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The Best Android Tablets for 2019


What's the Best Android Tablet?

Android could be a great tablet operating system, but we're not thrilled with the options available out there right now. The strength in Google's OS is its flexibility. The Android OS lets manufacturers build useful products ranging from $50 to $1000, fitting a broader range of niches and tastes than the Apple iPad, which has dominated the tablet market since it first came out.

In 2019, most Android tablet options cluster at the low-end, an endless array of no-name, plasticky sub-$100 slates sold at your local CVS or through mysterious "fulfilled by Amazon" drop-shippers. While Samsung, Lenovo, Asus, and Acer used to deliver solid iPad competitors for folks who prefer Google services, they've all slowed down their tablet production. Samsung's most recent Galaxy Tab S6 doesn't meet our threshold for this roundup because of buggy software.

While Android seems to be largely losing its fight with the iPad and Windows tablets at the top of its range, its strengths at smaller sizes and lower price points can be hard to beat. Android tablets also sometimes show up with crazy experimental features, like the Onyx Boox Max 3's giant E Ink screen.

I'm going to express a personal frustration here that we can't recommend Huawei's Mediapad line right now. Huawei's Mediapads are slim, efficient, good-looking, and powerful Android tablets. I use a Mediapad M5 at home and I'm very satisfied with it. Unfortunately, the US government keeps threatening to cut off the company's access to Google services out of a misbegotten confusion of Huawei's consumer hardware business with its network infrastructure business, and I can't in good conscience recommend a tablet that may lose access to Gmail at any moment.

Fire HD 10

Start With Software

Android tablet manufacturers don't tend to keep their software up to date. While the most recent version of Android is Android 10 "Q," most tablets are still on an older iteration. At least try to find a tablet running Android 8 or higher.

Companies like Amazon and Samsung like to put their own spin on Google's OS, adding a bevy of features, new app stores, and completely revamped user interfaces. It's not for everyone, but those who are familiar with Amazon's Fire OS or Samsung's user experience should give the latest devices from each company a try. And if you're already heavily invested in the Amazon Appstore, you might want to stick with one of the latest Fire tablets.

Even if you don't have the most recent OS iteration, Android continues to be the most configurable tablet operating system you'll find. It's a master multitasker, with an excellent notification system and top-notch integration with Google services like Gmail, Hangouts, and Google Maps. Android is home to plenty of great apps, but there still aren't as many tablet-specific options as you'll find for the iPad.

Cellular or Wi-Fi?

All of the major carriers are currently selling cellular-enabled tablets. You can add them to a monthly family plan, or pay for data by the day. T-Mobile tablets are unlocked and can be used on any service that the tablets' radios are compatible with, while AT&T and Sprint tablets tend to be locked to that service. Verizon sells locked devices that you can unlock on request.

If you have a hotspot option on your smartphone plan, you can save money by just using that with a Wi-Fi-enabled tablet. But that will burn your smartphone's battery, of course (that's where battery packs come in). And unless you're on have unlimited data, be aware that streaming video on a tablet will quickly eat up an LTE service plan.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4

Don't Forget About Design

Performance on even the least expensive devices tends to be passable these days, so pay extra attention to design and display quality. The software experience might improve over time, but that chintzy plastic body isn't getting any upgrades.

Low-cost tablets also tend to have dull, 1,024-by-600 or 1,280-by-800 screens, that can look grainy to eyes used to even midrange smartphones. Higher-quality tablets are often in the 2,048-by-1,536 range, which is notably sharper. We recommend IPS and AMOLED displays for their wide viewing angles, vibrant colors, and excellent contrast.

Related Story See How We Test Tablets

There are plenty of bargain bin options out there promising the same Android experience as big names. While many of these off-label tabs are perfectly serviceable, we recommend choosing a brand you can count on for software support and hardware quality control. For more, see our favorite budget-friendly models.

Check out the selection here for the best Android-based tablets we've tested. Have a favorite we didn't include? Tell us in the comments. If you're looking for a great phone to complement your new tablet, head over to our Best Android Phones roundup. Or if you want to look beyond the realm of Android, check out our roundups of the Best Tablets for our favorite iOS options.

  • Amazon Fire HD 8 (2018)

    Pros: Simple user interface. Durable body. Works as an Echo Show.

    Cons: Amazon's app store falls short of Google Play. UI is very oriented toward showing Amazon content.

    Bottom Line: The 2018 edition of the Amazon Fire HD 8 remains the best media tablet you can get for under $100.

    Read Review
  • Amazon Fire HD 10 (2019)

    Pros: Solid performance for the price. Good battery life. USB-C. Fire OS 7 brings many improvements.

    Cons: Limited app selection. Mediocre speaker quality and cameras.

    Bottom Line: Amazon's Fire HD 10 remains the most reliable 10-inch tablet you can buy for $150, with solid performance, good battery life, and a sharp display.

    Read Review
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S4

    Pros: Sleek build. Gorgeous display. Loud speakers. Great stylus for drawing and note-taking. Excellent Wi-Fi connectivity. Dex brings desktop-like experience.

    Cons: Expensive. Keyboard accessory costs extra. Mediocre camera. Android-powered tablets still can't do everything Windows tablets can.

    Bottom Line: The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 is the best Android tablet we've seen to date, but it still can't beat Windows-powered 2-in-1s for productivity.

    Read Review
  • Lenovo Tab 4 8

    Pros: Affordable. Solid overall performance. Good battery life.

    Cons: Poor camera quality. No dual-band Wi-Fi.

    Bottom Line: The Lenovo Tab 4 8 is an affordable Android tablet with a long-lasting battery and decent performance for average multimedia use.

    Read Review
  • Google Pixel Slate

    Pros: Cutting-edge design. Thin and light. Excellent screen quality. Robust speakers. Long battery life.

    Cons: No headphone jack. Expensive as configured. Keyboard and stylus not included. Stylus-attachment scheme and screen palm rejection need work.

    Bottom Line: The first Chrome OS-based tablet from Google, the Pixel Slate is superior hardware, but in practice, it falls short of topping the Apple iPad, Chromebooks, or Windows tablets.

    Read Review
  • onn. 8-Inch Tablet

    Pros: Inexpensive. Runs relatively stock Android. Decent performance.

    Cons: Poor battery life. Lackluster display and cameras.

    Bottom Line: Walmart's 8-inch onn. tablet is a solid alternative to Amazon's Fire line for anyone who prefers traditional Android software to the Amazon-focused Fire OS.

    Read Review
  • Onyx Boox Max 3

    Pros: Huge screen. Thin and light design. Comes with a stylus. Reads pretty much anything. Runs Android apps.

    Cons: Expensive. Buggy. Not all third-party apps work.

    Bottom Line: The Onyx Boox Max 3 is the most powerful, versatile E Ink Android tablet we've seen, but whether it successfully runs the apps you need is a gamble.

    Read Review
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0

    Pros: Solid performance. Good build quality. Access to Google Play store.

    Cons: Underwhelming cameras. A bit pricey for what you get.

    Bottom Line: The Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 is a relatively affordable Android tablet with decent specs, but you can get more bang for your buck if you don't need access to Google Play.

    Read Review

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