The amount of great Android tablets is going down, and there are fewer choices now than a few years back, when every major tech company had slates popping up with Google’s operating system.
That’s because the Android tablet market has slowed down, and there are fewer launches for non-Apple slates, but because new products aren’t being rushed out, quality has improved as a result.
If you’re on the market for the best Android tablet, therefore, there are fewer options, but these slates are very impressive too.
If you’re on the market for a great tablet of any kind, bear in mind Black Friday 2019 will almost certainly have some great savings on Android tablets (and if it doesn’t Cyber Monday 2019 certainly will).
The late-November deals-fest slashes prices on a range of products, both tech and not, and tablets will likely see some discounts. So if you think this’ll be useful for you, why not bookmark our Black Friday homepage in preparation for the event.
Android is one of the main rivals to Apple’s tablet range which includes the iPad Pro 11 (2018), iPad Pro 12.9 (2018) and iPad (2018). You can read all about them in our best iPad ranking or best tablet guide.
Some Android tablets have 10-inch screens, others seven, some land somewhere in between and a handful even push the boundaries past 10 inches. There are also big differences in battery life, processing power, RAM and even the software each slate is running.
And even once you know what specs you’re after there are plenty of not-so-great options, so to help you avoid buying a dud we’ve put together this list of the best Android tablets around.
They cover a range of options and we’ve included a rundown of the specs, the pros and the cons, so you can see at a glance what’s right for you.
Best Android tablets at a glance:
- Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
- Samsung Galaxy Tab S3
- Asus ZenPad 3S 10
- Huawei MediaPad M5 8.4
- Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro
- Samsung Galaxy Tab S2
- Amazon Fire HD 10 (2017)
- Amazon Fire HD 8 (2018)
- Amazon Fire 7 (2019)
Best Android tablets: which should you buy?
1. Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
The ‘money’s no object’ best Android tablet
Weight: 482g | Dimensions: 249.3 x 164.3 x 7.1mm | OS: Android 8.1 | Screen size: 10.5-inch | Resolution: 1600 x 2560 | CPU: Snapdragon 835 | RAM: 6GB | Storage: 64/256GB | Battery: 7,300mAh | Rear camera: 13MP | Front camera: 8MP
PC desktop-like Dex interface
S Pen stylus included in box
Poor keyboard design
Desktop interface needs work
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 is the best Android tablet available right now. It’s not exactly cheap – although its price has dropped since launch – but it comes packing a whole hosts of features to ensure you’re getting plenty of bang for your buck.
Unlike Apple’s iPad Pro range, the Galaxy Tab S4 comes with Samsung’s S Pen stylus included in the box, while under the hood you get the powerful Snapdragon 835 chipset alongside 6GB of RAM ensuring Android runs super-smoothly on screen.
That’s only half the story though. Pair the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 with a keyboard and mouse and it’ll transfer from Android into a desktop-like experience as it attempts to replace your laptop as well as your tablet.
The desktop aspect of the tablet is limited, but we fully expect it to improve with future software updates. In short, the Galaxy Tab S4 is the most versatile Android tablet around.
Read our Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 review
Before you buy: You need to know that the company just announced the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6. That may be more up your street, but it won’t enter into this list until we’ve published our final verdict on the new slate.
2. Samsung Galaxy Tab S3
Samsung’s former flagship Android slate is super
Weight: 429g | Dimensions: 237.3 x 169 x 6mm | OS: Android 7 | Screen size: 9.7-inch | Resolution: 1536 x 2048 | CPU: Snapdragon 820 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 32GB | Battery: 6,000mAh | Rear camera: 13MP | Front camera: 5MP
Great premium design
HDR-ready display is excellent
Keyboard is a costly extra
High price tag
Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S3 may have been replaced by the Galaxy Tab S4, but it’s still a top tablet and one that’s now more affordable.
This tablet is the second best Android slate in the world thanks to a powerful processor and an excellent display that’s prepped to show you HDR content.
There’s an S-Pen stylus in the box and you’ll also have the option of buying a keyboard too, but that will cost you extra.
Read our Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 review
3. Asus ZenPad 3S 10
One of the best Android tablets out
Weight: 430g | Dimensions: 240.5 x 163.7 x 7.2 mm | OS: Android Marshmallow | Screen size: 9.7-inch | Resolution: 1536 x 2048 | CPU: Mediatek MT8176 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 32GB/64GB | Battery: up to 10 hours | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 5MP
Strong, hi-res display
Mediocre battery life
Not great build quality
Nope, that’s not an iPad you can see just above. That’s the Asus ZenPad 3S 10 – and it’s our third favourite Android tablet you’re able to buy right now.
There’s decent power inside this slate as well as a super bright and beautiful display to look at on the front.
The battery life and build quality aren’t the best on the market, but considering the lower price point than the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 and Tab S3 above, we’d recommend picking this up if you’re looking for something a touch cheaper.
Read our Asus ZenPad 3S 10 review
4. Huawei MediaPad M5 8.4
A great Android alternative to the iPad Mini 4
Weight: 316g | Dimensions: 212.6 x 124.8 x 7.3mm | OS: Android Oreo | Screen size: 8.4-inch | Resolution: 1600 x 2560 | CPU: HiSilicon Kirin 960 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 32GB/64GB/128GB | Battery: 5,100mAh | Rear camera: 13MP | Front camera: 8MP
Sharp screen and design
No headphone jack
Slightly dated chipset
The Huawei MediaPad M5 8.4 is a strong Android slate and the combination of its small size and metal shell makes it a real alternative to the new iPad Mini.
This has more than just good looks though, as the MediaPad M5 8.4 also has impressive stereo speakers, and coupled with its sharp 1600 x 2560 screen that ensures it lives up to its name as a media machine.
It’s less good for gaming, and there’s no 3.5mm headphone port – so you probably will be relying on those internal speakers a lot, but if you want a very portable slate that’s great for movies and music then the Huawei MediaPad M5 8.4 is a top option.
Read our Huawei MediaPad M5 8.4 review
5. Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro
Taking ‘Netflix and chill’ to the next level
Weight: 665g | Dimensions: 246.9 x 179.1 x 4.6mm | OS: Android 5.1.1 | Screen size: 10.1-inch | Resolution: 2560 x 1600 | CPU: Intel Atom quad-core | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 16GB/32GB | Battery: 10,200mAh | Rear camera: 13MP | Front camera: 5MP
The Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro is packed full of media-focused features and sports a unique, distinctive design.
There’s a built in stand to take the heft off your hands, while the integrated projector means you can enjoy big screen entertainment away from your TV, though the screen is sharp enough that you won’t always feel the need to use a projector anyway.
All that tech does make it less portable than most tablets on this list and the UI could be better, but it’s a fairly unique option.
Read our Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro review
6. Samsung Galaxy Tab S2
Samsung’s latest flagship Android slate is super
Weight: 256g/389g | Dimensions: 198.6 x 134.8 x 5.6mm/237.3 x 169 x 5.6mm | OS: Android 6.0.1 | Screen size: 8.0-inch/9.7-inch | Resolution: 1536 x 2048 | CPU: Octa-core | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 32GB/64GB | Battery: 4000mAh/5870mAh | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 2.1MP
Thinner, lighter design
So-so battery life
Camera is mediocre
There are plenty of reasons to invest in the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 – especially if you’re after one of the best Android tablets on the market but at a cheaper price than the Galaxy Tab S3 above.
It’s reading and web surfing-friendly, while the new 4:3 screen and general size and shape is better suited for most things. Videos work better on its predecessor thanks to its elongated aspect ratio – but they don’t exactly look bad here.
You can pick the Tab S2 up in 8-inch and 9.7-inch variants, to challenge Apple’s iPad and iPad mini ranges, with the smaller option being more portable and cheaper.
Almost impossibly thin, pumped full of power and with a slick version of Samsung’s TouchWiz interface on board the Galaxy Tab S2 gives the iPad Pro 9.7 and Pixel C a real run for their money.
Read our Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 review
7. Amazon Fire HD 10 (2017)
Cheap tablet with a huge screen
Weight: 500g | Dimensions: 262 x 159 x 9.8mm | OS: Fire OS | Screen size: 10.1-inch | Resolution: 1920 x 1200 | CPU: quad-core | Storage: 32GB/64GB | Battery: up to 12 hours | Rear camera: 2MP | Front camera: VGA
Large, full HD display
Plastic design isn’t premium
Cameras are poor
This tablet will be particularly great if you have an Amazon Prime membership because it comes with a huge screen for watching movies and TV as well as reading ebooks.
It’s a cheap option that still packs such high-end specs including a 10-inch screen, but don’t expect it to feature the best features on the market like some of the tablets at the top of the list.
Read our Amazon Fire HD 10 (2017) review
8. Amazon Fire HD 8 (2018)
The best you can get at this price
Weight: 363g | Dimensions: 214mm x 128mm x 9.7mm | OS: Fire OS | Screen size: 8-inch | Resolution: 1280 x 800 | CPU: Quad-core 1.3GHz | RAM: 1.5GB | Storage: 16/32GB | Battery: Up to 10 hours | Rear camera: 2MP | Front camera: 2MP
Average battery life
The Amazon Fire HD 8 (2018) is among the best of the retail giant’s tablets, as while it’s in many ways lower end than the similar HD 10, the smaller screen is sharper as a result, and the price is lower.
It also delivers surprisingly strong gaming performance, with a decent amount of power for the money. The speakers aren’t great and the cameras are awful, but tablets aren’t for taking photos and you can always use headphones.
What you do get is solid if not spectacular performance, and tight integration with Amazon’s other services through Fire OS, all at a price that’s well below most of the non-Amazon branded competition.
You should also note that if you already own the 2016 or 2017 version of this tablet, it won’t be worth upgrading to the 2018 version as the differences are minimal.
Read our Amazon Fire HD 8 (2018) review
9. Amazon Fire 7 (2019)
Almost unbelievably cheap
Weight: 286g | Dimensions: 115mm x 192mm x 9.6mm | OS: Fire OS | Screen size: 7-inch | Resolution: 1024 x 600 | CPU: Quad-core 1.3GHz | RAM: 1GB | Storage: 16/32GB | Battery: Up to 7 hours | Rear camera: 2MP | Front camera: 2MP
Decent media performance
Screen is dull and low res
Limited app selection
Tablets don’t get any cheaper than this – well, functional ones don’t anyway. The incredibly low price and sturdy design make the Amazon Fire 7 (2019) a great choice to give to a kid – in fact, Amazon’s even built a (slightly pricier) version specifically for children.
But even for a grown audience the Amazon Fire far exceeds expectations, with a fairly bright 7.0-inch screen, acceptable speakers, solid battery life and even reasonable performance, with a snappy interface and the ability to run most games.
The last gen Fire 7 was remarkably similar to this latest product, but this comes with the choice of 16GB or 32GB of storage and there are some improvements to the front camera too.
Fire OS won’t suit everyone and this isn’t a tablet that impresses once you take the price out of the equation, but for what the Amazon Fire costs it would almost be rude not to buy it.
Read our Amazon Fire 7 (2019) review