The Best Tablets for Backpackers and Hikers   Recently updated !


Apple iPad Mini 4

Apple iPad Mini 4

Backpackers and hikers usually strive to have as light backpacks as possible. However, it’s practical to have a Wi-FI or LTE enabled device with you while you are on the move – not only for entertainment or communication but also as a source of information. With internet access you can see the weather forecast, bus schedules, book accommodation and much more. Notebooks are too big and heavy to be carried around – especially on hiking trips. On the contrary Smartphones are too small (unless you own a phablet) and their screens usually don’t offer a clear overview.  Tablets are a great compromise between notebooks and Smartphones and can be extremely lightweight. Therefore, they are perfect for activities like travelling, hiking, backpacking and even mountaineering.

Here we selected and reviewed the best tablets for backpackers and hikers to make your buying decision a little easier.

1. Buying a Tablet for Backpacking or Hiking – What is important?

Protective Case:

A case protects your tablet when it is stored in the backpack among hiking gear. Tablets typically don’t come with protective cases – they are sold separately. Therefore, we also added recommendations of protective cases for the respective tablets in this review. We only included cases which protect both backside and front side of the tablet.

Weight:

A tablet for backpacking or hiking should be lightweight. While on the move every gram counts and therefore we selected only tablets known for being extremely light.

Size:

Packing everything into a backpack is a common problem. A tablet shouldn’t take up too much space in a backpack and therefore we selected only tablets equipped with screens no bigger than 8”. Such tablets allow you to easily browse the web or even watch movies on your trip but are at the same time small enough to be packed in without a problem.

LTE Connectivity:

Access to the internet is most likely the main reason why you are buying a tablet. Therefore, it’s a great benefit if the tablet is equipped with LTE (on hiking trips it’s typically hard to get Wi-Fi coverage). In this review we included four tablets that feature LTE and one without LTE.

Performance:

A tablet should allow you to smoothly browse the web, watch movies and play games. We only selected tablets with powerful processors, at least 1GB of RAM and no less than 16GB of internal storage.

2. The Best Tablets for Backpacking and Hiking Review

Best Tablets For Backpacking and Hiking

Best Tablets For Backpacking and Hiking

  1. Apple iPad Mini 4
  2. Samsung Galaxy Tab S2
  3. Asus ZenPad S 8.0
  4. Lenovo Tab 3 7
  5. Nvidia Shield LTE

Comparison

Feature/Product Apple iPad Mini 4Samsung Galaxy Tab S2Asus ZenPad S 8.0Lenovo Tab 3 7Nvidia Shield LTE
Size7.9 x 5.3 x 0.2 in.7.8 x 5.3 x 0.2 in.7.8 x 5.3 x 0.3 in.7.5 x 4.0 x 0.3 in.8.7 x 5.0 x 0.4 in.
Size (Metric) 203 x 134.8 x 6.1 mm198.6 x 134.8x 5.6 mm203.2 x 134.5 x 6.6 mm191 x 100 x 8.8 mm221 x 126 x 9.2 mm
Weight 10.7 oz.9.6 oz.10.5 oz.9.2 oz.13.8 oz.
Weight (Metric) 304 g272 g298 g260 g390 g
Display7.9”8.0”8.0”7.0”8.0 ”
Display Resolution1536 x 2048 px1536 x 2048 px1536 x 2048 px600 x 1024 px1920 x 1200 px
Operating SystemiOS 9, upgradable to iOS 10Android OS, 5.0.2 upgradable to 6.0.1 Android OS, 5.0Android OS, 4.1 upgradable to 5.1 Android OS, 4.4.2 upgradable to v4.4.4
CPUDual-core 1.5 GHz TyphoonOcta-core 4x1.9 GHz & 4x1.3 GHzQuad-core Quad-core 1.3 GHz Cortex-A53Quad-core 2.2 GHz Cortex-A15
Memory2 GB DDR33 GB DDR32/4 GB DDR31 GB SDRAM2 GB DDR3
Storage16/32/64/128 GB32/64 GB + External16/32/64 GB + External8/16 GB + External32 GB
CameraRear: 8 MP; Front: 1.2 MPRear: 8 MP; Front: 2.1 MPRear: 8 MP; Front: 5 MPRear: 2/5 MP
Front: 2 MP
Rear: 5 MP; Front: 5 MP
Battery Life (Constant Use)Up to 10 hUp to 12 hUp to 8 h Up to 9 hUp to 11 h
Apple iPad Mini 4

Apple iPad Mini 4

1. Apple iPad Mini 4

Suitable for:

  • Everyday use
  • Backpacking
  • Travelling
  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering

The Apple iPad Mini 4 is an extremely powerful and well-designed tablet. Even though some other tablets in this review have better hardware, the Apple iPad Mini 4 outperforms them in usability. The reason for this is the iOS operating system which is much lighter than Android operating system. The Apple iPad Mini 4 is equipped with a superb 7.9-inch, 2048×1536-pixel display which satisfies even the most demanding users. The powerful battery allows you to constantly browse the web or play multimedia for up to 10 hours without recharging the device.  This is very practical because it’s often hard to get access to sources of electricity on hiking and backpacking trips – and a device with an empty battery is nothing more than additional weight to carry. The Apple iPad Mini 4 also features the Touch ID technology which allows you to easily and securely unlock the device with the fingerprint identity sensor. Additionally, you can sign in apps and verify purchases by putting your finger on the home button and letting the device scan your fingerprint. The Apple iPad Mini 4 is an outstanding tablet and we would recommend it to everyone who wants a reliable gadget for travelling.

Recommended Cover: JETech Cover

 

Pros:

  • Battery
  • Weight
  • Screen
  • Design
  • Touch ID

Cons:

  • Price

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S2

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2

2. Samsung Galaxy Tab S2

Suitable for:

  • Everyday use
  • Backpacking
  • Travelling
  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 is a super light tablet – it weighs merely 272 grams. It is also very compact and easily fits in your hand due to the sophisticated design. The tablet is equipped with an incredible 8 inch, 1536 x 2048-pixel super AMOLED display which provides brighter and more dynamic images than older LCD displays. The display automatically adjusts colors and contrast according to the conditions.  Like the Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab S offers a fingerprint scanner. However, Samsung’s fingerprint scanner is a bit slower than Apple’s Touch ID. Another useful feature is the Multi Window which makes multitasking as easy as it can be – it allows you to simultaneously use several apps.  The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 is a great device for travelers, backpackers, hikers and others who need a powerful tablet with long battery life.

Recommended Cover: Fintie Cover

 

Pros:

  • Display
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • Battery life
  • Performance

Cons:

  • /

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Asus ZenPad S 8.0

Asus ZenPad S 8.0

3. Asus ZenPad S 8.0

Suitable for:

  • Everyday use
  • Backpacking
  • Travelling
  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering

The Asus ZenPad S 8.0 is a budget tablet which is best for those who want a very simple device for their trips. This is also the only tablet in this review that is not equipped with LTE.  The tablet features an 8-inch display with a resolution of 2048 x 1536 pixels. The display offers great color balance, saturation and sharpness. However, the Asus ZenPad’s camera doesn’t take as good pictures as the cameras on Apple and Samsung devices mentioned above. Nevertheless, the Asus ZenPad S 8.0 is also much less expensive. The tablet is powered by a reliable Quad-core processor which assures that everything runs smoothly. The battery allows you to play multimedia for up to 8 hours without recharging the device. We recommend the Asus ZenPad S 8.0 to those who want an inexpensive but reliable tablet for their adventures.

Recommended Cover: ProCase Cover

 

Pros:

  • Compact
  • Display
  • Performance
  • Price

Cons:

  • No LTE
  • Camera

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Lenovo Tab 3 7

Lenovo Tab 3 7

4. Lenovo Tab 3 7

Suitable for:

  • Everyday use
  • Backpacking
  • Travelling
  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering

The Lenovo Tab 3 7 is the smallest and lightest device in this selection. However, it also has a slightly smaller display (7-inch) than other devices listed here (8-inch). Like the Asus ZenPad S 8.0, the Lenovo Tab 3 7 is an inexpensive tablet. Due to its small size and low weight, it is perfect for hiking, mountaineering and other activities where mobility is crucial. The Lenovo tablet is powered by a powerful Quad-core 1.3 GHz Cortex-A53 processor to provide great user experience. The display utilizes IPS technology and thus provides great sharpness. We would recommend the Lenovo Tab 3 7 to those who want a reliable and affordable tablet.

Recommended Cover: MoKO Cover

 

Pros:

  • Size
  • Weight
  • Price

Cons:

  • Display size

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Nvidia Shield LTE

Nvidia Shield LTE

5. Nvidia Shield LTE

Suitable for:

  • Everyday use
  • Gaming
  • Backpacking
  • Travelling
  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering

The Nvidia Shield LTE is an extremely powerful tablet and therefore perfect for those who want to play video games or do other (for a tablet) demanding tasks on their trips. Unfortunately all this performance comes for a price – this is the heaviest and biggest tablet in this review. The tablet is equipped with a sharp 8-inch, 1080p display which assures that gaming will be pure joy. Additionally the Nvidia Shield LTE features two 5-megapixel cameras, dual front-facing speakers and comes with the Play Grid library of games. From Play Grid you can download top games with PC-quality graphics. We would recommend the Nvidia Shield LTE to those who prefer performance over mobility. Keep in mind that this tablet is not only for gamers but also for those who need the best performance for demanding tasks.

Recommended Cover: Fintie Cover

 

Pros:

  • Performance
  • Display
  • Available games
  • Speakers

Cons:

  • Size
  • Weight

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3. The most attractive product in the review

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