In the beginning, tablets looked more like the televisions that strap onto the back of a car's seat more than something out of "2001: A Space Odyssey." However, I'm happy to report that the times have changed and so have tablet designs.
After Apple released the iPad (let's give credit where credit is due), aesthetics and design became a more prominent selling-point for the emerging portable devices. Overall, tablet girth has declined, ushering in the new era of thin slates, and we've gathered the ones so sleek, their predecessors wouldn't even recognize them if they saw them walking down the street.
This post focuses on tablets smaller than 8.9 inches, but if you're interested in a bigger display without sacrificing too much bag space, check out our top picks for thinnest and lightest large tablets.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0
0.22 inch (5.6mm)
0.58 pound (265g)
Apple iPad Mini 4
0.24 inch (6.1mm)
0.65 pound (298.8g)
Dell Venue 8 7000
0.24 inch (6mm)
0.67 pound (306g)
Samsung Galaxy Tab A
0.29 inch (7.4mm)
0.69 pound (313g)
Budget tablets are notable for their low prices, not their designs. The Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 is a nice departure from the status quo. Its plastic build doesn't feel premium, yet it's one of the slimmest and lightest in its price range.
The Dell Venue 8 7000 sounds like a tablet from the future -- and it looks like one, too. The supersleek aluminum-wrapped 8.4-incher was the first tablet to house Intel's depth sensing camera, and it ships with preloaded software to creatively edit your photos. When paired with its captivating OLED HD screen, it makes for a fun photography-centric slate.
You might've been too busy staring at the supersize, but Apple also announced a new iPad Mini earlier this year. The fourth in the series, it runs on iOS 9 and boasts the sleekest design yet. The iPad Mini 4 has yet to be released, though our first impressions of the tablet were better than the barely updated iPad Mini 3. Stay tuned for the full review coming soon.
Samsung updated its high-end Galaxy S series of tablets with the slimmer and lighter Galaxy S2. The new model shaves off a few ounces and millimeters for an even more compact construction. Like its predecessor, it also rocks a supersharp screen with vibrant colors and software perks exclusive to Galaxy Tab S2 owners.