With so many tablets available in NZ, choosing the right one for you can be tricky. Don’t worry. We’re here to help.
There are many tablet options in NZ, and they all boast different specs and features. They also vary drastically in price. Some tablets only cost around $200, but you can also spend as much as $4000 on a top-tier device. Both of these are on the extreme ends of the scale, fortunately there’s a lot of premium options in between.
It’s important to know that, like most technology, usually, the more expensive a tablet is, the more it offers. In a premium tablet, you can expect a bright, vibrant display with a 60 – 120Hz refresh rate, a long-lasting battery, compatibility with accessories or add-ons, fast performance and various storage options. It also pays to remember that, much like the best smartwatches and phones, tablets are at their best when paired with other products made by the same company.
In this expert guide, we’ve ranked what we think are the best tablets available in NZ. We’ve also included a tablet buyer’s guide so you know what you should look for when making your tablet-buying decision.
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The Best Tablets NZ
1. Apple iPad Air
64/256GB | Wi-Fi + Cellular | Powerful M1 chip | 2,360 x 1,460, 60Hz display
The 2022 version of Apple’s iPad Air is the best tablet for most people.
If you’re already subscribed to the Apple ecosystem, the Air seamlessly integrates with other Apple products. You can use it as a second screen via Apple’s Sidecar software. You can answer and take calls on it and so much more. You’ll still get a lot out of this tablet, even if you’re not an Apple subscriber.
It will handle anything you throw at it, including 4K video editing, thanks to the very impressive M1 chip. It boasts a sleek, light design, and the 2,360 x 1,460 display is sharp and vibrant. Unfortunately held back by its 60Hz refresh rate.
To improve the user experience, Apple also offers its Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil accessories. These are separate purchases, and expensive ones at that, but they are also excellent.
Unfortunately, the tablet only comes with either 64GB or 256GB storage options. There’s no middle ground which is a bit frustrating. 64GB isn’t quite enough for those who like to save pictures and videos, and 256GB can be too much. You can always pay for Apple iCloud though.
With that said, there’s really nothing the iPad Air can’t handle. Apple’s iPad Air is the best option if you’re looking for a great tablet that can handle anything you throw at it while not being too expensive.
Read our review of the iPad Air
2. Apple iPad Pro (12.9-inch)
128/256/512GB/1/2TB | Wi-Fi + Cellular | Super-fast M2 chip | 2,732 x 2,048, 120Hz display
Apple’s 2022 12.9-inch iPad Pro is the best of what the company has to offer in a tablet. The only reason it isn’t in the top spot is because it’s probably a bit too much tablet for most users and, subsequently, is very expensive.
The iPad Pro is packed full of advanced features. The 2,732 x 2,048 resolution screen is what Apple calls a liquid retina XDR display that’s powered by over 10,000 mini-LEDs. It’s bright, sharp, and colourful and with the 120Hz refresh rate is buttery smooth to navigate.
The M2 chip inside allows the iPad Pro to handle anything you can throw at it; in fact, you probably won’t be able to find a use case for so much power. Theoretically, it can handle four 4K video editing sessions simultaneously, it’s a beast.
Like the iPad Air, it’s compatible with the Apple ecosystem, the Apple Pencil and Magic keyboard work here as well, and it comes with various storage options.
If you want the most advanced tablet on the market, then Apple’s 12.9-inch iPad Pro is it. Just be warned, it’s very expensive.
Read our review of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro
3. Samsung Galaxy Tab S8
128/256GB | Wi-Fi + Cellular | 13-hour battery | 2,560 x 1,600, 120Hz display
Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S8 is a great tablet option for Android users.
The standout here is the battery life. The Tab S8 boasts a 13-hour battery life which is an impressive achievement for a tablet with a 2,560 x 1,600, 120Hz display.
While the performance isn’t quite as good as the Apple tablets, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip inside does a good enough job and can handle most of what you throw at it. Don’t expect 4K video editing capabilities, though.
The Tab S8 is compatible with Samsung’s stylus, the S-Pen, and you can also purchase a detachable Book Cover Keyboard Slim. These accessories are separate purchases, but they work well, transforming the Tab 8 into a laptop or artbook.
The Tab S8 has a nice sleek, 11-inch design and it’s a great option for Android users.
4. Apple iPad (10th Generation)
64/256GB | Wi-Fi + Cellular | A14 chip | 2,360 x 1,640, 60Hz display
Powered by Apple’s A14 chip, the 10th Gen iPad isn’t quite as powerful as the iPad Air higher up on this list, but it still boasts impressive performance capabilities.
This is a more affordable iPad that is more than capable of delivering a pleasurable experience.
Coming in a range of vibrant colours, the iPad is a funky-looking tablet with a crisp 2,360 x 1,640 display. The screen is held back by its 60Hz refresh rate, but it’s fine. A higher refresh rate would add to the price.
If you’re looking for an affordable tablet that can keep up with the best of the best, Apple’s 10th Gen iPad is a great option.
5. Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra
128/256GB | Wi-Fi + Cellular | Big 14.6-inch size | 2,960 x 1,848, 120Hz display
Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is the biggest tablet on this list. At 14.6-inches, it’s a beast, but unfortunately, it doesn’t have the performance capabilities to match its physical size.
Powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset, it’s more than capable of opening several apps at once, surfing the web and playing graphically demanding games, but it’s a long way off the iPad’s capabilities.
This is essentially the best of the best of what Samsung has to offer in a tablet. It has a stunning Super AMOLED 2,960 x 1,848 120Hz display. It boasts a sleek, premium design and impressively comes with Samsung’s S-Pen stylus included. But this is an expensive tablet, and it won’t be for everyone.
If you’re looking for a big, and I mean really big, tablet, this is the one for you. But if you’re looking for something more affordable, the S8 Ultra’s younger sibling, the standard S8, will serve your needs perfectly.
6. Microsoft Surface Pro 8
128/256GB/1TB | Wi-Fi + Cellular | i5 or i7 processor | 2,880 x 1,920, 120Hz display
Microsoft’s Surface Pro 8 is a great-looking tablet boasting the best display on this list. Videos, images and colours are sharp, vibrant and bright, and the 120Hz refresh rate makes navigating the tablet silky smooth.
The Surface Pro 8 comes in several different configurations. The better i7 processor adds a lot to the price, so if you’re looking for a tablet for performance, you should consider upgrading.
The Pro 8 feels more like a 2-in-1 than an outright tablet. Its Pro Signature Keyboard is an expensive add-on, but it’s the best detachable keyboard. It’s lovely to type on and is well-spaced.
The Surface Pro 8 would be higher up on the list. Everything you would want in a tablet is here. However, it’s held back by its price. This is an expensive tablet.
Read our review of the Surface Pro 8
What to consider when buying the best tablet
How much should I spend on a tablet?
The number of tablets available here in NZ is limited compared to other countries. Often, we don’t get every tablet a company releases; sometimes, we don’t receive them at all. This doesn’t make the buying decision any easier though, as there’s still an extensive range of tablets available here in NZ.
Tablets can range from as low as $150 to as high as $4,000. As with most technology, the higher the price, the more the tablet has to offer and the more capable it is. The lowest-priced tablets can’t do much and often suffer from slow performance, while the highest-priced tablets are usually reserved for commercial or professional type uses.
If you’re looking for a capable tablet that brings enough to the table to warrant the investment, you’ll be looking at a price between $800 – $1,500. Anything below that range won’t have enough features to make it a best of the best tablet, and anything above it, while it will have the most advanced features, will probably be too much tablet for most people.
What tech ecosystem do you subscribe to?
Like earbuds, phones and smartwatches, you should always consider what tech ecosystem you subscribe to when buying a tablet.
Technology has become more insular in that products work best when combined with other products made by the same company.
If you’re an Apple user, an iPad will be your best option because of how well it works with other Apple products. The same can be said about Samsung tablets and others.
Android tablets are a bit different in that they can work with devices from multiple companies. However, they’re still at their best when paired with other products made by the same company.
Before buying a tablet, think about what phone, earbuds or smartwatch you have and choose a tablet accordingly.
What display specs do I need in a tablet?
The display is one of the most crucial features of a tablet. They are essentially just one big portable display.
You should consider four things here: the size of the display, the resolution of the display, the refresh rate and the brightness.
The size of the display is exactly that, how big the tablet’s screen is. A lot of tablets come in varying sizes. The iPad Pro, for example, comes in an 11-inch and a 12.9-inch model. Consider how large you want the display and choose a tablet accordingly.
The display’s resolution is how sharp the picture is going to be. The higher the resolution, the higher the quality. Text will look sharper; you’ll be able to see more detail on images and more. Be warned this is a feature that pushes the price up significantly. Usually, a higher resolution display will mean you have to spend more on the tablet.
The refresh rate is how smooth the display will feel when using it. A higher refresh rate means the smoother the screen will be. Again this adds to the price, though.
Brightness is a less critical feature; however, if you use your tablet outside, especially in direct sunlight, you’ll want a tablet with high maximum brightness. This is measured in nits, and the higher the number of nits, the brighter the screen will be.
Performance capabilities matter
A massive differentiator between the best and worst tablets is performance capabilities.
Tablets with fast, efficient processors are capable of a lot more. Apps will open quickly; you can have multiple windows open, and also, the best processors are more efficient, meaning they don’t use as much battery.
An excellent way to gauge the performance capabilities is to determine which processor the tablet has and how much random-access memory (RAM) it has.
RAM sets the upper limit of tasks the tablet can handle simultaneously. Basically, the more RAM a tablet has, the more capable it is. More RAM means you’ll be able to open more apps at once. But the processor is the main component here.
If you’re looking for a tablet that can run complicated tasks simultaneously, always look into the performance capabilities.
How big is the battery?
As with all tech products, battery life is incredibly important. What good is a tablet if it doesn’t have the battery capacity to match your usage.
A good way to gauge the battery life is the size of the battery. Usually, bigger batteries have more life in them meaning you’ll get more use of the tablet.
How much storage capacity does the tablet have?
Often tablets come with different storage space. While cloud storage options are available with most brands, you can spend a bit more to get a higher amount of on-device storage.
If you’re someone who saves a lot of videos, photos and files, think about upgrading to a tablet with more base storage.
The initial investment might be more expensive, but you won’t have to pay as much for cloud storage.
Does my tablet need Wi-Fi and cellular?
If you think you’ll be using your tablet in spots where you don’t have Wi-Fi access, there are options out there that allow you to use cellular data.
This is like a phone; you’ll have to purchase data and a sim card to use it outside of Wi-Fi coverage.
Be aware, cellular capabilities often add to the price.
Think about how you’ll be using your tablet and purchase a model that suits your needs.