Buyer’s Guide: The best Android tablet you can buy in 2018

Tablets were a huge craze once the original iPad appeared, threatening to bring death and destruction to the PC industry. Android increased that threat, providing low-cost solutions in various sizes. But manufacturers caught on and reshaped laptops into thin and light solutions and 2-in-1 that could – wait for it – convert into tablet mode. The tablet craze eventually subsided thanks to these re-engineered laptops, but you can still purchase tablets if you’re looking for something bigger than a smartphone and less bulky than a laptop. That’s where our buyer’s guide for the best Android tablet comes into play.

One small detail you’ll notice is that Samsung dominates our list. The company is at the forefront of the Android tablet market because it makes quality products at affordable prices. But you’ll find a few other great solutions from Asus and Lenovo too. Here we chose the best Android tablet for each size class, such as 7.0- to 7.9-inch, 8.0- to 8.9-inch and so on. We also targeted quality, features and screen resolution when possible.

Our favorite

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
Starting price: $650

Best Android tablet

Samsung is seemingly targeting Microsoft’s Surface devices with the Galaxy Tab S4, bringing an Android-based PC-style experience to a tablet. That starts with Samsung DeX, enabling the Galaxy Tab S4 to connect directly to external monitors, mice and keyboards through adapters, docks and pads. Thus, if you want a workstation on the go without the bulkiness of a workstation laptop, the Galaxy Tab S4 may be your best Android-based bet.

The tablet itself sports a 10.5-inch Super AMOLED screen with a 2,560 x 1,600 resolution. It’s powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 eight-core processor with four “big” cores running at 2.35GHz for heavy loads and four “small” cores running at 1.9GHz for normal tasks. Backing this chip is a 7,300 mAh battery promising up to 16 hours of video playback.

Based on Android 8.0 “Oreo,” Samsung’s tablet includes 4GB of system memory, either 64GB or 256GB of storage and a Micro SD card slot supporting 400GB of additional storage. Connectivity consists of Wireless AC networking, Bluetooth 5.0, optional 4G LTE, and a Micro USB port supporting data speeds up to 5Gbps. You’ll also find four speakers supporting Dolby Atmos, an 8MP camera on the front (F1.9) a 13MP auto-focus camera on the back (F1.9), iris scanning and facial recognition technology.

Finally, Samsung’s tablet supports its new Bixby virtual assistant and ships with Samsung’s S Pen peripheral supporting up to 4,096 levels of pressure. Thetablet measures just 0.27 inches thick and weighs up to 1.06 pounds, depending on the model.

10-inch class

Lenovo Yoga Tab 3
Starting price: $200


Best Android tablet

What makes this tablet unique is its built-in, binder-style grip that includes a kickstand, creating a 2-in-1-style form factor providing four distinct modes: Stand, Hold (like a notebook), Tilt (lay it flat) and Hang (place the kickstand under a row of books, etc.). The included 8MP auto-focus camera is built into the grip’s rotatable stand so you can take pictures and shoot video from either side of the device, eliminating the dual-camera setup.

Outside the grip aspect, Lenovo’s tablet sports a 10.1-inch IPS multi-touch screen with a surprisingly low 1,280 x 800 resolution. It’s backed by Android 5.1 “Lollipop,” Qualcomm’s four-core APQ8009 processor clocked at 1.3GHz, 2GB of LPDDR3 memory and an 8.400 mAh battery promising up to 18 hours of normal use.

For storage, the tablet provides a meager 16GB of space although you can add up to 128GB via the Micro SD card slot. Other notable features include two front-facing speakers supporting Dolby Atmos, a headphone jack and Wireless N and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity. Lenovo’s tablet measures 0.37 inches at its thickest point, 0.13 inches at its thinnest point and weighs just 1.46 pounds.

9-inch class

Asus ZenPad 3s 10
Price: $300

Best Android tablet

This tablet from Asus sports a 9.7-inch IPS panel with a hefty 2,048 x 1,536 resolution providing wide viewing angles, rich colors and support for 10-point touch input. It’s powered by MediaTek’s MT8176 six-core processor with two cores running at 2.1GHz and four cores running at 1.4GHz. This is what’s called a big/little configuration whereas the four slower cores do most of the basic work while to two bigger, faster cores kick in during heavy CPU requirements, like gaming.

Available in Glacier Silver and Titanium Gray, this tablet includes 4GB of LPDDR3 system memory, 64GB of storage, two speakers backed by DTS HD Premium sound, one USB-C port for charging and connecting peripherals, an audio combo jack and a Micro SD card reader for up to 128GB of additional storage. Wireless connectivity is handled by Bluetooth 4.2 and Wireless AC networking.

The ZenPad is based on Google’s Android 6.0 “Marshmallow” platform and supports the Asus Active Pen peripheral. Completing this 9.7-inch package is a 5MP camera mounted on the front and an 8MP camera mounted on the back. All of this is powered by a 22WHr battery promising up to 10 hours on a single charge. It measures just 0.22 inches thick and weighs a very light 0.94 pounds.

8-inch class

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2
Starting price: $350

Best Android tablet

Samsung continues to dominate the Android tablet market with its 8-inch Galaxy Tab S2. Based on Android 6.0 “Marshmallow,” it’s powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 652 processor with four cores running at 1.8GHz and four cores running at 1.4GHz. It also utilizes a Super AMOLED display for brilliant colors and a sharp 2,048 x 1,536 resolution.

With this model, you get 3GB of system memory and 32GB of storage, but you can expand the tablet’s capacity via the included Micro SD card slot that supports up to 128GB of additional storage. Other ports and slots include a headphone jack, a Micro SIM card slot for the 4G LTE model, a Micro USB port and a fingerprint scanner on the physical Home button. Wireless connectivity includes Bluetooth 4.1 and Wireless AC.

Wrapping up Samsung’s 8-inch tablet is a 2.1MP camera on the front and an 8MP camera on the back with a 4x digital optical zoom. It measures just 0.22 inches thick and weighs a mere 0.58 pounds. It’s powered by a 4,000 mAh battery promising up to 12 hours of video playback and up to eight hours of normal internet use.

7-inch class

Samsung Galaxy Tab A 7.0
Price: $130

Best Android tablet

Available in Black or White, Samsung’s “budget” tablet features a 7-inch screen with a low (but unusual) 1,280 x 800 resolution powered by Google’s Android 5.1 “Lollipop” operating system. Backing this screen is a four-core in-house Exynos 3 Quad 3475 processor clocked at 1.3GHz and a weird 1.5GB of LPDDR3 system memory. You’ll also find a physical home button mounted between the touch-based “Back” and “Recent Apps” icons.

For storage, you only get 8GB, most of which is consumed by Android. To expand your tablet’s capacity, Samsung installed a Micro SD card slot supporting up to 400GB of additional storage. The Micro USB port is also based on USB 2.0, indicating that it may support USB OTG and external peripherals such as keyboards and flash drives. Wireless connectivity consists of old-school Wireless N networking and Bluetooth 4.0.

For video, Samsung provides a 2MP camera on the front (F2.2) with a fixed focus and an 8MP camera on the back (F2.2) with a 2x digital optical zoom and 720p video recording at 30 frames per second. The tablet is powered by a 4000 mAH battery promising nine hours of continuous video and 11 hours of normal use. It measures a mere 0.34 inches thick and weighs 0.61 pounds.

Leave a comment