iPad Mini (6th Gen, 2021)

Premium pick

In a class of its own

$400 $499 Save $99

To no one’s surprise, Apple makes the best (and arguably only) high-end compact tablet today. Its form factor, performance, display, and connectivity are second to none — but so is its price, just about. If you’re not attached to Android and can find it on sale, though, don’t pass it up.

Pros

  • Crisp, bright display
  • Premium feel and performance
  • Optional 4G LTE connectivity
Cons

  • Expensive for the size
  • Base model is only 64GB

Apple’s iPad lineup has easily cornered the tablet market, and far be it from Android Police to argue. The 2021 Mini looks a lot like a miniature 2020 iPad Air in terms of style, and makes just a few sacrifices to fit in a smaller package with a slightly lower price. The display’s high resolution and good peak brightness make it useful in most lighting conditions, although we were a bit bummed at the 60Hz TFT panel, considering plenty of phones half the price have way better screens.

ipad-mini-2021 2

Panel type notwithstanding, though, the iPad Mini sports the high performance we’ve come to expect Apple’s in-house silicon, in this case the A15 Bionic. The actively updated iPadOS runs smoothly without any hiccups, another thing we commonly see with Apple products. And at under 300g and less than 7 millimeters thick, this is just about the lightest and thinnest sub-9-inch slate out there. It definitely looks and feels more premium than the rest.


The only major drawback, as with some other Apple devices, is the cost. A $500 list price for a device with just 64GB of storage definitely qualifies as frustrating, given Apple’s longtime refusal to allow for microSD storage expansion. That said, it’s frequently discounted by $100 at various retailers, which makes it worth considering if you’re OK with learning the ins and outs of the operating system.

Render of the Lenovo Tab M8 (4th Gen)

Lenovo Tab M8 (4th Gen)

Best value

Good for streaming, browsing, and social media

$73 $90 Save $17

They don’t get much cheaper than the 4th-gen Lenovo Tab M8, or much smaller. It’s no powerhouse, but it runs Android 13 just fine, and boasts just about the most portable form factor of them all. In terms of usability, it’s a far cry more convenient than its closest competition.

Pros

  • Acceptable performance
  • Runs Android 13
  • Security updates until 2026
Cons

  • Can’t handle resource-intensive apps
  • Doesn’t get very bright

There aren’t many reliable tablets under the $100 mark, and the Lenovo Tab M8 usually sees discounts to well below that. To be clear, you won’t be running 3D games at high frame rates on this minuscule device, but you won’t have a ton of slowdowns if you stick to things like social media and streaming apps. It’s a little lighter than other 8-inch tablets, too, and has slightly slimmer bezels. The small form factor also means it’s pretty durable.


As long as you temper your expectations, the Tab M8’s a perfectly passable device for simple media consumption and online communication. The selfie camera isn’t very good, the display doesn’t get super bright, and the speakers don’t sound the best. But at press time, it was readily available for $73, which is a hard deal to pass up if you just need something basic.

Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite, front and rear view

Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite

Best software

Underpowered, but still user-friendly

$100 $160 Save $60

While it defines the concept of a high-end Android tablet, Samsung also makes some great entry-level models like the Tab A7 Lite. It’s not very fast, but you can find it dirt cheap due to its age. It’s also one of the few with optional cellular data connectivity.

Pros

  • Streamlined interface
  • Low price
  • Updates through Android 14/One UI 6
Cons

  • Poor performance
  • Screen isn’t great

It wouldn’t be a roundup of the best tablets without a showing from Samsung. The 2021 Galaxy Tab A7 Lite is the Korean tech giant’s only offering smaller than 9 inches, and it’s a decent one, despite its faults. Chief among those faults is the mediocre-at-best performance, which significantly limits what kinds of apps you can use.

Spotify running on the Samsung Galaxy A7 Lite


On the bright side, you’ve got Android 14 and Samsung’s renowned One UI interface to look forward to, with all the customization, convenience, and efficiency they entail. If you plan to use your tablet for basic tasks like web browsing, organizing your schedule, and keeping up with with, the A7 Lite will serve fine.

Read our review

Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite review: An Amazon Fire HD 8 alternative, no sideloading required

The Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite gives the Amazon Fire 8 a run for its money as the budget king for streaming content

It’s also one of the few in this class to come in a 4G LTE-enabled version, although that one’s a little harder to come by, and you’ll probably have to opt for international model and its lack of a U.S. warranty.

amazon-fire-hd-8-render

Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus (2022)

Best Fire tablet

A little restrictive, but still worth considering

Amazon’s Fire tablet lineup aims to make it as easy as possible to enjoy multimedia content, even if it’s not so much engineered for a typical Android experience. The Fire HD 8 represents the most powerful compact model, and does an especially good job if you install the Google Play store after you get it.

Pros

  • Perfect for content consumption
  • Relatively affordable
  • Side-loading the Google Play Store isn’t hard
Cons

  • Below-average performance
  • Not all Google apps play nice

The Fire tablet series gets a little flak for its somewhat restrictive UI, which isn’t entirely unwarranted. But you can take a few simple steps to tweak your Fire tablet, like side-loading the Google Play Store, and make it feel more like Android than Amazon ever intended. And don’t worry about breaking any functionality; While not all Android apps work perfectly, you can turn this normally locked-down device into something quite convenient.

Best small tablets in 2024


Like other tablets in this size and price class, it doesn’t wow in terms of performance or display quality. But it’s absolutely fine for watching your favorite movies or TV shows, or managing your email and other communications. The extra gig of RAM compared to the non-Plus version makes a difference, too, and the list price of $120 isn’t bad. Make sure to check out our series of helpful Fire tablet guides if you do opt for one of Amazon’s low-cost slates.

A pink Amazon Fire 7 (2022) on a white background

Amazon Fire 7 (2022)

Ultra-cheap

The smallest, cheapest, and most basic

The Amazon Fire 7 is as small as they get. Consequently, it’s also as cheap and durable as any Android tablet you’ll find. If you don’t need something fancy, but maybe just something to occupy a kid at a restaurant or yourself on a commute, it’s worth considering.

Pros

  • Really cheap
  • Hard to break
  • Runs simple apps
Cons

  • Severe performance limitations
  • Mediocre display quality

Nobody’s claiming the Fire 7 is anywhere near high-performance, but its $60 MSRP doesn’t either. This is the kind of tablet that you get when you need a device that won’t break (physically, or in terms of software) but can provide entertainment during dull moments, or digital connectivity on the fly. Will the display quality win any awards? No. Can you log into a 3D shooter and enjoy blistering frame rates? Absolutely not, but that’s not what it’s for.


Read our review

Amazon Fire 7 (2022) review: Budget, indeed

Your smartphone probably beats this budget tablet’s sluggish performance, but not its price

The Fire 7 performs well at the simplest tasks, and not much else, but you can certainly rely on it for those. It’s made even better when you tweak it just like its slightly larger sibling, as mentioned above, particularly by side-loading the Google Play Store. You app options will be limited by the device’s poor performance, but you’ll still have plenty of useful widgets and other software to make this a worthwhile, small investment.

Onyx Boox Tab Mini C with stylus on white background

Onyx Boox Tab Mini C

Best e-ink

And now for something completely different

$400 $449 Save $49

If you’re looking for a highly functional Android-adjacent tablet but aren’t so concerned with streaming video, look no further. Technically an e-reader, the Onyx Boox Tab Mini C and its e-ink display deliver a decidedly non-smartphoney experience, complete with the versatility of the Google Play Store.

Pros

  • Remarkable color e-ink display
  • Premium Wacom stylus layer
  • Much more versatile than a normal e-reader
Cons

  • Colors, brightness, and refresh rate don’t stand out
  • Not great for streaming video
  • Costs a pretty penny

The Onyx Boox Tab Mini C, like other Onyx e-readers, is a legitimately interesting device. It fills an entirely different niche than typical Android tablets, which normally sport bright, bold LED panels and put watching video at the forefront. In contrast, the e-ink display of the Mini C doesn’t do all that well with video — especially color video — but instead makes writing and drawing an absolute pleasure.


Part of this comes from the nature of the display itself. The non-backlit e-ink technology has a significantly different look than typical LED panels, and in this case, adds color output to the paper-like appearance we’ve come to expect from quality e-readers. But wait, there’s more: A stylus input layer from none other than industry leader Wacom makes this one of the most useful and novel drawing tablets we’ve seen in recent years. If you want to take notes or make sketches on a compact, portable device, few better options exist than this relatively small and light Onyx.

Read our review

Onyx Boox Tab Mini C review: Colorful and compact, but not without compromise

All the specs are here, but the lack of a store holds the experience back

It has its drawbacks, but if you’re looking for a combination of a drawing tablet and an e-reader that fits easily in a purse or backpack, supports an extensive amount of Android apps, and can even reproduce video at passable quality, this is basically the only option. And that’s not a cop-out; it’s a truly unique device in terms of design, hardware, and software. While very noticeably different from a standard tablet, it does still come with the Google Play Store installed, so you can get tons of functionality out of it. Artists, students, and busy professionals alike will likely love the Tab Mini C — if they can handle the $400 price tag.


Renders of the front and back of the TCL Tab 8 tablet

TCL Tab 8 LE

Cheap 4G LTE

An entry-level cellular data-connected tablet

Simplicity is the name of the game with the TCL Tab 8. It’s as affordable as anything else, and even more limited than most in terms of hardware and software capabilities, but its 4G LTE support makes it an interesting choice for someone who wants to stay connected at a low cost.

Pros

  • 4G LTE connectivity
  • Extremely palatable price
Cons

  • Only 32GB of internal storage
  • Slow performance restricts the experience

As weird as the term “phablet” is, that’s basically what we’d call the TCL Tab 8 LE, and it fills a pretty specific niche. If you want 4G LTE data connected to a device that’s bigger than a phone, but smaller and less costly than a midrange tablet, this is one of just a couple viable choices. You’ll need to pick up a good microSD card for any appreciable app installations, but those are pretty cheap, and so is the Tab 8 LE.

We won’t lie to you and say it’s the most versatile tablet, but it works, has OK battery life, and can keep you connected at all times. If, for example, you want to add a 4G-connected tablet to your car travel experience while spending a minimum, it’s a great choice. It’ll keep you driving in the right direction, or your passengers engaged with mobile entertainment, anywhere you have signal. And it comes with support for either Verizon or T-Mobile’s networks, and you can get it basically for free if you sign up for a new line.


So while we wouldn’t recommend it for most people (and wouldn’t recommend the Wi-Fi only version for anybody), it does have its uses.

Picking an affordable, compact tablet

Poor Will Sattelberg, AP reviewer extraordinaire. He asked Santa for a high-end Android tablet smaller than 9 inches, and didn’t exactly get his wish. But there are some extremely viable compact slates here, and the Nokia T10 makes the fewest sacrifices in terms of performance, which is the biggest limiting factor for most of these devices.

Outside of getting the smoothest hardware experience, though, a few of the others do merit consideration. The iPad Mini’s a great choice when it’s on sale, and luckily, it usually is. As long as you’re OK with adapting to iPadOS (I’m not personally a fan, but a lot of people love it), you won’t find a better small tablet experience. And the Galaxy Tab A7 Lite, while a bit slow, is one of the very few that will get Android 14, and its One UI implementation is particularly great. And if you just want simple and affordable, you can’t do better than the latest Lenovo Tab M8.


There is still hope for the future of compact Android tablets. The outlook might not be incredibly optimistic, but it’s not necessarily bleak, either. As generational upgrades to high-end devices get ever more incremental, and software support lifespans longer, you can expect low-cost devices to slowly adopt better hardware and therefore more long-term usefulness. But for the moment, these mostly affordable (and in some cases novel and unique) small tablets offer plenty of usability, now and for at least a couple of years into the future.

A render of one Nokia T10 tablet standing vertically, and another on its back

Nokia T10

Best overall

A smooth experience, good build quality, and low price

$130 $170 Save $40

It’s not fancy, but the Nokia T10 is capable, durable, and affordable. And that’s about all you can ask from the relatively thin category that is Android tablets under 9 inches. This low-cost, well-made device can run enough low-overhead Android apps to provide plenty of utility and entertainment in day-to-day life.

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