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The 5 best small tablets for streaming, games, work, and more

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When it comes to screens, bigger isn’t always better. Obviously, if you’re looking for one of the best small tablets, the size should be the first thing you consider — but after that, just like with any other device purchase, you should consider the operating system, the storage capacity, and the extra features. All of these tablets are less than 8.7 inches in size, but range widely in terms of functionality and budget to suit most needs.

How To Find The Best Tablet For Your Needs

Like most other devices with screens, tablets are measured diagonally across the device, from the top corner to the opposite bottom corner. Some brands sell tablets larger than 12 inches, but most fall somewhere between 9 and 11 inches. For that reason, these options are less than 8.7 inches in size, so they're some of the most portable tablets on the market.

Next, consider the operating system (or OS). Like most popular phones, tablets usually run on either Android- or Apple-based operating systems; the most common exception is Amazon Fire tablets, which run on the Fire OS. They’re all relatively similar in the way they operate, but some buyers prefer to stick with the same operating system for all of their devices to minimize the learning curve and to keep data transfers simple. Keep in mind that not all apps or programs are available on all operating systems, so be sure to check the availability of your favorites before you proceed.

After that, take a look at the tablet’s capabilities in terms of RAM and storage. RAM (or random access memory) is short-term data that helps your tablet run tasks as you need them; this impacts how fast the tablet works, especially when you’ve got multiple programs going at once. Storage capacity is how much data your tablet can store long-term when it comes to apps, books, and music. Both are measured in gigabytes (GB), and the higher the numbers, the more powerful your tablet.

Finally, figure out which extra features will make your life easier and more enjoyable. Do you want a great camera? A long battery life? How about cellular connectivity so you can stay connected even when there’s no Wi-Fi? These tablets offer just what you need for work or entertainment — and they’re all 8.7 inches or smaller.

Shop The Best Small Tablets

In a hurry? These are the best small tablets on the market.

1. An Android Tablet That’s A Great Value: Lenovo Tab M8 Tablet, 8-Inch

2. The Best Cheap Tablet For Entertainment: Samsung Tab A7 Lite, 8.7-inch

3. The Best Budget Tablet: Fire 7 tablet, 7-Inch

4. The Best Apple iPad Mini: 2021 Apple iPad Mini, 8.3-Inch

5. The Best Refurbished Apple iPad: Apple iPad Mini 4, 7.9-Inch (Renewed)

1. An Android tablet that’s a great value

If you’re looking for generous storage, a quality display, a fast processor, a long battery life that reviewers report lasts between 7 and 12 hours, and a durable exterior, all for a great price, opt for the Lenovo Tab M8. (There’s a reason it’s earned a 4.5-star overall rating after more than 4,000 reviewers have weighed in.) This 8-inch tablet costs significantly less than many similar models, but it’s still well-suited for work, games, and watching movies. It also has clear front and rear cameras, true eye-care protection technology to minimize blue light exposure, and both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities to keep you connected. Note that it doesn’t have the potential for cellular connectivity.

One reviewer wrote: “The battery life is insanely good compared to just about any other tablet I've used. Screen-on time of roughly 16.5 hours at 50-60% brightness and still 15% battery left after a mix of games, browsing, reading PDFs and watching videos. This is just incredible and easily 2x or more the battery life I'm used to seeing in a cheap tablet.”

Screen size: 8 inches | OS: Android 9 Pie | Storage capacity: 32GB (also available in 16GB) | RAM: 2GB

2. The best cheap tablet for entertainment

Samsung sells some of the biggest and most powerful tablets on the market, and while the Samsung Tab A7 Lite is one of their smallest (at 8.7 inches), it’s definitely not lacking in power. It has 3GB of RAM for fast, lag-free gaming and watching. Plus, its impressive stunning display and metal frame are ideal for entertainment on the go. Last but definitely not least, according to reviewers, the 5,100mAh results in a “long battery life” (over six hours of non-stop use), especially for such a “reasonable price.”

One reviewer wrote: “This tablet is a budget tablet. But with that being said, it offers quite a bang for the buck. 32 gb of internal storage. Which is important for apps. Expandable memory to up to 1 tb to store all your photos, movies, music and more. A good quality screen. A powerful processor, octa core 2.3 ghz runs games with very little to no lag.”

Screen size: 8.7 inches | OS: Android 11 | Storage capacity: 32GB | RAM: 3GB

3. The best budget tablet

Rave reviews are rolling in for the brand-new Fire 7 tablet, which still has the affordable price point of its predecessor — but with a longer battery life. With its 7-inch display, it’s also the smallest tablet on this list. Still, its features include a 10-hour battery life, front- and rear-facing cameras, and hands-free Alexa access for voice control. It runs on the Fire OS, which supports apps for watching movies, video chatting, checking emails, listening to music, and gaming — though keep in mind that you won’t be able to run most popular Android or Apple apps, just the Fire OS equivalents. You can also get this tablet in three colors, two storage capacities, and with or without lock-screen ads, though none of them offer cellular. (The feature one is the cheapest version and comes with lock-screen ads.)

One reviewer wrote: “I feel like this Fire 7 is a good option as a starter tablet. The high durability and low price make it ideal for kids that are old enough to use a real tablet; but young enough that you'd worry about them damaging a more expensive option like an iPad. The resolution on this Fire 7 isn't amazing, but you can't really beat the price.”

Screen size: 7 inches | OS: Fire OS | Storage capacity: 16GB (also available in 32GB) | RAM: 1GB

4. The best Apple iPad Mini

The 2021 Apple iPad Mini is one of the most powerful versions yet. Despite its liquid retina display (with True Tone and wide color), it lasts up to 10 hours on a single charge. It also has wide front and back cameras, but it really sets itself apart from competitors with its stereo speakers and speedy 4GB of RAM. Since it works with the Apple Pencil, it’s also great for artists and designers, plus it’s thin and lightweight for portability. If you’re willing to spend a little more, you can get cellular connectivity as well as Wi-Fi.

One reviewer wrote: “The size is perfect and it makes it very easily portable and it is actually a lot lighter than l imagined it would be. The graphics are beautiful, the speakers are loud and it takes pretty recent pictures. The design is sleek and beautiful—it is definitely worth the price and I can't find anything to complain about..”

Screen size: 8.3 inches | OS: iOS | Storage capacity: 64GB (also available in 256GB) | RAM: 4GB

5. The best refurbished Apple iPad

Apple devices are notoriously expensive, but if you opt for a renewed tablet (which has been “inspected, tested, and cleaned by Amazon-qualified suppliers”) you can save a lot of money. This renewed Apple iPad Mini 4 has a 7.9-inch retina display and 128 GB of memory. Along with a charger and a battery that functions at 80% of its original power, it also comes with a 90-day supplier-backed warranty should it not function as intended. You can get it with or without cellular, and the feature one has it.

One reviewer wrote: “Was worried about buying an iPad that was used and renewed but a new phone was out of budget. Don't regret getting this one at all. Phone looks brand new. Excellent condition. I haven't seen even 1 scratch on it thus far. The touch screen works wonderfully. Really great battery life so far and the picture quality is great. I'm so grateful.”

Screen size: 7.9 inches | OS: iOS | Storage capacity: 128GB (also available in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB) | RAM: 2GB

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