The best Android tablets in 2018: the best slates running Google's OS

Best Android tablets

When it comes to searching for the best Android tablet, there are fewer options compared to a few years ago where Google's operating system was popping up on slates from almost every major manufacturer.

The tablet market slowed down since, and those still producing Android tablets have reduced the frequency of launches, but that means quality has also improved as new devices are no longer being rushed out.

While the selection of new Android tablets isn't as large as it once was, and nowhere near as large as the selection of Android phones, there's still some great ones to choose from.

Android is one of the main rivals to Apple's tablet range which includes the new iPad Pro 11 (2018), iPad Pro 12.9 (2018) and iPad (2018).

Some Android tablets have 10-inch screens, others seven, some land somewhere in between and a handful even push the boundaries past 10 inches. There are also big differences in battery life, processing power, RAM and even the software each slate is running.

And even once you know what specs you're after there are plenty of not so great options, so to help you avoid buying a dud we've put together this list of the best Android tablets around.

They cover a range of options and we've included a rundown of the specs, the pros and the cons, so you can see at a glance what's right for you.

Best Android tablets: which should you buy?

1. Samsung Galaxy Tab S4

The 'money's no object' best Android tablet

Weight: 429g | Dimensions: 237.3 x 169 x 6mm | OS: Android 7 | Screen size: 9.7-inch | Resolution: 1536 x 2048 | CPU: Snapdragon 820 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 32GBGB | Battery: 6,000mAh | Rear camera: 13MP | Front camera: 5MP

PC desktop-like Dex interface
S Pen stylus included in box
Poor keyboard design
Desktop interface needs work

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 is the best Android tablet available right now. It's not exactly cheap, but it comes packing a whole hosts of features to ensure you're getting plenty of bang for your buck.

Unlike Apple's iPad Pro range, the Galaxy Tab S4 comes with Samsung's S Pen stylus included in the box, while under the hood you get the powerful Snapdragon 835 chipset alongside 6GB of RAM ensuring Android runs super-smoothly on screen.

That's only half the story though. Pair the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 with a keyboard and mouse and it'll transfer from Android into a desktop-like experience as it attempts to replace your laptop as well as your tablet.

The desktop aspect of the tablet is limited for the time being, but we fully expect it to improve with future software updates. In short, the Galaxy Tab S4 is the most versatile Android tablet around.

Read our Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 review

Best Android tablets

2. Samsung Galaxy Tab S3

Samsung's former flagship Android slate is super

Weight: 429g | Dimensions: 237.3 x 169 x 6mm | OS: Android 7 | Screen size: 9.7-inch | Resolution: 1536 x 2048 | CPU: Snapdragon 820 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 32GBGB | Battery: 6,000mAh | Rear camera: 13MP | Front camera: 5MP

Great premium design
HDR-ready display is excellent
Keyboard is a costly extra
High price tag

Samsung's Galaxy Tab S3 is our favorite Android tablet in the world right now.

This tablet is the second best Android slate in the world thanks to a powerful processor and an excellent display that's prepped to show you HDR content.

There's an S-Pen stylus in the box and you'll also have the option of buying a keyboard too, but that will cost quite a bit extra.

The price of the Galaxy Tab S3 is high, but it's worth it when you look at all of the power and amazing features you'll get for that amount of money.

Read our Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 review

Best Android tablets

3. Asus ZenPad 3S 10

One of the best new Android tablets out

Weight: 430g | Dimensions: 240.5 x 163.7 x 7.2 mm | OS: Android Marshmallow | Screen size: 9.7-inch | Resolution: 1536 x 2048 | CPU: Mediatek MT8176 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 32GB/64GB | Battery: up to 10 hours | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 5MP

Strong, hi-res display
Swift response
Mediocre battery life
Not great build quality

Nope, that's not an iPad you can see just above. That's the Asus ZenPad 3S 10 - and it's our third favourite Android tablet you're able to buy right now.

There's decent power inside this slate as well as a super bright and beautiful display to look at on the front.

The battery life and build quality aren't the best on the market, but considering the lower price point than the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 and Tab S3 above, we'd recommend picking this up if you're looking for something a touch cheaper.

Read our Asus ZenPad 3S 10 review

Best Android tablets

4. Huawei MediaPad M5 8.4

A great Android alternative to the iPad Mini 4

Weight: 316g | Dimensions: 212.6 x 124.8 x 7.3mm | OS: Android Oreo | Screen size: 8.4-inch | Resolution: 1600 x 2560 | CPU: HiSilicon Kirin 960 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 32GB/64GB/128GB | Battery: 5,100mAh | Rear camera: 13MP | Front camera: 8MP

Excellent speakers
Sharp screen and design
No headphone jack
Slightly dated chipset

The Huawei MediaPad M5 8.4 is a strong Android slate and the combination of its small size and metal shell makes it a real alternative to the iPad Mini 4.

This has more than just good looks though, as the MediaPad M5 8.4 also has impressive stereo speakers, and coupled with its sharp 1600 x 2560 screen that ensures it lives up to its name as a media machine.

It’s less good for gaming, and there’s no 3.5mm headphone port – so you probably will be relying on those internal speakers a lot, but if you want a very portable slate that’s great for movies and music then the Huawei MediaPad M5 8.4 is a top option.

Read our Huawei MediaPad M5 8.4 review

Best Android tablets

5. Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro

Taking 'Netflix and chill' to the next level

Weight: 665g | Dimensions: 246.9 x 179.1 x 4.6mm | OS: Android 5.1.1 | Screen size: 10.1-inch | Resolution: 2560 x 1600 | CPU: Intel Atom quad-core | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 16GB/32GB | Battery: 10,200mAh | Rear camera: 13MP | Front camera: 5MP

Integrated projector
Great audio
Heavy
Glitchy interface

The Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro is packed full of media-focused features and sports a unique, distinctive design.

There's a built in stand to take the heft off your hands, while the integrated projector means you can enjoy big screen entertainment away from your TV, though the screen is sharp enough that you won't always feel the need to use a projector anyway.

All that tech does make it less portable than most tablets on this list and the UI could be better, but it's a fairly unique option.

Read our Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro review

Best Android tablets

6. Huawei MediaPad M3 8

The best cheap tablet you can buy right now

Weight: 322g | Dimensions: 215.5 x 124.2 x 7.3mm | OS: Android 6.0 | Screen size: 8.4-inch | Resolution: 1600 x 2560 | CPU: Kirin 950 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 32GB/64GB | Battery: 5100mAh | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 8MP

Super-loud stereo speakers
Slim, light, fancy aluminium shell
Pedestrian rear camera
Poor gaming performance

Topping our best cheap tablet list is the Huawei MediaPad M3 8 that falls in position five on our best Android tablet list thanks to an excellent screen, lots of power and its great value for money.

It has a slim body with an aluminium frame that makes it look premium while also being practical too.

There's a sharp screen, it comes with speakers that offer impressive volume for a slim tablet and it's a lot cheaper than most of the other Android tablets on this list too.

Read our Huawei MediaPad M3 8.0 review

Best Android tablets

7. Samsung Galaxy Tab S2

Samsung's latest flagship Android slate is super

Weight: 256g/389g | Dimensions: 198.6 x 134.8 x 5.6mm/237.3 x 169 x 5.6mm | OS: Android 6.0.1 | Screen size: 8.0-inch/9.7-inch | Resolution: 1536 x 2048 | CPU: Octa-core | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 32GB/64GB | Battery: 4000mAh/5870mAh | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 2.1MP

Thinner, lighter design
Great screen
So-so battery life
Camera is mediocre

There are plenty of reasons to invest in the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 - especially if you're after one of the best Android tablets on the market but at a cheaper price than the Galaxy Tab S3 above.

It's reading and web surfing-friendly, while the new 4:3 screen and general size and shape is better suited for most things. Videos work better on its predecessor thanks to its elongated aspect ratio - but they don't exactly look bad here.

You can pick the Tab S2 up in 8-inch and 9.7-inch variants, to challenge Apple's iPad and iPad mini ranges, with the smaller option being more portable and cheaper.

Almost impossibly thin, pumped full of power and with a slick version of Samsung's TouchWiz interface on board the Galaxy Tab S2 gives the iPad Pro 9.7 and Pixel C a real run for their money.

Read our Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 review

Best Android tablets

8. Amazon Fire HD 10 (2017)

Cheap tablet with a huge screen

Weight: 500g | Dimensions: 262 x 159 x 9.8mm | OS: Fire OS | Screen size: 10.1-inch | Resolution: 1920 x 1200 | CPU: quad-core | Storage: 32GB/64GB | Battery: up to 12 hours | Rear camera: 2MP | Front camera: VGA

Excellent value
Large, full HD display
Plastic design isn't premium
Cameras are poor

This tablet will be particularly great if you have an Amazon Prime membership because it comes with a huge screen for watching movies and TV as well as reading ebooks.

It's a cheap option that still packs such high-end specs including a 10-inch screen, but don't expect it to feature the best features on the market like some of the tablets at the top of the list.

Read our Amazon Fire HD 10 (2017) review

Best Android tablets

9. Amazon Fire HD 8 (2018)

The best you can get at this price

Weight: 363g | Dimensions: 214mm x 128mm x 9.7mm | OS: Fire OS | Screen size: 8-inch | Resolution: 1280 x 800 | CPU: Quad-core 1.3GHz | RAM: 1.5GB | Storage: 16/32GB | Battery: Up to 10 hours | Rear camera: 2MP | Front camera: 2MP

Great value
Decent speakers
Weak screen
Average battery life

The Amazon Fire HD 8 (2018) is among the best of the retail giant's tablets, as while it's in many ways lower end than the similar HD 10, the smaller screen is sharper as a result, and the price is lower.

It also delivers surprisingly strong gaming performance, with a decent amount of power for the money. The speakers aren’t great and the cameras are awful, but tablets aren’t for taking photos and you can always use headphones.

What you do get is solid if not spectacular performance, and tight integration with Amazon’s other services through Fire OS, all at a price that’s well below most of the non-Amazon branded competition. 

You should also note that if you already own the 2016 or 2017 version of this tablet, it won't be worth upgrading to the 2018 version as the differences are minimal.

Read our Amazon Fire HD 8 (2018) review

Best Android tablets

10. Amazon Fire 7 (2017)

Almost unbelievably cheap

Weight: 295g | Dimensions: 115mm x 192mm x 9.6mm | OS: Fire OS | Screen size: 7-inch | Resolution: 1024 x 600 | CPU: Quad-core 1.3GHz | RAM: 1GB | Storage: 8/16GB | Battery: Up to 7 hours | Rear camera: 2MP | Front camera: VGA

Crazily cheap price
Decent media performance
Screen is dull and low res
Lacking app store

Tablets don’t get any cheaper than this – well, functional ones don’t anyway. The incredibly low price and sturdy design make the Amazon Fire 7 (2017) a great choice to give to a kid – in fact, Amazon’s even built a (pricier) version specifically for children.

But even for a grown audience the Amazon Fire far exceeds expectations, with a fairly bright 7.0-inch screen, acceptable speakers, solid battery life and even reasonable performance, with a snappy interface and the ability to run most games.

Fire OS won’t suit everyone and this isn’t a tablet that impresses once you take the price out of the equation, but for what the Amazon Fire costs it would almost be rude not to buy it.

Read our Amazon Fire 7 (2017) review