New tablets are somewhat hard to come by these days but if you’re in the market for a pint-sized slate then here are the best small tablets around you can buy.
Your buying guide for the best small tablets in 2017
The tablet market has slowed down significantly over the last few years, so much so that the likes of Sony and LG don’t even make them anymore. We used to have plenty of favourites including the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact and LG G Pad 8.3.
Google’s hugely popular Nexus 7 seems like a lifetime ago and Tesco sadly ended the amazing Hudl range. Although many are a distant memory, there are a handful of small tablets still around that you can buy brand new.
You can still rely on firms like Apple, Amazon and Samsung for this kind of device.We’re talking tablets with a screen size under 9in as a typical full-size tablet starts at 9.7in.
We’ve managed to round up the best small tablets you can buy in 2017 and some of them even launched this year. We’ll endeavour to add more as review them.
They’re typically cheaper than larger models and this also makes them more portable. Small tablets are great for travelling so you can take TV shows and books with you without adding much weight to your luggage.
Best small tablet 2017
This is a tablet well worth considering if you’ve been thinking about buying the iPad mini 4, as it can contend and sometimes outshine Apple’s mini tablet when it comes to design and power. It’s almost unbelievably thin and light and that screen is a joy to use.
Read our Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8 review.
2. iPad mini 4
The iPad mini 4 is now only available in 128GB so starts at a higher price of £419. That makes it one of the most expensive small tablets around but it’s still one of the best. It’s got a great screen, excellent build quality, top battery life and Apple’s wealth of apps. You won’t be disappointed if you can afford it.
Read our iPad mini 4 review.
In a stagnated market, the Huawei MediaPad M3 initially feels a little underwhelming. After extended use though, we reckon it’s a cut above the mid-range, but then again at this price you are paying for it. It’s a good alternative to an iPad if you want an Android tablet that’s bigger than an iPad mini but smaller than an iPad Air 2. But, who is specifically looking for that? The MediaPad is excellent and we recommend it, but it lacks a certain ‘wow’ factor that’s largely down to the high number of existing Android tablets. The MediaPad 3 is a cut above, but you should also consider Samsung’s Galaxy Tab series for a similarly excellent Android tablet experience.
Read our Huawei MediaPad M3 review.
It’s nice to see another new Android tablet and although the Mi Pad 3 isn’t majorly different from the previous model and is more expensive, it’s still a decent compact device if you don’t mind importing it to the UK.
Read our Xiaomi Mi Pad 3 review.
The Amazon Fire HD 8 2017 ticks a lot of the right boxes. It’s affordable, well built and plays back video to an exceptionally high standard.
But we’ll say it again – you need Amazon Prime to fully enjoy it. It’s not that it is a complete necessity, but the prominence in the operating system of Amazon’s own apps and services means without a Prime membership it’s a frustrating user experience.
This caveat aside, it’s an incredibly priced media consumption tablet that exemplifies Amazon’s dominance in the low-end market – this over makes it an attractive, interestingly unique option.
Read our Amazon Fire HD 8 2017 review.
The Tab3 8 Plus’s strong point is the quality it offers when it comes to entertainment features. The large- and high-resolution display, coupled with its performance in video playback and gaming, make it highly enjoyable and a strong contender to any budget tablets available. However, the Tab3 8 Plus’s poor results when it comes to internet use make it clear it should not be used as a professional tool.
We would highly recommend this device for entertainment purposes. Thanks to its greatly developed parental mode, it is suitable for the whole family. Its design is clear and smooth, it is easy for a child to hold and for a parent to carry, and it comes at a fairly affordable price.
Read our Lenovo Tab3 8 Plus review.
The Fire 7 is a very minor update to the 2015 7in Fire tablet. It’s a shame that the processor and cameras haven’t been upgraded, but the low price makes it hard to complain. It remains great value and a great way to use Amazon’s services including video and music – as well as Alexa. The absence of all things Google will be a deal-breaker for some, but it’s an excellent choice for kids or undemanding adults.
Read our Amazon Fire 7 review.