The iPad was the obvious choice for the No. 1 rank in our best tablets page for a wide variety of reasons. And it has also won the first-ever Tom's Guide Award for the top tablet you can buy, even with Spring 2020 seeing the tablet category becoming more competitive than it has been in years, with Microsoft and Lenovo fielding solid slates.
And this is because of Apple's strengths in the tablet field that will be hard for any other challenger to attack. While other slates can reach or even slightly exceed the iPad's long battery life or offer a similarly bright or colorful panel, the iPad keeps winning because it offers the best interface and best apps for a pure tablet device.
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We're awarding this merit to the 7th Gen iPad (2019), specifically, because of how Apple continues to tweak it to make things better each and every year. Its 10.2-inch screen is a welcome upgrade from the previous 9.7-inch panel, and its endurance on our battery test leapt up by almost 2 whole hours.
Meanwhile, Apple is improving the quality of life on the iPad with the changes we've seen in the last year in iPadOS. While that new OS name may not seem like more than rebranding, multitasking has become easier than ever on the iPad thanks to support for a touchpad, which third-party keyboard makers such as Logitech are seizing on to make the iPad more like a laptop.
We give the iPad the best tablet award, though, mostly because iPadOS is built on iOS, and that's the best platform for a touch-and-tap tablet experience. Windows 10 may be more powerful for many, but its design is still trying to be a desktop and tablet interface at the same time, and it's simply not as easy to use. As for Android tablets, even prominent third-party developers treat their Android apps like second class citizens compared to their iPad counterparts when it comes to design.
The iPad has strong challengers, though, giving it ways to improve as we expect an 8th Gen iPad either later this year or next. The Microsoft Surface Go 2 and Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite both offer thinner bezels and longer battery life. The Lenovo Chromebook Duet throws in its keyboard for less than it costs to buy the iPad outright.
Nevertheless, the iPad's design hasn't aged too much, and its superior library of tablet-optimized apps keep it at the top of the charts (for now). So Apple deserves to win the inaugural Tom's Guide's award for top tablet.