With the festive season approaching, tablets are a great choice for a Christmas present – because they cater for so many interests. With so much competition on the market, both from manufacturers and retailers alike, it’s a great time for consumers to get more for their money. But it’s not just about the cash – it’s important to consider all the technical elements too, as some are better for basic computing, while others are more tailored to streaming video.
We’ve written a lot about tablets – here we focus on the ones best for gaming. It’s the only article you need to read if you’re wondering which tablet to buy for as a Christmas present for a gaming geek you really care about.
Price: from $799
The iPad is probably the world’s most well-known tablet – as it was the first. It remains the crème-de-la-crème of tablets, and is among the more high-end options. But it’s worth it, as it’s perfect for gamers.
The 10.5-inch screen option is probably the best size to buy as it gives a big enough area to view and play all forms of games in comfort – while remaining affordable. You can upgrade for the 12.5 version, but that sees a big price hike. Pound for pound, the 10.5 is (just about) a better bet.
With its LED display technology and solid 4GB memory (which can be upgraded to 8GB on certain models) you won’t have any trouble playing fast-action games such as World of Warcraft and Counter Strike: Global Offensive.
You’ll notice its impressive speed when playing games like online roulette, where the iPad Pro’s remarkable rate of frames per second captures every motion of the spin of the wheel and roll of the ball. Plus, it has a broad colour palette that’ll really bring out the red and blacks of this classic online game.
There are devices that are more suited to certain games than others but for an effective all-round tablet that can cover all the bases, the iPad Pro is a sound option that comes at a price worth paying.
Amazon Fire HD 10
Price: from $150
This is Amazon’s best big tablets, which costs around one-quarter of the price of an iPad. It’s fair to say that this is an entry level tablet for gamers. Coming in at a very affordable price, it’s ideal for children who are just getting into gaming and for the casual gamer who simply likes to go online for an hour or two each day.
It comes with a full HD display and the only features that let it down are its cheap-looking plastic design and poor camera – which isn’t exactly the best option out there if you like taking photos or recording video. If you can see past those flaws, there are many good reasons why the HD 10 should be shoehorned into a Christmas stocking.
Plus, it helps if you are already a customer of Amazon Prime as you’ll get a number of bonuses – including the ability to download vast numbers of songs, movies and books with no additional storage costs. But the Fire HD 10 is available to everyone and comes with a stack of games, most of which are free and not accessible anywhere else.
Microsoft Surface Pro
Price: from $799
The serious gamer may scoff at this suggestion – because it’s fair to say that the Surface Pro may lack in certain areas of functionality. Plus it’s also eye-wateringly expensive when compared to other tablets that have made it on to this list.
However, there is a very good reason why it is worthy of inclusion, because where it may be lacking in bells and whistles it more than makes up for in versatility. One of the most basic requirements for any tablet is to provide coverage of all iOS and Android offerings but, as even the most serious of game players should know, there are far more platforms and a growing amount of titles from other software providers.
This is where the Microsoft Surface Pro really scores, because it covers far more platforms than anything else. Most competitors would not be able to accommodate classic PC games such as the Steam productions on a tablet – but the Surface Pro can.
It carries decent graphics – including Quad HD display – and is more than adequate for the casual gamer. The battery life is also a huge plus point, as it’ll last you around 14 hours. The price means that it can’t really be described as an entry level device, but if you want to play PC games on the go, we would urge you to seriously consider the Microsoft Surface Pro. It’s a great all-rounder for work and play.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
Price: from $649
Of all the Android platforms, the Tab S4 is widely regarded as one of the best options. It comes with a premium price tag, and while there are more expensive items on the market, it has been described as a tablet for those where money isn’t an issue.
With no home key and a slim bezel, gamers will love its immersive display. It also has a built-in stand and a free stylus, which sets it apart from other offerings where these are expensive add-ons. However, one drawback that continues to get pointed out is a keyboard that comes with a weak design and is a bit cumbersome to use.
With that in mind, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 may be a better option for methodical games where you have time to think, as opposed to those that require quick reactions. FIFA might have its problems on this device, but Football Manager and strategy games won’t be an issue.
And we have to credit the Tab S4’s Game Launcher – the ultimate control centre for games. With all your games in one convenient place, new downloads can be added automatically – and the most famous games come preloaded.
Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro
Price: From $400
At first glance, the name Lenovo might not be that attractive to the average consumer, but advanced users know that there are some serious benefits to using this device.
The Yoga Tab 3 Pro is a very competent machine with good functionality, a strong battery life and an impressive frames-per-second rate – so it’ll be a good buy for both casual and serious gamers. There’s a particular feature that really helps it to score higher than tablets in a similar price range: a built-in projector, so you can really enjoy all your favourite games on a grand scale.
There is no need to deal with any hook ups to a large TV screen- simply find a free wall in your room, employ the projector and you’re good to go.
It’s going to be a busy Christmas shopping season with tablets high on the list of desirable electronic devices. For gamers, the benefits are building all the time and any of the above machines would be a perfect addition to the festive stocking.