Three best Samsung tablets
While Apple's iPad gets a lot of glory as the world's most popular tablet, there's one brand that has always given Apple a run for its money: Samsung. Samsung tablets, in fact, have quietly taken over a huge segment of the tablet market as they offer Android-based alternatives at lower prices.
But Samsung has never been happy just imitating -- they've also been innovating, too. With their Galaxy line of tablets, Samsung was one of the first manufacturers to introduce smaller-size tablets, tablets with included styluses, and tablets with new screen technologies like AMOLED. So now, while there are only a few different iPads to consider, there are more than a dozen Samsung Galaxy tablets to choose from.
Samsung makes a tablet for just about everyone, so if you're ready to find yours, read on!
Considerations when choosing Samsung tablets
Samsung offers a wide variety of tablets ranging from light-and-competent models through pro-level models that are huge and fast enough to use as a laptop replacement. The differences between the various models typically come down to a handful of key features.
Screen size. The first decision to make when buying a tablet is what size you want. Samsung offers tablets ranging from 5" to 18.4", so it's easy to find one that's just right. If you plan on using your tablet mostly for games or casual tasks, a 7" tablet is an affordable option. If you'll mostly be watching movies or using your tablet for work, consider something closer to 10.1" so you don't have to squint to see everything.
Onboard storage. Tablets are basically tiny computers, so they rely on physical storage for data, and Samsung makes tablets with all different amounts of storage options. Samsung tablets support microSD card slots, so you can always increase your available disk space by buying a microSD card later, but in general, it's best to buy a tablet that has enough onboard storage to accomplish everything you need to by default. If you plan on putting a lot of your files on your tablet (like your photos or movies), buy one with at least 32GB of storage. If you keep most of your data in the cloud, a 16GB model should be fine.
Android version. Samsung uses Google's mobile operating system, Android, on its tablets, often delivering an identical app experience to their smartphones. Samsung periodically provides some Android updates as they're released, and updates typically include new features, bug fixes, and security improvements. That said, Samsung updates can be few and far between, so if you want the latest apps and features, make sure the tablet you buy is running the most current version of Android available.
LTE compatibility. Some Samsung tablets include built-in LTE capabilities, so they can work with wireless providers to bring you internet connectivity anywhere. An LTE tablet is basically a large smartphone that can access data anywhere but can't make phone calls. If you plan on taking your Samsung tablet out of the house, and you still need web connectivity, get an LTE model -- just don't forget that just like with your smartphone, an LTE-based tablet requires a monthly subscription with a wireless provider like Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, or T-Mobile.
Q. Can I add hard drive storage to a Samsung tablet?
A. Yes. Samsung tablets typically include a microSD slot so you can add third-party microSD cards for additional storage. Using a microSD card can be a useful way to periodically refresh content on your tablet -- and if you ever upgrade to a new Samsung tablet, transferring content is as easy as moving the microSD card from one tablet to the other.
Q. Do Samsung tablets work with styluses?
A. Yes. Tablet styluses are perfect for situations where you need pencil-like precision on your tablet screen. Some Samsung tablets include their own stylus -- but any third-party stylus will work on any Samsung tablet.
Q. How long do Samsung tablets last on a single battery charge?
A. Samsung tablet battery life varies by tablet model, but in general, most Samsung tablets advertise around 9-10 hours on a single charge. Battery life will vary based on what you're using the tablet for; for example, all tablets will last longer in standby mode than they will when showing movies. In general, most Samsung tablets last for around four hours if they're being actively used.
Samsung tablets we recommend
Best of the best: Samsung Galaxy Tab S3
Our take: The Samsung S3 tablet is powerful enough to replace your laptop, and the Super AMOLED screen makes everything look gorgeous.
What we like: The display has support for movies with High Dynamic Range (HDR), a luxury rarely found on tablets. The speakers are rich and bassy, so everything sounds as good as it looks.
What we dislike: Samsung's matching keyboard, sold separately, is sub-par, so a third-party keyboard is necessary for any serious typing.
Best bang for your buck: Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1
Our take: The Galaxy Tab A is the perfect starter tablet: it's fast, it's big, and it supports all of Samsung's proprietary content like the Samsung Kids monthly subscription service. It's not the most powerful tablet on the block, but it never feels slow, and it's affordably priced.
What we like: The 1900x1200 display makes movies and TV shows look fantastic. It's powerful enough to keep up with devices that cost twice as much.
What we dislike: It only includes 16GB of storage, making a separate microSD card a must.
Our take: The Galaxy Tab E Lite is great for kids or situations where you need basic tablet functionality. If you need a tablet that's adequate and affordable, this is a solid option.
What we like: It's durable, and comes with a free month of Samsung Kids. It's lite, so carrying it around is easy.
What we dislike: It's underpowered. The CPU slows down basics tasks, there isn't enough storage, and there isn't enough RAM.
Jaime Vazquez 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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