The best Android tablets

Android tablets never really caught on in the same way that Apple’s iPad did, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some good ones out there. In fact, our recommended Android tablets offer some unique traits that set them apart from the iPad.

We’ve tested about a dozen Android tablets over the years, and some have really impressed us with their solid performance, unique features, or low price tags.

Whether you’re looking for a cheap tablet, a sturdy one for your kids, or the best of the best in Android tablets, there’s a tablet for those looking for an alternative to the iPad.

Here are the best Android tablets:

Updated on 01/13/2021 by Antonio Villas-Boas: Added the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 after testing. Updated to the newest Amazon Fire HD 8 model.

The best Android tablet overall

Samsung Tab S7

Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S7 is as stylish as it is powerful, you can use it as a laptop in a pinch, and it comes with the superb S Pen stylus.

Samsung has been making excellent Android tablets for years, and its recently launched Galaxy Tab S7 continues that tradition. It’s a high-end Android tablet that can compete with Apple’s iPad Pro on nearly every level.

The Tab S7 is a stylish, well-made tablet with a metal frame and back. The keyboard case is sturdy and it turns your tablet into a quasi-laptop. Although this tablet doubles as a laptop, it is a tablet first and foremost.

Samsung sure knows how to make astonishingly beautiful screens. The Tab S7 has a gorgeous 10.5-inch Super AMOLED screen. I watched lots of Netflix and Prime Video on the tablet, and I was really impressed by the clarity, color reproduction, and intensity of the brilliant screen. The tablet’s 128GB of storage gives you ample space for downloads, and it’s expandable with a microSD card.

Every Tab S7 comes with Samsung’s S-Pen stylus, which is great for drawing and feels like a real pen. I love to draw on tablets, and I was impressed by the lack of lag on the Tab S7. Palm rejection works well, and it’s a great tablet for drawing or note-taking.

It is an expensive price to pay  — especially for an Android tablet, but if you want the best iPad Pro alternative, this is it.

Pros: Gorgeous screen, fast processor, S-Pen stylus is included, and powerful speakers

Cons: Expensive compared to most Android tablets

The best cheap Android tablet

Amazon Fire HD 8

Amazon’s Fire HD 8 may be incredibly cheap, but it’s a good Android tablet for anyone on a budget.

Amazon makes lots of cheap Android tablets. Some are low-powered, low-resolution slates, but others, like the newly updated Fire HD 8, are actually great bang for your buck based on our testing. 

Since it’s a budget tablet, the new Fire HD 8 isn’t top-of-the-line, but it offers just enough quality tech to make it a great deal. The 8-inch screen has an HD 1,280 x 800-pixel resolution, which is sharp enough to make watching videos on it a good experience. It’s just the right size for reading, and the grippy plastic body is comfortable to hold. 

Amazon offers some fun colors, too, making this a great tablet for anyone who’s bored with metallic tones and plain black budget devices. It should be relatively durable, though it isn’t water-resistant, so don’t go dunking it in the bath or pool.

The new Fire HD 8 offers decent performance, and Amazon’s custom version of Android, Fire OS, runs smoothly. You can choose between 16 or 32GB of storage, but no matter how much you pick, you can expand it via a microSD card slot up to 256GB. We recommend that you do so, and you can check out the best microSD cards you can buy here.

You’ll have access to the Alexa voice assistant and thousands of apps. However, although Fire OS is built on Android, it is not true Android. That means you won’t have access to the Google Play store, where there are a ton more apps to choose from. Fire OS is very much a tailored experience envisioned by Amazon and it’s a bit restrictive, but you can download most of the popular apps, including Netflix and Hulu. There’s still no official YouTube app, but that’s coming.

If you’re a Prime member, you can watch Prive Video, read dozens of ebooks, stream music, and access shopping quickly on Fire OS. Prime buyers have the option of getting the tablet with special offers, which are ads on the lockscreen and elsewhere. The price will be lower, but ads may be annoying to some.

It’s a very good deal for people who want a cheap Android tablet, especially if they aren’t married to iOS or Android. If you have a young kid who would also love a cheap tablet, read all about the Amazon Fire Kids Edition tablet below.

Pros: Super cheap, cute color options, decent HD screen, Alexa, and sturdy build quality

Cons: Not the sharpest screen or the best processor

The best Android tablet for kids

Amazon Fire Tablet kids edition

The Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition is just right for young kids and their parents, thanks to kid-friendly content, a tough design, and parental control software.

Amazon makes kid-friendly versions of its tablets that include parental software and a guarantee that if your little ones break it, Amazon will replace it. For that reason (and a few more we’ll get into), the Fire 7 Kids Edition tablet is a great deal for parents with young kids.

The 7-inch screen may have a lower resolution than the Fire HD 8 tablet we recommended above, but it’s more than enough for young kids. If your kid is old enough (eight and up) and responsible enough to handle a better tablet without breaking it, the Fire HD 8 might be a better choice. Amazon also makes a Kids Edition of the HD 8 tablet and a 10-inch Kids tablet so you have those options as well.

The two versions are very similar, except for size, storage, and screen resolution: The Fire HD 8 Kids Edition has an 8-inch, 1,280 x 800-pixel screen and 32GB of storage, while the Fire 7 Kids Edition has a 7-inch, 1,024 x 600- pixel screen and 16GB of storage. Regardless of which one you get, the storage is expandable up to 256GB via a microSD card. We recommend that you pick one up: check out the best microSD cards you can buy.

The Kids Edition comes in a bright kid-proof case, which you can get in a number of colors, including blue, green, and pink. The rugged case — combined with Amazon’s promise to replace the tablet, should it break during the first two years of its life — make the Fire Kids Edition a great buy for parents with little ones.

Amazon includes a year of its FreeTime Unlimited service, which gives kids access to tens of thousands of kid-friendly books, movies, TV shows, educational apps, and games. If you’re worried that it’s too much content for your kid, you can also set usage limits, control access to content, and set goals.

Pros: Cheap, cute colors, two-year protection, one year of FreeTime Unlimited content, and parental control software

Cons: Non-HD screen and not the best processor

Check out our guide to the best tablets

iPad Mini 2019

The best tablets

Tablets are ideal for kids, travelers, and professionals — it just depends on which one you buy.

We’ve picked the best tablets you can buy in several different categories, including ones that are best for kids, professionals, and travelers. We’ve tested all but one of these tablets personally, so you can trust our recommendations. If you need more guidance before you choose, read the last slide for everything you should know about buying a tablet.

The best iPads

The iPad is the best tablet for most people’s needs, so we’ve broken down which iPad is best for each person’s budget and needs. Whether you want a small tablet that’s portable, one that doubles as a laptop, or something a bit cheaper, there’s an iPad for you.

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