10 best Android tablets of 2016: which should you buy?

These tablets easily beat out the rest

Android tablets come in all shapes and sizes, as well as many different price points. Looking at the market as a whole, it's hard to know where to start looking for the tablet that's right for you.

Thankfully, we've sorted through them all and have come up with the 10 best Android tablets that you need to know about.

Each of these entries is strong in its own right, but our list is ranked according to a combination of performance for your dollar, design, features and build quality, as well as overall value.

We'll be updating this list frequently as more tough Android-powered tablet competitors launch. If you're mind is set on smartphones, check out our list of the best Android phones.

Google Pixel C

1. Google Pixel C

The best Android tablet around

Weight: 517g | Dimensions: 242 x 179 x 7mm | OS: Android 6.0 Marshmallow | Screen size: 10.2 inches | Resolution: 2,560 x 1,800 | CPU: Nvidia Tegra X1, quad-core | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 32GB | microSD slot: No | Battery: 10 hours | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 2MP

Fantastic screen
Premium design
Accessories are costly

Google's first foray into crafting its very own tablets started couldn't have gone much better. The Pixel C is the best Android tablet out there, and for a few reasons.

Its design borrows from the gorgeous Chromebook Pixel and builds upon it, with versatility to allow easy switching between a standalone tablet or a laptop. Android power users will also appreciate that it runs stock OS and thus, like Nexus products, the Pixel C will be among the first devices in line to receive the update to Android 7.0 "N".

The Pixel C certainly isn't cheap, but you won't find another Android tablet packed with as much power, style, and the latest software updates for years to come.

Read the full review: Google Pixel C

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2

2. Samsung Galaxy Tab S2

This ultra-light Android tablet is the iPad's greatest challenger

Weight: 389g | Dimensions: 237 x 169 x 5.6mm | OS: Android 5.1.1 Lollipop | Screen size: 9.7 inches | Resolution: 2,048 x 1,536 | CPU: Exynos 7 5433, octa-core | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 32GB | microSD slot: Yes | Battery: 5,870mAh | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 2.1MP

Thinner, lighter design
New 4:3 display
Small specs upgrade
Bloatware

Samsung is firing straight at the iPad's greatest weakness with the Galaxy Tab S2: storage capacity. The latest from the popular smartphone and tablet maker offers 32GB of internal storage as the standard out of the box, with support for up to 128GB via the microSD slot.

It also stands out amongst the larger tablet competition with a stellar 2,048 x 1,536 Super AMOLED display and Samsung's own zippy Exynos 7 5433 octa-core chipset, which consists of a 1.9GHz quad-core processor working in tandem with a 1.3GHz quad-core processor.

Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy Tab S2

Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet

3. Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet

All the best of Sony's smartphones, packed into one gorgeous tablet

Weight: 389g | Dimensions: 254 x 167 x 6.1mm | OS: Android 5.0 Lollipop | Screen size: 10.1 inches | Resolution: 2,560 x 1,600 | CPU: Snapdragon 810, octa-core | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 32GB | microSD slot: Yes | Battery: 6,000mAh | Rear camera: 8.1MP | Front camera: 5.1MP

Gorgeous display
Waterproof
Strong battery life
Expensive price tag

When it comes to making improvements to hardware, the Xperia Z4 Tablet makes clear that Sony has been listening closely. Our time with the Xperia Z2 Tablet was met with a few complaints, such as a low-res screen and fragile port flaps. Thankfully, the Xperia Z4 Tablet fixes and adds onto the formula.

The Xperia Z4 Tablet sticks out against the competition on this list as the only waterproof option, but you'll also be getting a tablet that puts performance, looks and functionality on an equal plane.

Read the full review: Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet

Nexus 9

4. Nexus 9

Google and HTC's team up yields one strong Nexus tablet

Weight: 425g | Dimensions: 228 x 154 x 7.9mm | OS: Android 6.0 Marshmallow | Screen size: 8.9 inches | Resolution: 2,048 x 1,536 | CPU: Nvidia K1, dual-core | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 16GB | microSD slot: No | Battery: 6,700mAh | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 1.6MP

Knock-to-wake feature
Strong speakers
Uninspiring design
No microSD slot

Stock Android makes another appearance on our list, this time in the Nexus 9. Following the much-adored Nexus 7, Google and HTC teamed up again to make a powerful, sleek 8.9-inch tablet.

One could say that despite its larger size, it's a worthy successor in spirit to the Nexus 7. The Nexus 9, too, does away with hardware capacitive buttons and features a centered front-facing camera. The matte-textured backs adds to the mix, which comes together as a tablet that looks sophisticated, and performs admirably under pressure.

Read the full review: Nexus 9

Nvidia Shield Tablet K1

5. Nvidia Shield Tablet K1

This computer component manufacturer makes a killer Android tablet

Weight: 356g | Dimensions: 221 x 126 x 9.2mm | OS: Android 6.0 Marshmallow | Screen size: 8 inches | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,200 | CPU: Nvidia Tegra K1, dual-core | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 16GB | microSD slot: Yes | Battery: 19.74 Wh | Rear camera: 5MP | Front camera: 5MP

Aggressively priced
Great specs
Accessories are costly

If Nvidia's Android tablet doesn't look like much to get excited about, you've been fooled. The slick chassis found in the last iteration of the Nvidia Shield Tablet is unchanged here, but the K1 features a big internal upgrade: the Tegra K1 chipset, which supports many of the graphical features commonplace in desktop GeForce graphics card, including tessellation, HDR lighting, global illumination, subsurface scattering, and more.

Its DNA might be coded best for gaming, but the Shield Tablet K1 is a perfectly suitable tablet for any use case. It's compact enough to hold safely with one hand and makes for a good e-book or e-comic book companion.

Read the full review: Nvidia Shield Tablet K1

Dell venue 8 7000

6. Dell Venue 8 7000

The world's thinnest tablet is in the Android family

Weight: 305g | Dimensions: 215 x 124 x 6mm | OS: Android 5.0.2 Lollipop | Screen size: 8.4 inches | Resolution: 2,560 x 1,600 | CPU: Intel Atom Z3580, quad-core | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 16GB | microSD slot: Yes | Battery: 9.5 hours | Rear camera: 5MP | Front camera: 5MP

Ultra-thin aluminum design
Front-firing stereo speakers
Slower than leading tablets
Tough to hold while gaming

Dell's Venue 8 7000 is the "world's thinnest" tablet, and that feat is all the more impressive because of how much stuff is fit into it. It's one of the world's best Android tablets in terms of its high resolution 2,560 x 1,600 screen, its lightweight build of just 306g, and the front-firing speakers.

Compared to any iPad, this Dell tablet takes the cake as being lighter and thinner. It also includes a few goodies you won't find on Apple's side of the fence, such as a microSD slot and incredibly small bezels, much like the ones you'll find on the Dell XPS 13.

Read the full review: Dell Venue 8 7000

Samsung Galaxy Tab S

7. Samsung Galaxy Tab S

Samsung's last-gen tablet has a better screen than its latest

Weight: 464g | Dimensions: 247 x 177 x 6.6mm | OS: Android 4.0 KitKat | Screen size: 10.5 inches | Resolution: 2,560 x 1,600 | CPU: Exynos 5, octa-core | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 16GB | microSD slot: Yes | Battery: 9.5 hours | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 2.1MP

Excellent screen
Plenty of power
Small onboard storage
Uninspiring bloatware

There's no shame in buying last-gen tech products. The best-case scenario sees you saving a bunch of cash, while still having access to fairly modern specifications. And with the Galaxy Tab S, that's exactly what you'll get, plus some.

The Galaxy Tab S2 is the latest and greatest in Samsung's line of tablets. But funnily enough, the Tab S has the better screen, a Super AMOLED display pushing 2560 x 1600 versus the Tab S2's 2048 x 1536. A minor, but noteworthy difference between the two. Case in point: last-gen doesn't always mean outdated.

Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy Tab S

Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact

8. Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact

Sony's waterproof wonder is now more compact

Weight: 270g | Dimensions: 213 x 123 x 6.4mm | OS: Android 5.0 Lollipop | Screen size: 8 inches | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,200 | CPU: Snapdragon (unspecified), quad-core | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 16GB | microSD slot: Yes | Battery: 4,500mAh | Rear camera: 8.1MP | Front camera: 2.2MP

Great battery life
Very thin and light
Waterproof
Lacks screen sharpness

Sony's Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact offers a handful of exclusive features that might tempt you into upgrading from your phone. Starting with the build, this 8.0-inch tablet is thin and light enough to carry in one hand. And, unlike most tablets, it can stand exposure to water from every angle.

Additionally, the Z3 Tablet Compact features Remote Play, so you can play PS4 games remotely from your tablet. It's also worth mentioning that this tablet features a vivid display running at 1,920 x 1,200 and a microSD card slot for expandable storage.

Read the full review: Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact

Amazon Fire HD 6

9. Amazon Fire HD 6

This tablet brings the heat for a low price

Weight: 290g | Dimensions: 169 x 103 x 10.7mm | OS: Fire OS | Screen size: 6 inches | Resolution: 1,280 x 800 | CPU: Quad-core | RAM: 1GB | Storage: 8GB | microSD slot: No | Battery: 8 hours | Rear camera: 2MP | Front camera: VGA

Prime integration
Sharp screen
Reasonable price
Fire OS can be restrictive

If you are an Amazon Prime subscriber, purchasing an Amazon Fire tablet is a check that almost writes itself. In the company's latest batch of tablet releases, the HD 6 sticks out as the winner.

This tablet is small, boasts a sharp screen to make watching HD content enjoyable, and best of all, it's cheap as all get out, running at just $100. If you have an Amazon Prime account, you'll be well-served by this tiny, but surprisingly mighty tablet.

Read the full review: Amazon Fire HD 6

Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro

10. Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro

A tablet that balances novelty and performance well

Weight: 667g | Dimensions: 246 x 179 x 4.6mm | OS: Android 5.0 Lollipop | Screen size: 10.1 inches | Resolution: 2,560 x 1,600 | CPU: Intel Atom x 5-Z8500, quad-core | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 32GB | microSD slot: Yes | Battery: 10,200mAh | Rear camera: 13MP | Front camera: 5MP

Integrated projector
Sharp screen
Expensive
Heavy

Most tablets are very similar to one another, but not the Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro. It sits in its own sub-category of Android tablets that try and succeed at being weird, yet awesome.

This tablet has all of the usual amenities that one desires in a 2016 tablet, such as 2,560 x 1600 display and a huge 10,200mAh battery. But this tablet also houses a hidden projector that can splash the screen onto a wall for night-time viewing. Cool, right? It's novel, but actually useful.

Read the full review: Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro