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The 7 best Android tablets: Ditch the iPad

What is the best Android tablet? The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is our winner! We analyzed each tablets display, processor, storage, and battery life to give you the best options to rival Apple's iPad.
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Written by Jason Cipriani, Contributing Writer on

When it comes to finding the best tablets that run Android, your options are fairly limited. Most of the blame for that falls on Google, which abandoned its Android tablet hopes and dreams years ago, opting instead to integrate Android apps into Chrome OS. These Android tablets give users who prefer Google's operating system over Apple's iPadOS a worthy alternative. As far as we're concerned, there are only two main players in the Android tablet market: Samsung and Amazon.

Samsung's tablet lineup consists of several different models, with a wide range in price and features. Meanwhile, Amazon's tablets, which technically run a forked version of Android called Fire OS, are designed and sold at budget prices, integrating all of the online shopping giant's stores and services.

We limited what we included in this list to tablets that offer a reliable experience, along with a mix of affordability and features. Not all Android tablets are created equal, so we used our years of research, personal experience, and knowledge about the products included here to make the suggestions below. 

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra
Image: Samsung

Display: 14.6-inch, 120Hz, Super AMOLED 2,960x1,848 display | Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 | Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, microSD up to 1TB | Memory: 8GB, 12GB, 16GB | Colors: Graphite | Cameras: 13MP and 6MP rear. 12MP and 12MP ultra-wide front camera | Weight: 1.6lb | Dimensions: 12.85 x 8.21 x 0.22 inches | Connections: USB-C | Battery: 11,200mAh

The Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is the biggest and best tablet in Samsung's lineup. Samsung announced the new tablet in Feb. 2022. It features a 14.6-inch Super AMOLED display, runs Android 12, and Samsung's S Pen stylus is included in the box. 

You can fully kit out the Tab S8 Ultra with 512GB of storage and 16GB of memory. The base model comes with 8GB of memory and 128GB of storage, and a microSD card for adding up to an extra 1TB of storage to the tablet. 

With a tablet of this size, you're most likely looking at it as a laptop replacement. That means you'll want to pick up the $349 Book Cover Keyboard. Once connected, you'll be able to use Samsung DeX on the S8 Ultra, effectively turning the tablet into an Android-powered 2-in-1 device with plenty of space for multitasking and using more than one app at a time. 

Pros

  • Giant display
  • It comes with an S Pen
  • Battery life
  • 5G option

Cons

  • A keyboard accessory to take full advantage of isn't included
  • Pricey
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Plus
Image: Samsung

Display: 12.4-inch, 120Hz, Super AMOLED 2,800x1,752 display | Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 | Storage: 128GB, 256GB, microSD up to 1TB | Memory: 8GB | Colors: Graphite, silver, pink gold | Cameras: 13MP and 6MP rear, 12MP ultra-wide front camera | Weight: 1.27lb | Dimensions: 11.22 x 7.28 x 0.22 inches | Connections: USB-C | Battery: 10,090mAh

The Galaxy Tab S8 Plus would normally be Samsung's top of the line Android tablet, but this year the company also released the Tab S8 Ultra, with a bigger display and a few extra features. That said, the Tab S8 Plus looks to be a fantastic Android tablet, improving the experience of the Tab S8 with a larger 12.4-inch Super AMOLED 4K display, an S-Pen stylus, up to 256GB of internal storage, and long battery life. 

Just like the S8, you can add the $229 keyboard accessory to the tablet, turning it into a DeX-powered 2-in-1 that you can hammer out emails or work reports or sit back and watch your favorite YouTube channel. 

Samsung's DeX platform turns the typical Android experience and interface into a laptop-like experience, complete with windows you can move around and resize. You can even connect the tablet to an external monitor and use DeX. 

Pros

  • Stellar display
  • It comes with an S Pen
  • Battery life
  • 5G option

Cons

  • A keyboard accessory to take full advantage of isn't included
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8
Image: Samsung

Display: 11-inch, 120Hz 2560x1600 display | Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 | Storage: 128GB, 256GB | Memory: 8GB, 12GB | Colors: Graphite, silver, pink gold | Cameras: 13MP, 6MP ultra-wide, 12MP ultra-wide front camera | Weight: 1.1lbs | Dimensions: 9.99 x 6.51 x 0.25 inches | Connections: USB-C | Battery:  8,000mAh

The Tab S8 is one of three new Samsung tablets. The Tab S8 comes with 8GB, or 12GB of memory starts at 128GB of storage which can be expanded by up to 1TB thanks to microSD card support. Inside the Tab S8 is Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor. The 11-inch LCD display is compact enough to make the tablet portable but high-resolution, and clear enough you'll be happy watching your favorite shows or gaming on it. 

If you purchase the optional $199 keyboard cover, you can take advantage of Samsung's DeX platform that turns the S8 into, essentially, an Android-powered laptop, with apps showing up as small windows instead of full-screen. 

Included in the box with the S8 is an S Pen, which can be used to write or draw in your favorite apps, just like you can on the Samsung Galaxy Note lineup. 

Pros

  • Exceptional display
  • 5G option
  • S Pen in the box

Cons

  • Keyboard cover costs extra
Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0
Samsung

Display: 8-inch 1200x800 display | Processor: Qualcomm SDM 429 | Storage: 32GB or 64GB | Colors: Silver, black | Cameras: 8MP rear, 2MP front camera | Weight: 345g | Dimensions: 8.27 x 4.90 x 0.31 inches | Connections: 3.5mm headphone jack, USB 2.0 | Battery:  5,100mAh

Samsung's entry-level Galaxy Tab A 8.0-inch is a compact tablet that can hold its own against the higher-end models. It's not going to blow you away with overall performance, but it is more than capable of running your favorite apps, some light gaming, and streaming your favorite shows.

It has a 5,100mAh battery, 32GB of included storage, with microSD support up to 512GB, and a quad-core processor. Color options include black or silver. 

Again, you're not going to come away impressed with this particular model, but it's more than capable enough to keep your kids entertained, act as a Kindle, check your email or stream your favorite Netflix series. 

Pros

  • Affordable tablet
  • Expandable storage
  • Battery life

Cons

  • Sluggish performance 
Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0
Samsung

Display: 12.4-inch, 2560x1600 display | Processor: Qualcomm SM7325 | Storage: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB | Memory: 4GB, 6GB, 8GB | Colors: Black, silver, green, pink | Cameras: 8MP rear, 5MP front camera | Weight: 1.34lb | Dimensions: 7.28 x 11.21 x 0.25 inches | Connections: USB-C | Battery:  10,090mAh

Samsung's "FE" series of devices are designed with Samsung fans in mind. That is, the company takes the best features of its high-end devices, trims some of them down, and releases a more affordable product. The Galaxy S20 FE is a perfect example, and so too is the recently released Tab S7 FE. 

The Tab S7 FE has a large 12.4-inch display, a snappy processor, multiple storage and memory options and comes in multiple colors. There's also a 5G version available if you want to use it while on the go. 

I've been testing the Tab S7 FE for a couple of weeks, and its performance has been great, as has the battery life. The only downsides I can find so far is that the display isn't as nice as the S7 Plus, and the keyboard cover lacks a trackpad for a full laptop-like experience in DeX. That said, it does come with an S Pen still. 

Pros

  • More affordable than the S8 Plus
  • Expandable storage
  • Battery life

Cons

  • The display isn't as clear as the S7 Plus
  • No trackpad on the keyboard accessory
Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus

Display: 8-inch, 1280x800 display | Processor: Quad-core 2.0GHz | Storage: 32GB or 64GB | Memory: 3GB | Colors: Black | Cameras: 2MP front and rear | Weight: 12.5oz | Dimensions: 8.0 by 5.4 by 0.4 inches | Connections: 3.5mm headphone jack, USB-C | Battery: 12 hours

Gone are the boxy and square tablets from Amazon. The company completely redesigned the Fire HD 8 lineup with a more rounded look and feel. There are actually two new tablets: The Fire HD 8 and Fire HD 8 Plus. 

We are only including the HD 8 Plus because it's worth the extra $20, thanks to the added memory and support for wireless charging. 

The Fire HD 8 runs Amazon's Fire OS. It runs Android apps, but you're limited to apps that are available in Amazon's own Appstore. Like with most tablets in this price range, performance can be sluggish at times, but you'll have no issues shopping, browsing Facebook, or checking your email on the Fire HD 8 Plus. 

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • MicroSD card expandable storage
  • Battery life

Cons

  • Not the fastest tablet
  • No access to Google apps or services
Amazon Fire HD 10 Plus
Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

Display: 10.1-inch, 1920x1200 display | Processor: Octa-core 2.0GHz | Storage: 32GB or 64GB | Memory: 4GB | Colors: Black | Cameras: 2MP front, 5MP rear | Weight: 16.4oz | Dimensions: 9.73 x 6.53 x 0.36 inches | Connections: 3.5mm headphone jack, USB-C | Battery: 12 hours

Amazon recently refreshed the Fire HD 10, adding a Fire HD 10 Plus to the lineup. The newest 10-inch tablet comes on its own, or in what Amazon is calling a productivity bundle that includes a keyboard and a one-year subscription to Microsoft 365 for $199. It boasts an octa-core processor, 4GB of memory, and microSD card support up to 1TB. 

The full HD display looks clear and provides plenty of space for gaming or watching a movie. You'll get up to 12 hours of battery life on a single charge. 

Like the Fire HD 8, the Fire HD 10 runs Fire OS, so your app options are somewhat limited, but most of the big-name apps like Zoom, Facebook Messenger, and Spotify are available. 

Pros

  • A large display
  • MicroSD card expandable storage
  • Affordably priced

Cons

  • Not the fastest tablet
  • No access to Google apps or services

How did we choose these Android tablets?

When going through the list of available Android tablets, it's quickly clear you don't have very many options. We took those limited options and evaluated what the tablet has to offer and looked at the price. I've been testing tablets and smartphones for over a decade, and have used numerous tablets over those years. 

In fact, nearly every single tablet on this list is currently sitting on my desk or a nearby shelf. There are specific use cases for each tablet, and with that comes a specific kind of customer. It's with both of those factors in mind that I came up with this list. 

What is the best Android tablet?

The best Android tablet is the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra. This tablet was superior to any of the others on the list, boasting a strong processor and battery life which could even rival Apple's top iPad's.

Which Android tablet is right for you?

But, how do you choose? I think the first question you should ask yourself is what you want the tablet to do? Or maybe it's better phrased as what you want to use the tablet for? If it's some lightweight web browsing, email checking, watching videos, and the occasional game, then a low-end tablet like the Fire HD 10 or Samsung's Galaxy Tab A is more than enough for you. 

However, if you want to use it as a laptop replacement, with a dedicated keyboard, windowed apps, and with one of the best displays you'll find on a tablet -- Samsung's Galaxy Tab S8 lineup is where you'll want to focus your research. 

If you're looking to jump into a tablet as a mix of work and entertainment, then the Tab S6 is a solid choice. It mixes work, play, and affordability. 

As long as you know what you want to get out of an Android tablet, it's easy to figure out which Android tablet is right for you.

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