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Written By
Published May 10, 2023 5:00 PM

Phone screens have continuously gotten bigger, but there’s still room for the venerable 8-inch tablet. These standalone devices offer more digital real estate for work and play without feeling cumbersome. For years, companies treated their smaller tablets poorly—omitting features present in “full-sized” models—but that’s changed. Today’s “8-inch “mini” tablets have feature parity with their bigger siblings while besting them in portability. The best 8-inch tablets fill a noticeable gap between smartphones and tablets, offering some of the best of both worlds.

How we chose the best 8-inch tablets

Our research and testing revealed that the term 8-inch tablet is a little ambiguous because many tech companies have decided to play fast and loose with screen sizes. The iPad Mini, for example, has an 8.3-inch screen, while Samsung’s Galaxy Tab A7 Lite’s display comes in at 8.7 inches. This difference may seem subtle, but every tenth of an inch counts when dealing with tablets this small. We factored in these variations—plus which tablets have the best overall hardware, expandable storage, and battery life—to find five that suit different people’s needs equally.

The best 8-inch tablets: Reviews & Recommendations

There’s a lot more competition in this part of the tech world than you might think, with many tablets having overlapping features and subtle differences. You’ll find the right 8-inch tablet below regardless of your screen size preferences, operating system preferences, or budget.

Best overall: iPad Mini

Stan Horaczek



  • Screen size: 8.3 inches
  • Battery life: Up to 10 hours
  • Storage: Up to 256GB
  • Weight: 239 grams
  • Cameras: 12 megapixel (front) 12 megapixel (rear)


  • Useful for media consumption and work
  • Excellent camera hardware for its size
  • App store full of helpful software


  • Price

This entire story could honestly be a meditation on how the iPad mini absolutely smokes any other tablet in this screen size bracket when it comes to performance, hardware quality, and software quality. However, as is typically the case, its cost—roughly three times higher than our other recommendations—will temper anyone’s enthusiasm.

In our tests, there wasn’t a single task the iPad Mini couldn’t do well. Its Liquid Retina screen (2266-by-1488 resolution at 326 pixels per inch) made reading text, viewing images, and watching videos a joy. The LED IPS display’s wide color display (P3) reproduction was especially impressive—it can’t match the performance of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro’s miniLED screen, but it holds its own. The pint-sized tablet is powered by Apple’s A15 Bionic chip, which is speedy enough to stream 4K video, load high-resolution images, and play Apple Arcade games with no signs of slowing down.

If you’ve used an iPhone or previous-generation iPad, you’ll be familiar with many aspects of iPadOS. Apple’s tablet operating system isn’t as versatile as macOS, but Apple has continuously added features to bridge the gap. The iPad Mini’s greatest software advantage over Android tablets is the App Store, which is loaded with hundreds of thousands of productivity and leisure applications. If you want to work on an iPad Mini, you’ll find the software you need on the App Store, and the tablet is powerful enough to run it.

Apple says the iPad Mini’s battery lasts up to 10 hours per charge, and that’s true, depending on how you use it. You’ll probably get there if you browse the web, listen to music, or stream video with the 500 nits of brightness at 50 percent. Resource-intensive tasks like gaming or streaming video with the brightness cranked all the way up will run down the battery much more quickly.

Taking photos and videos with a tablet is more cumbersome than using a phone, but the iPad Mini’s 12-megapixel camera system is unmatched compared to its competition. Whether you’re video chatting with friends and colleagues or snapping a quick pic of something that catches your eye, you should be very happy with the results. The fact that you can import your photo and edit it in professional software like Adobe Lightroom or Photomator—using the Apple Pencil (2nd generation), if desired—speaks volumes about the iPad Mini’s value.

The iPad Mini is offered in 64GB and 256GB storage sizes—more than the average for an 8-inch tablet—but you can’t expand it with a memory card later on. The base storage tier is fine for casual use, but if you plan on using the iPad Mini for productivity tasks, it might be necessary to bump up to the high storage tier. At that point, you’re looking at a tablet that costs over $600—more than Apple charges for the entry-level model of its higher-end tablets. Adding cellular connectivity increases its price even more.

If you don’t mind spending the extra money, the iPad Mini is in a league of its own. You won’t find a better-looking, better-performing 8-inch tablet—or one that even comes close.

Biggest storage: Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus




  • Screen size: 8-inches
  • Battery life: Up to 13 hours
  • Storage: 32GB (Expandable up to 1TB)
  • Weight: 337 grams
  • Cameras: 2 megapixel (front), 5 megapixel (rear)


  • Tight integration with Amazon’s digital content ecosystem
  • Massively expandable storage
  • Price


  • Weak productivity app selection
  • No native YouTube support

Amazon has steadily improved the quality of its Fire Tablets by adding more memory (3GB), 30-percent faster processors, increasing the battery life, and continuing to allow users to add to the base 32GB or 64GB storage via a MicroSD Card. That final feature is true of most Android tablets, but the Fire HD 8 Plus takes it to the next level by supporting storage expansion up to 1TB. That’s more than enough space to hold a lifetime’s worth of media—which this tablet is best used for.

The greatest strength of the Fire HD 8 Plus is its tight integration with Amazon’s services ecosystem. Your Kindle books, Prime Music library, Prime Video library, and Audible audiobooks will immediately be available when you turn on the device. All of the appropriate Amazon apps come pre-downloaded, so all you need to do is choose which media you’d like to sync with it. If you use Amazon’s digital services and enjoy Alexa, using the Fire HD 8 Plus will be an excellent experience.

The same is true if you want to stream video from services like Netflix, listen to music on Spotify, or download media from either service. YouTube is the only streaming app you won’t find on this tablet; you’ll have to access this service via the web browser. The Fire HD 8 Plus has enough memory and processing power for audio and video consumption, browsing the web, or taking a video conference call. If you want to get work done, though, it’s a different story. The app library available on the Fire HD 8 Plus isn’t as big as Apple’s App Store, and its relatively low-resolution screen (1280 x 800 at 189 ppi) will make using the limited productivity software even more difficult.

That said, you can get the Fire HD 8 Plus and a 1TB MicroSD card for a third of the cost of the iPad Mini. Economically, it’s a better bet if you only need your tablet for reading, watching movies in bed, online shopping, and catching up with friends on social media. If you need to download a cache of shows and films to watch on a long trip, the expanded storage and Amazon’s battery claims—this tablet can last up to 13 hours in their estimation—make it a great travel companion.

Biggest screen: Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite




  • Screen size: 8.7-inches
  • Battery life: N/A
  • Storage: 32GB (expandable up to 1TB)
  • Weight: 371 grams
  • Cameras: 2 megapixels (front) 8 megapixels (rear)


  • Large display
  • Expandable storage
  • Price


  • Weak front-facing camera
  • Samsung not forthright about battery specs

If you’d like to push the boundaries of what it means to be an 8-inch tablet, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab A7 Lite is the right choice. Its 8.7-inch 1340 x 800 px (WXGA+) display is the largest screen of any tablet we’re recommending, which will come in handy whether you’re trying to get work done or enjoy a streaming video. The tablet’s other tech specs—an eight-core processor, 3GB of memory, and expandable storage up to 1TB via MicroSD—are impressive given the tablet’s low price.

The Galaxy Tab A7 Lite runs on Android, and the selection of apps on the Google Play store is robust enough that you should be able to find productivity apps in addition to the usual assortment of streaming services. The tablet’s large screen and highly expandable storage make it a wonderful content consumption device. However, no experience will match the one on Amazon’s tablets regarding overall user experience. At least you can download the YouTube app on this tablet.

Our only complaint about the Galaxy Tab A7 is that Samsung is not forthright about its tech specs. It touts this tablet’s battery life but refrains from giving a battery estimate on its site. The battery’s capacity is high enough to last several hours between charges, but, unfortunately, Samsung doesn’t give a figure to help set your expectations. If that ambiguity doesn’t bother you, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better Android tablet at this price.

Best for kids: Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition




  • Screen size: 8-inches
  • Battery life: Up to 13 hours
  • Storage: 32GB (Expandable up to 1TB)
  • Weight: 337 grams
  • Cameras: 2 megapixel (front), 5 megapixel (rear)


  • Includes a case
  • Two-year warranty
  • Bundled with Amazon Kids+ subscription


  • Price is steep for a kid’s gadget

The Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Pro has the same exact specs as the version of this tablet aimed at adults, but its kid-friendly features help it stand out in the 8-inch tablet space in critical ways.

Amazon bundles each of these tablets with a hardshell case available in a handful of colors and patterns, a two-year warranty against any damage, and a year’s subscription to Kids+. The first two benefits are straightforward, but access to Amazon Kids+ is a bigger deal than you might imagine. Amazon’s child-friendly service gives kids instant, unlimited access to age-appropriate games, movies, TV shows, movies, music stations, and apps. Think of it as baked-in parental controls that allow a child to experience autonomously with their tablet without worries about the trouble they could get themselves into.

We’re happy that Amazon opted to build its kids-edition Fire Tablet with the same hardware as its standard 8-inch tablet because it ensures that your kid can use this gadget for several years without it feeling run down and slow. That’s important given this tablet’s price, which is far lower than the iPad Mini’s, but still pricey for tech aimed at kids. Still, the overall value is there, and if you’d like your kid to stop reaching for your phone constantly, it’s a wise investment.

Best budget: TCL Tab 8




  • Screen size: 8 inches
  • Battery life: Up to 8 hours
  • Storage: 32 (expandable up to 512GB)
  • Weight: 310 grams
  • Cameras: 2 megapixel (front), 5 megapixel (rear)


  • Price
  • Blue light reduction modes
  • Expandable storage


  • So-so resolution

TCL’s Tab 8, which routinely goes on sale for $99, offers plenty of value at its discounted price for anyone who needs an 8-inch tablet for lightweight tasks like web browsing, online shopping, and video streaming. The Android 11 device comes with 32GB of storage with the option to add 512GB with a MicroSD card. TCL says this tablet lasts up to eight hours per charge—again, this will depend on how you use it and your screen brightness level.

Despite running Android 11, which is impressive for a budget-priced tablet, we’d still categorize the Tab 8 as being more for media consumption than productivity. Its display is relatively low resolution (‎800 x 1280 pixels), making it difficult to edit photos or video, though text should look OK. Think of this as a big display you can throw in your bag for video streaming on the go—especially if you download media to watch offline. TCL even bundles the Tab 8 with a foldable case, which protects your device and allows you to angle it upward for more comfortable viewing.

One of the Tab 8’s coolest features is its assortment of eye protection modes, which are optimized for tasks like e-book reading. Staring at a screen can start to hurt your eyes after a while, so it’s great to see these features baked into the device instead of forcing you to download third-party apps for the same functionality. All of these little extras are unexpected for such a budget-conscious tablet. If you’re mostly content with your phone, but would like a bigger screen when online shopping or watching random cat videos, give TCL’s Tab 8 serious consideration.

What to consider when shopping for the best 8-inch tablets

Screen size

The definition of what 8-inch tablet is varies from company to company—some hit that mark exactly, while others push the limits to a screen closer to nine inches. A larger screen makes the tablet better for media consumption and productivity, but the additional size will make it more cumbersome to carry.

Battery life

A tablet’s size doesn’t really matter if it’s run out of power, so we only recommend tablets that get at least eight hours of battery per charge. Some 8-inch tablets can last even longer, though the amount of uptime you get will be based on the apps you’re running and your screen brightness settings.


If you plan on storing a lot of media and apps on your tablet, it’s going to have enough storage to hold it all. Most of the 8-inch tablets we’re recommending allow you to add more storage to your device by popping in a memory card, which can come in handy if your needs change.


If you’re worried about how much bulk an 8-inch tablet will add to your everyday carry, don’t be. All of our recommendations weigh in at around 325 grams, which is under one pound. Tablets in this size class can typically fit in the small pocket of a backpack.


Tablet photography remains popular, and all of our recommendations have both a front and rear-facing camera. The former is useful for selfies or video calls, while the latter will let you take quick pictures of anything around you. Tablet camera systems aren’t as sophisticated as the ones in your phone, but can work in a pinch.


Q: Are 8-inch tablets good for gaming?

An 8-inch tablet can be good for gaming depending on the speed of its processor and the amount of memory. Both specs are crucial in ensuring the tablet can run games well.

Q: Are 8-inch tablets long-lasting?

Yes. Relative to their size, an 8-inch tablet can last a long time. Our recommendations can last at least eight hours per charge.

Q: Are 8-inch tablets good for kids?

It depends. We’ve specifically recommended an 8-inch tablet designed for kids, but any model can be useful for children as long as the correct parental controls are set.

Q: Is an 8-inch tablet good for reading?

Yes. If you’re uninterested in an eBook reader, an 8-inch tablet is a great device for reading. The screen size of these devices is roughly equivalent to that of a paperback book.

Q: Are 8-inch tablets good for artists?

Yes. An 8-inch tablet is a good size for artists who want a digital sketchpad.

Q: How much does an 8-inch tablet cost?

This depends on its feature set. You can spend as little as $99 and as much as $400 on an 8-inch tablet.

Final thoughts on the best 8-inch tablets

There’s a lot of competition in the 8-inch tablet world, which is great to see after years of companies focused on larger-screen devices. Current models from the top tech companies are all suited for media consumption, and some are beginning to be useful for productivity. Shockingly, companies have managed to keep the prices of these devices down while regularly updating them with faster components—Apple is the notable exception, but the iPad Mini is virtually untouchable in its performance. If you’ve been curious about tablets, but haven’t taken the plunge because they were too large and unwieldy or expensive, give an 8-inch tablet a try.

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.