In this guide, we’ve rounded up the best tablets for pilots.

Our picks ship with decent internals that will enhance your performance in the cockpit. We’ve recommended tablets that are fast, durable, and cater to various budgets. So, you can access your maps, aircraft flight manuals, navigational charts, and the like with ease.

On our list are iOS and Android tablets that can run the most important aviation apps (we are looking at you, ForeFlight, Garmin Pilot, and Avare) you need.

From Apple iPad Mini to Samsung Galaxy Tab S7, we look at the best tablets for pilots money can buy.

Best Tablets for Pilots at a Glance 

No. Item  
1 Apple iPad Mini (Editors’ Choice) Check Price on Amazon
2 Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) Check Price on Amazon
3 Apple iPad Air (2020) Check Price on Amazon
4 Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus Check Price on Amazon
5 Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2020)  Check Price on Amazon
6 Microsoft Surface Pro 7 Check Price on Amazon
7 Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Check Price on Amazon

 

 

What specs should a good tablet for pilots have?

Before buying the most suitable cockpit tablet, it’s important to know and understand the specs you need to keep your aviation programs running smoothly.

At a minimum, your tablet should have

  • 32GB of storage (128GB or higher recommended)
  • Wi-Fi only or WiFi + Cellular models
  • At least 7.9’’ screen

With these fundamentals in hand, you are on your way to finding a tablet that will enhance your performance in the cockpit.

1. Apple iPad Mini (Editors’ Choice)

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The Apple iPad Mini is the best tablet for pilots and our Editors’ Choice. It is the best iPad for pilots.

The iPad Mini is for pilots who need a very portable iOS-powered tablet for accessing aviation apps, flight manuals, and performing other tasks. Like most iPads the iPad Mini is sleek – but this is not why we love the tablet.

Its outstanding processing speed which is made possible by the Apple A12 Bionic chip makes it standout from most tablets and that is why we love it.

Apps on the iPad Mini run pretty fast without hiccups. You won’t have problems installing and running ForeFlight Mobile on the iPad Mini.

The Apple iPad Mini ships with 3GB RAM. It has 64GB and 256GB storage options. This storage is enough to store your aviation apps, movies, pictures, and other files.

With a beautiful LCD capacitive screen, and a True Tone display which fine-tunes the screen to suit the lighting conditions wherever you are using the device, your eyes won’t suffer from strains as a result of screen lightening.

Since the tablet is small and lightweight, carrying it around is easy.

The iPad Mini has a 4G variant, which makes internet connection and download speeds a lot faster.

If you love taking pictures, the tablet has a 7-megapixel selfie camera, and an 8-megapixel HDR rear camera. Gold, Silver, and Space Gray are colour variants of the iPad on the market at the moment.

The battery life of the new iPad Mini is excellent. You can get up to 10 hours of productive work out of the tablet on a single charge.

It is highly recommended and remains the best tablet for pilots.

PROS

  • Very, very good performance and speed
  • Excellent battery life
  • Crisp and colourful display
  • Lots of apps
  • Good OS

CONS

  • No new design tweak
  • RAM size can be improved
  • Has thick bezels

Apple iPad Mini Key Specifications

Display: 7.9-inch display, 1536 x 2048 pixels
Chipset: Apple A12 Bionic chip
Operating System: iOS 12.1.3
RAM: 3GB
Storage: 64GB/256GB
Connectivity: Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band
Size: 8.0 x 5.31 x 0.24 inches (203.2 x 134.8 x 6.1 mm)
Weight: 0.66 pounds (300.5 g)
Rear Camera: 8-megapixel camera
Front Camera:  7-megapixel camera
Battery: 5124 mAh

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2. Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2021)

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The Apple iPad Pro 2021 is stacked with so much power. Packed with Apple’s powerful M1 chipset and 8GB of RAM, the iPad Pro blazes through apps, browser tabs and videos without any sign of slowdown. You won’t have problem viewing maps. 

You can opt for the model with 16GB of RAM. For viewing maps and charts without a hitch, the 8GB RAM variant is pretty OK.

But before you get swept up by all that power, let’s not forget that beautiful new Liquid Retina XDR mini-LED display. The 2021 iPad Pro’s gorgeous display is on the level of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus. Pictures look more intense, expressive and realistic.

As for audio, you’d be equally impressed. The iPad Pro’s audio is respectable.

New for the iPad Pro is a USB-C port with USB4 and Thunderbolt 3 support. This means you can connect compatible devices and accessories effortlessly.

As you would expect, the iPad Pro isn’t filled with the kind of bloatware that manufacturers usually lade cheap tablets and phones with.

Elsewhere, it offers a ton of storage. Available internal storage includes 128GB, 256 GB, 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB.

Apple isn’t skimping on the battery with the iPad Pro; the 40.88 Wh cell offers excellent endurance.

Sure, the iPad Pro 2021 12.9-inch is still a bit out of range for some people, price-wise. However, it gives a lot.

On the negative side, the colour options are a bit restrictive. Like its predecessors, the iPad Pros 2021 come in Silver and Space Gray colour options.

Overall, the iPad Pro 2021 is an outstanding tablet, and it remains one of the best tablets for pilots.

PROS

  • Outstanding display
  • Super-fast performance
  • Slim build
  • Durable
  • Incredible battery life
  • Good audio
  • USB4 and Thunderbolt 3 support

CONS

  • Limited colour options
  • Pricey

Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) Key Specifications

Display: 12.9-inch Liquid Retina XDR Mini LED display, 2048 x 2732 pixels
Chipset: Apple M1
OS: iPadOS 14.5.1
RAM: 8GB/16GB
Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB/2TB
Connectivity:  Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6, dual-band, hotspot
Size: 11.05 x 8.46 x 0.25 in (280.6 x 214.9 x 6.4 mm)
Weight: 1.50 pounds (682g)
Rear Camera: 12MP, 10MP
Front Camera: 12MP
Battery: 40.88 Wh

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3. Apple iPad Air (2020)

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Apple has always won the tablet race. The Apple iPad Air is no exception. This tablet is one the best iPads for pilots that isn’t a iPad Mini.

It is lightweight, thin and comes in handy for simple tasks like reading, using the internet and streaming videos. It is also great for taking notes with the Apple Pencil.

The Apple iPad Air can boast the same battery life as Pro iPads. It is also super fast as it utilizes Apple’s A14 processor.

The iPad Air has more than enough memory: 64 GB or 256 GB storage space. The choice is yours.

Good price, speed, excellent performance and portability are some of the hallmarks of the iPad Air.

One minor drawback is the touch ID on the power button which takes some getting used to.

The Apple iPad Air is one of the best tablets for pilots and is worth owning.

PROS

  • Cutting-edge display
  • Very fast performance
  • Responsive OS

CONS

  • Fingerprint scanner could be better

Apple iPad Air (2020) Key Specifications             

Display: 10.9-inch Liquid Retina IPS LCD display, 1640 x 2360 pixels
Chipset: Apple A14 Bionic chip
OS: iPadOS 14.1
Storage: 64GB/256GB
Connectivity: Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, hotspot
Size: 9.75 x 7.03 x 0.24 inches (247.6 x 178.5 x 6.1 mm)
Weight: 1.0 pounds (458 g)
Rear Camera: 12MP
Front Camera:  7MP
Battery: 28.6Wh

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4. Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus

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If you are an Android enthusiast, this is a great pick. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 is one of the best Android-powered tablets on sale, and is well-suited for pilots. 

Like the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7, the Galaxy Tab S7 Plus is one of Samsung’s best tablets you can buy now. It packs as much oomph as the Apple iPad Pro (12.9-inch).

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus’ screen is a nice, large, 12.4-inch display with 120Hz refresh rate, bolstering its credentials. Its Super AMOLED display is super responsive, amazingly bright, colorful to boot and delivers a stunning picture quality thanks to its HDR10+ feature. You won’t have problems using it in direct sunlight.

The Galaxy Tab S7 Plus’ credentials are further established with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 Plus chipset, which is complemented by 6GB or 8GB of RAM.

Samsung has made available three storage/RAM variants on the Tab S7: 128GB/6GB, 256GB/8GB, or 512GB/8GB.

What’s more, it supports 5G connectivity.

As for the sacrifices one has to make, the optional book cover keyboard case isn’t a chart-topper, however, it makes the Tab S7 Plus a viable laptop replacement.

Looking for a tablet that can last all day? This is it.

But overall, this is one of the best tablets money can buy for those willing to pay a premium and the best Android tablet for pilots by and large.  

PROS

  • Beautiful super AMOLED 120Hz display
  • Excellent battery life
  • Stunning display
  • Very good build quality
  • 5G Connectivity option
  • Fast performance
  • Thin and Portable
  • Excellent audio

CONS

  • Limited port offerings
  • Pricey

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus Key Specifications

Display: 12-inch, Super AMOLED, 1752 x 2800 pixels
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+
OS: Android 10, upgradable to Android 11
RAM: 6GB/8GB
Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot
Size: 11.22 x 7.28 x 0.22 inches (285 x 185 x 5.7 mm)
Weight: 1.27 pounds (575 g)
Rear Camera: 13MP, 5MP
Front Camera: 8MP
Battery: 10090 mAh
GPS: Yes

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5. Apple iPad Pro (2020) 12.9-inch

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You would not be laughed out of town for suggesting the Apple iPad Pro has been one of the best tablets on the market. If you’re already invested in the Apple ecosystem, we strongly recommend the Apple iPad Pro (12.9-inch).

With a 12.9-inch screen, and a 2048 x 2732 pixel display, its screen is beautiful, bright and super responsive with a 120Hz refresh rate.

It comes with 6 GB RAM which makes it exceptionally fast.

The iPad Pro’s whopping 1TB of internal storage space lets you store as many images, videos, and documents as possible. You may well buy models with lesser internal storage. Available internal storage includes 128 GB, 256 GB, 512GB and 1TB.

As you would expect, it runs one of Apple’s best operating systems: iPadOS 13.4. Because Apple is way ahead of the curve, you will almost never experience any lag when using the iPad Pro.

The Apple iPad Pro has been built to handle the power needs of a top-notch tablet thanks to its very outstanding long-lasting 9720 mAh battery.

Elsewhere, the iPad Pro speakers are superb and breathtaking!

Another interesting thing to note is that transferring items from an iPhone or iPad to the new Apple iPad Pro is so, so fast and can be done effortlessly.  If you own a MacBook, syncing videos, images and other files is seamless.

With its powerful hardware and beautiful display, the Apple iPad Pro remains one of the best tablets for pilots. If you believe in spending money on tools that make your tasks a lot easier, the Apple iPad Pro is worth considering.

PROS

  • Impressive display
  • Excellent audio
  • Fast operating system
  • Responsive Face ID
  • Incredible battery life
  • Excellent pen integration

CONS

  • No provision for external storage
  • No 3.5mm headphone jack

Apple iPad Pro (2020) 12.9-inch Key Specifications

Display: 12.9-inch IPS display, 2048 x 2732 pixels
Chipset: Apple A12Z Bionic chip
OS: iPadOS 13.4
RAM: 6GB
Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6, dual-band, hotspot
Size: 11.04 x 8.46 x 0.23 inches (280.6 x 214.9 x 5.9 mm)
Weight: 1.41 pounds (641g)
Rear Camera: 12MP, 10MP
Front Camera: 7MP
Battery: 9720 mAh

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6. Microsoft Surface Pro 7

best tablets for pilots

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When it comes to churning out high-end tablets with great performance, Microsoft is still not quite at the level attained by Apple and Samsung. That said, the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 is a decent 2-in-1 tablet with pretty good specs.

The touchscreen display is as impressive as what the previous models produced by the Redmond manufacturer parade.

The Microsoft Surface Pro 7 now has a USB-C port, which is a good addition, nonetheless, it is not Thunderbolt 3. There is a USB-A port on the Pro 7.

With regard to CPU, three models are available: Core i3, i5, and i7. The Core i7 variant has a faster processing speed than the Core i3 and i5 models.

The base configuration (that is Core i3), comes with 4GB of RAM and 128GB SSD. If you prefer more RAM, you could go for the 8GB (Core i5) or 16GB (Core i7) model. For more storage options, pick up the Core i5 version (256GB) or the Core i7 (256GB/512GB/1TB). Remember, you’ll pay more to get the models with more storage and RAM combinations.

The Microsoft Surface Pro 7 isn’t like some tablets with bloatware – if truth be told, you won’t find any bloatware on the Pro 7.

Face recognition via Windows Hello works great.

Battery life is not the Microsoft Surface Pro 7’s strong point. Other tablets boast excellent battery performances with good battery capacities.

If a solid battery performance is one of the features you don’t joke with, you may consider the Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e (7040 mAh), Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 (7300 mAh), 2019 Apple iPad Air (8134 mAh) or the 2018 Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (9720 mAh).

Overall, the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 remains one of the best tablets for pilots.

PROS

  • Excellent display
  • Good design
  • Improved processing power
  • USB-A and USB-C ports

CONS

  • Almost the same as the Pro 6
  • Average battery life
  • Bezels are rather thick

Microsoft Surface Pro 7 Key Specifications  

Display: 12.3-inch display, 2736 x 1824 pixels
Chipset: Intel Core i3, i5, or i7
OS: Windows 10 Home
RAM: Up to 16GB LPDDR4x (non-upgradable)
Storage: Up to 1TB SSD
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6: 802.11ax
Size: 11.5 x 7.9 x 0.33 inches (292 x 201 x 8.5 mm)
Weight: Core i3 and i5: 1.7 pounds (775 g); Core i7: 1.74 pounds (790 g)
Rear Camera: 8-megapixel camera
Front Camera:  5-megapixel camera
Battery: 5702 mAh

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7. Samsung Galaxy Tab S7

best tablets for pilots

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Another good Android tablet for pilots deserving of note is the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7.

It’s juiced up with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus chipset, 6GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage.

There‘s another spin on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7: You could opt for the model with 8GB of RAM. There are variants with 256GB or 512GB of storage. The model with 6GB of RAM is adequate for viewing maps.

Mystic Black, Mystic Silver and Mystic Bronze are colour options you can choose from.

As far as the design and build quality are concerned, Samsung nailed it. The Galaxy Tab S7 sports a design similar to the iPad Pro.

At 9.9 inches and 1.1 pounds, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 is a lightweight and easy travel companion.

Aside from keep your aviation programs running smoothly, the tablet allows you to do many other things effortlessly.

Given its Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+ chipset and 6GB of RAM, the Galaxy Tab S7 can handle multiple tabs running simultaneously without any sign of slowdown.

As far as sound goes, what comes out of the tablet speakers is actually decent.

Battery life is reasonable, allowing for a full day’s work.

A minor but is the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7’s DeX mode. It still has room to grow.

There’s no getting around the fact that the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 remains an excellent tablet, and one of the best tablets for pilots.

PROS

  • Beautiful 120Hz display
  • Excellent battery life
  • Good design
  • Fast performance
  • Thin and Portable

CONS

  • DeX-mode could be improved
  • Pricey

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Key Specifications

Display: 11-inch, IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 1600 x 2560 pixels
Chipset: Qualcomm SM8250 Snapdragon 865+
OS: Android 10
RAM: 6GB/8GB
Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot
Size: 9.99 x 6.51 x 0.25 inches (253.8 x 165.3 x 6.3 mm)
Weight: 1.10 pounds (498 g)
Rear Camera: 13MP, 5MP
Front Camera: 8MP
Battery: 8000 mAh

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No. Item  
1 Apple iPad Mini (Editors’ Choice) Check Price on Amazon
2 Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) Check Price on Amazon
3 Apple iPad Air (2020) Check Price on Amazon
4 Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus Check Price on Amazon
5 Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2020)  Check Price on Amazon
6 Microsoft Surface Pro 7 Check Price on Amazon
7 Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Check Price on Amazon
 

 

Bottom Line

Our picks are the best tablets for pilots. These recommendations are perfect for pilots who need durable, fast, and decent tablets that just work without issues.