Best Tablet for Gaming (2020)

The iPad Pro is the only tablet capable of running complex, resource-intensive 3D games such as Fortnite, without glitches, at the ideal 120 FPS (frames-per-second) rate and without overheating.

Due to its larger-than-average laminated display, A12Z chip (the fastest one ever made for a tablet), and up to 120 FPS refresh rate (even more than an Xbox) , the iPad Pro is unquestionably the best performing tablet in the market today. There is only one issue, it’s substantially more expensive than all the others.

(Click here to see price on Amazon)

Fortnite on iPad Pro
Fortnite on iPad Pro

Casual Gaming vs Real Gaming

Tablets in general are great for casual gaming. People that are interested in playing Candy Crush, Clash Royale and Angry Birds don’t have to be picky about which device to buy, even incredibly cheap tablets, such as the Amazon Fire 7 (check price on Amazon) will work just fine.

As a rule of thumb, games that work well on cellphones are highly likely to work perfectly well on any given tablet.

Things are beginning to change now because game developers realized that Apple’s iPads have become so powerful that they are now a brand new platform for games that are already popular among desktop users, the best example of that is Fortnite.

Gaming and Battery Life

Gaming consumes a lot of battery. In fact, the 3 most energy-consuming tasks a tablet can undergo are:

  1. Video rendering
  2. 3D image rendering
  3. Gaming

There is no hierarchy among these activities, it all depends on the complexity of the files being handled by the tablet’s processor.

Since most people render their videos and 3D images on desktop computers, gaming tends to be the culprit when it comes to unbridled battery drainage.

To give you a clear example of energy consumption, playing Fortnite on an iPad Pro for one full hour requires about 40% of the battery. That means you can’t play for much longer than 2 hours on a single charge.

Low budget tablets may be enough to play simple older games, but their battery life is not able to keep up for too long, not to mention the fact that each time the tablet is recharged, the battery loses a small part of its ability to keep energy stored. Basically, the battery becomes worse over time.

Again, there is no question here. If gaming is your primary reason for buying a tablet, the iPad Pro is the way to go.

Tablet Gaming and Controllers

Most mobile games (tablet games still fall into this category) were made to be played with at most two thumbs. This is one of the reasons why these games are so simple.

If you stop to think about it, the dynamic of a mobile game is entirely different from that of a regular console or computer game. Console games demand multiple coordination, multiple buttons to be pressed at the same time and most importantly skill.

Playing a console/computer game is usually challenging. The main goal is to throw the player into an adventure by creating an immersive experience that absolutely needs to meet a certain difficulty threshold.

Mobile/tablet games are not supposed to be challenging, they are supposed to be relaxing.

This difference generates a lot of discussions among gamers who unequivocally say that mobile gaming is not real gaming.

That used to be true, but since Fortnite was released for tablets, controllers started becoming as useful for tablet gamers as the Apple Pencil is for artists.

(Click here to see it on Amazon)

Controller for iPad
Controller for iPad

There is just no way someone playing Fortnite without a controller can beat another person who has an iPad Pro + controller set up.

This is another thing you must consider. If you need a tablet for gaming, make sure that it is compatible with controllers, like the iPad Pro is.

Is Gaming on the iPad Pro Equivalent to Gaming on a Computer?

As crazy as this may sound, the iPad Pro is such a powerful tablet that gamers started complaining that iPad Pro users had an unfair advantage while playing Fortnite.

The main argument is that the 120 FPS (frames per second) settings (something impossible on the Xbox) allows users to respond more rapidly to in-game situations and therefore win against more skillful players. To make an analogy, it’s like taking part on a race, but having a faster car than everybody else.

I am not saying that the iPad Pro is better than a console or an actual desktop computer for gaming, the situation mentioned before is strictly related to Fortnite.

Consoles and regular computers are definitely better devices for gaming because they have more available games, particularly complex ones like God of War, World of Warcraft, Dark Souls and so on.

Is it a Good Idea to Buy a Tablet for Gaming?

No, it’s not.

The great thing about tablets is that they allow the user to engage in various activities, like watching movies, browsing the web, writing, drawing, taking pictures, making videos and also gaming.

That said, tablets are not meant to be solely gaming devices, they are not designed with gaming in mind, therefore they simply cannot match all the research and development that goes into creating consoles.

A funny analogy would be saying that tablets are pretty much like ducks. These creatures can run, fly, and swim, but they are not the best at any of these activities, they are at best average at everything.

Since tablets have been getting better at an incredible rate, this may change in the near future, but right now, you would be better off by getting a console or simply a great desktop computer.

In Which Circumstances Is It a Good Idea to Buy a Tablet?

If you are someone who needs a device for different reasons, like entertainment and study, getting a tablet is a great option. Gaming would simply be the cherry on top, something to do during breaks.

As someone who loves gaming, I actually like the idea of owning a productive tool like a tablet that only allows me to play simple games, this way I can avoid getting into long hours of gaming while I should be getting things done.

If you have any questions, make sure to leave me a message!

Keep on creating,

Bruno Santos  

Bruno Santos

Hi! My name is Bruno. I'm a web developer/designer based in Toronto, Canada. I've been working with drawing tablets for over 20 years and I'm among the Top 10 Most Viewed Writers on Quora in the Graphics Tablets category. Do you have any questions? Just leave a comment =)

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