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Best Tablet For Kids, Reading, Students, Work, & Gaming? Our Top Picks For Each!

Guy on tablet: Best Tablet For Kids, Reading, Students, Work, & GamingTablets are popular for many uses around the home and classroom and these days they are more affordable than ever. But it depends what purpose you plan to use your tablet for in determining which one you should get. Some tablets are better for reading books while others are more suited for playing games. So we’ve chosen a tablet for each individual category, including: kids, reading, students, work and more! We’ve done the research for you including the pros, cons and various pricing for each one so you can find the best fit for you and your needs.<

Our Top Picks: iPad Air 2 vs Amazon Fire HD vs Microsoft Surface Pro 3

Click below to jump to a specific category, or start scrolling down to read them all.

Best Tablet Overall – iPad Air 2

iPad Air 2View on Amazon

It’s no news that Apple has been in the lead when it comes to tablets. Being the first to ever create a tablet, Apple has continued to get better and better. Now, with the iPad Air 2 you can’t imagine a better tablet than this. With top-notch screen display, camera specs, hardware and a sleek design, the iPad Air 2 is the tablet to beat. They recently came out with the iPad Pro, which is a great tablet as well, but if you don’t need a tablet that size, the iPad Air 2 is pretty much the same (and cheaper!).

Pros

Cons

  • Retina display
  • Multi touch display
  • Battery lasts 9-10 hours
  • Harder for malware to access your device
  • Simple to use
  • Dependable
  • Front and rear facing cameras
  • A8X chip with 64-bit architecture
  • iPhoto, iMovie, GarageBand, Pages, Numbers, and Keynote are all available for FREE
  • More than 475,000 apps available
  • AirPlay, AirPrint, and AirDrop
  • Supports MIMO (multiple in multiple out)
  • More expensive than all the others
  • No USB port for uploading files
  • No Flash capability

Price

  • $499 for 16GB and Wi-Fi
  • $629 for 16GB and Wi-Fi and Cellular
  • $599 for 64GB and Wi-Fi
  • $729 for 64GB and Wi-Fi and Cellular
  • $699 for 128GB and Wi-Fi
  • $829 for 128GB and Wi-Fi and Cellular

Tech Specs

  • Width: 6.6 inches
  • Height: 9.4 inches
  • Depth: 0.24 inches
  • Weight: 0.96 pound
  • 2048 by 1536 resolution at 264 ppi
  • iOS 8

Best Tablet for Kids – Amazon Fire HD 6 Kids Edition

Amazon Fire HD 6 Kids EditionView on Amazon

Amazon Fire HD 6 Kids Edition is a specifically made tablet for kids and is easy for them to use. The Amazon Fire HD 6 Kids Edition has many features all these devices would have but they are designed more for kids. Kids have access to shows, apps and other learning tools to help them develop skills. This Amazon tablet is a great choice for your kid.

Pros

Cons

  • Up to 8 hours of battery life
  • Both a front and rear facing camera
  • A free year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited (5,000 books, movies, TV shows, educational apps and games)
  • Parents can set screen time limits and educational goals
  • Profiles for both kids and parents so you can send pictures or other items to family
  • Limited internal storage
  • Reading a book with 2 pages displayed can be straining on the eyes

Price

  • $149

Tech Specs

  • Width: 7.6 inches
  • Height: 5.0 inches
  • Depth: 1.1 inches
  • Weight: 0.79 pounds

Best Tablet For Reading – Kindle Paperwhite

Kindle PaperwhiteView on Amazon

Kindle Paperwhite is the best e-reader available on the market. Not only is it lighter than a paperback book (and the iPad Air 2) but it also performs the best in the sun. The most recent version that was released in 2013 have made it even easier to read than any other tablet. Plus you don’t have to charge it daily, it can last several weeks at a time. Kindle Paperwhite can hold up to 1,100 books so you can carry your entire library with you.

Pros

Cons

  • Lightest weight tablet (7.6 ounces), 30% lighter than the iPad Air
  • Next generation built-in light which makes it super easy on your eyes for reading
  • Battery lasts weeks
  • No glare from the sun
  • Keeps track of where you left off in your reading – just like a bookmark
  • Take and share notes in the margin
  • Smart lookup feature allows you to get word definitions
  • Adjust text size
  • Thousands of books available to borrow for FREE for Amazon Prime members
  • Stores up to 1,100 books
  • Fast processor
  • Wi-Fi (and if you opt for 3G, it is available with no contract)
  • High resolution and contrast
  • Grayscale screen does not allow for color graphic web browsing
  • Web browsing is limited as this device is focused solely on a better reading experience
  • No Flash or Shockwave multimedia support
  • No USB port

Price

  • Kindle Paperwhite: $119 with ads
  • Kindle Paperwhite: $139 without ads
  • Kindle Paperwhite 3G: $189 with ads
  • Kindle Paperwhite 3G: $209 without ads

Best Tablet For Students – Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi

Asus Transformer Book T300 ChiView on Amazon

The Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi is great for students on the go. The tablet has an attachable keyboard that allows you to use it as a laptop itself and a stylus pen; however, the stylus pen is sold separately. If you’re sending your kid off to college the Asus T300 is a great buy since many students want a tablet and laptop these days. Instead of paying for both a laptop and a tablet, you can cut the price down by getting the Asus T300 (be sure your child’s college allows for this device “shortcut”).

Pros

Cons

  • MicroSD slot
  • Fast
  • Battery life is up to 10 hours
  • Keyboard included
  • Needs Windows 10 update (but it’s free)
  • Heavier at 2.4 pounds

Price

  • $399 for 32GB
  • $449 for 64GB

Technical Specs

  • Screen Size: 10.1 inches
  • Depth: 0.5 inches (closed) 0.3 inches (without the keyboard)
  • Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Windows 8.1 Pro

Best Tablet For Work – Microsoft Surface Pro 3

Microsoft Surface Pro 3View on Amazon

The Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is a great tablet for work. Not only is it compatible with Microsoft Office (since it’s a Microsoft product), but it also has the connectors you’ll need for work including a USB port, mini DisplayPort, and microSD card reader. Most offices these days run on Mac or PC and for offices who like their PCs, this is a fantastic choice.

Pros

Cons

  • Includes Office shortcut keys
  • The Surface Pen is included
  • Has a USB port, mini DisplayPort, and microSD card reader
  • Kickstand supports two positions
  • Battery life is up to 9 hours
  • HD screen
  • Fast performance
  • Must purchase keyboard separately, starting at $199
  • Can get expensive but it’s basically a tablet and laptop in one
  • Microsoft Office isn’t automatically installed on your Surface Pro 3
  • 1.76 pounds in weight makes it much heavier than the alternative devices

Price

  • $799 for 64GB/Intel i3, 1.5GHz
  • $999 for 128GB/Intel i5, 1.9GHz
  • $1,299 for 256GB/Intel i5, 1.9GHz
  • $1,549 for 256 GB/Intel i7, 1.7GHz
  • $1,949 for 512GB/Intel i7, 1.7GHz

Technical Specs

  • Width: 11.50 inches
  • Height: 7.93 inches
  • Depth: 0.36 inches
  • Weight: 1.76 pounds
  • Windows 8.1 Pro

Best Tablet for Gaming – Nvidia Shield Tablet

Nvidia ShieldView on Amazon

The Nvidia Shield includes a stylus pen, clear resolution and front-facing speakers making this an excellent tablet for gamers. You can also add-on a controller for $59 to take your gaming up a notch, which you’ll most likely want to do. The battery life is great at almost 20 hours, this is one of the best we’ve seen.

Pros

Cons

  • Amazing graphics (Tegra K1 processor)
  • MicroSD card storage is expandable
  • Full access to Google Play app store
  • Battery lasts 19.75 hours
  • Material feels a little cheap
  • Few Android games support the K1 graphics
  • Affordable

Price

  • $299 for 16GB and Wi-Fi
  • $399 for 32GB and Wi-Fi and LTE

Tech Specs

  • Width: 5.0 inches
  • Height: 8.8 inches
  • Depth: 0.36 inches
  • Weight: 0.86 pound
  • 1920 by 1200 multi-touch full HD display
  • Android 5.0 Lollipop

Best Tablet for Email – iPad Air 2

iPad Air 2View on Amazon

The iPad Air 2 is the best choice for tablets when you’ve got a lot of emailing to do. You can add multiple email accounts in the built-in Apple Mail app and then view each inbox separately or together in one larger list. The emailing hasn’t changed too much throughout the iPad generations, so if you want to go with a different iPad model you’ll still get nearly all of the same features for email purposes.

Pros

Cons

  • Easy to set up web mail, Exchange, or POP email account
  • Reminders and contacts can be synchronized
  • Retina display
  • Multi touch display
  • Battery lasts 9-10 hours
  • Harder for malware to access your device
  • Simple to use and reliable
  • Bluetooth keyboard available
  • Front and rear facing cameras can be used to have business meetings online
  • If you use Gmail, the iOS app is really great
  • More expensive than the competition
  • No USB port for uploading files
  • No Flash capability

Price

  • $499 for 16GB and Wi-Fi
  • $629 for 16GB and Wi-Fi and Cellular
  • $599 for 64GB and Wi-Fi
  • $729 for 64GB and Wi-Fi and Cellular
  • $699 for 128GB and Wi-Fi
  • $829 for 128GB and Wi-Fi and Cellular

Tech Specs

  • Width: 6.6 inches
  • Height: 9.4 inches
  • Depth: 0.24 inches
  • Weight: 0.96 pound
  • 2048 by 1536 resolution at 264 ppi
  • iOS 8

Happy Shopping!

Now that you know the best reading tablet as well as the winners for gaming, office, students, kids and more, you should be all set to go shopping. Keep your eyes posted for seasonal deals or those last-minute sales before the holidays.

Do you know of any great sales going on this holiday season? Share them here with others!

Our site's mission is to help consumers make more informed purchase decisions. This post may contain affiliate links (marked with 'Affiliate' when you hover over them) and we will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking through these links. Our website accepts financial compensation to allow us to provide this free service to you, our reader, while eliminating the need to clutter pages with advertisements. Compensation does not influence the rankings of products. More info on our disclosure page.

Kimberly researches everything before she buys. She wants to make sure she is getting the best bang for her buck by purchasing the best product/service, which is why she loves her work. She has a degree in Multimedia Journalism and has been researching and writing professionally for 3 years to help consumers make more educated decisions.
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2 comments

  1. I got the Kindle Paperwhite for Christmas. I love it because it does not cause the eye strain of other tablets due to its special backlight technology. It’s like reading a real book but much more convenient and fun! I also really like that it is ONLY an e-reader so there are no distractions from email, im, facebook, etc. I would totally recommend it!

    • Kimberly Kurimski

      I’m glad you love it Melissa. I know exactly what you mean with the distractions! I used to read on my iPad and having access to the Internet and social media got distracting as well as the lighting. I couldn’t read for long periods of time because of the screen. Thanks for reading and commenting!

      -Kimberly

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