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.
Playing games has changed drastically over the years. From game consoles to PC gaming to mobiles, gaming tablets are becoming a thing in their own right. That being said, while a regular tablet could be used to play games, a gaming tablet has the technical specs to support more demanding games. There are plenty of options on the market, so how do you pick the right one?
Keep reading as we’ll go over the basics of tablet gaming and give you tips on what to look for.
- Best Mobile Gaming Experiences Start with a Tablet
- Can’t a “Normal” Tablet Double as a Gaming Tablet?
- What Features Should I Look For In A Gaming Tablet?
- Which Tablet is the Best for Gaming?
- What Is A Gaming Tablet?
- Perks Of Gaming Tablets For Pro Gamers
- Things To Consider While Purchasing A Gaming Tablet
- Gaming Tablets – FAQ’s
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 become stronger. Mobile gaming is entering 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 have entered the scene as they have gained more power and memory to accommodate mobile games. A tablet accomplishes 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), 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. 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 which gaming tablet suits you depends on what you need and 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 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 with 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 with 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.
Regarding screen sizes, most gaming tablets are between five to twelve inches. Mid-sized tablets (which measure from seven to eight inches) are popular because they are portable and 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 and use these processors 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 to 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 than 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 simultaneously.
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.
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 and 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 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. Besides 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 mobile games. The best part? The speed.
In terms of portability, Samsung’s gaming tablet isn’t bulky. It may have a narrower screen than Apple’s iPad Pro, but the S7 Plus keeps its weight down. Samsung has your back if you’re after gaming anywhere at any time.
- 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. Invest in a quality device if you’re invested in playing better games. But the pricier tablets do not necessarily have to be your only choices. Again, your gaming preferences matter in your selection.
What Is A Gaming Tablet?
If you’re into mobile games and need a bigger screen, then a gaming tablet is just what you need. Like regular tablets, gaming tablets have better specs to support most games. Gaming tablets have better display quality, faster processors, and a more comfortable design for long gaming sessions.
Regular tablets perform well for web browsing, social media, and casual gaming, but if you want a better gaming experience, you need a more powerful tablet. The main difference between regular and gaming tablets is their operating system. Namely, there are:
- Tablets with mobile operating systems like Android, iOS, Windows Mobile, or Fire OS.
- Tablets with a desktop operating system like Windows or MacOS.
If you want to play more demanding games like Word of Warcraft, League of Legends, or other multiplayer games, maybe you could consider getting a PC or a gaming laptop. Otherwise, a good gaming tablet is more than powerful for mobile versions.
Perks Of Gaming Tablets For Pro Gamers
There are plenty of perks to investing in a gaming tablet. For starters, you have plenty of high-end games in your hand. Pro gamers are used to being conditioned by the location of their PC, but tablets let you play anywhere. You can use a gaming laptop for the same purpose, but it’s not as lightweight and portable as a tablet. Traveling with a tablet, especially by plane, is much easier.
Some gaming tablets are just as powerful as a laptop, meaning you have the high processing power, a big enough screen size, and access to all of your favorite games. Additionally, you can get a powerful gaming tablet at a reasonable price.
The tablet is also very versatile as it can be used on the go for pretty much anything. You can browse the net, watch videos and movies, play games, or even work. Paired with the option to use it on the go, it’s an invaluable asset to invest in.
As we mentioned before, tablets are compatible with a lot of accessories. This leaves plenty of room to customize your tablet and overall gaming experience. You can use a wireless or handheld controller, joystick, and various triggers – endless possibilities!
Things To Consider While Purchasing A Gaming Tablet
Considering the number of options available on the market, choosing the right one can be tough. We reviewed the more technical features you should look for in a gaming tablet, but there are other things to consider. Below are some things to consider before buying a tablet.
Audio And Video Quality
A great part of the gaming experience is the audio and video quality. The better the sound and the visuals are, the better the overall feeling. Tablets generally have a dull, flat sound that doesn’t work well for gaming. However, the best gaming tablets on the market today feature high-fidelity speakers, meaning you’ll fully immerse yourself in the game.
The video quality is also paramount for gaming, so you need to look for a high screen resolution tablet. Tablet screens are generally smaller than a PC monitor, so it’s not nearly as noticeable when the resolution is lower. Still, we recommend looking for anything close to 1080p and nothing less than 1800×1200 for smoother gameplay.
We already mentioned that gaming tablets have many accessories, but some require connectivity ports. To connect accessories or devices, you should look for a tablet with a USB port. At the very least, you’d need a 3.5mm jack for your headphones or mic. Some of the best tablets, like the Apple iPad Air and Samsung Galaxy Tab S8, don’t feature a 3.5mm jack but have USB ports.
The true king of gaming tablets, the Asus Rog Flow Z13, features several USB ports, a Thunderbolt 4 support DisplayPort, ROG XG Mobile Interface, and even a microSD card reader. Some tablets can even be connected to a monitor, so you can consider the top-rated vertical monitors as well. Look into the connectivity ports before buying, depending on your needs and available devices.
Storage capacity is another important thing to consider, especially if you want to play more serious games like Call of Duty mobile or Warcraft Arclight Rumble. These games take up a lot of memory, and if you want to download other apps or store photos and videos on your tablet – you’d use the extra storage.
Regular tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 and the Apple iPad have 12 up to 128 or 256 GBs. This should be enough for most games; however, if you’re a regular at the Google Play Store or the App store, you might benefit from the USB port and a hard drive pretty soon. On the other hand, the Asus Rog Flow z13 has a 1.1TB, which is ultimately the thing you should be looking for in a gaming tablet.
If you are into mobile gaming and looking to upgrade your smartphone screen size, getting a tablet with a mobile operating system would be a good fit. On the other hand, if you are looking for a handheld version of a PC, look for a gaming tablet with a PC operating system.
Most mobile games are available for both operating systems, and access to game streaming services like the Xbox game pass are compatible with both. So, before buying a gaming tablet, you need to decide what operating system you want and what you want to use it for.
Gaming Tablet Price
The best gaming tablets come with quite the price tag, especially a tablet form factor like the Asus Rog Flow z13, which comes to about $1900. A small gaming tablet like the Apple iPad Mini could set you back $499, while an Android tablet like the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 $699.99. The price of gaming tablets depends on the brand and technical specifications. Tablets with more connectivity options, bigger storage, and more powerful CPU will cost more.
Consider the specifications that are a deal breaker for you and set your budget accordingly.
Warranty information is extremely important for any technology you own, so it’s no different for a gaming tablet. You need a good warranty to avoid additional expenses for replacing a tablet or repairing it in case of an accident. Before you buy a tablet, check the warranty information for the length of coverage and what it covers.
Ideally, you’d look for at least one year of warranty coverage. Additionally, they should either repair, replace, or issue a refund for your tablet in case of a malfunction.
When choosing smartphones for communication, you’d also want to consider the brand before buying a gaming tablet. Some brands are known for their devices having battery life problems, others for faulty CPUs. Considering brand reputation before buying is important so that you know what to expect.
The market is becoming crowded with gaming tablets, so brand reputation is an important parameter to consider. You already know powerhouses like Alienware for gaming PCs, Apple for smartphones, and Lenovo for the excellent Lenovo Ideapad Laptop. Similarly, you need to look for the best brands for gaming tablets. Be sure to do your research.
Online Reviews and Ratings
Online reviews and ratings can help you better decide what gaming tablet to get. It’s one thing to read the specs of a tablet, but completely different to read an actual user’s experience. Online reviews show how those specs fare in the real world and what you might expect from the device.
If you are torn between a few options or have already decided on a tablet, reading online reviews can help you make up your mind easier. Additionally, you might learn about potential problems and drawbacks of a particular product, which is always useful to know upfront.
Avid gamers know how important the device is for the ultimate gaming experience, so it should be chosen carefully. The market is saturated with plenty of options for gaming tablets, so choosing a single one can be quite a feat. However, with the parameters outlined in the article above, you’ll decide on a gaming tablet much easier.
You want to choose something that will have all of the specs you need and suit your budget and gaming preferences. Hopefully, you’ll find our buying guide useful and find just the thing you need for gaming nights on end.
Gaming Tablets – FAQ’s
1) How to clean a gaming tablet for optimum performance?
The best way to clean a gaming tablet for optimum performance is to clean the cache. You can find this under settings>storage> cached data.
2) How much RAM is necessary for a gaming tablet?
If you are a casual gamer, 4GB of RAM should be enough for a decent experience. For the best gaming experience, you need a minimum of 8GB RAM.
3) Is it safe to update the tablet’s operating system?
Yes, it is safe to update the tablet’s operating system to ensure that your device is up to date with all security features.
4) How much must I invest while buying a gaming tablet?
For a decent gaming tablet, you would need at least $400. The price depends on the memory, OS, brand, and other specifications.
5) Which is the best-rated tablet for online gaming?
The Asus Rog Flow z13 is the best-rated tablet for online gaming.
6) What’s the difference: a gaming tablet and a normal tablet?
A gaming tablet has a bigger processing power, screen, and improved battery life. They differ from regular tablets in the internal memory and operating system.
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