8-inch tablets, due to their portable size and lower cost, help bridge the gap between smartphones and laptops. These handheld devices do everything that a 10-inch tablet does, but sometimes at half the price. They represent excellent value, gorgeous screen resolutions, and the necessary processing power to stream media and, maybe, even create some yourself, too.
Why Do You Need an 8-Inch Tablet?
Of course, no one actually needs an 8-inch tablet, but you could say that about any device. Once you set the baseline for “need” at somewhere above Maslow’s hierarchy, you’ll see that these mini tablets are deserving of their place on your shelf or in your hand.
These tablets are great for media streaming. All have access to popular apps such as Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, Amazon Prime Video, and YouTube. (Although, with the Amazon Fire 8 HD, you’ll only have access to the YouTube website, not the app, as Amazon and Google, YouTube’s parent company, squabble about usage). You’ll also have access to a wide range of games, productivity programs, and, at least, basic word processing and other necessary business or academic tools.
However, because screen space is so small, none of these devices would necessarily work as your primary computing device. There are Bluetooth keyboards and other accessories that can help the tablet become more similar to a laptop, but, again, we do not recommend it`
Where Can You Buy One?
Anywhere you buy consumer electronics you’ll be able to buy a mini tablet. Amazon, of course, is a popular choice here, especially for the Amazon Fire HD 8. You’ll also be able to purchase them at each company’s respective online store, such as Apple’s website or retail store.
How Much Do Mini Tablets Cost?
The cheapest 8-inch tablet, the Amazon Fire HD 8 is $79.99. The most expensive, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3, is available for at least $400. Most, however, fall in the $150 to $250 range.
How We Reviewed Each Tablet
We reviewed each device by attempting to be as comprehensive and well-rounded as possible. This means we read almost as many online reviews as possible, both from major consumer review websites, as well as individual customer reviews.
We did this to remove any potential bias from any single review and collect as many data points as possible. This allowed us to come at each device objectively and provide the most useful and accurate information as possible.
Breaking Down 8-Inch Tablets
Apple iPad mini 4
Pound for pound, or pixel for pixel, the best screen on this list is the iPad Mini 4, the leviathan of the tiny tablet market. Its operating system is intuitive. Its app selection is extensive, even if some of the default apps aren’t the greatest. On top of all this, if you already have an iPhone or MacBook, syncing everything through iCloud is a breeze.
The powerful A8 chip brings 1.5 GHz of processing power, one of the most powerful ones reviewed. This means of all the tablets listed here, the iPad Mini is probably the best one for work or productivity tasks, especially when connected to one of Apple’s wireless keyboard accessory.
iPads have severely cornered the tablet market, so it’s hard, but not impossible, to come up with any flaws. These devices are expensive, costing nearly five times as much as our value pick, the Amazon Fire HD 8. Further, while the 128 GB of internal storage is the most of any device listed, the lack of microSD card slot means the other tablets with one can easily surge ahead of it, storage-wise.
All-New Fire HD 8 Tablet
The 16 GB Amazon Fire HD 8 (with personalized screensaver advertisements) costs only $70 - $100. It won’t compare to the iPad when it comes to either screen quality or processing power, but with a microSD card slot that can increase the internal storage by another 256 GB and a capable screen, the Fire HD 8 would have to cost as much as an iPad mini not to be a good deal. If you can cab a Fire HD 8 during one of Amazon’s many sales, you may be able to pick up a great streaming device for only $40 - $60.
Recently, Amazon developed a new feature that turns this tablet into a something more like a smart display. Perfect for a bedside table or kitchen countertop, the Show Mode charging doc, along with Alexa, Amazon’s virtual assistant, adds even more value.
Huawei Mediapad T3
- A 4800 mAh battery delivers long-lasting enjoyment, even with heavy use
- Rear camera: 5 MP and auto focus, Front camera: 2 MP and fixed focus
- Made from a solid piece of sleek anodized aluminum with a tastefully polished metallic finish
Capable of running for up 17 hours on a full charge, the Huawei MediaPad T3 8 is the longest lasting device reviewed. In fact, just a 30-minute charge will allow it run for 2.5 hours, again the best of all tablets listed here.
Screen-wise, this device sits closer to our value pick than our best pick, so its $250 price point seems high in comparison. Luckily, the screen has some pretty generous viewing angles, so it’s a great device for sharing a mediocre picture with a friend or two.
Set at 16 GB of internal storage, the MediaPad is another device with an expandable MicroSD card slot, allowing for additional memory capacity. Combined with the extended battery life, the ability to add storage makes this device perfect for long car rides or airplane trips.
Lenovo Tab 4 Plus
- THEATER-LIKE MULTIMEDIA: 8-inch tablet has a brilliant FHD display with booming Dolby Atmos Audio and built-in...
- TABLET FOR KIDS: Transform to a kids tablet with Lenovo Kid's Pack, including a shock-resistant bumper, blue-light...
- MULTI-ACCOUNT: With multi-user and multi-space functionality, use the enhanced security fingerprint scanning technology...
The Lenovo Tab 4 8 Plus is a solid device that comes with a good screen that sits slightly below the best available in this price range. Its 1920 x 1080 resolution and 249 pixels per inch doesn’t quite match up with the iPad Mini 4, or even the Asus ZenPad S, but it exceeds that of the Fire HD 8.
Besides its excellent display, the Lenovo tablet comes in a variety of internal storage size options, from 16 to 64 GB, with the possibility of additional storage through a microSD card slot. The 64 GB version also adds a robust 2.0 GHz processor, but the smaller sizes come with a decent 1.4 GHz one.
The battery power sits right in the middle of the pack, averaging about 11 hours of use on a full charge, slightly less than the iPad and Amazon tablets. On 30 minutes of charge, you’ll get around 2.5 hours of use.
You’ll also get the ability to multitask and display two apps at once. While that is an advantage when compared to other 8-inch tablets, this feature works better on a bigger screen or a device built for productivity.
ASUS ZenPad S8
- 8" IPS Display (2048 x 1536) with ASUS TruVivid technology for better visual experience
- Intel Atom Z3530 Quad-Core, 64bit, 1.3GHz
- 2GB RAM, 32GB Onboard Storage
Battling with the iPad Mini 4 for the best screen on an 8-inch display, the Asus ZenPad S 8.0 suffers for its short battery life – only 9 hours, on average – and a design that’s somewhat lacking. With a thin trim on each side of the device, it’s difficult to hold in one hand without accidentally activating the touchscreen with your thumb.
Still, this Asus tablet comes with the fastest CPU of all the reviewed models, clocking in at 2.33 GHz. Only the 64 GB Lenovo tablet comes close at 2.0 GHz. The iPad’s 1.5 GHz processor is almost 33 percent less potent than Asus’.
The 9-hour battery life hurts, in any case. It’s the only reviewed tablet unable to hit double digits. That makes sense with the bright screen and powerful processor, but it would be nice to use the nice features for longer.
The ZenPad is also reasonably priced, starting at around $115 - $150, depending on your internal storage size selection. If it weren’t for the battery life issue, this would’ve easily knocked the Fire HD 8 off the best value pedestal.
Samsung Galaxy Tab Active 2
- 8" inch, LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors, 800 x 1280 pixels
- Network Compatibility : 2G GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 and/or 3G 900(B8) / 850(B5) / 1700|2100(B4) / 1900(B2) / 2100(B1)...
- 16GB Storage, 3GB RAM, 256GB microSD Card slot
For around $400 and an average screen, processor, and battery life, the Samsung Galaxy Tab Active 2 doesn’t come close to sniffing the top spot. The battery, while topping out at just under 11 hours of use with a full charge, takes a while to get going. After 30 minutes of charge, you’ll only get an equal amount of use out of it, as opposed to other reviewed devices that easily clear 2 hours of use after half an hour of charging.
The price is the main off-putting metric here. For similar specifications, you can spend about $320 fewer dollars and get the Fire HD 8.
Acer Iconia One 8
Cheap, but with a processor that stutters and stammers its way through applications, the Acer Iconia One 8 offers an inexpensive device with features and specifications to match. Outside of the CPU, there’s nothing necessarily bad about this device, but it lacks the intuitiveness and added benefits of the similarly priced Fire HD 8.
If you count the 10 Commandments, tablets have been with humanity since the dawn of time. Still, the lack of touchscreen display and poor processing power of those relics pale in comparison to the modern day offering of 8-inch smart devices.
The king of the mini tablet jungle remains the iPad Mini 4. Its screen is top-notch, and Apple’s operating system remains heads and shoulders above Android’s and Amazon’s OS. If you have the money to spare, this is your best bet.
If you’re looking for value, it’s extremely tough to beat the Fire HD 8, especially if you’re looking for something more akin to a smart display than a traditional tablet. If you’re already locked into Amazon’s ecosystem, this is the tablet for you.
Regarding battery power, nothing beats Huawei’s MediaPad. Lasting up to 17 hours on a full charge, this tablet can stay powered on for almost 50 percent longer than its closest competitor can. Unfortunately, the display and processing power are mediocre, meaning that extra time isn’t spent with a fantastic device.
The Lenovo Tab 4 and the Asus ZenPad are worthy competitors to the top spot due to their above average and fantastic displays, respectively. However, they fall short when it comes to price and battery life, also respectively.
All in all, there is a robust assortment of 8-inch tablets out there. Choosing the best one truly comes down to a matter of preference.