The Android operating system is the most popular mobile OS across both smartphones and tablets, standing out for its intuitive UI and the biggest selection of apps. Android tablets often match or excel the power of their smartphone counterparts, and their larger screens are excellent for streaming and playing games.
The selection of Android tablets can be overwhelming, though, and it can be hard to find the right tablet for your needs. Our favorite pick by Samsung is a high-performing tablet that can be used for work or play. To learn more about the variety of Android tablets available, continue reading our buying guide.
Considerations when using android tablets
Before you begin your hunt for an Android tablet, you should ask yourself what you will use your tablet for. Do you need a convenient streaming device for watching movies on the couch or on long plane rides, or are you looking for a portable workstation for sending emails and editing cloud documents at the café? While an Android tablet can certainly do both of those things, some are better suited to certain tasks.
For a work tablet, the key features to look for are a larger screen and stylus support. If you plan to do more intensive tasks, like video editing or gaming, look for an Android tablet with at least 4GB of RAM. If you are simply looking to play casual games, stream movies, or read ebooks, most Android tablets should meet your needs.
Any tablet is going to be fairly portable -- however, tablets vary in size and weight. A smaller tablet means a smaller screen, but it's also easier to slip into your bag. If you regularly work on the go and have a long commute, a smaller tablet may be right for you.
The classic 3.5-millimeter headphone jack is going by the wayside. While adapters are available, this is one more little purchase you have to consider. To avoid the hassle, look for an Android tablet that includes a 3.5-millimeter jack.
Once you know what you'll be using your tablet for and what specs you need, you should also consider aspects like the brand and screen size of the tablet.
Brand name: Different manufacturers produce tablets of varying construction quality and touchscreen responsiveness. There's a good chance a brand you are familiar with and can trust produces Android tablets.
Screen size: Screen size determines not only the space you have to work with but also the overall size of the tablet. For the best of both worlds, look for a tablet with a screen that approaches the edge of the tablet.
WiFi: Any tablet is equipped with WiFi, but some models may have LTE functionality, allowing you to connect online just about anywhere -- for a higher price plus a monthly subscription.
Android tablet prices
Basic Android tablets can be found for $100 to $250 and work well for basic tasks, while tablets costing up to $500 are generally more powerful and may have larger screens. The most expensive Android tablets cost up to $1,200 and have superior processors and better resale value.
Q. Can Android tablets be used with keyboards?
A. There are many keyboards, often Bluetooth-based, designed to work with Android tablets so you can use them as pseudo-laptops. You may even be able to find a case with a built-in keyboard designed for your tablet.
Q. Should I get an Android tablet for my child?
A. A tablet can be as much of an educational tool as it is a way to play games and watch videos. Some Android tablets are designed specifically for children, and the Restricted User Control feature allows you to control which apps your children can use.
Android tablets we recommend
Best of the best: Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
Our take: When it comes to processing power, this tablet is hard to beat.
What we like: Features like the 13 megapixel camera, crisp screen, and 256GB flash storage make this an excellent work-ready tablet.
What we dislike: This is one of the more expensive Android tablets available.
Best bang for your buck: Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1
Our take: Despite the low price, this is a powerful little tablet that can be used for work or play.
What we like: The included stylus and large high-res screen make this a good tablet for artwork or other projects.
What we dislike: A few bugs and issues can make this tablet frustrating to use.
Choice 3: Samsung Galaxy Tab A
Our take: This low-priced Android tablet works well for casual and on-the-go use.
What we like: The design of this tablet is compact enough to use it one-handed, and the screen is crisp and colorful.
What we dislike: The 1.5GB RAM can be limiting, and the low battery life means you may run out of juice easily depending on your usage.
Peter McPherson is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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