Here's why tablet deals could be the best part of Black Friday in 2021

It’s no secret that over Black Friday, iPad deals tend to be more popular than discounts on other tablets - according to Google Trends, searches for discounts on Apple slates are roughly four times as high as the term ‘tablet deals’ over the Black Friday week.

However, in 2021 it’s the Black Friday tablet deals that you should really keep your eyes peeled for, not the discounts on iPads.

2021 has been the year of the Android tablets, with the number on the market exploding towards the end of the year. Many big brands have unveiled their first (or first-in-a-long-time) slates including the Xiaomi Pad 5, Nokia T20, Realme Pad and Huawei MatePad 11, and that’s alongside the many models that get yearly upgrades like the Samsung Galaxy Tab and Amazon Fire lines.

This big increase in the number of tablets on the market could have a huge impact on Black Friday deals, in terms of both quantity and quality.

The year of the tab 

Technically speaking, 2021 wasn’t the year of the tablet - 2020 was - but companies took quite a while designing and producing their slates.

With Covid-19 sweeping the world, many people found themselves confined to their homes, and tablet sales saw a boom in sales as a result. People found them useful for watching movies in bed, playing games, as an educational tool or just as a work device.

Nokia T20

Nokia T20 (Image credit: Future)

As shown by Statista’s stats on tablet sales over time, tablet sales had been trending down for several years before the pandemic boosted them back up. Separate data from Statcounter suggests iPads made up just over half of all tablet sales, with Samsung getting about half of the remaining sales and the rest being shared between a few companies like Amazon, Huawei and Lenovo.

In 2021, we’ve seen loads of companies release tablets. Some of these are debut slates, like the Realme Pad or the Nokia T20 (we’ve seen Nokia tablets before, but this is the first since HMD Global took over the popular name). Some of these are the first devices we’ve seen in years from the company, like the Xiaomi Pad 5. And some companies which put out tablets regularly, made a bigger deal about their new devices, like Huawei with its MadPad 11.

One company that was oddly quiet was Samsung, as we didn’t see a Galaxy Tab S7 successor in 2021 - as long as you don’t count the Galaxy Tab S7 FE, a budget spin-off of Samsung’s top-tier 2020 tablet. Apparently, a Galaxy Tab S8 is coming in early 2022 but it remains to be seen if that's accurate.

It remains to be seen how long this tablet bubble lasts. It's possible that, once Covid is in the world's rear-view mirror, people will stop wanting the portable screen devices. But it's also feasible that the weirdness of the last year could inspire a long-lasting affinity for slates.

Presumably, gadget-makers are hoping the latter is true, otherwise releasing tablets could be a risky prospect. 

Realme Pad

(Image credit: Srivatsa Ramesh)

Big for Black Friday deals

With many more tablets on the market for Black Friday 2021 compared with the same time of year in 2020, the deals are going to be well worth watching.

Naturally, with more tablets to buy, there will be more products discounted. This doesn't just affect the slates themselves, but accessories for them like styli, keyboards and cases. 

For tech buyers, competition can be a good thing, and if there are loads of tablet deals, it means there will likely be great discounts too: brands will want to discount their tech by enough to sway people from rival gadgets.

So if you've been considering buying one of these new gadgets, it's worth waiting until November as we could see some great discounts.

Some pre-Black Friday deals have already started, and we'll post them below. There's nothing amazing just yet, but if you're not fussy about how discounted your tech is, you might want to buy now.

US tablet deals

Microsoft Surface Pro 7 | Wi-Fi | 128GB: $959 $599 (save $360) at Best Buy
You're getting loads of money off with this Microsoft Surface Pro 7 - we see deals on this product fairly frequently, but this is a match for the lowest price we've seen it at. It also includes the type cover, which many people regard as essential for the device. If you can't wait until Black Friday and want a good Windows tablet, this is a great choice.

iPad mini (2019) | Wi-Fi | 256GB: $549 $449 (save $100) at Walmart
This isn't the newest iPad mini on the market, with a newer version that probably won't see many sales. The 2019 iPad mini will probably see lots of discounts since it's now a previous-gen model, but buying now ensures you don't miss out.

Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite | Wi-Fi | 32GB: $160 $129 (save $31) at Amazon
This is a super-affordable 8.7-inch Android tablet (despite the name, which suggests it has a 7-inch screen). It's not powerful and the screen doesn't look fantastic but it's a good-value low-cost slate that will be a useful extra screen for streaming media or browsing the web.

Amazon Fire HD 10 (2019) | Wi-Fi | 32GB: $149 $99 (save $50) at Amazon
There's a juicy 1/3 off the price of this Amazon tablet. Sure, it's two years old, but given each generation is only a small improvement over previous one, you might not notice a difference. That's a good deal though we might see newer models brought to a similar price closer to Black Friday.

iPad Pro (2021) | Wi-Fi | 11-inch | 128GB: $799 $749 (save $50) at Amazon
If you want Apple's newest Pro-level tablet, with the M1 chipset and in its 11-inch size, then Amazon's got a great deal for you. For the 128GB and 256GB versions, you can get $50, and that jumps up to $100 off if you want 512GB, 1TB or 2TB, though the prices are still much higher for those options.

Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 | Wi-Fi | 32GB: $179.99 $229.99 (save $50) at Target
This low-cost Android tablet has a 7-inch screen and comes with 32GB storage. This kind of slate is useful for people who don't need loads of power, and just need a handy portable device, and that $50 off could be put towards a case or apps.

iPad Air (2020) | Wi-Fi | 64GB: $599 $539 (save $60) at Walmart
The iPad Air 4 saw a few okayish discounts over Cyber Monday last year, but 2021 is where we're expecting some great sales since it's not brand new. This early discount is on a small-storage version of the tablet and it's a modest reduction, but buying now ensure you don't have to scramble in late-November.

Lenovo Tab P11 | Wi-Fi | 128GB: $279.99 $219.99 (save $60) at Best Buy
Lenovo makes high-quality Android tablets, and this is a fairly affordable option from the company, especially thanks to its $60 reduction. It comes with lots of storage, unlike lots of other tablets on sale, and with the lower price you could buy a keyboard, case or stand to make it a useful work device.

iPad Pro (2020) | Wi-Fi | 11-inch | 128GB: $799 $699 (save $100) at Target
The previous-gen iPad Pro - which is still super powerful and fully-specced, despite having a newer version out - is available for a temptingly-low price ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The 256GB version is also available for $100 off.

UK tablet deals

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 | Wi-Fi | 128GB: £619 £519 (save £100) at Currys
Samsung's premium Tab S7 from 2020 has a powerful processor, a good-looking screen and is now fairly affordable too. If you need a top-end tablet, it's a great choice, though look to see if the Tab S7 Plus is on sale too. The 256GB storage version is also available for £100 off from Currys.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus | Wi-Fi | 128GB: £799 £679 (save £120) at Currys
This is arguably the best Android tablet you can buy right now with a giant high-res screen, a top-end processor, fast charging and more. Sure, its price makes it an iPad Pro rival, but the discount here makes it a lot more affordable. The 256GB version is £130 off too.

iPad Air (2020) | Wi-Fi | 64GB: £579 £549 (save £30) at Amazon
While £30 off a year-old tablet isn't anything to write home about, there aren't many great iPad deals in the UK right now, so this is all we've got. Expect better deals when Cyber Monday rolls around. The savings bump up to a whopping £50 if you opt for the 256GB version.

Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 | Wi-Fi | 32GB: £219 £175.81 (save £43) at Amazon
There's a fair amount of money off this small-form Android tablet at Amazon, though bear in mind the price of this slate jumps about quite a bit, and we've seen it for less. Still, if you want a Samsung slate for a low price, this is one of your few options currently.

Microsoft Surface Pro 7 | Wi-Fi | 128GB: £915 £715 (save £200) at John Lewis
This £200 discount on the popular Windows tablet doesn't bring it down to an all-time-low price, as we've seen it about £70 cheaper on Amazon. However it's not at that price any more, and John Lewis' warranty may sweeten the deal.

iPad (2020) | Wi-Fi | 32GB: £329 £299 (save £30) at John Lewis
John Lewis is reducing the price of the older entry-level iPad, which has since been replaced in Apple's line-up by the 2021 model. It's a modest reduction for a low-storage tablet, but this does bring the asking price under the £300 barrier.

Lenovo Tab M8 | Wi-Fi | 32GB: £110 £89 (save £21) at Currys
This super-low-price Android tablet is an easy portable screen for basic tasks - it's a tiny bit old, but you probably won't mind, especially since it's one of the few sub-£100 tablets we're seeing ahead of Black Friday.

Lenovo Tab M10 | Wi-Fi | 16GB: £110 £90 (save £20) at Argos
Admittedly this deal is very similar to the Tab M8 one shared above - the difference is that this tablet is bigger, but the deal is on the model with less storage. If you're a fan of external or cloud storage, this is a better choice, but if you don't want that hassle probably stick to the smaller slate, as it'll have more space for apps and downloads.

iPad Pro (2021) | Wi-Fi | 11-inch | 256GB: £844 £799 (save £45) at Laptops Direct
This is a curious one: Laptops Direct is advertising a tablet with all the same specs as the current fifth-gen iPad Pro, though is labelling it as the third-gen tablet. We can only assume this is a typo, and you're actually getting the new model, which would make this a good deal since it launched for £1,099 earlier this year.

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