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The best tablets that aren't the Apple iPad

The Apple iPad isn't the only tablet worth buying. Here are the other models you should consider.

Sarah Tew/CNET

If tablets were the Brady Bunch, the Apple iPad would be Marcia and, well, everything else would be Jan.

But that's not fair, right? Those other tablets have great qualities, too. (Just like Jan.) And just because they're not the most popular doesn't mean they're not worthy of your attention. (Just like Jan!)

Here are the best tablets that aren't the iPad, because they exist, too.


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Microsoft does it again with the new Surface Pro.

Sarah Tew/CNET


For people who want to ditch their laptop: Microsoft Surface Pro

The Apple iPad Pro can't quite replace your laptop yet, but the Microsoft Surface Pro can. It's basically a Windows 10 ($99 at Amazon) computer that can do anything your laptop can do, in a smaller package.

The tablet has a keyboard (sold separately) that adds small girth to the overall package, making it one of the most compact alternatives to a laptop. It also has an optional stylus, in case you're more of a writer.


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The best Android tablet.

Sarah Tew/CNET


For the Android fans who want an iPad-like experience: Google Pixel C

The Google Pixel ($67 at Amazon) line is getting more attention thanks to the kick-ass Pixel and Pixel XL phones ($289 at Amazon) released earlier this year, but the Pixel C tablet was here long before that.

What's impressive about the Pixel C is that despite being released in 2015 (late in the year, to be fair), it's still the best Android tablet you can buy. And since it's a Google-branded tablet, it gets the newest Android software updates first. Not only that, it has an incredibly sturdy magnetic keyboard that's stable to use on any surface, even your lap.



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The Galaxy Tab S3 probably has a better screen than your TV.

Josh Miller/CNET


For the expert binge-watcher: Samsung Galaxy Tab S3

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 is one of the most gorgeous tablets we've ever reviewed.

It has a super-sleek design with a glass back that rivals the iPad in high-end aesthetics. Its sharp and vibrant Super OLED screen is the same type of screen you'll find on high-end TVs. It's the only HDR-ready tablet, meaning when HDR content finally becomes available for streaming on tablets, this is one of the only models that'll be able to enjoy it all.


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Do yourself a favor, skip the Fire and get the Fire HD 8.

Sarah Tew/CNET

For the cheapskate: Amazon Fire HD 8

Now, I say "cheapskate" lovingly because everyone, including myself, loves a good deal. Sure, you could get the Amazon Fire ($40 at eBay) which is dirt cheap, but the Amazon Fire HD 8 is still super affordable and it has a sharper screen. Considering that's the most important feature (without it you can't do anything) it's worth spending a little more on.


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Good enough for your kids.

Nate Ralph/CNET

For the kids: Amazon Fire

If you're looking to buy a tablet for your kid, then it's totally OK to buy the Amazon Fire. In fact, it comes in a slightly-more-expensive-but-worth-it Kids Edition that includes a big, rubbery case and a two-year "no questions asked" replacement plan.