Tablets with the best screens

Screen quality is a critical ingredient of a great tablet.

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A few of these tablet screens could put some of your TVs to shame. James Martin/CNET

The importance of a tablet's screen quality cannot be understated. The vast majority of your interactions with a given tablet take place on its display.

When it comes to qualifying the best, there's more to the screen quality of a tablet than meets the eye -- proverbially speaking. There's a lot of focus on high resolutions and pixels per inch (ppi) and, although these are important, there are other components that contribute to the overall quality of a screen. Brightness and black levels, as well as color accuracy and range, are all equally important factors to consider.

We've rounded up the tablets with the best screens, taking into consideration the various traits that together make Netflix binges and Angry Birds marathons even more hypnotizing and visually immersive. This list is updated as new tablets come out.

Tested spec Samsung Galaxy Tab S Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 Sony Xperia Z4 Apple iPad Air 2
Resolution (in pixels) 2,560x1,600 2,560x1,600 2,560x1,600 2,048x1,536
Pixels-per-inch (ppi) 359 ppi 339 ppi 299 ppi 264 ppi


The iPad Air 2 and the original Air sport matching screens. James Martin/CNET

Apple iPad Air 2

Despite its name, the iPad Air 2 is a tablet heavy-hitter. In addition to donning Apple's crisp Retina Display, it offers low black levels, high contrast and precise color accuracy. The revamped iPad Air 2's skinnier build, faster performance and signature sleek design give it the must-have appeal and premium feel iPads are known for. If you're looking to save some money, the original iPad Air is still available for sale at a cheaper price. Read the full review.

A waterproof tablet is hard to find. Josh Miller/CNET

Sony Xperia Z4

For the past few years Sony's been consistently churning out noteworthy tablets. Its latest, the Xperia Z4, is no different. The 10.1-inch tablet is one of the thinnest and lightest around, not to mention one of the fastest, too. Its large HD screen is bright, crisp and, though it features a wide range of colors, color reproduction still looks lifelike and accurate. Like its predecessors, it's also waterproof. It runs the latest version of Android and its custom-friendly overlay makes it a great buy for first time Android users. Read the full review.


The screen on the HDX 8.9 is as good as they get. James Martin/CNET

Amazon Fire HDX 8.9

The 2014 version of the Fire HDX 8.9 is one of the most family-friendly tablets around. It features extensive parental controls to limit what your kids can watch and the new model allows you to make separate user profiles for them. On the spec side, it has a sharp, bright screen and accurate color reproduction. Also, if you're streaming one of the many titles available on Amazon Instant Video, the new ASAP function loads them almost instantaneously. For its competitive price, the impressively sharp screen, light design, and zippy performance make it the complete package for Amazon Prime members. Read the full review.


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The display on the Tab S optimizes itself for the best viewing experience, but only when using select native apps. James Martin/CNET

Samsung Galaxy Tab S

The super-AMOLED screens on Samsung's newest pair of tablets take the cake in this competition. The screens are sharp and vibrant, with rich color and deep contrast that make real life look dull in comparison. Coming in 8.4- and 10.5-inch models, they have some of the thinnest and lightest designs around. The Tab S slates HD resolution and pixels-per-inch are comparable to its competitors, but its wide range of colors is what make it stand out among the rest. Read the full review.


Want to see more? Check out our list of best tablets overall.


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