Here are the best 8-inch tablets you can buy right now
Products at a Glance
Finding the best 8-inch tablet can be a bit of a pain when it comes to finding a good balance between budget and quality. Of course, you can spend upwards of $500 quite easily on the best 8-inch tablets on the market today, but it might be worth checking out our best large-screen tablet guide if budget isn’t a problem.
For the tech-savvy amongst us, we know we can get some great functionality and performance from budget and smaller tech if we look hard enough. There are tablets that work great with photo and drawing apps with their own specially designed smartpen/pencil to boot, for example. It’s easy saying all of this, but it’s finding these gems in a flooded marketplace of cheap knockoffs and questionable design choices from brands you’ve never heard of.
How we chose the best 8-inch tablets
We’re an inclusive bunch here at PC Guide, which means we want to find the right best 8-inch tablet for everyone. This is why we’ve found Android, PadOS, and Windows tablets with different price points to suit all budgets. We want to recommend great build quality and tablets that don’t promise the world but perform well doing the tasks they’re supposed to do. So here we go, there really is something for everyone in this guide, even keen explorers.
Here are the best 8-inch tablets you can buy right now
- WiFi 6
- Not Magic Keyboard compatible
Apple has over eleven years of experience in crafting tablets for all walks of life. This has never been more apparent than Apple releasing a new take on the iPad Mini around a month ago (at the time of writing). The iPencil 2 compatible tablet is a tiny workhorse for power users and casual web browsers alike.
Even if you have the new iPhone 13 Pro Max with its 6.7inch display, you’re still getting the magic of PadOS performing more and more like a Mac with every update. Combining functionality, form factor and new note-taking features with the iPencil 2 make for a practical solution to professional and home-living situations and tasks.
The liquid retina screen pops thanks to its wide color gamut. This means streaming your favorite TV show, film, or YouTube channel displays the color it’s supposed to, whilst graphic designers and video editors can work with accurate palettes and color representation. Whilst it’s not got the higher pedigree of the iPad Pro, the iPad Mini certainly ticks all the boxes for a mid-range Apple tablet that performs well.
- Metal frame, premium feel
- Budget performance
As the years fly by, more Samsung moves in on Apple’s design philosophy and presentation. It’s easy to poke fun at Samsung for not having original ideas and mimicking the competition, but it’s nice to have products with the premium Apple feel that run Android.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite is the iPad Mini of the Galaxy Tab lineup. The 8.7-inch screen pops with its WUXGA+ technology, which stands for ‘Widescreen ultra extended graphics array’. It’s the middle ground between FHD (1440p) and HD (1080p) that will give that tiny bit of sharpness to the display whilst allowing for more wiggle room when it comes to screen space.
The metal frame is a nice touch and adds to the robust yet light feel of the brushed aluminum casing. It looks the part and feels like it can handle anything you can throw at it, although we wouldn’t recommend this tablet for demanding tasks. Like most tablets in this guide, the best 8-inch tablets on the market today are designed for general use, and the Galaxy A7 Lite ticks all of those boxes.
- Integrated NEO-7 GNSS for satellite navigation without WiFi or data signals
- Overpriced for the feature set
It’s not advisable to take your run-of-the-mill best 8-inch tablets out for a good hike or camping. In fact, we’d probably recommend using your tablet outdoors without literal tank armor wrapped around it. But what if you had a tablet made for these tasks? What if your tablet expects to be treated like it’s gone through a bad day in hell? Here’s the Vanquisher 8-inch Ultra Rugged Tablet.
The fact that the word ‘Rugged’ got into a product name is amazing in itself, but this tablet is made for being your companion when the going gets tough. It’s not the best performer when it comes to its CPU and RAM, but you know it will work when you have no data left and you need to find your way home. That’s right, the built-in GPS in this best 8-inch tablet doesn’t need a data connection, just enough charge to make some military-grade magic happen.
Vanquisher is also running Windows 10 Pro, which means you can load whatever you need to into this tablet for on-the-go web browsing, program use, and more. If you can get a data or WiFi connection, you could watch Netflix on the top of a mountain like the tech-savvy Norse god that you are.
- Supports up to 512GB of MicroSD expandable storage
- Basic performance
Samsung has flooded the market with Android tablets over the last few years, and not all of them have been great. Being a company that eventually learns from its mistakes, recent Samsung tablets have put more of a focus on build quality and making sure their best 8-inch tablets perform well with their hardware configurations.
The Galaxy Tab A is the culmination of everything Samsung has learned about budget tablets, bringing decent performance all around for streaming, web surfing, and low-demand, day-to-day tasks. The screen is just above 1080p, which should be plenty for the average user on a best 8-inch tablet.
The big sell here is the 13-hour battery life, perfect for any commuter of the family tablet used for those big car journeys. Expandable storage means downloading and saving video content locally isn’t an issue, especially for those who don’t have a data plan ready to use on the go.
- Intuitive touchscreen works with gloves on
- Not suitable for home and play purposes
Remember when we said Samsung flooded the market with tablets earlier on? Yeah, they also do an industrial-focused model, the Galaxy Tab Active 3 Enterprise Edition. From manufacturing lines to hospitals, this bad boy is MIL-STD 810H complaint. That means this best 8-inch tablet has passed a military-grade quality check to see if it can withstand the effects of difficult environmental conditions.
The detachable battery works with Samsungs always-on functionality to adapt the tablet into stationary use, for example at kiosks in your local supermarket. This best 8-inch tablet also supports Samsung Wireless DeX, a screen mirroring function that turns your tablet into an Android-powered desktop PC. Simply download the companion app on your PC or Mac or cast to the nearest smart TV.
This also has unlimited applications across various industries, making this tablet a versatile and hard-wearing choice when it comes to finding the best 8-inch tablets. This tablet also works with gloves on, which is something every tablet ever created should feature. In a post-covid age, this is a really ‘handy’ feature. No, I’m not sorry.
We feel that this is (probably) the most varied guide for the best 8-inch tablets available on the internet right now. From the top of the range iPad to a tablet that can withstand any situation you put it in (more or less), there really is something for everyone. Which one best suits your needs? If it’s the latter, you really need to consider creating a YouTube channel.
Can’t I just buy a really good protective case instead?
Of course, you can, but the Vanguard and Active 3 are built from the ground up with shock, water, weather, and other protection in mind. They’ve also passed specific military-grade tests to make sure they’re up to the job. If your best 8-inch tablet choice is going to see some rough moments, we’d recommend buying tablets that are built for that purpose.
What is the difference between Samsung tablets?
It can get confusing trying to figure out which Samsung tablet is best for you. We’d recommend looking at the price point and features you’ll need and taking it from there
How do I know that the iPad Mini is right for me?
We’ve provided tablets with Android and Windows OS on-board too. The thing is, every tablet does the same basic functions in its own way, just pick a style that suits you, and off you go. Head over to your local electronics retailer or Apple Store to get hands-on with some tablets yourself to help make your mind up perhaps?
The budget offering from Apple is a brilliant all-rounder device that suits Netflix addicts and creatives alike thanks to its iPencil compatibility. Granted, it sits in the shadow of the iPad Pro, but it’s also half the price despite having similar features. This piece of kit should be a great companion around the office thanks to its advanced note-taking features and should run every app you throw at it with ease.