If you’re on the hunt for a new tablet, it’s easy to automatically assume that Apple’s iPad (including the iPad Mini and iPad Air) is the obvious choice, and you might overlook the Android tablet option — especially as fewer and fewer manufacturers are making them these days. While that may seem unfair, several Android tablets on the market are doing their best to rival the Apple iPad.
While some might question the sanity of an Android tablet buyer in this day and age, the best Android tablet models can meet any casual or professional need. Some Android tablets even work with a mouse or touchpad. And if you’re already invested in the Android app ecosystem, you won’t have to buy them again for iOS.
Cut through the chatter
Subscribe to CNET’s Mobile newsletter for the latest phone news and reviews.
Whether you’re looking for a cheap tablet for media consumption or a possible laptop substitute, there are options worth exploring. We reviewed the best Android tablet options in the market, taking into consideration everything from screen size to battery life to ease of use — basically, all the factors that go into a great tablet. Here are our picks for the best Android tablet out there, which we update periodically.
The Google Pixel Slate tries to match the iPad Pro and Microsoft Surface Pro by blending a tablet and Chromebook into a single device — a kind of tablet PC if you will. Though it’s not a full-fledged Android tablet (and it certainly isn’t a cheap Android tablet), you do have access to the Android apps in the Google Play Store and plenty of power to use them. It comes with a stylus and has a 48Wh battery for up to 12 hours of battery life, front and rear camera, and a touchscreen LCD display screen. It also has a full desktop browser and support for a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard. It could even be used as a gaming tablet. The Pixel Slate also has the option for Google Assistant. Overall, just a great tablet.
Amazon has come a long way from the first Kindle Fire tablet. The Amazon Fire HD 10 is Amazon’s biggest tablet with 10-inch screen size and powerful speakers. Just like its smaller 8-inch sibling, the Fire HD 8, the tablet is packed with benefits for Prime subscribers making it easy for members to stream and download movies, TV shows, and games. The Fire tablets don’t use a pure version of Android, but instead Amazon’s Android-based Fire operating system and pull apps from the Amazon App Store. You can still get apps from Google Play, but you’ll have to install the store yourself — meaning gaming enthusiasts have access to all of their favorite mobile games for an excellent gaming tablet experience. Also, this is probably the closest thing we have to a budget tablet on this best Android tablet list.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 tablet packs in a lot for an Android device. It has a speedy Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor and flexible expandable storage of up to 1TB with a microSD card. The Galaxy Tab S6 also looks amazing, with a super AMOLED display (whereas the Galaxy Tab S7 uses an LCD panel instead). Battery life clocks in at about 15 hours and the rear camera have a 13-megapixel resolution. And if you’ve ever operated a Samsung Android device, the operation of this particular Samsung tablet will feel very intuitive and similar to a Samsung Android smartphone. Updates to Samsung’s DeX software even make the Tab S6 a possible laptop substitution, letting you connect to a mouse and even an external display. Just grab a keyboard and you’ll be all set.
The Lenovo Smart Tab P10 combines a tablet and a smart display into one 10-inch device. This Android tablet comes with Android Oreo, front and rear cameras, a fingerprint scanner, and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 processor. When you set it on the dock, the Lenovo Tab becomes a smart display a lot like the Amazon Echo Show.
Read more about the Lenovo Smart Tab P10.
More mobile device recommendations