FACT: The gaming device dictates the quality of a gaming experience. Today, many people use their smartphones to play games-on-the-go. But the experience isn’t always of A+ quality. With their small display and limited RAM, smartphones struggle with complementing the graphics and features of the game.
So if you want a 100 percent immersive gaming experience, swap your phone for a gaming tablet.
The Best Mobile Gaming Experiences Start with a Tablet
Mobile gaming is a big deal these days. Starting as a “joke” to hardcore PC gaming enthusiasts, the mobile gaming industry has matured into a stronger one. Currently, mobile gaming is entering into an era of AAA quality games like PUBG, Fortnite, Legends Hearthstone, Elder Scroll Blades and more. Simply put, gaming-on-the-go is no more competitive, fun and rewarding.
2016 saw the rise of GPU options for laptops. But since then, gaming tablets entered the scene as they gained more power and memory to accommodate mobile games. A gaming tablet accomplishes the gives you a better gaming experience with a bigger screen, superior processing power and increased battery life.
Can’t a “Normal” Tablet Double as a Gaming Tablet?
It depends. Many factors determine a tablet’s ability to accommodate games: the OS, input options (e.g. keyboard), the tablet’s power and developer support. These factors affect how well the game will work on your tablet.
Some tablets, like the Windows Surface, are laptops in tablet form, which means they can do any task you want (such as gaming). Others like the iPad or Amazon Fire HD have compatibility options with PC games but can power most mobile-only games. In fact, you can’t play most of these games on your PC.
Instead of forcing a regular tablet (or your desktop) to do more, buy a gaming tablet. There are two types of gaming tablets:
- Tablets with running mobile OS systems; designed to work as your regular tablets
- Tablets with a running desktop OS; computer-like tablets capable of doing anything a traditional desktop PC or laptop could.
Deciding on which gaming tablet suits you depends on what you need, as well as how you envision your gaming experience. Your preferences dictate what features to look for in potential gaming tablets.
What Features Should I Look For in a Gaming Tablet?
How do you shop for the best gaming tablet? Instead of mindlessly browsing online while you lounge in athleisure, know the must-have features first.
Tablet Type (Hybrid or Full Form Factor)
First, decide on whether you want to play on a gaming device with a mobile operating system (e.g. Android OS, Windows 10 mobile, Fire OS) or if you’d rather go for a gaming tablet that is a full-on computer. Both options have their sets of pros and cons, from the available games and apps to their price points.
Gaming tablets can take many forms. Some of them are glorious smartphones whereas others are replacements for desktop PCs. Some tablets come with a rotatable screen or an attached keyboard while others are thin like clipboards.
Screens: Resolution, Touch Screens and Size
The gaming tablet display determines how well you’ll appreciate the graphics of your game.
Most Android gaming tablets use the AMOLED (active-matrix organic light-emitting diode) display. Samsung devices use AMOLED displays due to their superior images and great performance. You can enjoy the rigorous gameplay even in direct sunlight. The AMOLED display is perfect for gaming tablets that need richer graphics and finer images.
Also, AMOLED pixels turn on and off at lightning speed, which makes them ideal for fluid video images. Apart from being power-efficient, they also provide high refresh rates and fast response times — all the must-have features of quality the best gaming tablets.
When shopping for gaming tablets, you’ll also come across display terms for high-tech screens, like organic light-emitting diode (OLED) and retina display. These are both used in Apple products. On the other hand, liquid crystal display (LCD) is often used for tablet screens.
In terms of screen sizes, most gaming tablets have a screen size between five to twelve inches. Mid-sized tablets (which measure from seven to eight inches) are popular choices because they are portable and are large enough to display the images.
Apart from screen sizes and displays, gamers should also pay attention to the screen resolution. The higher the resolution, the more detailed the visuals will be. The average gaming tablet’s resolution is around 1200 by 800. Best to buy a tablet with the best resolution to accommodate games with complex graphics (or even virtual reality).
All gaming tablets have processors, aka the drivers of the system. The processor’s speed and number of cores determine the tablet’s performance. Most high-end tablets use dual-core processors to double the processing speed. Some tablets have more, e.g. quad core.
Many gaming tablets use processing systems made by Advanced Risc Machines (ARM). The market offers many variations of ARM’s processors. Companies like Texas Instruments, Nvidia and Qualcomm redesign these processors and use them for tablets.
Apple, like with their operating system, develops its processors. They call their chip the AX chip, which is present in all iOS devices. On the other hand, Android tablets use system-on-a-chip (SoC). Most SoCs perform roughly the same in all tablets.
Inside the SoC, you’ll find the central processing unit (CPU), which controls the function of the tablet. The SoC also carries the graphics processing unit (GPU) or the graphics card, which is crucial for gaming tablets. GPUs contain hundreds of processors that simultaneously work on data at incredible speeds. For a gaming tablet, you’ll need a powerful graphics card so you can enjoy 3D games and high-quality graphics.
Video Random Access Memory (VRAM)
The best tablets for gaming should have enough VRAM in the GPU to handle the video requirements of most games. You need at least 4GB of VRAM to play modern mobile games. If you’re playing games with higher resolutions, you’ll need more VRAM.
In general, the RAM impacts the computer’s efficiency in processing information. A gaming tablet with less than 2GB of RAM will run slower compared to a tablet with 8GB RAM. So when shopping for a gaming tablet, check the VRAM and RAM capacity.
Nobody wants a good game to end because their battery died on them. Since gaming tablets are portable devices, you’ll need a longer battery life. Sadly, batteries get easily drained on gaming tablets due to the OS multi-tasking and running full features at the same time.
One of the iPad’s strongest unique selling points is its long battery life. Enjoy all the games you want with up to 12 hours of usage. Android tablets are also known for their long-lasting batteries.
Which Tablet is the Best for Gaming?
When it comes to gaming tablets, you have plenty of options. Many companies are developing gaming tablets that seem identical to each other at first glance.
If you don’t have the time to browse through every tablet catalog, here’s a list of potential gaming tablets to choose from.
Amazon Fire 7
If you’re looking for a gaming tablet under 300, Amazon Fire 7 is at your service. Despite being budget-friendly, this gaming tablet guarantees excellent performance with its quad-core processor and dainty seven-inch screen. The operating system may be awkward, BUT the device is ideal for everyday use, not just gaming.
- Operating system: Fire | CPU: Quad-core | Screen: 7 inches | Storage: 16GB/32GB
- Pros: Sleek design, light and portable, budget-friendly | Cons: poor storage
iPad Pro (2020)
The iPad is the King of Gaming Tablets. The new generation of iPad Pros cements the company’s status. With powerful keyboard functionality, trackpad and A12 Bionic processor, this is the best gaming tablet of 2021. Plus, did we mention its ProMotion technology-powered Liquid Retina display?
The new iPad OS also offers mouse and trackpad support, as well as a massive upgrade to the seven-core CPU. You can play games and run intensive programs with the iPad Pro’s eight-core alternative. Combine these features with the iPad Pro’s compatibility with the must-have Apple Pencil, what else can you ask for in a gaming tablet?
- Operating system: iOS| CPU: A12Z Bionic | Screen: 9 inches | Storage: 128GB/256GB
- Pros: powerful chipset, versatile and incredible mouse support | Cons: very pricey
iPad Air (2020)
What if you’re a big fan of Apple but the iPad Pro’s price is just too steep? Apple’s latest iPad Air could be the next best alternative for you. Its reasonable price (in Apple’s standard) is worth this mid-range gaming tablet.
Since it’s a fourth-generation version of the iPad Air, this 2020 version has all the features you enjoyed and more. Apart from its advanced processor, iPad Air 2020 has a 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display that shows games in the best definition possible. Also, its compatibility with the Apple trackpad and keyboard gives you the functionality of the iPad Pro minus the hefty price tag.
- Operating system: iOS| CPU: A14 Bionic | Screen: 9 inches | Storage: 64GB / 256GB
- Pros: larger screen, lightweight and powerful technology | Cons: limited storage options
Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus
For Android enthusiasts, Samsung is one of THE go-to brands. Fortunately, Samsung delivers with the best gaming tablet to date. With its superior 12.4-inch AMOLED screen and powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 856 Plus chipset, the Samsung S7 Plus can accommodate the most demanding of mobile games. The best part? The speed.
In terms of portability, Samsung’s gaming tablet isn’t bulky. It may have a narrower screen compared to Apple’s iPad Pro but the S7 Plus keeps its weight down. If you’re after gaming anywhere at any time, Samsung has your back.
- Operating system: Android | CPU: Octa-Core | Screen: 4 inches | Storage: 128GB / 256GB / 512GB
- Pros: expandable storage and amazing display| Cons: no headphone jack
The best gaming tablet guarantees the best gaming experiences. If you’re invested in playing better games, invest in a quality device. But the pricier tablets do not necessarily have to be your only choices. Again, your gaming preferences matter in your selection.
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