Best tablets for gaming

Tablets are becoming a great way to get your gaming on compared with dedicated portable gaming devices and even consoles. Here are the best seven gaming tablets.

Wild Blood, running on the iPad (fourth generation) is one of the most impressive-looking games on any tablet. Screenshot by Eric Franklin/CNET

If you made a snap judgment on the potential of tablet gaming based on apps released a year or more ago, you're doing yourself a disservice. Tablet games have matured significantly in the last year, and some of my favorite, most addictive games are now only available on tablets.

They're definitely different than hard-core console games, and developers are still struggling with the whole virtual joystick functionality, but judging by what I've seen in the last few months, gaming on tablets is coming very much into its own.

The following are the best tablets for gaming. The tablets here were chosen for both their graphical capabilities and for the gaming apps each has available.


Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
It's the fast processor, not the stylus, you should be excited about in this case. Josh Miller/CNET

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
Sure, the stylus is the reason most will even notice the Note 10.1 (well, the pen and perhaps James Franco's dreaminess ), but it's the Exynos 4412 processor that makes this a viable gaming platform. Read the full review.


The Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor in the IdeaTab 2110 holds its own and then some. Josh Miller/CNET

Lenovo IdeaTab S2110A
The Snapdragon S4 processor inside the S2110A more than holds its own against most tablets and runs taxing games like N.O.V.A 3 at a fast clip. Also, its screen is one of the brightest around. Read the full review.


The Nexus 7 is the cheapest gaming tablet. Josh Miller/CNET

Nexus 7
At $199, the Nexus 7 is the cheapest tablet on the list, and although its 1.3GHz Tegra 3 is showing clear signs of age, it's still fast enough to run most games with good frame rates. Also, its small, comfortable design makes gaming on the bus or train a bit less cumbersome than with larger tablets. Read the full review.


The A5 processor in the iPad Mini is one of the fastest around. CNET

iPad Mini
The iPad Mini's powerful A5 processor delivers better performance than most tablets on this list, and its access to the App Store means you'll get the very best tablet games before any other platform. Read the full review.


The Infinity is beginning to show its age (hey, the tablet market moves fast!), but is still a very capable gaming tablet. Josh Miller/CNET

Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700
This is the only tablet to house a 1.7GHz Tegra 3 as opposed to the 1.3GHz CPU other Tegra 3 tablets use. The Transformer Infinity also supports Xbox 360 and PS3 controllers, sports a high-resolution screen, and HDMI-out if the 10.1-inch screen is ever suddenly too small for you. Read the full review.


The Nexus 10 impresses with its high-res screen and fast processor. Josh Miller/CNET

Nexus 10
From a purely processing-speed perspective, the Nexus 10 is the most powerful Android tablet available. Games can look beautiful on the super-high-resolution screen, but I'm waiting for developers to provide further gaming optimizations to really make them sing. Read the full review.


The iPad is currently the most powerful tablet on the planet. CNET

Apple iPad
The fastest tablet performer. Some of the best tablet games are only available on the iPad, and in many cases with nonexclusive games, the iPad version is far and away the superior one. Read the full review.

Read the full CNET Review

Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700 (gray, 32GB)

The Bottom Line: The Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700 combines an already proven design with a better camera, a faster processor, and a beautiful screen. / Read full review

Read the full CNET Review

Apple iPad Mini

The Bottom Line: If you want the full, polished Apple tablet experience in a smaller package, the iPad Mini is worth the premium price. Otherwise, good alternatives are available for less money. / Read full review

Read the full CNET Review

Lenovo IdeaTab S2110

The Bottom Line: The Lenovo IdeaTab S2110A offers a great-looking screen and fast gaming performance, but comes up short in build quality and features. / Read full review

Read the full CNET Review

Google Nexus 10

The Bottom Line: The Nexus 10's superior design and swift performance make it one of the best Android tablets to date. / Read full review

Read the full CNET Review

Apple iPad (4th generation)

The Bottom Line: The latest iPad adds several tweaks and improvements to secure its position at the top of the tablet heap. It's better all around, but third-gen owners need not apply. / Read full review

Read the full CNET Review

Google Nexus 7 (8GB)

The Bottom Line: With its excellent design, useful software features, and low starting price, the Nexus 7 is the cheapest way to experience the best that the Android OS has to offer. / Read full review

Read the full CNET Review

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (16GB)

The Bottom Line: The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 is the best Samsung tablet yet. If you can get over its somewhat high price, it's a sound Android tablet investment. / Read full review

About the author

Eric Franklin is a section editor covering how to and tablets. He's also co-host of CNET's do-it-yourself and how-to show, The Fix and is a 20-year tech industry veteran.

 

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