Where did all the 7-inch tablets go? They were all the rage back in 2012, 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.
Fast-forward to 2018 and it seems these tablets have been pushed to the 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.
Why get a 7-inch tablet?
Most avid users of the Nexus 7 and iPad Mini have probably moved on by now. There are better options out there, and the wide availability of large smartphones has gotten rid of the need for a small tablet for many users. I mean, plenty of handsets measure six or more inches, packing great specs, plenty of amazing features, and all the portability you can ask for.
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, Taylor over at 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 a dual core (maybe a quad-core) processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage, and a less-than-Full HD display. The current run of the best and most powerful phones and tablets have better specs in just about every way.
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 $79.99, while the Amazon Fire 7 tablet starts at a mere $49.99.
Regardless of how they can make such an affordable tablet, the Fire 7 is a pretty good option for casual users and avid readers alike. This one comes with a 7-inch 1024 x 600 panel, 8-16GB of internal storage, a 1.3GHz quad-core processor, and 1GB of RAM. It comes with access to Amazon’s app library and all their services, including Alexa.
Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition
If you need something for the little ones, the Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition is probably your best bet. This is essentially a Fire 7 tablet with 16GB of internal storage and a focus on kids. The biggest difference here is a case to keep the tablet safe from the horrible, horrible things kids do to technology.
It goes for $99 — twice the base price of the regular Fire 7 — but it is worth the upgrade for peace of mind. Amazon will also straight up replace the tablet if the kids manage to break it within the first 2 years.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A 7.0
This is one of the most expensive tablets in this list, as you would expect from a brand like Samsung. You still aren’t paying much, though. The Samsung Galaxy Tab A 7.0 goes for a mere $127 on Amazon.
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.
Lenovo Tab 7 Essential
If you want something affordable without Amazon’s weird UI, look no further than the Lenovo Tab 7 Essential. It costs about $90 and runs Android 7.0 Nougat.
Packed inside you will find a 1.3GHz MediaTek quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage and a 7-inch 1024 x 600 display.
ASUS ZenPad C7
The ASUS ZenPad C 7.0’s specs are nothing special. The tablet is likely the best option for those who care about looks. Its “fashion-inspired design” makes for an elegant aesthetic. At least that’s how Asus pitches it.
Its screen will look just as good as the others on this list, thanks to its TruVivid, Bluelight Filter, and IPS technologies. If you also care about audio, this little guy comes with DTS-HD premium sound and SonicMaster technology.
Interested? You can get it for a little over $100 from Amazon.
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.