The Best Tablets for Reading Books, PDFs, and More

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While some people prefer to read on true e-reader devices, complete with multi-layered screens that realistically simulate the experience of reading a physical book made from paper, others would rather pick up a good book on one of the best tablets for reading. 

The main distinction between the two comes down to a couple of factors: screen technology and versatility. Whereas an iPad Air, for example, can run more than a million apps from the Apple App Store, the best-selling Kindle Paperwhite is more limited in its content selection. Although it has a glare-free screen you can take to the beach unobscured by sunlight, it can’t do much else outside of letting you read and listen to books. 

Because you might like to have access to games and software outside of what you can find on the Kindle store, the best tablets for reading are better suited to meet your needs. 

Best Overall: iPad Air 4th Gen ($549)
Best for Books: Amazon Fire HD 8 ($90)
Best for PDFs: Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 ($200)
Best for Comics and Manga: Amazon Fire HD 10 ($125)
Best for Reading and Web Browsing: iPad Pro 11 M1 ($799)
Best for Games and Reading: iPad Pro 12.9 M1 ($1,099)
Best Cheap Tablet for Reading: Amazon Fire HD 7 ($50)

Best Overall: iPad Air 4th Gen ($549)

Best Overall: iPad Air 4th Gen ($549)

Image credit: Apple

It probably won’t come as a shock to anyone that our top spot is occupied by the 4th Gen iPad Air. Ever since its announcement in 2020, the Air has served as the perfect bridge between the standard iPad and the premium iPad Pro. It may not have the biggest screen, but compared to most e-readers, its 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display seems massive. Combined with a full 10 hours of battery life, the latest iPad Air is the best tablet for reading you can buy.

Best for Books: Amazon Fire HD 8 ($90)

Best for Books: Amazon Fire HD 8 ($90)

Image credit: Amazon

Despite not giving you full access to the Google Play Store, the most popular apps including Netflix, Facebook, and TikTok are all at your fingertips with the Amazon Fire HD 8. Up to 12 hours of reading time means you don’t have to worry about being interrupted by a low-battery notification until it’s well past time to take a break. The Fire HD 8 tablet is unique in that it comes in both ad-supported and ad-free options, with the latter tacking on an additional cost.

Best for PDFs: Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 ($200)

Best for PDFs: Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 ($200)

Image credit: Samsung

One of the main benefits of using an Android device is the file storage system. Since it allows you to grab documents from just about any source and open them up on the fly, the Samsung Galaxy A7 is your best bet for reading PDF files. A 10.4-inch screen offers plenty of space to display pages in a legible presentation, and you’ll have access to the full Google Play Store, an unfettered passage to all of the most popular PDF reader apps.

Best for Comics and Manga: Amazon Fire HD 10 ($125)

Best for Comics and Manga: Amazon Fire HD 10 ($125)

Image credit: Amazon

The downside of using an iPad for reading is that you can’t actually buy Kindle eBooks on the device itself. Instead, you have to visit the Kindle Store manually in a separate web browser to purchase content before sending it over to the tablet. The Fire HD 10, on the other hand, is almost as big as the iPad without the aforementioned restrictions. That means you can download comics and manga straight from ComiXology on the device then display them on a spacious 10.1-inch screen.

Best for Reading and Web Browsing: iPad Pro 11 M1

Best for Reading and Web Browsing: iPad Pro 11 M1

Image credit: Apple

A more versatile candidate for the title of the best tablet for reading, the 11-inch iPad Pro is a welcome midpoint between the iPad Air and the larger 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Designed for use with the iPad Magic Keyboard, it provides a laptop-like experience for optimal web browsing. The newest M1 version is just as powerful as the most recent MacBook Pro, too, so you’ll see results faster than you would with the more affordable base model iPad.

Best for Games and Reading: iPad Pro 12.9 M1

Best for Games and Reading: iPad Pro 12.9 M1

Image credit: Apple

Though it otherwise doesn’t differ much from the 11-inch model apart from the screen size, the 12.9-inch M1 iPad Pro has an HDR screen that improves the graphical appearance of the display while gaming. As is the case with other iPad Air and Pro models, it’s compatible with third-party gaming controllers such as the Xbox gamepad over a Bluetooth connection. It boasts support for the Apple Pencil 2, Magic Keyboard, and Smart Keyboard too, for added functionality.

Best Cheap Tablet for Reading: Amazon Fire HD 7

Best Cheap Tablet for Reading: Amazon Fire HD 7

Image credit: Amazon

At $50, it’s tough to beat the Amazon Fire HD 7 in terms of sheer value. A 7-inch IPS screen yields a wide range of viewing angles so that you can continue reading from the side while doing other things. With up to 7 hours of read time, it caters nicely to those looking for a no-frills reading tablet that can handle all the basics. Of course, like other Amazon Fire devices, you will have to shell out a few bucks more to get rid of the ads.

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