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Updated August 2022
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for Best android tablets

Google’s Android mobile operating system is the most popular mobile OS on the planet. Every day, millions of Android users interact with the apps and functionalities that are essential to their daily lives. Android isn’t just for smartphones, though. It can now be found on mobile tablets from a wide variety of manufacturers. With an Android tablet, users can do everything they do on their smartphones but with a much larger screen and a more powerful set of internal components. If you’ve ever wondered what your Android phone would be like in a larger size with some augmented features, now’s the time to look into an Android tablet.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that there are hundreds of different Android tablets available in the ecosystem, ranging from models that are powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon platform and are as fast as laptops to models that barely respond to touch input. That’s where we come in.

Android tablets
Google updates Android regularly. For the most up-to-date features and security measures, buy an Android tablet that supports the most current version. Typically, Google rolls out Android versions for smartphones first, and then for tablets.

Key considerations

Before you get lost in a sea of technical specifications and jargon about Android tablets, consider these three questions:

What will you use your Android tablet for?

Consider your primary use cases – these should have the biggest influence on your decision. If you plan on using a tablet for watching movies in bed or casual web browsing from the couch, almost any Android tablet will do. If you want to use a tablet to take notes, you’ll need one with a bigger screen and good stylus support. Picture your ideal scenarios, and then think about the tablets that best fit them in terms of size and power. Once you have a general idea of how big and powerful you need a tablet to be, you can focus on models that meet your criteria.

Expert Tip
If you plan on using your tablet to watch TV and movies in bed, invest in a case that has a built-in kickstand, so you don’t have to prop it up with pillows.
BestReviews Electronics Expert

How portable do you want your tablet to be?

All tablets are portable in theory, but in reality, they can weigh anywhere between 2 and 5 pounds. That may not sound like much, but your shoulders will be able to tell the difference after a day of carrying your tablet around. If you plan on taking your tablet lots of places with you, consider getting a lighter model or one with a screen on the small side. If you’re mostly going to keep your tablet in one place, portability matters a lot less, so that might be a good reason to go with a larger tablet.

Do you need a tablet with a headphone jack?

Ports for standard 3.5mm headphones are an endangered species, and it’s only a matter of time before they disappear altogether. If you’ve got a collection of hi-fi headphones, or you just prefer the simplicity of traditional headphones , make sure the tablet you buy has a headphone jack. If you buy a tablet without a headphone jack by mistake, that’s OK. You can always get an adapter for using the tablet’s native ports, or you can buy a set of wireless Bluetooth headphones.

Android tablet features

There are a lot of different features to compare across the tablet market, but before you start comparing CPUs or RAM, consider the three features that will have the biggest impact on your overall experience.

Brand

Every manufacturer has its own approach to Android tablets, ranging from the quality of the build materials down to the look and feel of Android. Many brands have a strong reputation for making great Android tablets, such as Samsung, LG, Amazon Fire, or ASUS. Others, like HP or Acer, are known for shipping flimsy, buggy hardware. Stick with a name brand you know, and avoid getting an Android tablet that’s frustrating and underpowered.  If you see an Android-based tablet from an electronics manufacturer you’ve never heard of, don’t buy it.

Screen size

The screen size defines the tablet, so this is one of the first key decisions to make. If you want a portable Android tablet that can fit in a purse or a satchel, stick with models in the 7- to 8-inch range. If you want one that’s about the size of a sheet of paper, look for a mid-size option in the 9- to 10-inch range. If you need an Android tablet with a large screen, you’ll find many of them come on 2-in-1 laptops.

LTE and 5g support

Most Android tablets are WiFi-only, but some premium models contain an LTE or 5g radio, so you can pair them with a subscription to your wireless provider and get LTE or 5g internet on your tablet anywhere you go. If your tablet is mostly going to be used in areas where there’s WiFi, you don’t need to get an LTE-enabled model, but if you’re often out and about without WiFi and still want it to be able to get online, you should get one. Monthly subscription rates vary based on your wireless provider.

Expert TIp
If you’re on the fence about buying accessories for your tablet, don’t put it off. Your tablet is likely to be supported for years to come, but manufacturers often discontinue cases and other custom-fit gear much more quickly.
BestReviews Electronics Expert

Android tablet prices

Inexpensive

If you’re looking for a basic or entry-level Android tablet, you’ll need to spend between $100 and $250. Tablets in this price range are usually on the smaller side and typically ship with an older version of Android. If you’re looking for the best budget tablet for casual web browsing or for streaming movies and TV shows, you can find a good bargain in this range. If you’re looking for a tablet that’s fast and can keep up with your schoolwork or business, the price tag will be higher.

Mid-range

Tablets in the $250 to $500 range represent the best value. They’re fast enough to support anything you want to throw at them, they run current versions of Android, and they come in sizes up to 10 inches. If you need a tablet that’s fast enough to easily handle basic tasks and will perform well doing intensive work, this is the price range to keep in mind.

Expensive

If you want the fastest Android tablet available, or you want a mid-range model with some high-end upgrades, plan on spending anywhere between $500 and $1,200. Tablets in this price range truly spare no expense: they have huge screens, a ton of storage space, and best-in-class processors. Best of all, these tablets hold their resale price better than cheaper models.

Android tablets
Expert Tip
If you’re planning on getting a tablet that supports microSD storage, keep an eye out for microSD card sales. Believe it or not, microSD cards can get pretty pricey, but they go on sale frequently. I recommend buying one with at least 128GB of storage space.
BestReviews Electronics Expert

Tips

  • Run the software updates when you first power up your tablet. Tablets are computers, and as such, they need software updates to provide you with a stable experience and deliver new features. Give your tablet the best start out of the gate by running the software updates before you do anything else (you can usually find the option to update your software in Android’s Settings app). Once your tablet has downloaded and installed the latest updates, reboot it once for good measure. Then you can enjoy it knowing you’re having the most current experience available.
  • Delete any “bloatware” apps you can. Although all Android tablets run the Android operating system, most manufacturers make significant customizations to the OS and include proprietary apps. In most cases, the manufacturer’s apps aren’t super useful, and sometimes they’re coded so you can’t delete them. This will vary from tablet to tablet, but here’s the bottom line: when you first get your tablet, look for any proprietary, non-native Android apps, and research online to see if they can safely be deleted. If they can, go ahead and delete them, and reclaim the storage and screen real estate. (Just don’t delete any apps until you’re 100% sure it’s safe to do so.) Freeing up space on your device is likely to improve its performance, plus it will make more room to add popular apps like Netflix, TikTok, Snapchat, and more that are available in the app store.
  • Carry a power bank if you’re taking your tablet somewhere without power. Tablet batteries can last anywhere from four to eight hours, depending on the size of the tablet and what it’s doing. For example, a tablet can last in standby mode a lot longer than it can if it’s continually streaming movies. If you’re going to be in a situation where you suspect your tablet might run out of juice and you won’t be able to power it with a standard charger, grab a power bank, which is basically a portable battery with USB ports, and always carry an extra charge (or three) with you.
  • Set up app-specific passwords for your Android tablet’s app if you store a lot of personal or sensitive data on your Google account. App-specific passwords are a standard Google security feature, so you can use them to validate your identity with specific Google apps without having to use your primary Google account password. This helps protect against data breaches. If your tablet is ever compromised, hackers wouldn’t be able to gain access without your primary password. To learn more, visit your Google account’s Security page.
  • Decide if you’ll need a tablet with a microSD port. This is the port you’ll use to insert a microSD card. This is an important feature for expanding a device’s memory, as microSD cards are available with various memory capacities for storing large or multiple files. You are likely to find a microSD slot on smaller tablets, but keep in mind that adapters are available that allow you to insert microSD cards into standard SD ports.
Expert TIp
If you’re migrating to an Android tablet from Apple devices, make a list of the apps you use and make sure you can find all of the Android equivalents.
BestReviews Electronics Expert
Android tablets
If you’re buying an Android tablet for a child in your life, first make sure you’re familiar with Android’s Restricted User Control feature. By using this feature found in the Settings app, you can create an account for the child that only accesses the specific apps you choose.

FAQ

Q. Do I need to get a screen protector for my Android tablet?

A. It’s not required, but it’s a good idea if you want to keep your tablet’s screen free of scratches or cracks. If you’re not going to get a protective case for your tablet, it’s probably a good idea to get a screen protector, but if you are planning on getting a case, get one with a cover for the screen so you can skip getting a separate screen protector.

Q. Why do some tablets say they support 802.11n, while others say they support 802.11ac?

A. WiFi standards have evolved over the years to deliver faster wireless internet speeds and the increased broadcast range on wireless routers. WiFi first hit the mainstream using the 802.11b standard, then evolved to 802.11g, then 802.11n, and eventually on to the current standard, 802.11ac. (Each standard is always backward-compatible with prior standards.) For the fastest WiFi available, buy an Android tablet with 802.11ac WiFi, and avoid buying one that uses an older, slower version of WiFi.

Q. Can I use a tablet as a monitor?

A. Sort of. With the right app, you can use your Android tablet as an additional screen for a laptop or desktop computer, but you can’t use a tablet as a primary monitor for another computer. To learn more, search the Google Play Store for second-screen Android apps.

If you need to work with a monitor, another option is to purchase a high-end tablet like the Samsung Tab S7 that’s compatible with the Samsung deX system. You can add gadgets like a mouse, monitor, and keyboard to tablets in this family for an experience that’s similar to using a desktop computer.

 

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