It was a big year for the mobile tech sector as a whole, but it proved to be particularly interesting for tablets. Yes, pills! Although they aren’t as flashy and exciting as they were 10 years ago, several companies proved this year that tablets can, in fact, still be innovative.
There were three tablets in particular that stood out to us as being something special. The tablets on this list aren’t perfect, but they’ve all moved the market forward in new and exciting ways. Without further ado, here are our picks for the most innovative tablets of 2023.
Want to see the rest? Check out our full list of the hottest innovative tech products of 2023!
Winner: Google Pixel Tablet
There’s one tablet of 2023 that stands above the rest, and that’s the Google Pixel tablet. While it doesn’t have the best specs, and it’s not immune to software bugs, it’s also different from every other tablet you can buy. Why? The Pixel Tablet isn’t just a tablet – it’s a tablet And A smart display combined into an attractive package.
You can use the Pixel tablet like a regular Android tablet, and it does everything you’d expect it to. You can browse the web, watch YouTube videos, play games, etc. The 11-inch display looks good, the Tensor G2 processor is suitable for casual use, and Google’s simple Android 14 interface is easy to navigate. But when you’re not using a Pixel tablet, there’s no need to leave it unused, in a drawer or on your desk, gathering dust. Instead, you can connect it to the speaker dock that comes with it – effectively turning the Pixel tablet into a Nest Hub.
When the Pixel tablet is connected to its dock, it works like any other smart display. You can control smart home devices, ask about the weather, see upcoming calendar appointments, and more. The dock also charges the Pixel tablet, plus it enhances the audio experience thanks to its powerful (and loud) speakers.
That’s what makes the Google Pixel tablet so magical. This isn’t just another Android tablet – it’s a tablet and a smart display. This is a unique idea and something no other tablet offers this year, and it makes the Pixel tablet an easy choice for the most innovative tablet of 2023.
Runner-up: Amazon Fire Max 11
When you think of Amazon’s Fire tablets, you probably think of cheap, plastic tablets that are perfect for giving your child. Amazon has traditionally focused on tablets like this with its Fire tablets, but the Amazon Fire Max 11 is an attractive departure from this trend.
Everything about the Fire Max 11 is bigger and better than the previous Fire tablets that came before it. It has an 11-inch screen, a very fast octa-core processor, and a sleek aluminum design. It feels developed and mature in a way that other Fire tablets never have. It won’t dethrone Apple’s iPad in the near future, but for a tablet that sells for $230, it’s a pretty great package.
Amazon did something else impressive with the Fire Max 11, and that’s the tablet’s accessory ecosystem. You can get a “Productivity Bundle” version of the Amazon Fire Max 11, which includes the tablet, a keyboard case, and a stylus — all for a total of $370. This bundle effectively turns the Fire Max 11 into a laptop replacement, and the quality of the keyboard and stylus is surprisingly good for the price. The Fire Max 11 is a bold new direction for Amazon, and it’s one of the most innovative tablets we’ve seen from the company in years.
Honorable Mention: Onyx Boox Tab Ultra C
There are ample Android tablets and e-readers available to buy in 2023. But what about a tablet that combines Android software with a color e-ink screen? That’s exactly the pitch behind the Onyx Boox Tab Ultra C, and it really is a unique machine.
You read it right above. It’s not just a black-and-white e-ink screen – it’s a Colour One. The 10.3-inch display can produce over 4,000 colors, all with the same easy-to-view benefits you’ve come to expect from e-ink. If you’re an avid comic book reader, you couldn’t ask for a better screen to read them on.
Comics, books and other reading material shine on the Boox Tab Ultra C, and the Android software it runs kicks the experience up to 11. Like any other Android tablet, you can use the Ultra C to scroll through Instagram, browse your favorite websites. On Google Chrome, and even play games downloaded from the Google Play Store. The e-ink screen will make some of your apps look funky – and it’s not particularly suitable for watching video – but you have the freedom to do virtually anything you want. And as if that wasn’t enough, Onyx further enhances the experience with high-quality keyboard and stylus accessories for writing long emails, handwritten notes, etc.
The Onyx Boox Tab Ultra C is a certainly distinctive tablet, and it’s not the first time we’ve seen Onyx throw Android on an e-ink panel. But it’s one of the most thoroughly refined tablets of its kind, and it’s noticeably more innovative than most other tablets released this year.