I’ve talked a lot about different kinds of drones on this blog, but not much about the other equipment you should use with them. And you know, that’s kind of important. You could have an amazing camera and not be able to see everything on your phone’s screen. That’s why professional drone photographers generally prefer tablets to phones when taking pictures: the bigger screen makes a huge difference. So do better cameras and good wi-fi. Oh, and you will want a lot of memory for all those videos and aerial photographs. That’s a lot to think about!
So where do you begin when looking for tablets that work with your drone? In my opinion, the 2022 Apple iPad Air is the best drone tablet out there. With excellent image quality, lightning-fast internet connectivity, and upgraded processing power, it’s the perfect tablet to communicate with your drone. It’s also a solid tablet as long as you don’t use it to replace a laptop. But what if you’re not an Apple person (which I understand) or want a smaller tablet? Read on for my recommendations on the best drone tablets!
Drone Tablet #1: 2022 Apple iPad Air
It shouldn’t surprise anybody that a member of the Apple family made it onto this list. . Especially because you can get up to 256 GB memory on this tablet—most of the others on this list stop at 128GB. If you already use Apple products and need to upgrade your tablet, you really can’t go wrong with an Apple iPad Air.
The only drawback is that it is distinctly not a laptop, so don’t try to use it like one! It’s a video and gaming device. You can check emails on it, and it can use a keyboard, but between low-ish base memory and things getting cramped, the Apple iPad Air cannot replace a computer. Make it your “drone tablet” and you will be fine.
Drone Tablet #2: Samsung Galaxy Tab A8
The 10.5” LCD screen will let you see videos and pictures from your drone with pro quality.
And if you already have some Galaxy devices, it can talk seamlessly between them.
Oh, and it’s easy to share your drone videos with your computer, too!
But what if you’re not an Apple person, or you want something a little cheaper (even with that sale)? The Samsung Galaxy Tab has you covered. It’s the best Android tablet for drones.
Sound too good to be true? Because there’s a catch. The catch, as with the Apple iPad Air, is its memory. The base model comes with 32GB of memory. That may sound like a lot, but if you’re taking photos and videos with your drone, it’ll fill up fast! It’s better to get a model with as much memory as possible, so it’s worth upgrading to the 128GB version. Again, as per this Amazon review, do not buy the 32GB model! Other reviews are even harsher about this.
Did I mention that it’s modestly priced? I try not to be too focused on price, but if you’ve spent thousands on a drone and need to pinch in another area, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 will do. It’s still one of the best drone tablets—as long as you get as much storage as possible.
Drone Tablet #3: Apple iPad Mini 6
If you like iPads, but need something smaller than the norm, the iPad Mini 6 may be the best drone tablet for you.
The cons of the iPad Mini 6 come in 2 categories: the machine being outdated and all the problems therein, and then every other problem. There aren’t too many, but the first issue of being a year old warrants a blurb.
The Apple iPad Mini 6 came out in 2021. That means it’s almost a year old! Since tablets and phones have lifespans similar to hamsters, if you want an iPad Mini, it may be better to save for whatever model drops off of the Apple tree next. Always read the reviews before diving in, but still. You want Apple to support your tablet for a long while, and they seem to be stuffing more features into smaller and smaller packages with their Minis. If this trend continues, the Mini 7 might be more worthwhile.
The other technical flaws boil down to the iPad Mini 6 being more like the 2020 Apple iPad Air than the 2022 model I mentioned above. It’s cute and lightweight, but it doesn’t feel up-to-date. It’s still the best drone tablet for its size.
Drone Tablet #4: QunyiCO Y10
You’ve probably never heard of QunyiCO, and you wouldn’t be the only one. This brand of Android tablets is based in Shenzhen, China, and focuses on a solid cloud network. It’s not a common brand in the States, but it is around. You may have seen it at Wal-Mart and wondered if it was any good.
And the answer is yes, it is! The QunyiCO Y10 is the best budget tablet on this list. Perfect for beginners and people who are “just dipping in their toes”.
However, all Amazon reviews point to this being a relatively slow tablet. The wi-fi may also be weaker than you think. Bear this in mind if you fly your drone in areas with poor reception.
Drone Tablet #5: Lenovo Tab M10 Plus
But if you want the drone tablet with the best value, you’re probably looking at the Lenovo Tab M10 Plus. Its biggest selling point is the Octa-Core processor (yes, I know that sounds like something a Marvel villain would use). This versatile machine is excellent for streaming videos—or making aerial movies using your drone! Get the 128GB version.
For the most part, the Lenovo Tab M10 Plus does what it should. However, somehow, 8 processing cores aren’t enough, and the tablet is surprisingly slow. It has also been accused of not being user-friendly, and the customer service isn’t great. It is nonetheless the best drone tablet for its price.
Drone Tablet Buying Guide
You have a drone, and the phone just isn’t cutting it. Now you want to buy a tablet. But what should you consider when finding the best drone tablet for you? Here are some things you may want to look for.
Size is the main reason you want to use your drone with a tablet, not a phone. However, you should balance size and weight for maximum portability. Because there was no better place to put it, I also want to cover the size of your tablet’s memory card.
When flying your drone, you will be using your tablet for taking pictures and filming videos from on-high. The “liquid retina” screens on Apple products make them great for drones. You can’t even see the pixels!
That said, it is important to be able to carry your tablet wherever you take your drone. At the very least, your tablet should have a case to protect its screen. You should also consider your tablet’s size and weight in case you need to pack it on an airplane.
Speaking of size, the size of your tablet’s memory also matters. You will want as much memory as possible when picking the best drone tablet. Those videos and photos have to go somewhere! Even if the price is tempting, never settle for 32GB!
Apple (iPad OS) Or Android?
Many people will be biased towards Apple iOS or Android before touching this article. I can’t do anything about that. I prefer Apple because it has consistent quality and many features for photographers, but I also realize that people have their reasons for liking Androids.
For everyone without the specter from the Apple VS Android war, know that you may be choosing between…
- Longevity VS versatility.
- Excellent customer service VS “nothing we can do.”
- Quality VS budget.
- “That’s just how Apple works” VS “hold on, someone programmed a way around it.”
Apple being a monolith is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, you know exactly what you are getting with an Apple machine, and know who to turn to if something goes wrong. (Skip the middleman if your Apple device has problems. You may need to make an in-person visit to the Genius Bar, but it will be worth it.) Android devices have more people playing for and with them, but may also be easier to repair if you have to.
Accessories to Consider For Drone Tablets
Drone Tablet Remote Mount
A tablet remote mount is a device that can hold your tablet while you are piloting your drone.
You can watch your drone filming, but the remote will be beneath your screen.
No more fumbling with two devices! You know something is serious if someone has made an accessory just for that.
Have you ever been outside, messing around on your phone, only to realize that the sunlight makes your screen harder to see? A sunshade is meant to prevent that. There are many good sunshades available for almost any tablet. If you’ll be flying your drone for hours, it’ll be worth keeping the sun off of your screen!
Finally, don’t forget to protect your tablet! Tablet cases come in all sorts of sizes, colors, and degrees of protection. You may not be able to use a tablet in a case with a remote or sunshade, but it’ll be better if your screen stays intact.
FAQs On Drone Tablets
What is the Best Size of Tablet for the DJI Fly App?
For the DJI Fly app, you need a tablet with a large screen and good resolution. The top 2 picks on my list (the Apple Air and Samsung Galaxy Tab 8) both cover this requirement handily.
Why Use a Tablet Over a Phone?
The answer to why you should use a tablet over a phone is simple: screen size. Tablets have larger screens, which makes it easier for drone pilots to see what their drone is seeing! It also makes it easier to focus your drone on something specific.
Our Conclusions On Drone Tablets
Many drone pilots prefer controlling their drones via tablets instead of using their phones. While there aren’t any tablets designed for drone pilots, I think the Apple iPad Air 2022 is the best drone tablet.
But if you’re on the other side of the app wars, there are plenty of good Samsung tablets, and a few other options you might not have considered. If you need a smaller tablet, the Apple Mini 6 is the way to go. Android users have way more options than the ones I listed; there was no way I could list them all!