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The Stuff Gadget Awards 2022: Premium and budget tablets of the year

It’s that time of the awards when we pay tribute to the most gifted rectangles that we prodded, scribbled on and tried incredibly hard not to drop this year. Join us as we crown the best tablets of 2022.

Obviously, this year brought us various new iPads, and naturally, they were great, but we’re always determined to ensure that this section isn’t entirely fruit-themed. For many users, an Android tablet suits their needs better, and the best Google-powered slabs this year keep Apple on its toes at both ends of the tablet market.

These devices can vary wildly in both price and function, so we’ve split the awards into two categories, and they’re pretty self-explanatory. Whatever you’re willing to spend, our winners are excellent performers across the board and will keep you happy for years to come should you choose to pick one up. So without further ado…


Premium tablet of the year: Apple iPad Air 5th Gen

Surprise! The best tablet of 2022 is an iPad, but for the second year running we haven’t given the award to the Pro, despite its indisputable brilliance. No, this year’s iPad of choice is the latest iPad Air. While looking all but indistinguishable from last year’s model, the 5th Gen Air’s is a significantly more ferocious beast under its familiar all-screen hood. Much to our pleasant surprise, Apple was feeling generous enough to give its mid-range tab the same M1 chip as its big brother, meaning it’ll happily bat away anything you throw at it.

5G is now an option with the cellular model and the 12MP ultra-wide selfie cam is a big improvement, and while the 10.9in display is still lacking ProMotion (hey, clue’s in the name), it remains quite excellent for your latest Netflix binge. iPadOS continues to improve, so if you slap this thing into the Magic Keyboard you’ve got a more than capable laptop alternative.

Highly commended: Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra

Thought the iPad Pro was overkill? Apple’s most premium tablet is a kitten next to Samsung’s beast. With a 14.6in display you are not going to be using this slate one-handed. But prop it up and you’ve got the ultimate portable entertainment center, especially with its AMOLED panel and quad speakers. And with an S Pen in the box that delivers the lowest latency on any Samsung tab to date at 2.8ms, the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is as good for on-the-go artists as it is cinephiles. It’s certainly not cheap, but that money will buy you the ultimate Android tablet.

Also shortlisted: Huawei MateBook E

Windows tablets may never really take, but Huawei’s hybrid machine tempted us with its punchy OLED display.

Budget tablet of the year: Honor Pad 8

If we told you that the first Honor tablet to receive an international launch has a 12.9in display, you’d probably think it was making a play for a slice of the premium pie. But in fact, the big-screened Honor Play 8 has the entry-level iPad in its sights, as well as tablets like the impressive Lenovo Tab P11. Why is it our winner? Well, it’s hard to get away from that panel, surely the biggest you can get your hands on for the least cash.

We enjoyed watching movies on it thanks to the black bar-crushing 10:6 aspect ratio, while its meaty 7250mAh battery will comfortably see you through a trilogy of reasonable length. It’s certainly not the snappiest or sharpest tablet around, and the duo of 5MP snappers predictably aren’t up to much, but the Honor Pad 8’s solid build and sheer size make it a unique proposition at the entry-level tier.

Highly commended: Apple iPad 10th Gen

For a while now there has been a very clear line drawn between the basic (and most popular) iPad, and the Air and Pro lines that sit above it. Put simply, the iPad has clung on to the home button for dear life, while the more expensive models ditched it ages ago. But that distinction no longer exists, as Apple has finally dragged the cheapest iPad into the modern era, binning the home button for a multi-coloured iPad that, at least at first glance, is hard to tell apart from the iPad Air. The screen tech isn’t as good as even the 2020 Air, but the iPad has the same A14 Bionic chip as that tablet, which is very capable, it now charges via USB-C, and it even gets its own Magic Keyboard that in some ways is superior to that of the iPad Pro. The basic iPad has never felt so sophisticated.

Also shortlisted: Amazon Fire HD 8

If you’re after a cheap tablet, Amazon’s are always a solid pick, and this year’s updated Fire HD 8 is faster and longer-lasting than ever.

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