Apple’s tablets are great, but not everyone wants an iPad. Android tablets still possess plenty of allure, not least because of their seamless integration with the Google ecosystem. Not all Android tablets are created equal, though, so it’s best to narrow down exactly what you’re looking for in a tablet before dropping several hundred bucks.
Do you want raw power or something portable? Would you rather opt for marathon battery life or get a bigger screen? Whatever you’re after, these are our picks for the best Android tablets. Decide which one is right for you, set it up, download a few of the best Android apps, and you’re ready to rock.
If you’re flexible when it comes to choosing a mobile OS, check out our roundup of the best tablets.
With a significant lack of competition at the top end of the Android tablet market, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S series has been dominant, and the S6 is the best release yet. Packing a 2560 x 1600-pixel resolution, the 10.5-inch Super AMOLED display is the best you’re likely to find. This screen is sharp, bright, and a joy to watch movies or play games on — it even has an in-display fingerprint sensor. The four AKG-tuned speakers sit in each corner and support Dolby Atmos Sound. They’re loud, though they inevitably lack bass.
Inside, there’s a speedy Snapdragon 855 processor with 6GB or 8GB of RAM that’s fast enough for anything you might throw at it. You can get the Tab S6 with 128GB or 256GB of storage, but there is also a MicroSD card slot. Samsung’s One user interface sits atop Android 9.0 Pie, and you can switch into DeX mode with a keyboard case, transforming your tablet into a laptop replacement that can prove handy in a pinch. There’s also the S Pen if you like to sketch or jot down notes. The Tab S6 has plenty of stamina, too, with a 7,040mAh battery that’ll see you through most days. To round things off, there’s a dual-lens main camera that pairs a 13-megapixel lens with a 5-megapixel wide-angle lens, and there’s an 8-megapixel front-facing camera, too.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e
If the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 is a little too expensive, you might be tempted by the more affordable Galaxy Tab S5e. It boasts the same, excellent 10.5-inch Super AMOLED display with quad speakers, making it great for watching movies or TV shows. It’s light and slim, with a fingerprint sensor on the side instead of in the screen.
The big difference is inside, where the Tab S5e relies on a midrange Snapdragon 670 processor. It comes in two variants, with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage or 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. There is also room for a MicroSD card. It has the same 7,040mAh battery as its more expensive sibling. There’s also a single-lens 13-megapixel main camera and an 8-megapixel front-facing camera. You won’t find S Pen support here, but it does work with Samsung’s desktop DeX mode.
The Amazon Fire HD 10 is the most affordable tablet on our list. Refreshed by Amazon this year, with a new processor, bigger battery, USB-C port, and an improved front-facing camera, the newer, Fire HD 10 is an even bigger bargain. It has a decent display with a resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels that’s flanked by stereo speakers with Dolby Audio support, making it a good device for watching movies on the go. The Fire HD 10 also features dual-band Wi-Fi, so you can connect to both 2.5GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi bands for fast download speeds. The tablet has a quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM. It’s still no speed demon, but it does offer adequate performance considering the price.
You can buy one with 32GB or 64GB of storage, but it also supports MicroSD cards. It should last up to 12 hours on a single charge, which is good. This tablet runs Amazon’s Fire OS — an operating system based on Android — so any future software and security updates will come from Amazon. Alexa is built-in for hands-free voice commands, but as it isn’t a traditional Android tablet, there is no Google Play Store — you have to download apps directly from Amazon’s App Store. If you’re happy with a smaller screen and more limited specs, then the Amazon Fire HD 8 is a real bargain at $80.
The successor to Huawei’s MediaPad M3 comes with a good, sharp, and bright 10.8-inch screen, which sport a resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels. It feels and looks like a premium tablet despite the low price. There’s also a fingerprint sensor on the front. The standout features on the MediaPad M5 Pro are the stereo speakers, which were co-engineered with Harman Kardon and sound great. The screen makes for a great movie watching experience.
There’s a front 8-megapixel camera and a rear 13-megapixel camera. The MediaPad M5 Pro launched with Android 8.0 Oreo, with Huawei’s EMUI 8.0 on top, but it has been updated to Android 9.0 Pie and EMUI 9. It boasts a 7,500 mAh battery that can go for days. It also comes with an M-Pen stylus and Pogo connectors that enable you to attach a keyboard cover. Huawei even offers a desktop mode, making this a potential productivity powerhouse.