The Best Tablets With 5G, 4G LTE & SIM Card Slot | 2023 Edition
Which are the best tablets with 5G, 4G LTE and SIM card slot? I’m reviewing almost every tablet and here are the best with cellular options.
Which are the best tablets with 5G, LTE and SIM card slots? Many manufacturers launch their tablets in a pure Wi-Fi version, but also with Wi-Fi and 5G or LTE support. However, this is not always the case but can vary depending on the manufacturer and tablet. If you want to use your new tablet for mobile internet access, you have to make sure that you choose one with a SIM card slot. Otherwise, you will search long and in vain for the right slot.
Well, in this best list I have only listed tablets that are also offered with 5G or LTE and space for a SIM card. I have been testing tablets since 2008 and have listed the best tablets with mobile internet support that you can buy right now. They are my review winners – I have linked the test reports in each case. You can read all my reviews here.
I have sorted the tablets according to price and performance. At the top are the most powerful, but they are also expensive. Further down you will find cheaper options. In their price class, I can recommend all tablets listed here.
Best tablets with 5G or LTE: An overview
Here is a quick overview of my recommendations.
- Best tablet with 5G: Apple iPad Pro (at Amazon*). The Apple iPad Pro is the best tablet on the market and thus also the best tablet with 5G since Apple offers corresponding models. You can get the Pro with an 11-inch or 12.9-inch display, as well as with the powerful Apple M2 chipset and numerous premium features.
- Best Android tablet with 5G: Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 series (on Amazon*). The three Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 tablets are the best Android tablets of the year and you can get all three models with built-in 5G. You can choose between the 11-inch Galaxy Tab S8, the 12.4-inch S8+, and the 14.6-inch Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra. All three feature powerful hardware and come with an excellent S Pen stylus.
- Best iPad Pro alternative with 5G: Apple iPad Air (on Amazon*). I consider the iPad Air to be the best alternative to the 11-inch iPad Pro. It offers the same basic design, the very powerful Apple M1 processor, and a similar 10.9-inch display that only supports 60Hz. You can also get the Air with 5G if you want.
- Best 8-inch tablet with 5G: Apple iPad Mini (on Amazon*). The Apple iPad Mini is the best 8-inch tablet with 5G built-in. It is not only more powerful than any Android tablet of this size, but also offers a high-quality build, Apple Pencil 2 support, a chic display, and with iPadOS up-to-date software with long updates.
- Cheaper S8+ alternative: Lenovo Tab P12 Pro (on Amazon*). If the 12.9-inch iPad Pro and Samsung Galaxy Tab S8+ are too expensive for you, you can take a look at the Lenovo Tab P12 Pro. This is also a premium tablet, but a slightly slimmed-down one that is often a good deal cheaper. We still get a fancy 12-inch display, a stylus is included, and the keyboard is particularly well-implemented. The Tab P12 Pro is also offered with 5G as an option.
- Mid-range iPad with 5G and LTE: Apple iPad 10 (on Amazon*). The Apple iPad 10 is similar to the iPad Air in many aspects, but it is a bit cheaper and weaker. Apple also offers this tablet in a version with 5G and LTE. We get a high-quality design, a pretty display and powerful hardware.
- Best 12-inch mid-range tablet with 5G: Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE (on Amazon*). The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE is the best 12-inch mid-range tablet with a 5G option. It is significantly cheaper than the Galaxy Tab S8+, but also significantly weaker in almost every aspect. Nevertheless, the S Pen is included, the design is nice, it should get updates for a long time, and the price/performance ratio is very good.
- Cheapest iPad with 5G: Apple iPad 9 (on Amazon*). In my opinion, the Apple iPad 9 is the best 10-inch mid-range tablet on the market. It offers a very powerful processor, a chic display, a high-quality metal case, as well as iPadOS and long updates. The only regret is that the screen is not laminated. You can also get the iPad 9 with 5G.
- Best 10-inch mid-range tablet with Android and LTE: Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite 2022 (on Amazon*). I consider the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite 2022 to be the best 10-inch mid-range tablet with Android that you can also get with LTE. You can consider it a smaller version of the S7 FE – with a solid configuration, the S Pen is included, but many premium features are missing.
- The best cheap tablet with LTE: Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 (on Amazon*). The Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 is the cheapest 10-inch tablet with LTE that I can currently recommend. It is an entry-level device on which no active pen works and whose performance and display are only sufficient. But it is mainly good enough as a simple media tablet.
- Best 8-inch Android tablet with LTE: realme Pad mini (on Amazon*). The realme Pad mini is an 8-inch Android tablet that you can also get with LTE. It is quite inexpensive but offers a sufficient display and a good enough performance for the price. While it is significantly weaker than the iPad Mini, there is currently no new high-quality 8-inch Android tablet.
Best tablets with 5G or LTE: All details
Let’s check out those devices in more detail.
Apple iPad Pro 2022: The best tablet with 5G
I consider the two Apple iPad Pro tablets to be the best pure tablets you can currently buy. And since Apple also offers both built-in 5G and LTE, they are also the best with mobile Internet reception. It is just a pity that you cannot make calls with them. Sure, hardly anyone does that, but it is possible with many Android tablets.
You can get the iPad Pro with an 11-inch or 12.9-inch display. The only differences between the two models are the display and the size. The 11-inch model has a classic LCD screen, while the 12.9-inch model has a Liquid Retina XDR display, which has noticeably lower black levels in direct comparison. Both support 120Hz, which is nice and bright with at least 600 nits, and are fully laminated.
Each has an Apple M2 chipset under the hood, which makes them more powerful than any Android tablet on the market. And by a wide margin. Depending on the version, there are 8GB or 16GB of RAM and 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, or even 2TB of internal storage. Games can be played at the highest graphics settings, and intensive multitasking, photo editing, and even video editing are also possible thanks to the M1.
Numerous high-quality features are built in. For example, the iPad Pro has Face ID, it supports the excellent Apple Pencil 2, and Apple sells two different keyboard covers. The casing is completely made of metal, has good cameras at the front and back, and has a LiDAR sensor. Apple’s tablets are also exciting because they get very long iPadOS updates.
Apart from the high price, I only noticed one negative point of criticism in my review. When watching a movie on the 12.9-inch Liquid Retina XDR display, a kind of blooming or glowing effect can sometimes be visible. You can read more about this in my review. However, this is hardly noticed in everyday use.
Read: My Apple iPad Pro review
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 series with 5G: My Android test winners
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8, Galaxy Tab S8+, and Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra are all available with built-in 5G. I think they are currently the best Android tablets on the market. They mainly differ in their displays. The Galaxy Tab S8 has an 11-inch LCD, while the S8+ has a 12.4-inch Super AMOLED panel, and the S8 Ultra has the same AMOLED in 14.6 inches. You could even make phone calls with the 5G versions.
What I find great about the S8 series is that we get almost every premium feature. This includes very good speakers, fingerprint readers, and very long software updates and we can choose between two different types of keyboard covers. In addition, the S Pen stylus is included in all of them and they are also great for handwritten notes and drawings thanks to the Samsung Notes app.
A Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor with 8GB, 12GB, or 16GB of RAM and between 128GB and 512GB of internal storage provides decent performance. Games like Fortnite and PUBG Mobile can be played with the highest graphics settings. Sophisticated multitasking is also possible – even with Samsung’s DeX desktop mode.
We get thin and high-quality metal cases in each case, as well as many other features. Among them is that the displays support 120 Hz and are nice and bright with 500 nits. It is almost a shame that the 11-inch model only has an LCD instead of a Super AMOLED screen. Also, the performance is a good bit weaker than the iPad Pro.
Read: My Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 review
Apple iPad Air: Best iPad Pro alternative with 5G
In my opinion, the Apple iPad Air is the best alternative to the iPad Pro if you are looking for a high-quality tablet with 5G and a SIM card slot, but want to save some money. You cannot make calls or send text messages with it, just like with the Pro. It is very similar to the 11-inch iPad Pro but is minimally smaller at 10.9 inches. This Liquid Retina display only supports 60 Hz instead of 120 Hz and is exactly 100 nits darker with 500 nits.
Inside sits the very powerful Apple M1 processor, making the Air more powerful than any Android tablet including the Galaxy Tab S8 series. It offers 8GB of RAM and 64GB or 256GB of internal storage. Demanding games like PUBG Mobile can be played at the highest graphics settings. And if you want, you could even edit demanding 4K videos on the Air thanks to the M1 chip.
Face ID is missing, but you can unlock it with the Touch ID fingerprint reader built into the power button instead. The speakers are a bit weaker than on the Pro, but still pretty good. It is certainly suitable as an entertainment tablet. And for work as well, since it supports the same Apple Pencil 2 and Apple Magic Keyboard that work with the Pro.
The iPad Air has a high-quality metal case that is only 6.1 mm thin. I did not notice any weak points in my test – except for the price. Typically Apple, it is comparatively expensive.
Read: My Apple iPad Air review
Apple iPad Mini: Best 8-inch tablet with 5G
The Apple iPad Mini is the best 8-inch tablet with optional 5G and LTE support. Especially for such a handy tablet, I think it is a shame that Apple does not allow us to make calls with it. Otherwise, it would be quite suitable as a cell phone replacement. Thus, it remains a cool and handy tablet that you can also use for mobile Internet access.
It is mainly exciting because of the 8.3-inch Liquid Retina display, which has a high resolution of 2266 x 1488 pixels, is nice and bright with 500 nits, and supports the Apple Pencil 2. You can use it to write down handwritten notes or annotate PDFs. In my test, I noticed a jelly effect that is noticeable in some scenarios – you can read more about that in the review. However, there is no better alternative.
The Apple A15 processor provides decent performance, which makes the iPad Mini’s graphics performance in particular stronger than any Android tablet. Including the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8. Thus, it is also suitable as a mobile gaming machine. I love editing photos with Adobe Lightroom on the iPad Mini because it’s so powerful and so handy at the same time.
It does not support Face ID, but it does have a fingerprint reader. There are good speakers on the sides of the metal case, we get a USB C port, and a magnetic bar for charging the Apple Pencil 2.
Read: My Apple iPad Mini review
Lenovo Tab P12 Pro: A Galaxy Tab S8+ alternative
The Lenovo Tab P12 Pro is an exciting alternative if you find the 12.9-inch iPad Pro and 12.4-inch Galaxy Tab S8+ too expensive. It is also a premium tablet with almost all premium features, but some things are slightly reduced. Lenovo also offers a version with 5G and a SIM card slot.
Here, the display is 12.6 inches and it is a Super AMOLED panel that supports 120Hz like the two rivals. The resolution is 2560 x 1600 pixels and it supports an active stylus called Lenovo Precision Pen 3. That one is included. The stylus works well, but not quite as well as the Samsung S Pen or Apple Pencil.
A Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 chipset with 6GB or 8GB of RAM and 128GB or 256GB of internal storage provides decent performance. The performance is just below that of the Galaxy Tab S8+. Games like Fortnite can also be played with high graphics settings, but it can sometimes be helpful to turn the graphics down a little.
The optional keyboard cover is particularly noteworthy. It is very similar to the Book Cover Keyboard for the Galaxy Tab S8+, but it has a special feature: Bluetooth and a battery are built into the keyboard. Thus, the keyboard can not only be used connected to the tablet but also while it is disconnected. Thus, the Lenovo Tab P12 Pro can stand on a table and the keyboard can sit on your lap.
Apart from that, it is a typical Android tablet. The battery life is surprisingly long, we get a metal case, a USB C port, and pretty good speakers. It is supposed to get updates until 2024 – that is great because this was a weak point of Lenovo in the past.
Read: My Lenovo Tab P12 Pro review
Apple iPad 10: Mid-range iPad with 5G and LTE
The Apple iPad 10 is positioned between the iPad Air and iPad 9. You can also get this model with built-in 5G and LTE. Thanks to the pretty good Apple Magic Keyboard Folio, a new keyboard cover, it is also quite suitable as a work device on the road. It’s also a good entertainment tablet. The only drawbacks are the display and the Apple Pencil.
With the iPad 10, we get a 10.9-inch IPS display that is very high-resolution, renders colors nicely and has good contrast, as well as being quite bright at 500 nits. However, it’s a shame that it’s not laminated and thus an air gap is visible between the IPS panel and the touchscreen. Although most people will not notice this, it can be annoying when working with the Apple Pencil 1.
The first-generation Pencil, which has a Lightning connector, is supported. Therefore, the Pencil only works with the iPad 10 with an adapter that has to be purchased for 10 Euros. The tablet has a USB C port. Apart from that, the pen works excellently.
An Apple A14 processor provides decent performance, which is not quite as powerful as an M1 or M2, but probably snappier than any Android tablet on this list.
Read: My Apple iPad 10 review
Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE: Best mid-range tablet with 5G
Now we come to the significantly cheaper, but also significantly weaker tablets. Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S7 FE is a mid-range tablet that offers a 12.4-inch display despite the lower price. It is offered with 5G and you can also make calls and send SMS text messages with this version. Theoretically at least, I think hardly anyone will hold a 12-inch tablet to their ear.
The Galaxy Tab S7 FE looks like the Galaxy Tab S8+. However, it does not have a Super AMOLED display, but a classic 60 Hz LCD. The S Pen is still supported and is also included here. Thus, it is also well suited for handwritten notes because software like the Samsung Notes app is almost the same.
Compared with flagships, we have to make significant concessions in terms of performance. The 5G version of the S7 FE is equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G processor that is supported by 4GB or 6GB of RAM. The internal storage can be 64GB or 128GB. Attention: The Wi-Fi version is equipped with a somewhat stronger Snapdragon 778G.
It is only suitable as a gaming tablet if you can live with a weaker performance. For example, you cannot select the highest graphics settings in PUBG Mobile and Fortnite, but only medium ones. Fortnite also stutters a bit here. However, normal applications, especially Office apps and Samsung Notes with the S Pen, run smoothly.
Read: My Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE Test
Apple iPad 9: Best 10-inch mid-range tablet with 5G
The Apple iPad 9 is not a perfect tablet, but one with a pretty good price/performance ratio. Although it is very cheap, it can keep up with flagships in many aspects. When you buy it, you can also choose a version with 5G and LTE support, which then has a SIM card slot. In typical Apple fashion, you cannot make calls with this tablet.
The most exciting thing about the iPad 9 is its performance. Due to the Apple A13 processor, it is significantly weaker than an Apple M1 or M2, but still more powerful than many Android tablets like the Galaxy Tab S7. Games can therefore be played with very high graphics settings. The RAM is comparatively low at 3GB and you can get versions with 64GB and 256GB of internal storage.
It has many premium features like a high-quality metal casing and a Touch ID fingerprint reader. You can also get an official keyboard case for the tablet. However, the design looks pretty old, the good speakers are only on one side, and we have to live with the old Lightning connector.
The display is 10.2 inches, has a nice high resolution of 2160 x 1620 pixels, and is brighter than most competitors with 500 nits. However, it is quite unfortunate that the display is not laminated. An air gap is visible between the touchscreen and the IPS panel. This can be particularly annoying when drawing with the first-generation Apple Pencil. Apart from that, it works well.
Read: My Apple iPad 9 review
Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite 2022: 10-inch mid-range tablet with LTE
You can consider the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite 2022 as a smaller version of the Galaxy Tab S7 FE. Many aspects are very similar. However, it only supports LTE instead of 5G, but phone calls are supported. It is also an exciting alternative to the iPad 9 if you prefer Android, an active stylus, and a laminated display.
You can write on the 10.4-inch LCD with an S Pen, which is included. Ultimately, it works just like in the S7 FE and almost exactly like on the S8. However, the display is a bit weaker and the resolution is only 2000 x 1200 pixels. Nevertheless, it looks chic, and it is also suitable as an entertainment tablet thanks to solid speakers.
The performance of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G is just below the Galaxy Tab S7 FE, but roughly comparable. It is significantly weaker than the iPad 9. We get 4GB of RAM and 64GB or 128GB of internal storage. Games like Fortnite can be played decently, but only if you set the graphics settings to low. Other applications, especially the browser, YouTube, Office apps, and Samsung Notes run well, though.
We also get a metal case, and a USB C port, and overall the tablet makes a pretty good impression. However, it is not suitable if a good keyboard cover is important for you. Samsung sells two from third-party suppliers, but they are much weaker than those from the competition.
Read: My Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite 2022 review
Samsung Galaxy Tab A8: Best budget tablet with LTE
The Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 is the cheapest 10-inch tablet with LTE that I can currently recommend. Yes, there is a version with LTE and a SIM card slot, and you can also make calls and send text messages with it. Apart from that, however, you have to do without all the premium features of this tablet. In return, it is nicely priced.
At 10.5 inches, the display size is a bit unusual, but it has a typical FullHD resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels. In a direct comparison, it is noticeably weaker than the S6 Lite and it is also a shame that the A8 does not support an active pen. Correct, the S Pen is neither included nor does it work on the tablet.
The performance is only sufficient thanks to the Unisoc Tiger T618 chipset. We get 3GB or 4GB of RAM and 32GB or 128GB of internal storage. Games like PUBG Mobile can only be played on the Galaxy Tab A8 with low HD graphics. Simpler games will run, though. It is usable as a media tablet, and the four speakers are okay for that. Okay, but not good.
Due to the low price, it does not have a fingerprint reader, there is no good keyboard cover, and as mentioned, the S Pen is not supported. However, it is great that it still has a metal casing.
Read: My Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 review
realme Pad mini: Cheap 8-inch tablet with LTE
The realme Pad mini is an inexpensive 8-inch Android tablet that you can also get with a built-in LTE and SIM card slot. It is much weaker than the iPad Mini, but unlike the iPad Mini, you can make calls with this tablet. Thus, you could theoretically also use it as a smartphone – just as a very big one.
The realme Pad mini is not perfect. The 8.7-inch display looks nice, but the resolution of 1340 x 800 pixels is pretty low. Apart from that, it is a good display and the speakers are sufficient for watching YouTube. It does not support an active pen.
I cannot recommend it as a gaming tablet due to the Unisoc T616 octa-core processor. It is supported by 3GB or 4GB of RAM and 32GB or 64GB of internal storage. Games like Asphalt 9 and PUBG Mobile run, but only with low graphics settings.
I liked the realme Pad mini very much in my test – at least when considering its price. I like the fact that the casing is made of metal and feels high-quality. However, it is a pity that it will probably not get any major Android updates.
Read: My realme pad mini test
Your Questions & Answers
Here are a couple of questions I get frequently with my corresponding answers.
A normal WiFi tablet can be connected to the internet using WiFi only. But if your tablet supports LTE as well, you can connect it to the web using a cellular connection. Just like you do with your phone.
Yes. All 4G tablets can be connected to WiFi as well.
That depends on your tablet. Many but not all Android tablets can also be used as a phone. You’ll have to have a SIM card with a corresponding cellular contract that supports phone calls, of course. Usually, you can’t make phone calls with Windows tablets or iPads.
Yes, you can do that, of course, but you won’t be able to use LTE. If you don’t insert a SIM card, you’re limited to a WiFi connection.
Usually, that is possible, yes. I did that in many countries and it works fine. With that being said, I had a weird experience with the people working at carrier stores in the US who said it wouldn’t work. But it did. So… it probably will work for you too.
Most Android tablets with LTE can be used as a phone too. That’s often the case with 10-inch tablets as well. But unless it’s made to be one, it probably has no earpiece. So, you’ll have to use a headset to make phone calls.
No, certainly not easily. It might be possible to add 4G modules to Windows tablets if you’ve got some experience in modding laptops or so. But otherwise, it’s not possible.
Yes, it can. Most cellular providers sell data plans specifically tailored to tablets.
Most of this article was translated by Leandro Brouschert.
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October 5, 2019 at 1:10 pm
What does 4G versus a Sim card slot mean? My dad wants a tablet that can make phone calls and text. He’s dating he wants him with a SIM card. From reading these reviews it looks like they all have the ability to do that but summer 4G versus a SIM card.
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