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The best tablets for car journeys

  • The best tablets for car journeys
  • Best for entertainment, streaming and keeping kids busy
  • Options from Apple, Amazon and Samsung

Written by Myles Warwood Published: 1 December 2022 Updated: 22 September 2023

Times have inevitably changed since the halcyon days of the twentieth-century car journey. No longer do passengers expect to be entertained by cows, road signs, and amusing number plates. Today, car passengers demand connectivity at all times and require a screen or a tablet for modern in-car entertainment.

Beam or baulk as you wish, that is the reality of today’s car journeys.

For those who do want a device that is great for providing entertainment for passengers during a long drive, we have put together this guide to some of the most appropriate tablets for the task. Whether you’re on a budget or after the absolute pinnacle, our recommendations cover many bases.

What tablet is best for you?

There are a few things to consider here. One of the most obvious is size. There is considerable debate over which screen size is best and that debate will remain until the end of time. But for the traveller, one doesn’t need to go for anything beyond 11 or so inches. There is not much to be gained from a large screen unless you wish to use it for work or hobbyist (photo editing for example) purposes too.

Do you want cellular data? If you do expect to pay a bit more (the iPad Pro with cellular is about £100 more than the model with just Wi-Fi, for example). But if you want just Wi-Fi connectivity (check out our guide to getting mobile Wi-Fi for your car), then a standard tablet will have you covered.

Given that the tasks you have in mind for your travel tablet will most likely be entertainment-oriented, features such as screen resolution are important when watching films and shows. You might want to consider battery life too, though this is less important because you can charge the tablet while in the car.

The best tablets for car journeys

Best for car journeys

Rrp: £219.00

Price: £149.99
Alternative Retailers
Very
£219.00
With solid performance and a large display at a great price, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 is perfect for watching films and TV shows and thus is our tablet of choice for car journeys. It's not the fastest or most high-tech option out there, but it's perfectly decent and has a headphone jack, great battery life and good cameras too to indulge in a bit of social connection.

Pros

  • Great value
  • Large display

Cons

  • Not the fastest
Camera: 8MP rear, 5MP front
Battery: 7040mAh
Screen: 10.5-inches
Resolution: 1920x1200
Storage: 32GB

Best budget option

Alternative Retailers
OnBuy.com
£59.99
If it's value for money you want, then look no further. The screen resolution isn't as good as the Samsung, but for this price, it's very good. The system is reasonably smooth and responsive, the battery life is good and it charges quickly thanks to USB-C, and there are good colour options to choose from too. Because this is an Amazon tablet, everything is accessed via the Amazon Appstore. This is fine for accessing Netflix, BBC iPlayer and such, but be aware the Google Play Store is not supported on this device.

Pros

  • Value
  • USB-C
  • Colour options

Cons

  • Amazon app store only
Camera: 2MP rear, 2MP front
Battery: Up to 12 hours
Screen: 8-inches
Resolution: 1280x800
Storage: 32GB/64GB

Best mini tablet

Rrp: £569.00

Price: £529.00
Alternative Retailers
AO.com
£529.00
Very
£529.00
Argos
£549.00
John Lewis & Partners
£549.00
The screen size of the iPad mini may be essentially the same size as the Fire HD 8, but that's all the two share in common. The Apple A15 Bionic chipset out of the iPhone 13 Pro makes the mini sharp, handling even the most demanding apps. The 8.3-inch Retina display comes with True Tone, which maintains image clarity no matter your surroundings. That is handy for car travel because the surroundings change quite frequently. The 12MP camera captures video in 4K and the battery life is a solid 10 hours, yet the USB-C connector will quickly recharge it.

Pros

  • Fantastic specs
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Expensive
Camera: 12MP rear, 12MP front
Battery: Up to 10 hours
Screen: 8.3-inches
Resolution: 2226 x 1488
Storage: 64GB, 256GB

Best for kids

Price: £149.99
Alternative Retailers
OnBuy.com
£59.29
Robert Dyas
£62.99
Jacamo
£64.99
Argos
£64.99
This is the Fire HD 8 above but encased in a kid-proof protective shell and with parental controls which cover screen time and goals for reading. A year's subscription to Amazon Kids+ is included, which offers a huge array of games, shows, and films. This tablet (more the games and apps) grow with your child, meaning Amazon will suggest and pre-install games which are age appropriate. You can also have an adult profile on this tablet too.

Pros

  • Perfect for kids
  • Rugged case
  • Different profiles on one tablet

Cons

  • Doesn't come with any screen covers
Camera: 2MP rear, 2MP front
Battery: Up to 12 hours
Screen: 8-inches
Resolution: 1024 x 600
Storage: 32GB

Best of the best… but pricey

The iPad Pro will not leave you wanting in return for your chunky investment. Where the mini gets the Apple A15, the Pro benefits from the Apple M1 chip to offer top-of-the-pile performance. The quality, touch and feel of the screen are exquisite too. You can opt for 5G cellular connectivity if you wish.

Add a keyboard and the iPad Pro becomes the portable device you can use for everything, not just passing the time.

Pros

  • Some of the best specs around
  • Great to use

Cons

  • Expensive
Camera: 12MP and 10MP rear, 12MP front
Battery: Up to 10 hours
Screen: 12.9-inches
Resolution: 2732 x 2048
Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1T, 2T

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