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The best small tablets you can buy: Expert tested

Looking for a more compact tablet? We tested the best small tablets that combine affordability, great battery life, and fast processors in a tiny device.
Written by Allison Murray, Staff Writer
Reviewed by Kayla Solino
Apple iPad Mini 6th Generation | Best small tablet overall
Apple iPad Mini 6th Generation
Best small tablet overall
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Amazon Fire 7 Tablet | Best budget small tablet
Amazon Fire 7 Tablet
Best budget small tablet
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Boox Tab Mini C | Best small tablet for note-taking
Boox Tablet held against a wooden backdrop
Boox Tab Mini C
Best small tablet for note-taking
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Amazon Kindle 11th generation | Best small tablet for reading
Amazon Kindle 11th generation
Best small tablet for reading
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Wacom Intuos Pro | Best small tablet for drawing
Black Wacom Intuos Pro tablet with the Pro Pen 2 next to it
Wacom Intuos Pro
Best small tablet for drawing
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Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite | Best Samsung small tablet
Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite
Best Samsung small tablet
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Show more (1 item)

The saying, "big things come in small packages" is true, especially when it comes to technology. If you want a device that's larger than a smartphone but more portable than a laptop, it sounds like you're in the market for a tablet. A small tablet can work just as well as (or even better than) larger ones, especially when it comes to lugging one around between classes or in your work bag.

Also: The best large tablets

Small tablet display sizes can range from six to 10 inches, with eight inches being the average "small" size. Despite the size, these devices still offer long battery lives, vibrant displays, impressive cameras, and plenty of customizable features for ease of use, along with their portability.

What is the best small tablet right now?

Based on our extensive hands-on testing, our pick for the best small tablet is the iPad Mini, thanks to its 8.3-inch Liquid Retina display and weighing under 1 pound. We also included compact-sized tablets from Amazon, Samsung, and more for those looking for something more compact and easy to carry.

Also: The best cheap tablets

The best small tablets of 2024

Pros & Cons
  • USB-C port for charging and data transfer
  • Support for the second-gen Apple Pencil
  • Touch ID in the top button
  • Cellular connectivity is additional cost
  • Expensive
More Details

Apple's iPad Mini is our top pick for the best small tablet thanks to its A15 Bionic chip, making it a powerful tablet packed into a small package. The iPad Mini was last updated in the fall of 2021 with new features like support for the 2nd gen Apple Pencil, a slightly bigger screen size, and a USB-C port for charging and data transfer.

There's a spot on the right side of the tablet to charge the Apple Pencil, making it a great tablet to draw or write notes on. Customers who bought the iPad Mini reported in reviews that they were impressed by its battery life, durability, and display, also noting its portability to fit in purses and bags, particularly for entertainment purposes. 

Review: Apple iPad Mini (6th Gen.)

ZDNET Editor-in-Chief, Jason Hiner, went hands-on with the iPad Mini and said that it " feels more like a big smartphone than a small tablet at times."

"It can easily slip into bags, purses, and even the pockets of some cargo pants and vests," he wrote. "Compared to a phone, it's better for reading ebooks, PDFs, documents, news apps, and other digital content -- especially when leaning back in a chair or a couch."

Of course, you'll also get iPadOS 16 with features like shared tab groups, Stage Manager, and external display support if you ever need to see something on a bigger screen. Ultimately, you get all these things for less than what you would pay for an iPad Air or an iPad Pro.

iPad Mini tech specs: Display: 8.3-inch Liquid Retina display | Processor: A15 Bionic | Storage: 64GB or 256GB | Colors: Space gray, pink, purple, starlight | Cameras: 8MP rear, 1080p video. 12MP FaceTime camera with Center Stage | Weight: 0.65 pounds | Dimensions: 7.69 x 5.3 x 0.25 inches | Connections: USB-C | Battery life: 10 hours

Pros & Cons
  • Affordable
  • Good battery life
  • Can double as an Alexa smart display
  • Performance is slightly slow
  • Cameras aren't as great as other options
More Details

If you're looking for something even smaller and cheaper than the iPad Mini, the Amazon Fire 7 tablet is a great budget tablet pick. The Fire tablet's 7-inch screen has a 1024x600 display, so you can stream movies or play video games without hauling around a bulky tablet. 

Former ZDNET contributor, Jason Cipriani, reviewed the Amazon Fire 7 tablet and said it offers "a well-rounded experience as long as you take the cost into account when setting expectations." Even though performance may be a bit slow, Cipriani said that's to be expected at a price point like $60, considering the tablet is a colorful Kindle, a dedicated Alexa smart display, and a smart home controller, all in one device.

Review: Amazon Fire 7 (2022)

Along with the ability to ask Alexa questions, you can view and manage your Alexa-connected smart home devices. You can control cameras, lights, and outlets using your voice or by tapping the dedicated Devices button in the bottom navigation bar. 

Overall, 90% of Best Buy customers who bought the Amazon Fire 7 tablet would recommend it to a friend, giving it an average rating of 4.5 out of 5.

Amazon Fire 7 tech specs: Display: 7-inch, 1024x600 display | Processor: MediaTek MT8168V/B | Storage: 16GB or 326GB | Colors: Black, denim, or rose | Cameras: 2 MP front and rear-facing cameras with 720p HD video recording| Weight: 9.9 ounces | Dimensions: 7.11 x 4.63 x 0.38 inches | Connections: 2 USB-C, 3.5mm jack | Battery life: 10 hours

Pros & Cons
  • Long lasting battery life
  • Gorgeous design and display
  • Great templates for taking notes
  • Easy reading
  • Expensive
  • Some complaints of lag
More Details

Boox is an e-reader and drawing tablet with a vivid color display, so your e-book's illustrations will pop as you read and so, too, will your color-coordinated notes. Speaking of which, the note-taking templates on the Tab Mini C are incredibly useful. Whether you're a student taking Cornell-style notes, a desk job employee making an hourly plan for your day, a musician crafting a piece of sheet music, or a historian drafting a timeline, the Tab Mini C offers a template for that. 

Another fun feature is the four customizable refresh modes you can use on the tablet, depending on whether you're streaming videos on YouTube and need a smoother display or are e-reading and don't mind a clunkier refresh. With adjustable warm and cool lights, you can customize your desired blue light level to tone the display down ahead of bedtime for an easier-on-the-eyes reading experience. 

ZDNET editor Nina Raemont, who contributed to this article, has been using the tablet to manage her work life calendar, build lists for grocery shopping, meeting agendas, and more. It's become Raemont's deskside companion and staple note-taking device -- and because of its light weight and effortless portability, it replaced her trusty Moleskin notebook she avidly used to plan her day. 

The strong battery life lasts many days to a week or two, and the tablet comes with a magnetically attached stylus with pressure detection for drawing. The design of the tablet is sleek with a minimalist feel and careful use of popping colors. However, Reddit users note that you may have to tinker with the tablet's settings to get the most out of your experience. 

Boox Tab Mini C specs: Display: 7.9-inch screen, electronic ink | Processor: Advanced Octa-core | Storage: 64GB | Colors: Black| Cameras: None | Weight: 11 ounces | Dimensions: 7.6 x 5.4 x 0.33 inches | Connections: USB-C | Battery: 5,000mAh Li-ion Polymer

Pros & Cons
  • Same features expensive Kindle models
  • Super lightweight and portable
  • Dark mode
  • Web browser functionality could be better
  • No warm light option
More Details

The upgraded 11th generation Kindle offers 16GB of storage instead of 8GB, 300ppi instead of 167ppi, six weeks of battery life compared to four weeks, and charging via USB-C instead of a micro-USB. 

The new Kindle is the smallest and most lightweight Kindle out of any of the models, which verified Amazon customers note was one of the main reasons they bought this small tablet. The previous generation clocked in at 6.1 ounces, but this new one weighs only 5.56 ounces, and it's drastically easier to carry and hold than an actual book (especially those thick hardcovers). 

Review: Amazon Kindle (11th generation)

Its 300ppi is the same display as the Kindle Paperwhite and the Kindle Oasis. The anti-glare display makes it easy to read in any light, and dark mode is a warm welcome when you're trying to read at night without letting blue light interrupt your sleep cycle. 

I was able to go hands-on with this Kindle and was impressed by the quickly loading pages, the exceptional backlight, and the long-lasting battery life, which was at about 70% after one week of frequent use. I almost exclusively read on my Kindle now, and have pretty much retired my hardcover book habit. 

Amazon Kindle tech specs: Display: 6-inch, 300ppi glare-free | Storage: 16GB | Colors: Black or denim | Weight: 5.56 ounces | Dimensions: 6.2 x 4.3 x 0.32 inches | Connections: USB-C | Battery: Up to 6 weeks

Pros & Cons
  • Industry-leading amount of pressure sensitivity levels
  • Customizable keys
  • Included stylus
  • Need an external screen to use
  • Need to replace stylus tip often
More Details

When it comes to drawing tablets, Wacom is one of the industry leaders. With virtually no lag and 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity in the battery-free pen included, this no-screen tablet is the best one on the market for professional artists looking to create while providing a natural drawing experience. And it just so happens to be small and portable at just 7 inches. 

The possibilities are endless when it comes to creativity with the Wacom Intuos Pro tablet. It comes with fully customizable ExpressKeys located on the side of the active area. These buttons allow artists to add their most-used tools to them for easy access.

Review: Wacom Intuos Pro

I also tested the Wacom Intuos Pro, and my experience with this tablet was fairly easy and enjoyable (especially for someone who is not a professional artist). The pen makes it easy to fine-tune details and brush strokes in any drawing program you are working on. Reddit users note that the Pro Pen 2 is better than anything they have experienced in a stylus and that it alone is worth buying the Wacom Intuos Pro for. 

You'll get free access to drawing-specific apps and services, like Clip Studio Paint Pro for two years, Boris Optics for one, and have the option to test Corel Painter Essentials 8 and Corel AfterShot Pro 3 for 90 days. The tablet also connects to both Windows and Mac devices.

Wacom Intuos tech specs: Display: 7 inches | Memory: N/A | Weight: 0.99 pounds | Dimensions: ‎ ‎10.6 × 6.7 × 0.3 inches | Connections: USB-C and Bluetooth

Pros & Cons
  • Expandable storage
  • Low price point
  • Long-lasting battery
  • Performance could be better
More Details

Samsung's tablet lineup spans all aspects of price, capability, and screen size. The Galaxy Tab A7 Lite is a small Android tablet that combines affordability and usefulness. The 8.7-inch screen features a 1340x800 display, making it a small tablet worthy of streaming, working, and more.

The lightweight design and small display make it portable enough to take anywhere, especially if you're using it to entertain kids with educational apps. Plus, the Tab A7 Lite has a metal frame for some added ruggedness.

In addition, you can expand your storage beyond the 32GB or 64GB allotted. The tablet allows for up to 1TB of expandable storage, which is twice as much as the previous model. Overall, 91% of Best Buy customers would recommend buying this tablet, and gave it an average rating of 4.5 out of 5.

Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite tech specs: Display: 8.7-inch, 1340x800 display | Processor: MediaTek MT8768N | Storage: 32GB or 64GB | Colors: Gray | Cameras: 2MP front and 8MP rear | Weight: 0.81lbs | Dimensions: 8.37 x 4.91 x 0.31 inches | Connections: 3.5mm headphone jack, USB-C | Battery: 10-12 hours

What is the best small tablet?

The best small tablet is the iPad Mini because of its sharp display and impressive cameras. Plus, the A15 Bionic chip is packed with power in a small package.

TabletPriceScreen sizeDisplay
Apple iPad Mini$4698.3 inchesLiquid Retina
Amazon Fire 7$607 inches1024x600 pixels
Boox Tab Mini C$4007.8 inchesElectronic ink
Amazon Kindle$1006 inches300ppi glare-free
Wacom Intuos Pro$1007 inchesN/A
Samsung Galaxy A7 Lite$1008.7 inches1340x800 pixels

Which small tablet is right for you?

It really depends on what size tablet you're looking for, which operating system you prefer, and how much money you're willing to spend. Below, we've broken down the best small tablets to help make your decision easier.

Choose this small tablet...If you want...
Apple iPad MiniThe best overall small tablet with USB-C port for quicker charging and data transfers. It also comes equipped with Apple's A15 bionic chip.
Amazon Fire 7A budget-friendly and well-rounded tablet with excellent battery life and smart assistant functionality. Its 7-inch screen has a 1024x600 display.
Boox Tab Mini CThe best close-to-high-end tablet that functons as an e-reader, note-taker, illustrator, and web-surfer. With a vivid display, long-lasting battery life, and customizable settings for the ultimate user experience, this tablet is the stylish and sleek deskside companion you need.
Amazon KindleA small and portable tablet designed for reading with dark mode and six weeks of battery life. Its 300ppi is the same display as the Kindle Paperwhite and the Kindle Oasis.
Wacom Intuos ProA 7-inch drawing tablet with an included stylus, customizable keys, and 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity for unrivaled responsiveness.
Samsung Galaxy A7 LiteA small Samsung tablet with expandable storage and an exceptional battery life. The tablet allows for up to 1TB of expandable storage.

Factors to consider when choosing the best small tablets:

We know there are a lot of tablets and tablet sizes to choose from, but ultimately, these were the determining factors in our top picks. 

  • Size: We paid attention to tablets between six and eight inches, which defines a tablet as small. We also looked at a tablet's weight to ensure they were portable. 
  • Display: Small tablets shouldn't have to compromise on an already smaller display, so we also considered display resolution.
  • Battery life: A device's battery life is important no matter its size, so we considered devices that can last you all day. 
  • Price: Tablets vary in price range from affordable to expensive depending on brand and purpose, so we made sure to choose tablets at various price points to accommodate different budgets. 

How did we test these small tablets?

When choosing the best small tablets, ZDNET editors considered our own experiences testing and using these tablets. We do extensive hands-on testing of tablets, including ease using them for work and entertainment, and paying attention to specs like display, battery life, and overall experience while using the tablet.

For products we recommend, we write a product spotlight review that we update periodically with new features and pricing information.

For the small tablets we have not gone hands-on with, we do extensive research into different products and brands, taking into consideration user reviews (both good and bad), competitor analysis, and more.

What is the smallest tablet screen size?

The smallest tablet screen size on the market is 6 to 7 inches. Anything smaller would be more similar to a smartphone.

It's why you want to consider your primary uses when considering which small tablet is right for you. To demonstrate, if you travel often, one with a smaller screen will be perfect for carrying/using on an airplane. If your aim is to read more e-books or draw, you'll want one with a larger screen. 

What brand of tablet is best?

Tablets made by Apple, Samsung, and Microsoft are the best-made tablets in terms of quality. Amazon has well-rounded tablets in its Fire lineup but with fewer performance-focused features. Boox is also proving to be an industry underdog, with impressive tablets that function as e-readers and illustrators. 

Keep in mind in certain cases (Apple, Samsung), you can pair your other devices with the tablet. In the case of Apple tablets, you can log in using your Apple ID to access the same apps, pictures, and more from your phone on your iPad. 

Meanwhile, with Samsung devices, you can implement Samsung Flow. Download the app on your phone and tablet. You can connect your tablet to your phone via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. 

Are mini Android tablets worth it?

Yes, they can be. Small Android tablets allow you to do everything you would normally do, like reading e-books and video calling, without the higher price tags. 

And their lightweight body and compact design make them perfect traveling companions. So, if you're searching for the best Android tablet with great battery life and lightweight design, the minis are an enticing choice.

What is the smallest iPad?

The smallest iPad is the iPad Mini which has a screen size of 8.3 inches. It's also lightweight at just under one pound. 

Are there alternative small tablets worth considering?

Small tablets aren't as popular as large tablets, so the market is relatively small (so to speak). However, these are some alternative small tablets worth looking into.

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