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Best Android tablet 2021: Ditch the iPad

There may not be a long list of Android tablets available, but you do have options.

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 an alternative, albeit somewhat limited. 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 A 8.0

An entry-level Android tablet


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. 


  • Affordable tablet
  • Expandable storage
  • Battery life


  • Sluggish performance 

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite

There's an S Pen in the box


Display: 10.4-inch 2000x1200 display | Processor: Exynos 9611 Octa Core | Storage: 64GB or 128GB | Memory: 4GB | Colors: Gray, blue, pink | Cameras: 8MP rear, 5MP front camera | Weight: 1.02lb | Dimensions: 9.63 x 6.07 x 0.28 inches | Connections: 3.5mm headphone jack, USB-C | Battery:  7,040mAh

Samsung's Galaxy Tab S6 Lite is a step up from the Tab A 8.0, adding a larger display, faster processor, and 64GB or 128GB of storage. But perhaps the most appealing aspect of the $349.99 tablet is that it includes an S Pen. The stylus is one of Samsung's most iconic accessories, and having it included with a tablet -- or any device, really -- is a big deal. 

The Tab S6 Lite's display isn't as clear as Samsung's more expensive tablets, and its performance struggles are most noticeable when switching between apps or gaming. The S Pen can be used to navigate the interface, or in apps like Samsung Notes to draw and sketch. If you run out of storage space, add a 1TB microSD card to the Tab S6 Lite. 

You'll get up to 13 hours of video playback thanks to the 7,040 mAh battery. 


  • Comes with an S Pen stylus
  • Expandable storage
  • Battery life


  • Sluggish performance during intense tasks

Galaxy Tab S7 FE

The Fan Edition of the Tab S7


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 product that's more affordable. 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 it's 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. 


  • More affordable than the S7 Plus
  • Expandable storage
  • Battery life


  • Display isn't as clear as the S7 Plus
  • No trackpad on the keyboard accessory

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7

A premium tablet at a decent price


Display: 11-inch, 120Hz 2560x1600 display | Processor: Qualcomm SDM865+ | Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB | Memory: 6GB, 8GB | Colors: Black, silver, bronze, navy | Cameras: 13MP rear, 5MP front camera | Weight: 1.1lb | Dimensions: 9.99 x 6.51 x 0.25 inches | Connections: USB-C | Battery:  8,000mAh

The Tab S7 is one of Samsung's latest flagship tablets, aimed directly at taking on Apple's iPad Pro offering. The S7 has 8GB of memory, starts at 128GB of storage, and uses Qualcomm's Snapdragon 865 Plus 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 S7 into, essentially, an Android-powered laptop, with apps showing up as small windows instead of full-screen. 

Included in the box with the S7 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. 


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


  • Keyboard cover costs extra

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus

As good as it gets


Display: 12.4-inch, 120Hz, Super AMOLED 2,800x1,752 display | Processor: Qualcomm SDM865+ | Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB | Memory: 6GB, 8GB | Colors: Black, silver, bronze, navy | Cameras: 13MP and 5MP rear, 8MP front camera | Weight: 1.27lb | Dimensions: 11.22 x 7.28 x 0.22 inches | Connections: USB-C | Battery:  10,090mAh

The Galaxy Tab S7 Plus is Samsung's top of the line Android tablet, combining the same core experience of the Tab S7 with a larger 12.4-inch Super AMOLED 4K display, an S-Pen stylus, up to 512GB of internal storage, and up to 14 hours of battery life during video playback. 

Just like the S7, 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. 


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


  • Keyboard accessory to take full advantage isn't included

Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus

Amazon's best 8-inch tablet

The new Amazon Fire HD 8 (2020)

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 included 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. 


  • Very affordable
  • MicroSD card expandable storage
  • Battery life


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

Amazon Fire HD 10 Plus

The biggest tablet Amazon makes

Amazon Fire HD 10 Productivity Bundle
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. 


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


  • 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. 

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 S7 or S7 Plus 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.