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Best 5G tablets in 2024

Sometimes a smartphone isn’t quite big enough to enjoy your favorite media, connect with others via video call, or get work done on the go. Tablets fill in on those occasions, offering more firepower than ever alongside increasingly streamlined software. And while today’s best 5G phones can all serve as Wi-Fi hotspots, using them that way can draw a decent amount of power and quickly drain a battery.

To make sure you always have a big screen with a direct, high-speed internet connection, you’ll have to get a tablet with 5G or LTE connectivity. Manufacturers don’t include a cellular radio in every tablet, but this list includes enough variety to satisfy pretty much everybody’s needs — even if you’d rather use the iOS or Windows operating systems than Android. Keep in mind, though, that some tablets are limited to data only (no voice or texts), and some are tied to specific carriers at purchase.

Top tablets with 5G or LTE connectivity

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE

Best overall

A great tablet that doesn’t cost a ton

$360 $550 Save $190

While not the absolute cream of the crop, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE is one of the few Galaxy Tab S series models to get mobile internet support recently. It backs up a sleek form factor with powerful components and Samsung’s highly praised OneUI interface. So, it’s an excellent combination of performance and convenience.

ProsGreat-looking screenStreamlined, useful softwareS Pen included ConsPerformance isn’t quite flagship-levelOnly the 128GB/6GB model offers 5G

Interestingly, only a couple of the latest round of Galaxy Tab S series models include optional cellular connectivity, and the other ones are considerably more expensive. For around $500, though, the S9 FE provides an excellent experience, pairing reasonably fast internals with a bright, colorful, 90Hz display. The underlying OneUI interface is as good as ever, and it’s well-tailored to take advantage of the 10.9-inch screen in terms of individual apps and multitasking.

A hand holding a powered-on tablet in landscape orientation

We’re especially keen on the battery life, partly because the 5G modem will draw extra power on top of the standard hardware. Speaking of standard hardware, the S9 FE includes the high-quality S Pen, one of today’s best styluses by a wide margin. And despite its status as a midrange S FE model, it looks and feels every bit as premium as its more expensive relatives.

It does have minor drawbacks compared to more costly tablets, but the majority of users won’t really miss the more high-end features. The Exynos 1380 system-on-a-chip represents one such compromise, as it doesn’t perform as well as the Qualcomm chipsets found in industry-leading models. Nonetheless, it’s easily powerful enough for how most people use tablets, even if it won’t stand up to running multiple resource-intensive apps simultaneously.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE+ on a wooden desk with plants and a globe resting in the background. Read our review

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE+ review: Samsung’s best midrange tablet yet

Great build quality, battery life, and software make for a solid midrange tablet

You’re also limited to just 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage in the 5G model, which does compound that problem somewhat. But, in the end, the reasonable cost makes the sacrifices worth it, since cellular-connected slates can be notably more expensive than their Wi-Fi-only counterparts.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9+

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9+

Premium pick

Fantastic performance and display

$1089 $1150 Save $61

The Galaxy Tab S9+, the only entry in Samsung’s high-end lineup to get cellular data, also happens to be the biggest one that’s convenient for most people, and significantly more powerful than the S9 FE 5G. In fact, it’s arguably the best Android tablet on the market right now.

ProsBright, 12.4-inch OLED panelTop-of-the-line performanceEven the speakers sound great ConsCosts quite a bitCharging could be faster

With the Tab S9 Ultra essentially serving as a laptop replacement, the S9+ remains the top premium choice for most Android tablet lovers. The display competes for the best of any tablet, Apple’s included, and the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 powering it makes quick work of some of the most demanding apps. Samsung’s vaunted Android implementation does an excellent job enabling multitasking on this relative powerhouse, even if — like with the S9 FE 5G — mobile data’s only offered on the version with smaller storage (which has the same 12GB of RAM, anyway).

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9+ standing portrait next to box and contents

We did manage to find some minor quibbles with the device, like the predictable lack of a headphone jack and unsurprising last-gen charging speeds. (What’s up with that, Samsung?) But it shows no major faults and will receive four years of Android updates followed by an additional year of security patches.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9+ laying on counter with vegtables Read our review

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Not too small, not too expensive, the Tab S9+ is juuuuuust right

This high-end slate makes a great investment for those who want an all-around winner, capable of doing nearly anything you want a tablet to do. It’s a joy to watch movies on, thanks to HDR10+ playback, and it’s big enough to get some work done if you pair it with a good Bluetooth keyboard. The only major drawback is the price.

A render of the front of the TCL Tab 10 5G, and the top of the back.

TCL Tab 10 5G

Best value

The clear entry-level winner

$119 $149 Save $30

Where most always-connected tablets cost significantly more than their counterparts, the TCL Tab 10 5G costs less and doesn’t even come in a Wi-Fi-only version. It won’t win any benchmark competitions, but it’s a solid, 10-inch device that makes effective use of a SIM card.

ProsGreat performance for the priceScreen looks surprisingly goodAbove-average battery life ConsOnly 32GB of internal storageStuck on Android 12 foreverLimited to T-Mobile and Metro networks

Most manufacturers pick one of their existing tablets and tack on 5G support, but TCL periodically releases one-off models with built-in modems of their own. The Tab 10 5G is one such model, and it’s as far from a high-end device as you can get that still delivers a reasonably smooth experience and capable feature set. It’s bright enough, fast enough, and even has good enough speakers to satisfy casual users while also offering passable 5G connectivity.

With that in mind, it’s far from perfect, and its flaws do represent big trade-offs made to reach its impressive $150 price. It shipped with Android 12, still uses Android 12, and likely won’t ever see an upgrade. There’s only 32GB of storage inside, which limits the amount of advanced apps you can use since many must be loaded into internal memory. It also only works on T-Mobile networks, but those are pretty ubiquitous at this point. And the reality is that nothing else in this price range comes with a 5G radio.

We will take a second to note here that TCL announced a new, exciting tablet at CES 2024 called the Tab 10 NxtPaper 5G, which uses the company’s novel display technology to drive a bright, colorful, paper-like screen. If the tablet’s designed well, it could easily find its way onto this list, so stay tuned.

apple ipad air 5th gen white background front and back

Apple iPad Air (5th Generation)

Best iPad

If you’re OK with the OS, it’s hard to beat

$600 $749 Save $149

Apple makes the most powerful and popular tablets around but has a particular kind of stranglehold on the 5G market. It’s one of the few companies to release factory-unlocked devices that work swimmingly on a wide range of networks worldwide.

ProsNearly unbeatable performanceExceptionally long software lifespanNot a bad value ConsBase model has just 64GB of storageA 60Hz IPS LCD panelNot everybody likes iOS

The base model iPad is a fantastic device in its own right, but the 2022 iPad Air is a big step ahead. As thin and light as a tablet this size gets, it’s a joy to hold and use and makes media consumption, browsing, app use, and communication a breeze. The remarkable power of the Apple M1 chipset driving it ensures it’ll remain useful for many years, a general hallmark of Apple’s best devices. And it comes out on top of many of other manufacturers’ tablets in terms of real-world 5G and LTE speeds.

stadia on ipad air 2022

But this isn’t a love letter to Apple, and the latest iPad Air does have its faults. Namely, the 64GB internal storage is paltry for something that costs several hundred dollars and an unfortunate blemish on a mostly top-of-the-line device. We’re also a little miffed that Apple outfitted it with an IPS panel instead of an OLED — one that runs at a bog-standard 60Hz, no less. And to move up to the 256GB model (since there’s no 128GB model), you’ll have to spend an additional $150.

ipad air 2022 floating Read our review

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But even with all those faults, the Air’s still the best 5G choice for iPad lovers. It might not be great enough (or cheap enough) to sway a ton of longtime Android users, but it’s still an excellent device if you’re familiar with or are OK with learning iOS.

A Microsoft Surface Pro 9 on a white background

Surface Pro 9

Best for Windows

An interesting, if expensive device

$1250 $1400 Save $150

Of the few Windows tablets available, it makes sense that Microsoft’s is the best. The Surface Pro 9 sports the high-quality design, build, and hardware you’d expect from the lineup but trades the typical Intel silicon for an ARM SoC like the ones phones use.

ProsPerformance gap with Intel PCs is closingExcellent battery lifeWindows on ARM keeps improving ConsLimited USB ports and speedsStill has some compatibility issuesAwfully expensive

Few Windows tablets exist to begin with, and we’re only aware of one other recent model with 5G support — a massive, rugged thing from Dell that you probably don’t want. The Surface Pro 9’s 5G version is even more unique than just that, though. Windows typically runs on an entirely different chipset architecture than phones do, called x86/x64. You simply wouldn’t be able to install Windows on any Android tablet because the hardware and software essentially don’t speak the same language.

The SQ3 Surface Pro 9, therefore, is in a class of its own. The Qualcomm- and Microsoft-developed chipset inside sports a similar architecture to what drives smartphones but relies on some code interpretation within the architecture, as well as a redesigned version of Windows, to run the popular OS on a technically incompatible chip. ARM-based Windows machines like this one typically offer much of the versatility of Microsoft’s industry leader, but not all. Historically, Windows on ARM has underperformed, but the increasingly powerful and efficient nature of modern chip design finally puts it in a good-to-great place.

All that’s just to say that if you’re looking for a typical Windows laptop that can play games and run every Windows program you can download off the internet, this isn’t it. It doesn’t support Thunderbolt, USB speeds over 10GBps, or more than two USB ports. It’s limited to 16GB of RAM. And it doesn’t quite perform as well as modern laptops with Intel or AMD CPUs.

But, finally, Windows on ARM has reached a point where you can take advantage of most of Windows’ versatility. It offers more versatility than Android and iOS, with no locked-down bootloaders or regional ROM versions to worry about. It doesn’t play nice with some games, but it handles an impressive amount of software, considering how bleak the Windows-on-ARM scene was a few years ago. And, chiefly, this is the only recent Windows tablet with 5G connectivity — the only other worthwhile consideration is the Surface Pro 7+, and that’s getting a little long in the tooth. So, if you can find it at a reasonable price, it’s worth it.

A render of the Samsung Galaxy Tab A9+ on white background

Samsung Galaxy Tab A9+

Best entry-level

That smooth OneUI experience, on a budget

The bigger of Samsung’s two low-cost tablets, the A9+ is the only one to receive 5G support and does a good job for the price. It won’t knock your socks off in terms of performance, but it’s great for casual use and will get at least two full Android updates.

ProsReasonable performance90Hz refresh rateSleek, customizable interface ConsLimited to 4GB of RAMBattery and charging could be betterCan’t handle the heaviest apps or games

The Galaxy Tab A9+ doesn’t set out to win any races but instead covers moderately capable hardware with an intuitive interface in a premium-feeling body. At this, it succeeds. If you’re looking for the latest, greatest device for streaming your favorite movies, look no further. And it’s notably more powerful than its smaller sibling, at least, which has yet to be released in the U.S. The screen won’t win any awards, either, but the 90Hz panel looks just fine in everything but direct sunlight.

Its relative shortcomings compared to more expensive options should only scare away power users, players of demanding games, and professionals who need a tablet to get a lot of work done. The battery doesn’t last forever, but it maintains reasonably well. And the cameras don’t wow, but are fine for simple video calls. But this is one of the extremely few entry-level tablets that can always stay connected to the internet, so we’re calling it a win for Samsung’s cheapest tablet family.

Product render of the T-Mobile Revvl Tab

T-Mobile Revvl Tab 5G

Best for T-Mobile

A great budget alternative for T-Mobile customers

The T-Mobile Revvl Tab 5G is an excellent budget tablet for T-Mobile customers. It supports 5G, and despite the low price, you’ll get a decent budget tablet that’s great for general browsing, reading, and catching up with friends. It’s also ideal for watching movies on the go on a larger screen. And while it’s not the best for gaming, it’ll do well for basic games that don’t require a lot of graphics.

ProsGood build qualityGreat displayLong battery life ConsLack of expected updatesSlow charging

The T-Mobile Revvls Tab 5G, as the name suggests, is a T-Mobile exclusive tablet. It costs just $200, and it offers decent specifications and a solid build quality. The tablet is ideal for watching movies, consuming content, browsing, and other light tasks. It has 6GB of memory and 128GB of storage, making it excellent for storing your favorite photos and videos, as well as apps.

Back cover of the T-Mobile Revvl Tab 5G with Pusheen in background

The tablet has a USB-C port, a single Dark Shadow color option, and a 10.36-inch LCD with 1200 x 2000 resolution. It’s ideal for movies, TV shows, and videos, and the tablet is large enough to comfortably read books and use various social media apps. The tablet runs Android 13, and while we’re not sure how many updates it’ll receive, the device is expected to be a great viable budget option for those looking to buy a cheap tablet this year.

T-Mobile Revvl Tab being held up in the sunlight Read our review

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If all you need is an affordable, portable device that can last a long time on a single charge, and you don’t want to multitask or play demanding games, the T-Mobile Revvl Tab 5G will do a great job.

Picking the right 5G tablet for you

Only select models offer the luxury of constant internet connection, but luckily, they include some of the best. The Galaxy Tab S9 FE is one of our favorite midrange tablets because of its refined experience and capable components. It’s not as premium in terms of hardware or display as the more expensive S9+, but the way most people use tablets, they honestly won’t notice. The FE does a fine job with reasonably demanding software — it even runs high-intensity games like Genshin Impact relatively well, only dipping below 30FPS during big fights. It doesn’t cost a fortune, does everything most people need, and will last a long while.

Of course, only you know if you need the firepower of something like the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9+, or better yet, the high-performing iPad Air and its Apple SoC. Speaking of performance, the Surface Pro 9, at long lasts, brings Windows to the ARM chipset (and therefore 5G) world with effective aplomb. It’s been compared to a last-gen Core i5 x86 chip’s power level, although it does exhibit some compatibility issues with certain programs.

But if you plan to use your always-connected tablet mostly for casual tablet things, like streaming video and browsing the web on the go, you don’t have to spend nearly that much money. The TCL Tab 10 5G offers impressive connectivity and good performance for the price and Samsung’s A9+ checks in with plenty of firepower for daily use. Both are less than $300, so you won’t need to invest much.

Outside of these, there aren’t a lot of viable 5G tablets available. But as the Android tablet market continues to refine its software and hardware approaches, we’ll probably see more in the coming months. We already know that TCL’s bringing its NxtPaper tech to a 10-inch 5G tablet, and we’re excited to get our hands on one and hopefully add it to the list.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE

Best overall

All the 5G tablet most people need

$360 $550 Save $190

More than capable of performing everyday tablet tasks, and even tackling more complex number-crunching like some high-end games, the Tab S9 FE offers the best combination of price, form factor, and capability, while retaining 5G connectivity.

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