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 10.8-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 S4: The Best Overall
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 is the best Android tablet I reviewed so far. Not only is it faster than all competitors available, it also features an excellent 10.5-inch Super AMOLED display with a very high resolution of 2560 x 1600. The Tab S4 has a lot of premium features like four good speakers, an iris scanner, and a good built quality. In addition to that, it ships with an active stylus called S Pen.
Another major highlight of the Galaxy Tab S4 is its software. It runs Android 8.1 Oreo with the Samsung Experience UI that looks modern and runs smoothly. Additionally, Samsung has been much better with updates in the past than most brands. In fact, based on the past, this tablet might be the only one to receive Android 9.0 Pie.
In my opinion, there is just one major downside. With a price starting at 649 US Dollars the Galaxy Tab S4 is very pricey. I think it is too pricey for most. The tablets further down this list offer a better value. However, if you want the best of the best, this is the one to get.
Huawei MediaPad M5 10 / Pro: The Best Value For Most
Even though the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 is on top of this list, I think the Huawei MediaPad M5 10 is the best Android tablet for most people because of its cheaper price. In fact, I think the value is outstanding. While it does not have an AMOLED screen like the Samsung, its 10.8-inch IPS display has a very high resolution of 2560 x 1600. It features a full and premium feeling metal body and Android 8.0 Oreo.
While it is not as fast, it is almost as powerful. Additionally, we get tons of premium features like four good speakers, a great fingerprint scanner, and good cameras. However, measured by Huawei’s update history, the Samsung one will probably get longer updates.
So, while the MediaPad M5 10 is not perfect, it is very good. Especially when you consider the price. If you need a stylus, I would go with the Samsung. But you can also check out the Huawei MediaPad M5 Pro. It is almost identical with the M5 10 but comes with an active pen and built-in LTE.
Huawei MediaPad M5 Lite 10: Middle-Class With Premium Features
While the Huawei MediaPad M5 Lite 10 features middle-class hardware only, it does have tons of premium features. Because of those, I think the MediaPad M5 Lite 10 offers a great value if you don’t need a lot of gaming performance. Those premium features include four great speakers, a full metal body, an integrated fingerprint scanner, and an optional stylus. Just like its pricier brother, it is running Android 8.0 Oreo.
As I said, it is not perfect for games. However, the HiSilicon Kirin 659 octa-core processor is fast enough to play most games with medium graphics settings. At the same time, the 10.1-inch screen offers a full HD resolution which, again, should be high enough for most.
Huawei MediaPad T5 10: Powerful but Cheaper
Even though the Huawei MediaPad T5 10 is noticeably cheaper, it has almost the same display and hardware as the MediaPad M5 Lite 10. In fact, the HiSilicon Kirin 659 SoC is the same and you can get it with 3GB of RAM as well. The 10.1-inch screen has the same full HD resolution.
However, as you might expect, it does not feature those premium features. That means it has two speakers instead of four, there is no fingerprint scanner, and no stylus option. Also, the build quality is not as high because it has a plastic frame.
Thanks to its fast processor, the MediaPad T5 10 is great if you need decent gaming performance but don’t want to spend to much money for those premium features.
Amazon Fire HD 10: Best Value for your Money
If you don’t need a super powerful tablet, I think the Amazon Fire HD 10 is the best value for your money. Yes, unlike the previous ones it has a full plastic body. And it does not feature a fingerprint scanner. But the performance is good, and the 10.1-inch full HD screen is nice too. The speakers are decent 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 if you are on a budget, 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
These are the best 8-inch Android tablets I can currently recommend.
Huawei MediaPad M5 8: The Best 8-Inch Tablet
The Huawei MediaPad M5 8 is the little brother of the MediaPad M5 10 and even a little faster. As of now, it is the best 8-inch tablet you can buy. Not just running Android, but it is also faster than the iPad Mini. As you can read in my review, its performance is outstanding and the build quality with its full metal body is excellent.
In addition to a powerful processor, we get a nice and high-resolution 8.4-inch display with 2560 x 1600 pixels. Other specifications include 4GB of RAM, a 32GB internal storage, and optional LTE. It also features two good speakers, nice cameras, a decent battery life and a great fingerprint scanner. However, it has one downside. There is no headphone jack included. Instead, you have to use an adapter which is provided by Huawei at no extra charge.
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
- This article was originally published on June 21st 2018.
- On May 10th 2018 I added the Huawei MediaPad M5 10.
- The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4, Huawei MediaPad M5 Lite 10, and T5 10 were added on September 26th. They replace the ASUS ZenPad 3S, Samsung Galaxy Tab S3, and Lenovo Tab4 10 Plus.
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