/>
X
Innovation
Why you can trust ZDNET : ZDNET independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Our process

'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?

ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.

Close

The best gaming tablets: Mobile gaming on a slate

No matter your budget, there are great tablets out there able to handle the demands of modern gaming.
charlie-osborne
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer on

Serious and professional gamers may end up spending a small fortune on their heavy-duty rigs, focusing on top-quality processors, graphics cards, displays, cooling, and peripherals. 

However, things are different in the mobile ecosystem. Tablets can perform a variety of functions for both work and play, and in the latter case, you don't have the flexibility of traditional gaming rigs and swap-in, swap-out upgrades whenever a more powerful graphics card or processor lands on the market.

Mobile gaming requires particular hardware to prevent overheating and to prevent lags in performance, but with the emergence of game streaming -- which shunts the PC power required to play games away from the user and to a service provider -- gamers have more options than before when it comes to selecting a suitable tablet for gaming on-the-move.

Below, ZDNet has compiled our top picks for game-ready tablets across the Android, Windows, and iOS ecosystems. 

Tech specs: 12.4-inch Super AMOLED display | Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus processor | 6/8GB RAM | Adreno graphics | Up to 512GB SSD storage | microSD card support 

Currently on offer for $849.99 (a discount applied to trade-ins), the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ is for those looking for a tablet with powerful specifications. If you're a fan of Android gaming, this could be the right tablet for you, especially considering its 120Hz refresh rate and the inclusion of a Snapdragon processor.

Wi-Fi-only or cellular options are available. You also receive 4 months of YouTube Premium for free.

Pros:

  • Super AMOLED display, good refresh rate
  • Optional 5G connectivity

Cons:

  • Expensive with higher specifications

Tech specs: 11 or 12.9-inch display | Silicon M1 processor | Up to 16GB RAM | Up to 2TB SSD storage | 

For those who want their games to look the best they can possibly look, the Apple iPad Pro, available in 11 or 12.9-inch display options, sports a Liquid Retina or Liquid Retina XDR screen which we've found produces stunning visual results at up to 2732x2048, 264 PPI. An anti-reflective coating is a nice touch for gamers, and the M1 processor -- together with up to 16GB RAM -- produces plenty of power to play without lagging or crashes.

Pros:

  • Powerful
  • Future-proof

Cons:

  • An expensive investment just for gaming

Tech specs: 15.6-inch Ultra HD 4K display | Intel Core i7 processor | 16GB RAM | NVIDIA Quadro P1000 graphics | 512GB SSD storage | 

The Wacom MobileStudio Pro 16 tablet is a product designed with creative applications in mind, and this mobile workstation sports heavy specs that will also ensure gaming is a seamless experience -- and with such a large display for a tablet on offer, this would suit gamers who want to take advantage of a powerful display and strong graphics capabilities.

Pros:

  • Large, touchscreen display
  • Powerful 

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Low storage for the price point

Tech specs: 12.3-inch PixelSense display | Up to an Intel Core i7 processor | Intel UHD/ Iris Plus Graphics | Up to 16GB RAM | Up to 1TB SSD storage | 

Microsoft's Surface Pro 7 is a hybrid tablet-laptop device for those who prefer the Windows ecosystem for their gaming activities. This tablet comes with Windows 10 Home, upgradable to Windows 11, and is one of the most lightweight options we recommend, coming in at roughly 1.7 pounds. 

Pros:

  • Flexibility of use, built-in kickstand
  • Good battery life

Cons:

  • Fixed SSD storage

Tech specs: 13-inch display | Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 processor | 8GB RAM | Adreno 650 graphics | 128GB SSD storage |

Operating on Android, the Lenovo Yoga Tab 13 is set for those who want a speedy device with a large display, sporting 2K Dolby Vision resolution, integrated JBL speakers, and compatibility with AAA gaming titles.

Lenovo's model also includes the "Time of Flight" camera which can be used for basic augmented reality functions and an "entertainment space" to manage your games and media collections.

Pros:

  • A useful, stable kickstand
  • AR features

Cons:

  • 60Hz refresh rate
  • Due to its size, this may not be suitable for travel

Tech specs: 10.1-inch Full HD display | octo-core processor | 3GB RAM | Mali-G72 MP3 graphics | 32GB SSD storage | microSD slot 

The Amazon Amazon Fire HD 10 is another contender if you want a gamer-friendly tablet. This product runs on the tech giant's Fire OS platform and can be used to access subscription-based streaming services as well as games purchased through the Amazon app store.

However, it should be noted that there are shortages of Amazon's Fire tablet range, and so you may need to shop around to secure one ahead of Christmas.

Alternatively, if you're in the market for a child-friendly gaming tablet that has a protective shell and you don't have to worry about when it comes to accidental purchases, the Amazon Fire 10 Kids Pro can also be purchased from Best Buy

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Reasonable battery life 

Cons:

  • Stock shortages are common this year 
  • Low storage amount

How did we choose these gaming tablets?

When we compiled our favorite tablets for gaming over 2022, we considered a variety of factors: storage, processing performance, graphics, and display size -- all of which are key factors in finding a mobile device suitable for gaming. 

Which is the right one for you?

Unlike smartphones, which while are becoming bigger and with versatile screen options -- including foldable and flexible screens -- tablets generally offer a larger screen size, and perhaps more importantly, give developers more real estate to create comfortable control layouts. 

You should focus on finding a tablet that is comfortable for you to hold for long periods -- so, not too large or bulky -- and one that has a good amount of storage (or the ability to increase this with a microSD card), and reasonable battery life. 

Is storage important?

If you plan to download and execute games locally on your tablet, you need to make sure the device has enough storage to handle today's games. Many of today's tablets come with between 64GB to 128GB SSD, but if this isn't enough, you should consider a device that is also equipped with a microSD slot to bolster your storage.

What's the deal with graphics cards, anyway?

Graphics processing units (GPUs) are dedicated to tasks including screen rendering for images, video, and other content. Modern games usually have high rendering demands on our PCs and mobile devices and the performance of a graphics card is often considered more important than other processors for gamers -- but this may not apply when it comes to the limitations of mobile game apps. 

Does portrait or landscape matter?

Tablets can be used in two orientations, portrait or landscape mode. There are games out there, such as puzzle games, that may be only available in portrait mode, whereas others -- such as RPGs, action, and sports games -- might be supported in either mode, or look better in landscape. However, you might find one orientation over another more comfortable for longer periods when you need to hold a tablet and focus on the screen.

Are there alternative gaming tablets worth considering?

While the below products did not make our top picks, they are still worth considering as worthy contenders for gaming tablets in 2022:

Editorial standards

Related

How to save $300 on a MacBook Pro if you're a Costco member
Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch laptop

How to save $300 on a MacBook Pro if you're a Costco member

The best laptop deals right now include a touchscreen IdeaPad for $529
samsung-galaxy-book-flex2-alpha.jpg

The best laptop deals right now include a touchscreen IdeaPad for $529

The best phones you can buy right now
A young man and a young woman using OnePlus 10 Pro smartphones to take selfies

The best phones you can buy right now