Whether as a work device or for travel: tablets are versatile companions. A current test by Stiftung Warentest shows that the cheaper models are often sufficient for simple requirements. However, they do not come close to the premium devices.

Watching a film on the flight, checking e-mails on the couch or reading a book in the park: tablets, with their combination of a light casing and a large display, are unbeatable in their versatility. Stiftung Warentest regularly checks which models are good. In the current test, the cheap brands from China are particularly surprising.

18 new devices were tested. Four have a very large display with a diagonal of more than 11.8 inches, 13 are in the typical tablet size between 9.8 and 11.8 inches and one is a compact model with 6.9 inches. The evaluation was based on everyday use such as surfing the Internet, playing games or the camera, the display, the battery performance and general handling. The result: Almost all tested devices are good, only a few perform satisfactorily, none is really bad.

Good but cheap

This is particularly pleasing because it means considerable savings potential for less demanding customers. Despite the good rating, a whole range of models cost less than 300 euros. The Xiaomi Pad 5, for example, ranks in the top three of the normal-sized tablets. It is ideal for surfing or for videos, but it only performs mediocre in office applications. The display is good despite the low price, the battery life is one of the best in the test with eight hours of surfing and over 16 hours of video. No wonder the overall rating is “good” (2.0). Together with the strong price from around 300 euros, it is a highly attractive device.

The TCL 10 Tab Max 4G is even cheaper: It is available from 180 euros. But the number of compromises increases: the economy tablet is simply unsuitable for 3D games, and the camera and sound are only mediocre. However, it does well when it comes to basic functions and display. With 11 hours of surfing and 17 hours of video, the battery life is the best in the test. But it also charges for a long time at 3.5 hours. The overall rating is “good” (2.2). If you only want to surf the web occasionally or watch videos on the go, you can get a lot of tablets here for little money.

Expensive cars

If the demands are higher, however, it quickly becomes more expensive. The best tablets all cost over 550 euros, sometimes even twice as much. On the other hand, they perform a good deal better than the cheaper competitors. The two first-place winners come from Samsung: The Galaxy Tab S8 (10.9 inches) and the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra (14.4 inches), which is largely identical except for the significantly larger display, each have an overall rating of “good” (1st place) in their category ,7) clearly in first place. They perform well in every respect and offer the best displays in the test field. Not even in partial grades there are dropouts. A strong performance. However, it costs: The Tab S8 costs at least 570 euros, the tested version with 5G connection is another 200 euros more. It gets even more expensive with the Ultra: the 5G version costs 1070 euros, but if you do without mobile communications, you still pay at least 890 euros.

Incidentally, the only iPad in the test shared second place: The iPad Air with the M1 chip (you can find the detailed stern test here) scored “good” (1.9). The biggest drawback is the mediocre running time of 4.5 hours surfing and 8.5 hours video, according to the product test. Otherwise it has no weaknesses. It costs from 620 euros.

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