What is the best Android tablet right now? New devices are coming out every month and it’s hard to even know what is out there. That’s what I am for. I’m visiting almost every trade show to check out new announcements. Once an Android tablet is available, I review it thoroughly. I’ve been doing this since 2008 and used almost every tablet that has been released since then. In this guide, I’m giving you an overview of the best Android tablets you can buy right now in 2018.
To structure this guide, I segmented it into 9.7-inch to 10.1-inch devices and 8-inch Android tablets. At the top of the lists, you usually find the better and more expensive ones. Further down I’m listing cheaper but still great options. If you want to spend a lot of money, feel free to buy the best of the best. But at their prices, I can recommend all tablets on this list.
You might notice, that some Android tablets are not on this list. That’s simply because I cannot recommend them to everybody. While they might be good in some cases, they are not great enough to make it on this top 10 list. You can check out all my tablet reviews here though.
The Best 10-Inch Android Tablets
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3: The Best Overall
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 is the best Android tablet I reviewed so far. A major highlight is its 9.7-inch Super AMOLED screen which is the best out there. It offers a high resolution at 2048 x 1536, has good viewing angles, and is bright enough to use outside.
We’re getting a nice design here with a bezel made of aluminum and a glass back. That looks and feels high-end. One of its main features is the included S-Pen stylus which is very nice if you want to do some handwriting or drawing. It’s the best stylus in an Android tablet right now with a support of 4096 pressure points.
The performance is excellent. In benchmarks like AnTuTu and Geekbench, it gets better results than all Android tablets I reviewed. Inside runs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 with 4GB of RAM and a 32GB internal storage. Do you need more? There’s a microSD card slot as well.
Samsung is shipping the Galaxy Tab S3 with Android 7.0 Nougat and based on their history, it is very likely to get an update to Android 8.0 Oreo.
ASUS ZenPad 3S 10: A Great Alternative
While the ASUS ZenPad 3S 10 is not as fast as the Galaxy Tab S3, it is powerful enough for most. The hexa-core processor is supported by 4GB of RAM and is fast enough for all games and some decent multitasking. I actually prefer the build quality over Samsung’s competition because of its full metal body. Premium features like a fingerprint reader are included as well.
The 9.7-inch display is not AMOLED but offers the same resolution of 2048 x 1536. It offers nice colors, is bright enough for outside, and looks pretty. ASUS is offering an optional stylus but that one does not seem to be as nice as the S Pen.
Out of the box, the tablet is running Android 6.0 Marshmallow with ASUS’s ZenUI on top. An update to Android 7.0 Nougat is available. It is unclear though if it’ll ever receive an update to Android 8.0 Oreo.
Lenovo Tab4 10 Plus: Powerful but Cheaper
The Lenovo Tab4 10 Plus is a bit cheaper than the ASUS ZenPad 3S 10 but almost as fast. While you don’t have to make any compromises with its performance, the 10.1-inch screen offers a lower resolution at 1920 x 1200. At the same time, it does not feel as high-end due to its plastic frame and glass back. Its major downside is its weak speakers.
Besides that, the Lenovo Tab4 10 Plus actually offers a lot of premium features. That includes a fingerprint reader, the fast but energy efficient Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor, and 3GB to 4GB of RAM. Unlike the Samsung and ASUS, it is running almost vanilla Android 7.0 Nougat without too many pre-installed apps.
Huawei MediaPad M3 Lite 10: The Best Media Tablet
While the Huawei MediaPad M3 Lite 10 is not as fast as the Lenovo Tab4 10 Plus, it is a great value for most people. Its performance is a bit weaker but like the ZenPad 3S 10, it offers a full metal body, great speakers, and a fingerprint reader. The 10.1-inch full HD screen looks very nice and is perfect for watching YouTube and Netflix.
The MediaPad M3 Lite 10 features a solid Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 processor, 3GB of RAM, and a 32GB internal storage. You can expand it via a micro SD card. Out of the box, it is running Android 7.0 Nougat with Huawei’s Emotion UI on top. Again, it has a nice screen and great speakers. Because of that and its metal body, I think it is a great middle-class entertainment tablet.
Amazon Fire HD 10: Best Value for your Money
I think the Amazon Fire HD 10 is the best value for your money. Yes, unlike the MediaPad M3 Lite 10 it does not offer a metal body. And it does not feature a fingerprint scanner. But in some cases, the performance is even better, and the 10.1-inch full HD screen is as good. The speakers are nice and there is a micro SD card slot as well. All this at a much cheaper price and you can use Alexa hands-free.
While I think the Fire HD 10 is the best value, it has some downsides. It is running Android but not Google’s Android. There is not Play Store installed and none of Google’s apps like YouTube or Gmail. Instead, you’re living in the ecosystem of Amazon with a deep integration into their services. That’s great if you’re a prime member but can be annoying at times.
The good thing: You don’t have to be stuck in Amazon’s world. Instead, you can install the Google Play Store and all of its apps yourself. That is fairly easy. And, with the Play Store, I love the Fire HD 10.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1: A Great Alternative
Before the new Amazon Fire HD 10 was released, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1 was the Android tablet with the best value for your money. While it is very similar to the Fire HD 10, it is more expensive. The Galaxy Tab A 10.1 offers a good performance for its price and a nice 10.1-inch full HD screen.
Unlike the Amazon, it is running standard Google Android including the Play Store. So if you prefer that or the Fire is not available in your country, it is a great alternative. Samsung released it with Android 6.0 Marshmallow original. However, an update to Android 7.0 Nougat is available and I think it’ll get Oreo in the future.
The Best 8-inch Android Tablets
Huawei MediaPad M3: The Best 8-Inch Tablet
Even though the Huawei MediaPad M3 was released in 2016, it still is the best 8-inch Android tablet I reviewed so far. In fact, according to my benchmark results, the Galaxy Tab S3 is the only faster tablet. At the same time, it packs lots of premium features like quality speakers, a nice metal body, and a fingerprint reader.
Its 8.4-inch screen offers a very high-resolution of 2560 x 1600, it is very bright and looks pretty. Underneath runs a HiSilicon Kirin 950 octa-core processor with 4GB of RAM and a 32GB internal storage. Thanks to the fast chipset it is one of the best tablets for gaming. While Huawei shipped it with Android Marshmallow originally, an update to Nougat is available.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 2017: Cheaper But Excellent
On paper, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 2017 is not the most interesting Android tablet. It shares most specifications with the cheaper Lenovo Tab4 8 and Huawei MediaPad T3 8. However, Samsung does a lot of things right here and even though those three tablets are similar on paper, the Galaxy Tab A 8.0 is the best out of those.
While the 8-inch screen offers an HD resolution of 1280 x 800 only, it is one of the brightest screens out there. Because of that, you are able to use it outside and in direct sunlight comfortably. It is running Android 7.1 Nougat with Samsung’s UI on top which does not look overloaded. Instead, the Samsung Experience UI is clean and offers useful features. Another highlight is a great battery life.
Inside runs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 with 2GB of RAM and a 16GB to 32GB internal storage. This processor is fast enough for most everyday tasks but is not perfect for gaming.
Amazon Fire HD 8: The Best Value
The Amazon Fire HD 8 is the cheapest tablet on this list. However, it is a great value for your money. In fact, its performance is very similar to the much more expensive Galaxy Tab A 8.0. The screen offers the same resolution and is pretty good too. It is not as bright, but the battery life is even better.
Now, as with the Fire HD 10, the only downside is Amazon’s heavy customization. The Fire HD 8 is running Android but there is no Google Play Store installed and, out of the box, you have to use the services from Amazon. Again, you can install the Play Store yourself easily and that’s what I recommend.
Lenovo Tab4 8 & Huawei MediaPad T3 8: Good Alternatives
I already mentioned that the Lenovo Tab4 8, Huawei MediaPad T3 8 and Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 2017 feature almost identical hardware on paper. That is true and if you care about performance only, you can just choose the cheaper one. Otherwise, the Samsung is a bit better but more expensive. And, again, the Amazon Fire HD 8 is even cheaper and very similar as well.
The Lenovo Tab4 8 and Huawei MediaPad T3 8 are both solid tablets that do not have any major weaknesses. But thanks to a brighter screen, a nicer UI, or a cheaper price I generally recommend the Fire HD 8 or Galaxy Tab A 8.0 instead.
For some, the Lenovo Tab4 8 and MediaPad T3 8 might be very interesting though. If you can’t get the Amazon Fire HD 8 in your country, both are cheaper and similar alternatives to the Samsung one. While the MediaPad T3 8 offers a longer battery life, the Tab4 8 is running almost vanilla Android. That’s the major difference between these two.
The rest is identical: Both screens are 8-inches, offer an HD screen, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 425, 2GB of RAM, and a 16GB internal storage.
Read: My Lenovo Tab4 8 review
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