If you're the proud owner of an Android tablet – whether it's a Nexus 9, a Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 or an Nvidia Shield – you'll be forever on the lookout for new apps to load onto your slick new slate. Here are the best Android tablets apps we've found, conveniently divided into tablet-oriented categories.
- Surfing the internet
- Exploring the world
- Apps for kids
- Apps for travel
- Watching movies
- Creativity apps
- Productivity apps
- Apps for photos/editing
- Apps for reading
Some of us use our tablets for hardcore productivity, but most of us use them for hardcore procrastination. I prefer to call it ''research'' though. Whatever you call it, you can't research much on a tablet without some great internet tools.
We're not just talking about Google Chrome (but feel free to check our best Android browsers list). Internet essentials such as Pushbullet (for sharing links across devices), Mighty Text (to get pop-up notifications from your phone) and Pocket (for saving articles for reading offline later) make your tablet experience 10 times better.Pushbullet
Tablets have larger displays than phones so are great for visual content. When was the last time you explored the planet with Google Earth? Did you know you can even go underwater now and search for the Loch Ness Monster? I uninstalled Google Earth from my phone long ago, but it still holds pride of place on my tablet.
The same goes for the awesome NASA App for exploring the universe, Star Tracker for learning more about the constellations and and even Google Maps for checking out cities you have never been to. Google Earth even has Street View built-in these days.Google Earth NASA App
If you're not a kid (or act like a kid) yourself, you've probably bought a tablet primarily for your kids. Tablets are awesome for entertaining kids: they're cheaper than consoles, with plenty of free games, educational potential and much less likely to end up with sticky goo clogging up the buttons.
There are so many awesome apps in the Play Store for kids it's not funny, but some of our favorites include Educational Games for Kids, or if you're more into interactive music jams, Music Hero. Our favorite app for occupying kids of the big and small variety is Marble Mixer, a game simply too epic to be played on the small screen.Marble Mixer
Tablets are great tools for travelers. Smaller, lighter and less expensive than a laptop, a tablet can be one of the greatest travel companions you have. The bonus is that booking flights, creating itineraries or generally organizing your trip can be just as simple with a tablet as it can be with a laptop.
If you need flights between destinations, grab Skyscanner and get awesome on-the-ground information on your next destination with Triposo World Travel Guide. Before you even get started though, Trip Advisor is one app all globetrotters should have installed from the minute they step foot in the airport.TripAdvisor Hotels Flights
Watching movies is probably the single biggest reason most people buy a tablet. There's no better way to pass a boring flight, train trip, or a lazy Sunday afternoon. But you need a solid movie player that's up to the task, and they don't come any more solid than MX Player – rightly the most popular video player on the Play Store – which not only plays most video formats smoothly, but also has some neat features like pinch-to-zoom and the option to move around subtitles.
Also of note, the PC user's video player of choice, VLC, has been in beta form on Android for nearly two years, but the stable, fully working version 1.0 is now available. VLC is fantastic for playing back video in just about any format. Of course, if streaming is more your style, don't forget Netflix and HuluPlus.
- How to watch TV shows and movies for free on Android
- Music more your thing? Here are the best music streaming players for Android
If you're holding that stylus with the intention of creating something artistic, first you'll need to grab the best painting and drawing apps you can find. As you probably know, anything Adobe is a great bet. The most useful apps are probably Photoshop Mix and Illustrator Draw.
If you're serious about using your tablet to paint and draw, there's no better choice than Clover Paint. While its user interface might not be the most attractive, the app's depth and complexity is unparalleled. It's currently US$7.56, but believe us when we say it's worth every cent.Adobe Photoshop Mix Adobe Illustrator Draw Clover Paint
When all that time-wasting has ended, you might find yourself needing to actually do a spot of work on your tablet. Thankfully, after making us wait for years, Microsoft has finally released well-optimized, beautifully designed versions of its legendary Office tools: Word for Tablet, Excel for Tablet and PowerPoint for Tablet.
They're the Office tools that Android's been waiting for, and if you're still using the archaic Microsoft Office Mobile, you need to switch over to the new apps, right now.
To help with all the typing that you'll be doing, you want the best keyboard app for the job, so get your hands on the free SwiftKey app.Microsoft Word Microsoft Excel Microsoft PowerPoint
If you spend plenty of time admiring your holiday photos, Facebook photos, selfies and sellotapies, then you'll want a photo suite that makes this pastime easier. For that, you're going to need the best Android camera apps, the best photo editing apps and the slickest gallery app for Android.
Camera ZOOM FX has been with Android since the days of the Android Market, and it's come a long way in that time. As well as offering the filters, time-lapses and other features we've come to expect from our phone cameras, it also has some of its own tricks, such as silly props and famous 'buddies' to add to your photos.Camera ZOOM FX - FREE
Once you've taken your snaps, you can do some more in-depth editing on them using Pixlr Express, which you can use to adjust color temperatures, contrast and saturation, and even create your own memes.
Finally, you'll want to view your images in a gallery that's worthy of your photos. QuickPic is the best way to keep your photo collection organized and looking good.
One of a tablet's biggest advantages over a smartphone is that you can spend hours reading on it without getting eye-strain. If you've got an endless library of classic ebooks clogging up your computer or gathering dust on your Kindle, then why not pop them on your new tablet so they're always with you?
They hardly take up any space either – that '1001 books you must read before you die' list is going to need less memory than a Lady Gaga album.Amazon Kindle
With the plethora of news sources out there, it can be messy keeping them all bookmarked in our browsers. Besides, bookmarks are from a bygone era, Now, it's all about using apps to curate your own collection of news sources.
Feedly is a fantastic way to aggregate all your favorite news sources, letting your read them without having to go to the original site. You can also share news stories across social media, and save your favourite articles to read later.
Just as useful as Feedly is Flipboard. It also holds the edge over Feedly for tablet users because it has an interface optimized specifically for tablets, so swiping between news stories is a cinch.
2015 got off to a great start when it comes to Android games. The stunt-bike game Trial Xtreme 4 builds on its predecessors with great new graphics, competitive online gameplay, and has recently answered its fans' calls to throw in an offline mode too.
A rundown of the best tablet games of 2015 wouldn't be complete without a tablet-exclusive game, so the brilliant Hearthstone deserves a mention. In this compelling card game set in the Warcraft universe, fast reflexes and quick strategic thinking are a must as you use spells and skills to overcome your opponents.Hearthstone Heroes of Warcraft
If you enjoyed last year's surreal puzzle game Monument Valley, then you'll warm straight away to Skyward, which has a similar minimalist aesthetic. Skyward has its own unique gameplay and charm; your task is to control a red disc and a blue disc, and keep them from falling off the beautiful disappearing platforms.
None of these tickle your fancy? Then you'll definitely find something in one of our many lists of best Android games:
- Essential games for your Android tablet
- Best free Android games
- Android games you must play in 2015
- Best offline Android games
- Best new apps you might not know
- Best puzzle games on Android
Any great apps or games missing from our lists? Tell us about them in the comments.