While iPads may be nearly synonymous with tablet computers, nothing beats the versatility of Android tablets. Google-powered tablets aren’t bogged down with rules or roadblocks when it comes to taking full advantage of the specs within these slim powerhouses. But which Android tablet is right for you? The answer may not be so clear-cut, but we’ve compiled the best for every use and every audience. Here’s a selection of the best Android tablets available right now.
— Best Overall: Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra
— Best For Gaming: Lenovo Yoga 13 Tablet
— Best for Kids: Fire HD 10 Kids Pro Tablet
— Best for Drawing: Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite Tablet
— Best Budget: Fire HD 10 Tablet
How We Picked The Best Android Tablets
It may be an oversimplification, but the best Android tablets should come close to replicating the same experience as a smartphone, but with a larger screen. We won’t go so far as to say it should feel like a laptop, the Android OS makes that an almost impossible dream. But a good tablet should make you want to use it. Otherwise, you’ll always reach for your phone instead. Here are a few things we considered when picking out the best Android tablets.
Size: How big can a screen get before it stops qualifying as portable? If it’s got a low-profile design, the answer is, “pretty darn big!” After all, even the widest boys on the market can still tuck under an arm, lay flat in a backpack or suitcase, and manage to be incredibly lightweight. Most screens tend to hover between 8-13 inches in length, and frankly, more is usually better.
Power: You know how high-end Android phones — especially the ones offered by Samsung — tend to pack graphics and processing speeds that are equal parts impressive and shocking? Considering a tablet is just a smart device with a larger screen, they should pack an equally remarkable punch when it comes to everyday use. This goes double for battery life.
Features: If you line up a bunch of Android tablets and ensure that they are off, these devices tend to run together. Of course, there are a few outliers that stand out, especially when these devices are viewed from the back. Flashy cameras, responsive smart pens, and glitzy screens are just a few of the just-under-the-surface features that you didn’t even know you wanted. Surprises are good, especially if they add an extra quality-of-life layer to the whole package.
Build Quality: If an Android tablet looks flimsy, just walk away. Don’t look back. In 2012, one could get away with making a tablet with less than sleek parts, especially if the price was right. Nowadays, even affordable tablets will look great. In general, a cheap and shoddy cover will not give way to specs worth a damn.
Best Android Tablets: Reviews and Recommendations
Best Overall: Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra
Why It Made The Cut: The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is big, bright, and incredibly powerful.
— Dimensions: 12.85 inches L x 8.21 inches W x 0.22 inches D
— Weight: 1.6 pounds
— Display: 14.6 inch Super AMOLED
— RAM: 8 to 16 GB
— Available Storage: 128 to 512 GB
— Big and flashy AMOLED screen
— Solid and reliable battery
— Powerful processing and graphics
— Very expensive
Samsung Galaxy is perhaps the most coveted and reliable name in Android tablets, and the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is the most powerful offering in the line.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra packs the power of a laptop in a tablet, with up to 16 GB of RAM and up to 512 GB of storage space. Your tablet will replicate a near-desktop experience, and the speed and reliability that comes with it. The power is almost ungodly, with its Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset, making it perfect for both video editing, multi-tasking, and even some hardcore gaming. Speaking of fun, whether you’re streaming or gaming, all manner of visual media will pop thanks to the big and bright AMOLED screen. The S Pen makes Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra a great option for work, with speedy response times and processing. Take notes, edit PDFs, or even draw panels for a comic book in Adobe Photoshop. You can even expand your storage up to 1 TB using a microSD card, so it could easily replace a laptop if you feel at home with a slimmer interface. All this power comes with solid battery life, that charges quickly to boot, so long as you use the charger packed in with your device. The only downside is the enormous price, which in fact, costs as much as a mid-range laptop. However, the value is there, if you’re looking for the most powerful tablet.
Best For Gaming: Lenovo Yoga 13 Tablet
Why It Made The Cut: A massive screen makes this Android tablet the best for gaming on the go.
— Dimensions: 11.56 inches L x 8.04 inches W x 0.98 inches D
— Weight: 1.83 pounds
— Display: 13-Inch IPS LED
— RAM: 4 to 8 GB
— Available Storage: 128 to 256 GB
— High-resolution screen made for gaming
— Smooth performance
— Doubles as a second screen
— Less than ideal build quality
One of the reasons Android tablets remain competitive against iPads is because the Google Play store is rife with reliable — and in many cases, free — game emulators. The Lenovo Yoga 13 is perfect for portable gaming on a massive screen.
While the screen is a way smaller than the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra, Yoga 13 is available for a fraction of the price. If you’re just looking for a place to play “Minecraft,” “Stardew Valley,” or a place to emulate legacy systems using an Android emulator, Lenovo Yoga 13 can’t be beaten. The screen has a great resolution that makes new games pop, and old games feel new again. Expect smooth performance during gaming thanks to its octa-core processor. But wait, there’s more. Lenovo Yoga 13 ranks among the best Android tablets because it’s more than just a tablet. It doubles as a second screen, for a laptop, or in fact, for any device with a micro HDMI input. Using a secondary accessory, you can hook up Lenovo Yoga 13 to everything from a smartphone to a laptop, and even a Nintendo Switch. Imagine playing portably using a Bluetooth gamepad anywhere in the world. That said, get a good case for it, because the build quality is less than stellar. It’s great for gaming, but the look of it isn’t something you really want to show off.
Best for Kids: Fire HD 10 Kids Pro Tablet
Why It Made The Cut: The latest and greatest tablet for kids has features mom and dad will love too.
— Dimensions: 10.1 inches L x 7.4 inches W x 0.7 inches D
— Weight: 1.58 pounds
— Display: 10.1-inch Full HD LED
— RAM: 3 GB
— Available Storage: 32 GB
— Designed with kids in mind
— Good battery life
— Fun, and potentially fundamental
— May leave older kids cold
Giving kids a tablet could lead to good things, or terrible ones, depending on how these devices are used. Fire HD 10 Kids Pro balances work and play, so you don’t have to helicopter over them anytime they decide to put a screen in front of their face.
The latest iteration of the Amazon Fire tablet line aimed specifically at kids has enough features to make both kids and parents happy. For kids, the tablet is rife with popular games and applications featuring characters from brands they love like Sonic the Hedgehog, Minecraft, Marvel, and books like the Divergent and Artemis Fowl series. There are games here, to be sure, but there are also educational apps, and a library of 20,000 books to read, so it’s not just another piece of technology that will fry their brains, or worse, use it to sink their allowances on Robux. In fact, parents can decide what apps will be installed on these devices. Don’t want Junior watching Netflix eight hours a day? Don’t install it. App usage also comes with great parental controls as well. And the durable case will keep the device safe from screen cracks or outright breakage. Older kids may not find much to love here, even with the potential to install games. Recommended ages span six to 12 years, but that may be pushing it a bit.
Best for Drawing: Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite Tablet
Why It Made The Cut: One of Samsung’s most affordable Android tablets comes with the best and most user-friendly pen out there.
— Dimensions: 9.63 inches L x 6.07 inches W x 0.28 inches D
— Weight: 1.01 pounds
— Display: 10.4-inch LED
— RAM: 3 GB
— Available Storage: 64 to 128 GB
— S Pen perfect for work, play, and art
— Full day battery life
— Powerful rear and front-facing cameras
— Uneven screen brightness
There’s no sugar coating it: Samsung Galaxy tablets are expensive as heck. However, even the lower-end offerings pack a fair amount of power and surprises like the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite.
For one, it comes with the S Pen, one of the most responsive and natural-feeling tablet styluses on the market. How responsive? Less than 10 milliseconds, which makes the S Pen perfect for drawing, navigating, or just taking notes. Samsung S Pen even turns words into text, letting you multitask between chatting with friends and co-workers and editing PDFs and images. For students, this is a great Android tablet considering its price and unbeatable battery life. It can last an entire day on a full charge, and when paired with an S Pen, can be great for taking notes during a long lecture. The front and rear-facing cameras are packed with autofocus, so you can always make sure your face comes in clear, even in selfies. All of these great specs come packed in one of the sleekest packages Samsung is known for. That said, the screen isn’t an AMOLED screen like higher-end Samsung Android tablets, so the brightness may occasionally be uneven. For a tablet paired with a good stylus, this is an easy tradeoff.
Best Budget: Fire HD 10 Tablet
Why It Made The Cut: Solid, dependable, and even climate-friendly: The Amazon Fire HD 10 tablet is inexpensive but fantastic.
— Dimensions: 7.11 inches L x 4.63 inches W x 0.38 inches D
— Weight: 9.9 ounces
— Display: 10.4-inch LED
— RAM: 2 GB
— Available Storage: 32 to 64GB
— Responsive, speedy, with good battery life
— Climate Pledge Friendly
— Optional add-ons for gaming and work
— Lockscreen ads discount
If you utter the words “Hey, Alexa,” on a daily basis, and like to save a buck on new tech, the value of the Fire HD 10 Tablet can’t be beat.
The latest Fire HD 10 lags behind the competition when it comes to specs, but it’s available at a fraction of the price of even mid-range Android tablets. The beauty of the Fire HD 10 tablet is you can customize it for your needs, with optional add-ons like a wireless keyboard or a gamepad. However, for light use, you should be able to enjoy Fire HD 10 right out of the box. It’s responsive, it’s no slouch when it comes to speed, and even has fairly good battery life. It’s manufactured with Climate Pledge standards, in fact, so you can save some green while being green. It tops out at 64 GB of storage, so don’t expect too much in the way of versatility here. The most offensive thing about this tablet is that you can opt for a $20 discount if you allow Amazon to send you lock screen ads. Gross, but a sign of the microtransaction present, where even heated seats in cars are placed behind a paywall. Even after spending the extra $20, the Fire HD 10 is a great budget offering.
Things to Consider Before Buying the Best Android Tablets
Android Vs. iPad
In the ‘90s, gamers would argue over which was better: Nintendo or Sega. The console wars are still going between the big three gaming companies, but few tech-based bouts come close to the passions riled up between Android and iOS diehards. But which is truly better? On the higher end, iPad Pro and Samsung Galaxy S8 Tab Ultra both pack serious speed and processing prowess. The difference between them is one word: freedom. In order to truly tap into the specs in an iPad, you need to jailbreak it, which voids your warranty and opens you up to security vulnerabilities. Android tablets may flash a warning before you install an app not available on the Google Play storefront, but they more or less allow you to do whatever you want. For many, this freedom is why many opt for Android tablets over iOS-powered ones. However, if you’re a dedicated Apple user, with an iPhone and MacBook in your tech toolbelt, there’s no denying the synergy between these devices when it comes to sharing files or accessing media libraries.
Optional Accessories You Totally Need
A tablet should never be purchased alone. For one, these thin and incredibly fragile devices should be stored and transported in a shock-proof case to protect them from any accidental damage. You can’t go wrong with an Otterbox when it comes to screen protection. However, the beauty of Android tablets is that they’re so versatile. We recommend two great accessories that will tap into this versatility.
— Logitech K380 Multi-Device Bluetooth Keyboard: When using a tablet of any kind, when it comes to workflow, there’s no replacing a good keyboard. When you need one, the Logitech K380 works great and connects in a flash to any Android device via Bluetooth. It’s thin, and more importantly, inexpensive, so you won’t mind investing space or money in it for typing needs on Android tablets.
— 8BitDo Pro 2 Bluetooth Controller: If a SNES and a PS4 controller had a baby, this would be its glorious offspring. 8BitDo Pro 2 controller works with Android via Bluetooth, but it also works great for Nintendo Switch, PC, and macOS, making it a seriously versatile gamepad. If you’re going to game on your Android tablet, this is one of the best offerings, and it’s fully compatible with new and legacy systems.
Q: Should I buy a cellular or WiFi tablet?
Choosing between a cellular or WiFi tablet wholly depends on your needs. A cellular tablet will require a monthly subscription to a service provider. Considering how prevalent WiFi hotspots are, you may be able to get by with a simple WiFi tablet.
Q: What's the difference between an iPad and a tablet?
An iPad is a tablet. Generally, the world of tablets is split between iOS devices and Android devices. Android devices allow you to install third-party apps, while iOS puts roadblocks against that sort of thing.
Q: How long should an Android tablet last?
A good tablet should last around five years, give or take. If you’re using it simply to stream or read, you may be able to get a few more years out of it.
Q: How many GB should a tablet have?
An Android tablet should have as much space as you need. With light use, you likely won’t need more than a couple of hundred gigabytes. For gaming and content creation, air on the side of caution and opt for at least 500 GB.
Q: Why does my tablet run out of battery so fast?
An Android tablet running out of battery fast could be because of a shoddy battery or charger. Turning off WiFi and Bluetooth when not in use can also stretch your battery life a little.
Q: Are Android tablets worth buying refurbished?
As long as you buy them from a trusted reseller, a refurbished Android tablet may be a fantastic option, especially if you’re opting for a deal on a higher-end device.
Final Thoughts on the Best Android Tablets
Samsung Galaxy tablets are the top of the line when it comes to Android tablets, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is its most powerful, and priciest offering. On the other end of the spectrum, the Fire HD 10 Tablet is one of the most inexpensive tablets worth buying, complete with Alexa capabilities. If you’re looking for a tablet to dedicate to gaming, the Lenovo Yoga 13 Tablet works well, and it even doubles as a second screen for other devices and consoles.
This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.
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