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Best Android tablets of 2014: our top 10 picks

Loie Favre
10

You may have noticed that our pages were graced with the best Android phones of 2014. Now it’s time to turn to the big boys: here are what we consider to be the best Android tablets that you can buy in 2014. As new devices roll onto the market, we will update this list where we see fit.

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What is the best Android tablet of 2014? / © ANDROIDPIT

Just like smartphones, tablets allow you to play games, watch videos, listen to music, and do work-related/productivity type things, all with the advantage of a bigger screen. When considering which tablet you should buy, there are a lot of things to keep in mind, like CPU and RAM (for an idea of how slick the performance will be), weight, features, and more!

1. Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014)

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Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014). / © Samsung

Design, power and portability: these three deciding factors are the reasons why the Samsung jewel has landed at the top of our tablet food chain. It measures less than 8 mm thick, can run any game or app your heart desires, and most importantly, has a great feature called "multi-window" which lets you have up to 4 of them open at time. Once you get your hands on the Note 10.1, you’ll notice that it comes with the S Pen, which great for writing and many other extra functions. Now, imagine being able to enjoy all of this on a 10.1-inch screen!

It's safe to say that the Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 is the best the world of Android tablets has to offer at the moment. This, however, comes at a price, and what a price it is! If you consider that most of today's mobile technology has been crammed into one singular device, you’d understand why Samsung charges such big bucks: its Note-specific functions (S Pen, Air Gesture, etc), connectivity, performance, and portability puts this tablet in direct competition with laptops.

Display 10.1-inches, 2,560 x 1600 (WQXGA) TFT, Super Clear LCD
Processor WiFi/3G : 1.9GHz Quad + 1.3GHz Quad Exynos 5400
LTE : 2.3GHz Quad
RAM/Interal Memory 3 GB / 16/32/64 GB + microSD up to 64 GB
Camera 8 MP (rear) wit flash, 2 MP Full HD (front)
Connectivty Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 4.0, USB 2.0, GPS
Dimensions 243.1 x 171.4 x 7.9 mm
Weight 540 g (Wi-Fi) / 547 g (3G / LTE)
Battery 8,220 mAh
Operating System Android 4.3 Jelly Bean

2. Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2

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Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 with its cover/keyboard. / © Samsung

The first place runner up is yet another large Samsung tablet: it comes with the same powerful performance, and even more space for content, with the disadvantage of a slight loss in sharpness and portability. Want a keyboard? No problem! Samsung has included a physical Bluetooth keyboard that can be used as a cover or support base.

You won’t feel like you are missing out on anything with the Note Pro 12.2: in addition to its many features, it has a huge visual impact thanks to the big screen (multi-window mode is also available here). But there are also some disadvantages, one of which is due to it weighing 215 grams more (than the Note 10.1) and of course its large size, This makes handling a bit more cumbersome than the 10.1 inch model. In addition, the cover, included keyboard, and 64 GB of memory make the price even less inviting. That being said, there’s also a 32GB version which seems slightly more accessible.

Display 12.2-inch Super Clear LCD, 2560x1600, 247 ppi
Dimensions and weight 295.6 x 204 x 7.95 mm, 750 g
Internal storage 32GB/64GB + microSD slot up to 64 GB
Memory 3 GB RAM
Processor Samsung Exynos 5 Octa (SM-P905). 1.8 GHz
Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 (SM-P900), 2.3 GHz
Battery 9,500 mAh
Cameras 8 MP + LED (back); 2 MP (front)
Connectivity and networks Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, microUSB 3.0 port with microUSB 2.0 compatibility, NFC, GPS
Operating system and UI Android 4.4 KitKat with TouchWiz UI

3. Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5. / © Samsung

First and foremost, this tablet deserves massive props because of its sleek design which combines slick plastic with luxurious and unique copper edges. The Galaxy Tab S, besides being the lightest 10-inch tablet produced by Samsung, has hardware which ensures top-class performance. You’ll be able to run resource-hungry applications with minimal delay. But all of this is peanuts next to what really took our breath away: the Tab S series were bestowed with seriously incredible Super AMOLED screens, which according to DisplayMate, one of the most reliable sources when it comes to screen quality, is the best tablet on the market. This was concluded after considering multiple aspects, including color fidelity.

(You can also find a simirlarly awesome 8.4-inch variation of the device with almost the same specs, only differing in the dimensions and pixels-per-inch.) 

The new series of Samsung tablets revisits what was offered in the Tab Pro series: what came out of it was less powerful hardware offset by their incredible new Super AMOLED display. All of this, combined with its incredible lightness and unique design land the Tab S 10.5 in third place on the tablet podium.

Display 10.5-inch Super AMOLED 2560x1600 (288ppi)
Dimensions and weight 177.3 x 247.3 x 6.6 mm, 465 g
Internal storage 16 GB/ 32GB + microSD slot up to 128 GB
Memory 3 GB RAM
Processor octa-core Samsung Exynos 5 Octa, 1.9 GHz
quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, 2.3 GHz
Battery 7,900 mAh
Cameras 8 MP (rear); 2.1 MP (front)
Connectivity and networks Wi-Fi, HSPA, LTE, Bluetooth 4.0, microUSB 2.0 port
Operating system and UI Android 4.4.2 KitKat with TouchWiz UI

4. Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet 

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Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet. / © Sony

Sony cracks the otherwise Samsung-laden list: The Sony Xperia Z2 immediately draws attention with high class OmniBalance design which ensures for perfect weight distribution and incredible thinness (just 6.4 mm), enabling it to become the world's thinnest tablet. Also, Sony’s been on the ball with making waterproof devices: the Tablet Z2 has IP58 certification which makes it resistant to dust and water. Lastly, its hardware specifications are hard to beat, and provide for a fluid user experience.

Despite the lower screen resolution and battery capacity compared to other tablets on the list, the Sony Xperia Tablet Z2 achieved this position thanks to its beautiful looks and water-friendliness. Moreover, its performance is amazing, seeing as it has the second fastest Qualcomm processors to-date, the Snapdragon 801 (the Note 4 has the latest processor with a Snapdragon 805).

Display 10.1-inch, IPS, 1920 x 1200 pixels
Dimensions and weight 212.8 x 125.6 x 6.6 mm, 294 g
Internal storage 16GB + microSD
Memory 3 GB RAM
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, Quad-Core, 2.3 GHz
Battery 6,000 mAh
Cameras 8.1 MP (rear); 2.1 MP (front)
Connectivity and networks LTE, UMTS, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, MHL 3.0, USB 2.0, Wi-F
Operating system and UI Android 4.4 KitKat with Xperia UI

5. Sony Z3 Tablet Compact

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Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact. / © Sony

The Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact is currently the world's "most powerful and lightest waterproof tablet". It houses an impressive looking full-HD screen which makes use of Sony's Triluminous and X-Reality technologies. In real terms, all this means is that it looks more vibrant than it otherwise would, but it's more than just some marketing terminology, the screen is bright with great color depth. The Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact will also be able to take advantage of Sony's PS4 remote play feature, turning your tablet into an alternative screen for all your PS4 games, if you wish to do this when it is released. 

The Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact isn't quite as powerful as the fantastic Z2 tablet, with less RAM and lower battery life, but if you're looking for something a little smaller, without a huge sacrifice in quality, this is a great option. Plus, it still retains some of the neat features like water resistance, Snapdragon 801 processor, and expandable memory up to 128 GB. 

Display 8-inch, LCD, 1,920 x 1,200 pixels, 323 ppi
Dimensions and weight 213 x 123 x 6.4 mm, 280 g
Internal storage 16 GB + microSD up to 128 GB
Memory 2 GB RAM
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, quad-core, 2.5 GHz
Battery 4500 mAh
Cameras 8.1 MP (rear); 2.2 MP (front)
Connectivity and networks HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0
Operating system and UI Android 4.4.4 KitKat

6. Nvidia Shield

nvidia shield tablet android directstylus
NVIDIA Shield / © ANDROIDPIT

The Nvidia Shield is a great tablet for users who want a device for high-performance gaming. Comparing other tablets in its class, the Nvidia Shield really doesn’t have any direct competition in terms of quality/price.

The Nvidia proves to be an excellent tablet, up-to-date with all one would expect from a tablet, and works with virtually any app on the Play Store. You will never have the frustration of not being able to download your favorite game due to hardware restrictions. There won’t even be a shimmer of a stutter or a crash either, the device runs smooth like butter even when playing the most demanding of games. If you consider these points, as well as its attractive price, the Nvidia Shield is a must for anyone who loves games and wants a tablet that won’t swoon when the going gets tough.

Display 8-inch, IPS 1,280 x 800 pixels, 283 ppi
Processor Nvidia Tegra K1, 64 bit dual-core, 2.2 GHz
RAM/Interal Memory 2 GB / 16/32 GB + microSD up to 32 GB
Camera 5 MP / 5 MP
Connectivty Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 4.0, USB 2.0, GPS
Dimensions 221 x 126 x 9.2 mm
Weight 390 grams
Battery 5.200 mAh
Operating System Android 4.4.2 KitKat

7. Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4, 10.1 and 12.2

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Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 12.2. / © Samsung

Here is yet another superb Samsung tablet stemming from the ‘’older’’ Tab series. This edition of tablets was released mere months before the new Tab S devices, and thus is much more attractive when it comes to price, which has fallen drastically ever since its release. The Tab Pro exists in three versions boasting different screen sizes: 12.2, 10.1 and 8.4 inches. The 12.2-inch version comes with 1 GB of RAM more than its siblings, also with increased battery capacity, but otherwise the hardware is the same.

Aside from a few differences mentioned, the Tab Pro 10.1 and Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 devices are identical to the 12.2-inch version and all offer excellent performance. Though it does come with a super sharp LCD screen, it’s no match for the Super AMOLED Tab S display, which is why it’s landed further down our list.

Display 12.2-inch, Super clear LCD capacitive touchscreen 2560 x 1600 pixels (~247 ppi)
Dimensions and weight 295.6 x 204 x 8 mm, 732 g
Internal storage 32/64 GB + microSD up to 64 GB
Memory 3 GB RAM
Processor Quad-core 1.9 GHz Cortex-A15 & quad-core 1.3 GHz Cortex-A7
Battery 9500 mAh
Cameras 8 MP (rear); 2 MP (front)
Connectivity and networks Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, Infrared, Micro USB 3.0, GPS
Operating system and UI Android 4.4 KitKat

8. Google Nexus 9

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Google Nexus 9 / © ANDROIDPIT

You thought we’d forgotten Google’s latest arrival? The Nexus 9 lands in this spot on our list of best Android tablets, not because of its level of performance, but also because of our slight disappointment that was felt. It's safe to say a lot more was expected. Sure, it’s the first tablet in the world to show off Android 5.0 Lollipop but its performance is not among the best. Nevertheless, with its technical specifications, it still makes the top 10 best tablet of the year. Some of its best features include the brilliant 8.9-inch QXGA (2,048 x 1,536 pixels) LCD display with a ratio of 4:3, excellent BoomSound stereo speakers, a killer 64-bit processor Nvidia Tegra K1, plus all of the new features offered by Android 5.0 Lollipop.

Regardless of this though, we still can’t forget some of the other cons for this tablet, like the camera, battery and slow charging times, all of which don’t come near to some of the tablets earlier on in our list. This could be forgiven if you consider the attractive price of 399 USD or 319 GBP Google is asking for the device, which is much less than some of these other Android tablets.

Display 8.9-inch LCD 2048 x 1536 pixels, 288 ppi
Processor dual-core Nvidia Tegra K1, 2.3 GHz
RAM/Internal Memory 2 GB / 32/64 GB
Camera 8 MP (rear), 1.6 MP (front)
Connectivity NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, HSPA, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0
Dimensions 153.68 x 228.25 x 7.95 mm
Weight 425 g, 436 g
Battery 6,700 mAh
Operating System Android 5.0 Lollipop, stock Android

9. LG G Pad 8.3

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LG G Pad 8.3. / © LG

The LG G Pad 8.3 has an aluminum casing making it an ergonomic tablet which is a pleasure to touch, and definitely feels unique amidst the plastic centric industry. The LG G Pad was released in 2013, but still offers features and performance that deserves respect.

Though the tablet is a tad older than the others mentioned above, the LG G Pad 8.3 is a great choice within the huge plethora of current Android tablets. Its main disadvantage is the screen resolution, which is somewhat low for 8.3 inches. This means a lower pixel density and less than perfect clarity. But you might not be too bothered when you consider its great price.

Read our Samsung Galaxy TabPRO 8.4 vs LG G Pad 8.3 comparison.

Display 8.3-inch LCD, 1920 x 1080 pixels, 283 ppi
Dimensions and weight 216.8 mm x 126.5 mm x 8.3 mm, 338 g
Internal storage 16 GB + microSD
Memory 2 GB RAM
Processor Snapdragon 600 Quad-Core 1.7 GHz
Battery 4,600 mAh 
Cameras 5 MP (rear); 2 MP (front)
Connectivity and networks Bluetooth 4.0, USB 2.0, Wi-Fi, GPS, QPair
Operating system and UI Android 4.4.2 + Optimus UI

10. Google Nexus 7 (2013)

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Google Nexus 7. / © Google

The Nexus 7 (2013) has been placed in last position because of the older tech specs, but there’s no beating the price/performance ratio this Google tablet has to offer.

The Google Nexus 7 was built by Asus in 2013, and you can definitely feel its age. Its processor performance is one of the lowest on the list, nonetheless it’s still a fluid device. Another disadvantage is the absence of a microSD slot. As for the positive side of this device, it has a nice Full HD resolution, which is a good choice for its 7-inch screen size, resulting in tight pixel density and high detail sharpness. Portability is great thanks to its small size, and the price has dropped considerably since its launch.

Display 7-inch, IPS LCD, 1,920x1,200 pixels, 323 ppi
Dimensions and weight 200 x 114 x 8.7 mm, 290 g
Internal storage 16/32 GB, not expandable
Memory 2 GB RAM
Processor Quad-core, Snapdragon S4 Pro, 1.5 GHz
Battery 3950 mAh
Cameras 5 MP (rear); 1.2 MP (front)
Connectivity and networks LTE, WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC
Operating system and UI Android 4.3 Jelly Bean

What do you think of our list? Which device did we miss?

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Comments

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  • Robin Scully 3 months ago Link

    Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 matches the excellent screen quality that it offers with a powerful processor chip that ensures that the device operates at very fast speeds as well as they are worth of your money.

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  • plck74 3 months ago Link

    nvidia shield tablet? can have review tablet for game?

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    • User picture
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      Scott Adam Gordon 3 months ago Link

      Beg pardon?

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    • Simon P 3 months ago Link

      I was wondering why its not on the list. Nvidia 7 is about a year old and the Shield blows many of the tablets out of the water. Not the most up to date list.

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  • Tristan Isaac 3 months ago Link

    I hope the Dell Venue 8 7000 will be in the next list :) It really looks nice

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  • CJ Brown 3 months ago Link

    Nvidia Tegra Note 7 - enjoying mine and hey all you need to do is #GoogleIt to find out what its like to play games on this device (I hope a 2nd generation comes out with better cameras) ...

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  • spaceweasel 3 months ago Link

    Once you own a few Samsung devices with their stupid TouchWiz and locked bootloaders, you'll want to stay away. What a PIA!

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    • Simon P 3 months ago Link

      With you on that one. Samsung killed my Tab 3 8.0 with the 4.4.2 update. Worked fine before that. An unlocked boot loader could have fixed it. Will never own a Sam tab again. Love my Nvidia Shield Tablet. Which oddly isn't on this list.

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  • Grateful Sam 1 month ago Link

    HTC m8 has already taken the crown. GalGalanote and some others have to wait till next year for an award. Even then m9 May take the spot..

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  • Eddy Jones 3 weeks ago Link

    I call fowl, how can someone write this article but get the spec's wrong on one of the Tablets.

    I owned the Samsung Note 10.1 2014 and I currently own the Samsung Tab S 10.5 LTE and you have the spec's on the Tab S 10.5 processor wrong.

    And it isn't less powerful than either the Note 10.1 2014 or the Note Pro 12..

    The Tab S 10.5 has a Exynos 5 octa core 1.9 Ghz Quad 1.3Ghz quad processor

    They have it as a 1.6 Ghz in this Article

    It has the same processor as the Note Pro 12.2

    The Tab S should be in the number 1 slot

    Please Correct this.

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