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How We Review Hundreds Of Tablets: Our Tests Explained

Learn how we test the display, hardware performance, battery life, software, and accessories of each tablet for our reviews.

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iPad Pro vs. Galaxy Tab S9 design

When reviewing a tablet, we thoroughly check its display, hardware performance, battery life, software and its accessories and compare it with its competition. In this article, I explain how we test tablets for our reviews which are also the foundation for our best lists.

I have been reviewing tablets since 2008 when I founded the German version of MyNextTablet. Since then, I have used hundreds of tablets and reviewed many of them at home. As of now, I’m not the only one reviewing tablets at MyNextTablet. Our other experts do as well.

We review pretty much every tablet that gets released by a major manufacturer like Apple, Samsung, Lenovo, Microsoft, Amazon, and others. We do this as objectively as possible. However, subjective impressions are also important — after all, we are human, and benchmarks alone are not decisive for us.

Let’s get into our review process.

Displays: A Comparison With The Competition

Comparing different displays is always quite exciting. It’s difficult to test a screen on its own without comparing it with others. Our eyes quickly adjust to the device we are currently using. In my childhood, CRT televisions looked amazing. But compared to a current 14.6-inch AMOLED display, the old TVs look ridiculous.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE vs S9 vs S8 vs S6 Lite display

Whenever we review a tablet, we load a test chart onto it and compare it with the competition. We load the same test chart onto similar devices, direct competitors, but also slightly more expensive and cheaper models. We can then use the test chart to determine whether one display is brighter than another, offers greater saturation or contrast, and how it reproduces colors.

We also check how the screen changes when viewing from the side. This is important to know, if you are sitting on the sofa with two or three people and want to watch YouTube or Netflix together, for example.

We also test Netflix on every tablet. There are models that can play Netflix and other streaming providers in low SD quality only. To be able to watch it in HD resolution or higher, it must have a so-called Widevine Level of L1. Most have this, but not all.

At the same time, we check whether it’s possible to play HDR content on that display.

We use each tablet as our daily driver for a while to test it further. For instance, I like to watch YouTube and edit photos on them. The screen is very important for both tasks.

Speakers: Another Comparison

Xiaomi Pad 6 vs. Pad 5 vs. Redmi Pad speakers

Testing speakers alone makes just as little sense as testing displays. That’s why we always compare the speakers with other tablets. We check which one is louder, where the bass is stronger and how the treble sounds, especially at maximum volume.

The number and position of the speakers is also important. If the tablet has one or two and they are on the same side only, like the standard iPad and many Android tablets had for years, you won’t be able to hear true stereo separation from both sides when watching a movie.

Hardware Test: Benchmarks, Games & Multitasking

Testing the internal hardware takes up the most time. We always start with a series of benchmarks such as Geekbench 5 and 6, as well as the tests from the 3D Mark benchmark such as Wild Life and Wild Life Extreme. With the help of these benchmarks, we can roughly classify the tablet in comparison to the competition.

In my experience, benchmarks often, but not always, reflect reality. That’s why we also compare the hardware performance with a range of games. We play PUBG Mobile, Fortnite, Asphalt 9 and Genshin Impact on almost every tablet. At least if the respective game is supported, which is not always the case with Fortnite.

When we test a game, we note the graphics quality, frame rate and take screenshots to compare the game performance and quality with others.

Games are great for pushing a device to its limits. But yes, not everyone buys a tablet for gaming. That’s why we also look at how it behaves in everyday life. How long do apps stay open in the background? Can it cope with fast and intensive multitasking? If there is a desktop mode, how many apps can you open at the same time before it starts to stutter?

If it makes sense, we also edit and render 4K videos with apps such as LumaFusion or Adobe Premiere Rush and Premiere Pro. We do this with iPads, Windows tablets, and high-quality Android devices, for example. We generally don’t recommend cheaper devices for these tasks.

Battery Life

Our comparison of battery life is often interesting. For our battery test, we always run an HD YouTube video at maximum brightness in an endless loop. The highest refresh rate is switched on, sometimes we test with several, and the speakers are muted.

samsung galaxy a9

This battery test delivers pretty good comparative results but is not perfect. Hardly anyone watches YouTube for 10 hours a day at maximum brightness. And one display is brighter than the other, which we add to the paragraph about battery life. But it’s important to compare the runtimes and make the test reproducible.

Obviously, this also means that in most cases the actual battery life of your tablet will be longer than in our reviews. However, it’s shorter if you play Fortnite for 10 hours and the processor is under heavy load too.

Software

The software is also very important. Here we first check whether everything works as it should. This is usually the case, but not always. We also check whether the software is up to date and how likely it will get updates.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE vs S9 vs S8 vs S6 Lite Android 13

Windows and Chrome OS tablets, as well as iPads receive regular updates for many years. However, this is different for Android devices. Here, some manufacturers promise regular updates, which are sometimes kept and sometimes broken. That’s why we mainly rely on our experience in this regard: How good has the manufacturer been with updates in the past?

Updates are pretty important when evaluating a tablet because they can easily be used for 3 to 5 years, if not longer. And in 3 to 5 years, it should still be reasonably up to date.

For our reviews, we also take into account how many apps are optimized for tablets and whether it has special features such as a desktop mode and how well these work.

Stylus Reviews: How Good Is The Pen?

If a stylus is supported, it is very important to test it thoroughly. Many tablets are not great in this respect.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE vs S9 vs S8 vs S6 Lite with S Pen

To test the pen, we first write on the screen and see how precise handwriting looks compared to a ballpoint pen on paper. Some manufacturers are really good at this. With some, however, the handwriting looks much less accurate than on others and we clearly do not recommend these.

We use the pen not only for handwritten notes, but also for photo editing and drawing. We also determine how good it is at this and if the tablet supports software for doing these.

Read: The Best Notes-Taking App For Android Tablets

Keyboard Review: Can You Touch Type?

If you can get one or more official keyboard covers or docks from the manufacturer for that tablet, we also review these. We use the combination for work – we publish hundreds of articles a year at MyNextTablet, and many are written on a tablet.

When it comes to keyboards, we make sure that they work properly and are as comfortable as possible to type on. How much space is there between the individual keys? Do they have a proper travel? How easy is it to touch type on that keyboard?

Design & Build Quality

Whether a tablet has a nice design is very subjective. However, there are some comparable features, and we pay attention to these. For example, we check whether the casing creaks when you bend it with little pressure. Does it have sharp edges that can be uncomfortable? How high-quality is the transition from the screen to the rest of the body? There are often huge differences.

The choice of material is also always interesting. A metal body often feels higher quality. But here, too, there’s a big difference between a device for $200 and one for $1000, even though both are metal. Plastic housings are not bad either — particularly rugged tablets are usually made of sturdy, high-quality plastic. But there are also some that feel like a cheap plastic toy.

We don’t do drop tests, at least not on purpose. This is because we buy most of the devices ourselves and it would be too expensive to destroy them and then buy a new one for future comparisons.

Connectors: USB, HDMI, MicroSD

Nowadays, most tablets have one USB C port only. We always test it and, above all, check whether it can also be used to connect external monitors. This is often the case with more expensive models only. If it also has a headphone jack, microSD card slot or even an HDMI input, we also try these and see if they work properly.

Camera Comparison: HD, FullHD or 4K Video?

For each tablet test, we also take a few photos with the device’s cameras and record videos. The cameras on a tablet are important for video chats via Skype and Zoom for the most part. That’s why we don’t test the main camera on the back as intensively as we would for a smartphone review. They tend to play a secondary role on a tablet.

Amazon Fire 7 outside

Before you go

Now that you know how we review tablets, check out some of our best lists in which we recommend the best tablets for your particular need.

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  1. Pingback: 11 Best Gaming Tablets for Playing Games Reviewed | 2024 Edition • MyNextTablet

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