In the past couple of years, Android tablets have become much more than just iPad alternatives, and many people now opt for them over Apple's pricey slates. When deciding which Android tablet to buy, there are a lot of things to consider, so we're here to guide you with our list of the best Android tablets of 2016.
Best overall: Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
It's not often that we come across an Android tablet that is close to perfect, but such is the case with the Xperia Z4 Tablet. With unparalleled build quality and looks, the Z4 Tablet is the lightest and thinnest tablet in the world. It's also waterproof and dustproof to IP65/IP68 certification.
The Z4 Tablet, despite using the Snapdragon 810 CPU, does not suffer from any heat-related crashes and performs wonderfully. The 10.1-inch display is bright and beautiful, although it does lack the pixel density and clarity of some other tablets on this list, such as the Galaxy Tab S.
Nevertheless, the Z4 Tablet just seems to get things right: from a very-stock looking Xperia UI to great battery performance. In some countries it is bundled with a Bluetooth keyboard, which unfortunately pushes the Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet price a bit high, but if you can pick one up without a keyboard, it's a great tablet to consider.
- Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet review
- Buy now: Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet from Amazon.com from US$599 (Wi-Fi)
- Buy now: Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet from Amazon.co.uk from £499 (Wi-Fi)
10.1-inch, IPS LCD, 2,560 x 1,600 pixels, 299 ppi
|Dimensions and weight||254 x 167 x 6.1 mm, 393 g|
|Internal storage||32 GB + microSD|
|Memory||3 GB RAM|
|Processor||Snapdragon 810, quad-core (4 x 2 GHz, 4 x 1.5 GHz)|
|Camera||8 MP (rear), 5.1 (front), no LED flash|
|Connectivity and networks||USB 2.0, Wi-Fi, dual-band, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC|
|Operating system and UI||Android 5.1 Lollipop, Xperia UI|
|Price||£579 or US$610 (LTE, 32 GB), £499 or US$599 (Wi-Fi, 32 GB)|
Best for productivity: Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 LTE
The Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 offers powerful performance, plus it has its own Bluetooth keyboard, which doubles as a cover, and the fantastic S Pen stylus.
The Note Pro 12.2 LTE is an all-encompassing tablet. In addition to its many features, it makes a huge visual impact thanks to its 12.2-inch screen (multi-window mode is also available here).
But there are some disadvantages, namely its 750 g weight, and extra large size – it's a bit more cumbersome than the 10.1-inch model.
Still, with the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 price sitting at around US$550, you can expect laptop-standard performance from this beauty.
- Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 LTE review
- Buy now: Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 from Amazon.com from US$550
- Buy now: Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 from Amazon.co.uk from £495
|Display||12.2-inch Super Clear LCD, 2,560 x 1,600, 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
|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 5.0.2 with TouchWiz UI|
|Price||From US$550 (32 GB, black), from £495 (32 GB, black)|
Best for reading: Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4
The Galaxy Tab S comes in two different sizes, but the smaller 8.4-inch version provides the perfect reading experience. Primarily, this is thanks to its Super AMOLED screen, which, according to DisplayMate, one of the most reliable sources when it comes to screen quality, is the best display on the market.
It’s nicely designed, combining slick plastic with luxurious, unique copper edges, and has hardware that ensures top-class performance; you’ll be able to run resource-hungry applications with minimal delay.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 price is currently floating around the US$260 mark, making it one of the best Android tablet choices.
- Galaxy Tab S 10.5 review
- Buy now: Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 from Amazon.com from US$266
- Buy now: Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 from Amazon.co.uk from £248
|Display||8.4-inch Super AMOLED 2,560 x 1,600 (359ppi)|
|Dimensions and weight||212.8 x 125.6 x 6.6 mm, 294 g|
|Internal storage||16 GB / 32GB + microSD slot up to 128 GB|
|Memory||3 GB RAM|
|Processor||Exynos 5 Octa 5420 1.9 GHz
Quad-core 1.9 GHz Cortex-A15 & quad-core 1.3 GHz Cortex-A7
|Cameras||8 MP (rear); 2.1 MP (front)|
|Connectivity and networks||Wi-Fi, LE, Bluetooth 4.0, microUSB 2.0 port|
|Operating system and UI||Android 5.0.2 Lollipop with TouchWiz UI|
|Price||US$266 (16 GB, dazzling white), £248 (16 GB, dazzling white)|
Best for gaming: Nvidia Shield
The Nvidia Shield is a tablet for those who want a high-performance gaming device – in this regard, it's currently the best Android has to offer. You'll never encounter the frustration of not being able to download your favorite game due to hardware restrictions, and games you do play won't stutter or a crash, the device runs smoothly even when playing the most demanding of titles.
If you consider the gaming performance, as well as the attractive Nvidia Shield price (US$200 for the base model), this is a top tablet that won’t swoon when the going gets tough. The Nvidia Shield is also rocking Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, something no other tablet on this list can say.
- Buy now: Nvidia Shield from Amazon.com from US$299
- Buy now: Nvidia Shield from Amazon.co.uk from £225
|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|
|Operating System||Android 5.1.1 Lollipop|
|Price||US$299 (16 GB, Wi-Fi), £225 (16 GB, Wi-Fi)|
Best for kids: Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Lite
A 7-inch, US$79.99 tablet with nine-hour battery, the Galaxy Tab 3 Lite is a great choice if you’re looking to entertain the wee ones with games and activities.
Due to its pricing, it’s naturally not a high-end machine, but it’s unlikely your toddler will mind. It still packs more of a punch than some other tablets that are frequently recommended for kids, including the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Kids 7.0.
If you’re happy to spend a bit more, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 (also 7 inches) provides a little more power and control. There’s multi-user support, so it can be shared among the family, and there’s a dedicated kids mode too.
|Display||7 inch, TFT 1,024 x 600 pixels, 170 ppi|
|Processor||Dual-core 1.2 GHz|
|RAM/Interal Memory||1 GB / 8 GB + microSD up to 32 GB|
|Connectivty||Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 4.0, USB 2.0, GPS|
|Dimensions||193.4 x 116.4 x 9.7 mm|
|Operating System||Android 4.2 Jelly Bean|
- Best Android tablets for kids
- Buy now: Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Lite from Amazon.com from US$79.99
- Buy now: Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Lite from Amazon.co.uk from £89.99
What do you think is the best Android tablet? Let us know in the comments below.