Tablets for your TV

Looking for a tablet that can be used as a remote control for your TV or other home theater gear? CNET rounds up its top picks.

Xiomara Blanco Associate Editor / Reviews - Tablets and monitors
Xiomara Blanco is an associate editor for CNET Reviews. She's a Bay Area native with a knack for tech that makes life easier and more enjoyable. So, don't expect her to review printers anytime soon.
Xiomara Blanco
2 min read

LG G Pad 8.3
Infrared blasters can turn your tablet into a universal remote for things like TVs, DVD players, and projectors. Josh Miller/CNET

Tablets are great for watching TV on the go, thanks to pixel-dense and brilliantly colorful screens, but they can also double as a universal remote. Tablets that pack IR blasters can control everything from your TV and cable box to your streaming box of choice.

While the IR blaster was once more synonymous with tablets, the feature's popularity has waned in recent years. With the exception of one (obvious) tablet, all of these keep the IR-blaster tradition alive. Check out our top picks for tablets that moonlight as universal remotes, and let us know what you think in the comments.

This line of LG G Pads come in 7, 8 and 10-inch models. CNET

LG G Pads 7 and 10.1

If you want a cheap universal remote alternative that doubles as a tablet for casual use, you can pick your perfect size from LG's G Pad lineup. We only got our hands on the 7- and 10-inch models, but both made an impression with sleek, minimal designs and affordable pricing. The slates pack an IR blaster on the top edge and ship with preloaded software to easily set up your TV, Blu-ray player, and other home entertainment system consoles.

Apple iPad Air
The iPad Air was the first significantly redesigned iPad to appear in years, and we like what we saw. Josh Miller/CNET

Apple iPad

It doesn't have an IR blaster, but since there are so many apps available for it, the Apple iPad can still serve as a limited TV remote. The popularity of iOS precedes itself, with free apps for Tivo, Roku, Comcast Xfinity, and plenty more. The tablets are also compatible with Apple's TV streaming box, the Apple TV, which both the iPad Air and Mini can control.

Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet
The Sony Xperia Z2 is also waterproof, in case you have a TV in your bathroom. Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Sony Xperia Z2

The Sony Xperia Z2 is impressively thin and sleek, but its beauty is more than screen-deep. In addition to speedy performance, it offers an IR-blaster for use as a oversized remote control. The Sony tablet also wins design points for its durable, waterproof build.

LG G Pad 8.3
The LG G Pad 8.3's Corning glass HD IPS touchscreen has a 1,920x1,200-pixel resolution and 273ppi. Josh Miller/CNET

LG G Pad 8.3

I'm partial to the Google Play edition that runs pure Android, however, both versions of this LG tablet pack IR blasters. The petite 8.3-inch LG tablet is one of the smallest options for impersonating your remote control. The LG G Pads (above) are more budget-friendly than the 8.3-inch model, but that's because it features a more solid build and sharper screen.

Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro (8.4-inch)
The Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 is also great for watching movies and TV, with its sharp, colorful, and pixel-dense screen. Josh Miller/CNET

Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4

Samsung nails the trendy 8-inch form factor with the Galaxy Tab Pro. The 8.4-incher rocks a comfortable and cool design, and it offers a ton of software features to keep it glued to your palms. The IR blaster on the top edge makes using it as a remote control easy, but owner beware; the Galaxy Pro 8.4's pixel-dense screen might charm you away from your TV -- like its cousin, the Galaxy Tab S.

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