Best tablet deals: Save on Fire tablets, the 11-inch iPad Pro and more

This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2021, our list of ideas, by topic, by recipient and by price, to help you discover the perfect gift.

Apple’s venerable iPad dominates the tablet scene. And while many buyers continue to zig toward an iPad, there are a few reasons why you might zag and choose an Android or Windows tablet instead. Perhaps you’re looking for an affordable tablet to wrap and put under the tree this year for your kid. If you use an Android phone, getting a tablet on the same platform makes a lot of sense. And don’t forget about Windows tablets, which are good fits for bridging the divide between work and home.

Here are the top tablet deals this holiday season from Amazon, Best Buy, Target and Walmart.

Best tablet deals right now

Ready to stretch your tablet-buying dollar? You’ll find a number of Amazon Fire tablets deeply discounted at Amazon right now. Discounts are few and far between for Apple’s iPads, but Android tablets from Lenovo and Samsung are on sale, along with Microsoft’s Surface Pro tablets.

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Normally $90, Amazon’s Fire HD 8 is selling for only $55 at Amazon right now. That doesn’t quite match the lowest price we’ve seen for it when it was half off for Black Friday, but that’s still a great price. The 8-inch tablet was updated in 2020 with a faster processor, USB-C charging, better Wi-Fi performance, 2GB of RAM (up from 1.5GB) and a bump from 16GB to 32GB of storage in the base model. Its HD screen is sharper than the entry-level Fire 7, but it’s still not nearly as sharp as iPad displays. The HD 8 Plus adds wireless charging and slightly better performance, thanks to 3GB of RAM.

Read our Amazon Fire HD 8 (2020) review.

 

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The Fire HD 8 Plus adds wireless charging and more RAM (3GB instead of 2GB), with performance that improves on the standard Fire HD 8. It should charge just fine on most wireless charging pads and is currently $45 off.

Read our Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus review.

 

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Amazon’s Fire HD 10 is the biggest and most powerful tablet that the company offers, and it recently got better. The 2021 revision launched in April with more RAM, a 10% brighter screen and a slightly updated design. Like its 2019 predecessor, the new HD 10 starts at $150 but is currently selling for $100.

The Fire HD 10 comes packed with benefits for Prime subscribers, making it easy for members to stream and download movies, TV shows and games. The Fire tablets don’t use a pure version of Android: Instead, they use Amazon’s Android-based Fire operating system, pulling apps from the Amazon App Store. You can still get apps from Google Play, even though you’ll have to install the store yourself — meaning gaming enthusiasts have access to all of their favorite mobile games for an excellent gaming tablet experience.

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The Fire HD Kids Edition is a child-friendly version of the Fire HD 8 tablet that adds a padded case, parental controls, a two-year warranty and a one-year subscription to Kids Plus (formerly known as FreeTime Unlimited) — which normally costs $3 a month and gives you access to a bunch of kid-friendly content. It’s not really suitable for remote learning, but it’s a much more affordable option than giving a young child a full-on iPad, especially at its current discounted price.

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Samsung’s premium 11-inch tablet is currently discounted by $151 at Amazon. It can operate as a high-powered Android tablet or can act more like a PC in DeX mode — a boon for both getting work done and gaming. The discount applies only to the 128GB model in black, and the keyboard cover is sold separately.

Read our Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 review.

 

Lenovo

Lenovo’s premium Android tablet boasts an 11.5-inch OLED display. Its aluminum-alloy body packs in four JBL speakers optimized for Dolby Atmos sound. Inside, you get a Qualcomm SnapDragon 730G that’s made for enhanced gaming performance compared to the standard 730 chip. Like the Samsung tablet above, you’ll need to buy the keyboard separately for the Tab P11 Pro.

Samsung

At its discounted price, this budget Android tablet is a good pick as an affordable entertainment tablet for kids. It features a small (read: kid-friendly) 8.7-inch display with a 1,340×800-pixel resolution protected by a sturdy, metal (read: kid-resistant) enclosure. Note the keyboard case is not included.

Microsoft

It’s a generation behind the Surface Pro 8 that arrived alongside Windows 11 last month, but the Surface Pro 7 remains a stellar two-in-one tablet. This Surface Pro 7 model is $199 off at Amazon and runs on a 10th-gen Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. The 12.3-inch touchscreen has a crisp 2,736×1,824-pixel resolution. This discounted model does not include the clip-on keyboard.

Read our Microsoft Surface Pro 7 review.

 

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The latest 11-inch iPad Pro features Apple’s M1 chip and comes with storage capacities ranging from 128GB to 2TB. The baseline 128GB model costs $799 and is currently $50 off at Amazon. Read our iPad Pro 2021 review.

Expired deals we expect to return

We will be keeping an eye out for Amazon’s $50 discount on the iPad Air to return as well as its $100 discount on Microsoft’s latest Surface Pro tablet.

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Apple’s 10.9-inch iPad Air with 64GB of storage can frequently be found for $50 off at Amazon. The discount is not on offer right now but could return soon.

Read our iPad Air review.

 

Dan Ackerman/CNET

Microsoft released the latest version of its flagship two-in-one tablet when it launched Windows 11 last month. It boasts a larger, 13-inch display from the Surface Pro 7 and a slimmer pen while adding a pair of Thunderbolt 4 ports. Inside, this model features an 11th-gen Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. Annoyingly, the clip-on keyboard costs extra. The $100 discount we saw last month is gone but could return in time for Christmas.

Read our Microsoft Surface Pro 8 review.