New tablets are somewhat hard to come by these days but if you're in the market for a pint-sized slate then here are the best small tablets around you can buy.

The tablet market has slowed down significantly over the last few years, so much so that the likes of Sony and HTC don't even make them anymore. 

Google's hugely popular Nexus 7 seems like a lifetime ago and, in the UK, Tesco sadly ended the amazing Hudl range a few years ago too. That said, although many are a distant memory, there are a handful of small tablets still around that you can buy brand new.

You can still rely on firms like Apple and Amazon for this kind of device. We're talking tablets with a screen size under 9in, as a typical full-size tablet starts at around 9.7in.

Smaller tablets are typically cheaper than larger models and this also makes them more portable. Small tablets are great for travelling, so you can take TV shows and books with you, without adding much weight to your luggage.

With the tablets below, there is something for everyone, with a range of different sizes, prices and features on offer. Why not take a look at the best overall tablets and the best cheap tablets for more options.

Best small tablet 2021

1

Apple iPad Mini (2021) - Best overall

Apple iPad mini (2021)
  • Pros: Compact design | Apple Pencil support | Superb performance
  • Cons: A little pricey | No Magic Keyboard support

The sixth-gen iPad Mini ditches the old form factor for something more akin to the iPad Air and Pro ranges; with an angular design, stereo speakers, Centre Stage technology and much smaller bezels than before.

The Mini's 60Hz display has jumped to 8.3in, but without changing the physical size of the tablet – allowing for more display real estate without affecting its portable nature. It's a gorgeous display too, with the highest pixel density of any iPad right now, even if it is a bit on the small side for true split-screen multitasking.

It's powered by the same A15 Bionic silicon as the iPhone 13 range, making it more powerful than the iPad Air at a similar price.

The Touch ID sensor has been moved to the Power button – like with the iPad Air – and there's support for the second-gen Apple Pencil to boot. However, the lack of a Smart Connector on the rear means that it doesn't have its own Magic Keyboard; a real boon for the iPad Air and Pro ranges, and the only real chink in the Mini's armour.

Read our full Apple iPad mini (2021) review

2

Apple iPad Mini (2019) - Still brilliant

Apple iPad mini (2019)
  • Pros: Premium materials | Apple Pencil support
  • Cons: Ageing design | Ageing hardware

Until Apple finally decided to refresh the iPad Mini for 2021, the 2019 model was still the best small tablet on the scene, meaning it's still a great tablet, despite having finally, officially been replaced by Apple.

With the A12 processor at an affordable base price, the 2019 Mini is still a tiny powerhouse of a computer. 

Yes, the design is seven years old but with the addition of Apple Pencil support and with decent battery life, even this older Mini proves not everyone wants or needs to spend thousands on an iPad Pro.

Read our full Apple iPad mini (2019) review

3

Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus (2020) - Best for kids

Amazon Fire HD 8 (10th gen)
  • Pros: Hands-free Alexa | Improved battery life
  • Cons: Entry-level performance | Limited selection of apps

Amazon refreshed its 8in Fire tablet for 2020, with more memory and wireless charging, which in turn enables Amazon Echo Show mode; so you can summon Alexa and check the weather with your voice.

While performance isn't markedly different from the previous Fire HD 8, this model will last longer and we'd say the addition of the wireless charging dock is wholly worthwhile if you're considering picking one of these slates up.

Read our full Amazon Fire HD 8 (10th gen) review

4

Amazon Fire 7 (2019) - Most portable

Amazon Fire 7 (2019)
  • Pros: Nice selection of colourways | Solid selfie camera | Usable base storage now
  • Cons: Nice selection of colourways | Solid selfie camera | Usable base storage now

The Amazon Fire 7 may not offer much in the way of improvements over its predecessor – save for a few new colourways – but it's an undeniable bargain all the same.

Highlights include more storage space and a superior selfie camera than before, which might not seem like much, but considering the other sorts of tablets you can expect to pick up at this price point/size, there's little else out there that comes close to consideration.

Read our full Amazon Fire 7 (2019) review

5

Samsung Galaxy Tab Active 3 - Hardiest design

Samsung Galaxy Tab Active 3
  • Pros: Well protected against the elements | Removable battery | S Pen support
  • Cons: Chunky build | Niche appeal | Pricey

Outside of the business use cases it was built for, the Galaxy Tab Active 3 only offers niche appeal to the general consumer, but it's hard to overlook the value of a hardy, ruggedised tablet with a removable battery, all the same.

With military-grade protection and IP68 water and dust resistance, the Tab Active 3 can withstand submersion in sand, water and drops from 1.5m. There’s even a setting that means you can use the touchscreen with gloves on, while the S Pen offers a useful alternative for navigation and productivity.

You pay a premium for such a hardy slate but if that's a feature of importance, nothing else on this list can match the Tab Active 3.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Tab Active 3 review