Where did all the 7-inch tablets go? They were all the rage before phones started reaching a size of 6.5-inches themselves, back when the Asus Nexus 7 changed the game with its sub-$200 price point (unheard of, back then) and specs competitive with devices sold for twice as much. Apple launched the iPad Mini later that year and then the world really took notice.
In 2020 and small tablets have been pushed to a much lower shelf. 7-inch pads no longer get much press, with manufacturers focusing more on other form factors for their flagships. The few 7-inch versions that come out get very little attention and significantly lesser specs. At this point, even 8-inch tablets are starting to be treated as an after-thought. As phones have become as big as tablets, tablets are becoming as big as laptops. Laptops are getting bigger too, take the new Dell XPS 17 which grew out of the XPS 15.
Even the latest iPad Mini is a 7.9-inch tablet, so in the 7-inch range but just a little big to be included here. And $399, the options we list below the old 7-inch size is
Why get a 7-inch tablet now?
It’s possible you still don’t want to lug around a handset that measures six or more inches. You can still get smaller phones packing great specs, plenty of amazing features, and all the portability you can ask for, while a smaller tablet can easily be popped into a big, while big tablets are a bit more cumbersome.
There are still some reasons to stick with these nearly extinct 7-inch tablets, though. Manufacturers hold on to a loyal, niche market and continue to build these tablets — just not in the gargantuan quantities they used to.
For some time, 7-inch screens represented the golden balance between portability and screen real estate. It was small enough to easily carry around and throw in a large pocket, and large enough to enjoy movies comfortably, type with ease, and read text effortlessly.
A lot of that depends on hand size and personal preferences, but to many of us these advantages still hold true. I am able to reach all corners of the display with comfort. This is not true of even an 8-inch device. A 7-inch panel also fits much better in most of my pockets, anything larger wouldn’t fit.
One last positive for the 7-inch size frame is in car docks, or even in-dash installations. You may not know this, but if you have an old 5-inch TomTom GPS car mount, there is a good chance your 7-inch tablet will fit in it. Your 8-inch or larger tablet will not. Not to mention, back a few years, Android Authority proved the Nexus 7 fits perfectly in most on-dash installations. My car stereo measured the same size as my Nexus 7 within a fraction of an inch. It’s like it was meant to be.
Sharing responsibilities in a multi-device world
If you are like me, you have specific devices for specific tasks. I use my TV for watching longer videos and playing video games. Meanwhile, I use my smartphone for everyday mobile tasks. Tablets are dedicated secondary screens for social (when working on my PC), heavier mobile gaming, and video consumption around the home.
In a situation like this, having a 7-inch tablet might be good for travelers and people who move around throughout the day. It’s super simple to carry around, and offers a better experience for reading, viewing websites, typing emails, watching videos, and playing mobile games than most phones.
We can’t forget to mention the price factor. There are very few good 7-inch tablets, but pretty much all of them will keep your wallet healthier than a larger, high-end pad. Prices in this list won’t even reach the $130 mark!
Don’t expect to get a powerful machine, though. The average 7-inch Android tablet today typically runs modest specs at a lower-end processor, 2GB of RAM, 16 or 32GB of internal storage, and a Full HD display if you’re lucky. The current run of the best and most powerful phones and tablets have better specs in just about every way, but again, these are designed for reading and browsing, not workhorse devices.
For the younger ones in your life
For those with children that are old enough to want a tech device of their own but too young to be ready for a phone, a 7-inch tablet makes for a great mobile technology training wheels of sorts. While many parents might want to stick with an iPad or iPad Mini, Android tablets are typically much cheaper and so it makes accidental breaks less traumatic for your wallet.
What are the best Android tablets around?
Are you convinced? Sadly, there are very few good options, and even fewer great ones. But hey, maybe you just love that size and don’t mind the lower performance. Whatever the case may be, here are your best 7-inch options.
Amazon Fire 7
It’s wild that Amazon’s Android-based Fire tablets are actually more affordable than their Kindle e-readers. The base Kindle starts at $69.99, while the Amazon Fire 7 tablet starts at a mere $49.99.
Amazon has stuck with the Fire 7 line as pretty a good option for casual users and avid readers alike. After a refresh, the 7-inch display maintained the 1024 x 600 (171 ppi) resolution, but boosted internal storage to 16GB or 32GB, a 1.3GHz quad-core processor, and 1GB of RAM. It comes with access to Amazon’s app library and all its services, including hands-free Alexa. It has the little things you need too, and not just Wi-Fi and a headphone jack, but a micro-SD card slot for more storage. It’s remarkable for the price but it might be a stretch to say it’s great. Battery life decreased slightly, and there’s still no YouTube app. One tip: disable hands-free Alexa for a lot more battery life!
Just so you know, Amazon massively refreshed the Fire 8 tablet in 2020, and put in a heap more tech including better screen, battery, stereo speakers, more RAM, and more storage. Yes, it’s an 8-inch tablet, you’re here for 7-inch tablets. But that’s just so you know where the world is heading.
Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition
Amazon recently refreshed the $99.99 kids version of its Fire 7 tablet, which offers significant upgrades over its predecessor. You get a faster processor, more storage, a better camera setup, and improved battery life. The Fire 7 Tablet for Kids includes a rubber “kid-proof” case in blue, pink, or purple. Just know the Fire 7 is the lowest end of the spec range and has the lowest quality display compared to the Fire 8 and Fire 10. But it’s a great price to get started.
Purchasing this Android tablet for kids comes with a pretty big perk: a free year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, with access to over 20,000 books, movies, TV shows, educational apps, and games for kids aged 3-12. The web browser in the tablet offers a curated and appropriate list of over 56,000 websites, videos, and YouTube videos. Finally, the tablet has a two-year hardware guarantee — if it breaks for any reason, Amazon will replace it for free.
$100 is twice the base price of the regular Fire 7 — but it is worth the upgrade for peace of mind if you’re shopping for your kid. Amazon will also straight-up replace the tablet if the kids manage to break it within the first 2 years.
Vankyo MatrixPad S7
The Vankyo MatrixPad S7 is a 7 inch tablet, as you’d expect in this list, that packs a few surprises for its $72 pricetag.
Similar to the Fire 7, it has a Quad-core 1.3GHz with 2GB of RAM and 1024 x 600 screen resolution. But it has 32GB storage by default, Wi-Fi, 5MP rear camera, and FM radio if you’re still tuning in, and a headphone jack in case you want to plug in headphones, or a Square reader.
What’s interesting is that people like that it’s very similar to the Amazon Fire 7 without all the Amazon stuff getting in the way, and with Android 9.0 onboard at least Google Play apps like YouTube are available, plus there’s no bloatware. Lots of reviews are positive, especially for young ones who need to learn online in lockdown, and are old enough to take care. The battery is only 2900mAh which is a little light, but should give roughly 7-8 hours of mixed-use life.
This guy isn’t a known brand but it replaced the fairly popular MatrixPad Z1, and later editions are always better. At $75 for the newer S7, it’s accessible.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A 7.0
This is now a legacy model as Samsung has thinned its range of tablets while going for much bigger, much more impressive devices. This 7-inch guy is pretty long in the tooth but you can grab it for $120 or so, or less used. If you really want.
Keeping it short, it’s a pretty good deal for a tablet with a 1.3GHz quad-core processor, a 7-inch 1280 x 800 panel, 1.5GB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage and a 4,000mAh battery. But it’s yesterday’s model, so just be aware of its limitations.
There you have it, guys! 7-inch tablet lovers are not alone, they’re just not in a very crowded group anymore. Regardless, there are good options to be had and we hope you like one of these. If not, it might be time to migrate to other screen sizes.