Best Android tablets of 2021: which should you buy?

Best Android tablet

(Image credit: Samsung; Asus)

The best Android tablet at any given time is often made by Samsung, as not many other companies are making premium Android slates. As such, this list has a few different Samsung tablets in it, with the iPad Pro 2020-rivaling Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus sitting at the top.

There are some options if you’re not into Samsung’s slates though. Amazon also makes excellent Android tablets, albeit usually ones that sit at the cheaper end of the market. These include the likes of the Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus.

And every now and again another company will produce an excellent Android tablet too, such as Huawei with the MatePad Pro. So one way or another there are quite a few to choose from.

We’ve laid out all the best Android tablet options below, in order of preference, along with a specs list and overview of each, so you can quickly work out which is right for you.

And if none feel right, make sure to check out our other tablet guides linked below – ideal if you’re on a budget, or open to tablets that don’t run Android.

Best Android tablets in 2020 at a glance:

  1. Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus
  2. Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite
  3. Samsung Galaxy Tab S6
  4. Huawei MatePad Pro
  5. Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
  6. Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus
  7. Amazon Fire HD 10 (2019)
  8. Amazon Fire HD 8 (2020)

Best Android tablets: which should you buy?

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus

(Image credit: Samsung)

1. Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus

The Galaxy Tab S7 Plus may be Samsung’s finest tablet yet

Specifications

Weight: 575g

Dimensions: 285 x 185 x 5.7 mm

OS: Android 10

Screen size: 12.4-inch

Resolution: 1752 x 2800 pixels

CPU: Snapdragon 865 Plus

Storage: 128GB/256GB

microSD slot: Yes

Battery: 10,090mAh

Rear camera: 13MP 5MP

Front camera: 8MP

Reasons to buy

Gorgeous OLED screen Premium design

Reasons to avoid

Android lacks quality tablet appsHigh price

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus is the best tablet Samsung has ever made, and a serious rival to the iPad Pro range.

In fact, its screen arguably has those slates beat, as it’s a 12.4-inch Super AMOLED one with a 2800 x 1752 resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate. The iPad Pro range can match much of that, but those slates have LCD screens, which aren’t quite as good.

You also of course get a whole lot of power from the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus’s Snapdragon 865 Plus chipset, and a premium metal build that’s incredibly slim at 5.7mm thick.

There’s also a 5G model for speedy mobile data, and Samsung’s S Pen stylus comes bundled with the slate. Chuck in a keyboard (sold separately) and this is a serious productivity machine. But even without that this is a top-end slate and great for media.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus review

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite

(Image credit: Samsung)

2. Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite

Cheaper, and still quite great

Specifications

Weight: 476g

Dimensions: 244.5 x 159.5 x 5.7 mm

OS: Android 10

Screen size: 10.4-inch

Resolution: 1200 x 2000 pixels

CPU: Exynos 9610

Storage: 64GB/128GB

microSD slot: Yes

Battery: 7,040mAh

Rear camera: 8MP

Front camera: 5MP

Reasons to buy

Robust design S Pen as standard

Reasons to avoid

Can be a little sluggishSome issues with S Pen

Happy to sacrifice a few of the features of the Galaxy Tab S6 in trade for a cheaper tablet? If yes, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite is the product you want to consider.

The chipset isn’t as powerful as its sibling, the cameras aren’t as impressive, and the screen isn’t as beautiful… but it’s around half the price, and all of its specs are still quite impressive for a slate at this price.

It’s a remarkably good product considering how much you’re spending on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite. It isn’t particularly smaller than the Galaxy Tab S6 – and ironically, it’s actually heavier too – but if you don’t want to spend top-dollar you may love this.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite review

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6

(Image credit: Samsung)

3. Samsung Galaxy Tab S6

A great Android tablet

Specifications

Weight: 420g

Dimensions: 244.5 x 154.3 x 7 mm

OS: Android 9 (upgrade to Android 10)

Screen size: 10.5-inch

Resolution: 1600 x 2560 pixels

CPU: Snapdragon 855

Storage: 128GB/256GB

microSD slot: Yes

Battery: 7,040mAh

Rear camera: 13MP 5MP

Front camera: 8MP

Reasons to buy

Beautiful AMOLED display S Pen as standard

Reasons to avoid

Samsung’s One UI not perfectNo headphone jack

While it’s not the newest model, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 is still a great Android tablet, with a plethora of brilliant features.

It comes with an S Pen stylus in the box that you can use to take notes, draw and much more on the tablet’s display. You can also buy a smart keyboard to make it an experience that is close to a laptop.

The 10.5-inch AMOLED display on the Galaxy Tab S6 is one of the highlights with an impressive resolution of 1600 x 2560. This tablet also comes with two cameras on the rear too, so you can get better photography than on many other slates.

It’s not the perfect device – there isn’t a 3.5mm headphone jack and the user interface has its own quirks – but it’s still a top Android slate.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 review

Huawei MatePad Pro

(Image credit: Huawei)

4. Huawei MatePad Pro

The Huawei MatePad Pro is almost perfect

Specifications

Weight: 460g

Dimensions: 246 x 159 x 7.2mm

OS: Android 10

Screen size: 10.8-inch

Resolution: 1600 x 2560

CPU: Kirin 990

RAM: 6GB/8GB

Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB

Battery: 7,250mAh

Rear camera: 13MP

Front camera: 8MP

Reasons to buy

Powerful hardware Robust lightweight design

Reasons to avoid

Limited software functionalityNo headphone jack

The Huawei MatePad Pro is Huawei’s attempt at taking on the iPad Pro range, and in a lot of ways it’s a very strong rival, from its high-quality 10.8-inch screen, to its top-end power and its long-lasting battery.

The Huawei MatePad Pro also has a stylish, slim, and lightweight design, plus an optional stylus and keyboard, so it’s premium and built for productivity. However, in our tests we found that those accessories were simply okay, and the big problem faced by the MatePad Pro is its lack of Google services – meaning no access to the Google Play app store, and no Google apps, such as Maps.

That’s going to be a major issue for a lot of people, but if you can live without that then this comes closer than most Android slates to matching the iPad Pro experience.

Read our full Huawei MatePad Pro review

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4

(Image credit: Samsung)

5. Samsung Galaxy Tab S4

Now cheaper, but still impressive

Specifications

Weight: 482g

Dimensions: 249.3 x 164.3 x 7.1mm

OS: Android 9

Screen size: 10.5-inch

Resolution: 1600 x 2560

CPU: Snapdragon 835

RAM: 6GB

Storage: 64/256GB

Battery: 7,300mAh

Rear camera: 13MP

Front camera: 8MP

Reasons to buy

PC desktop-like Dex interface S Pen stylus included in box

Reasons to avoid

Poor keyboard designDesktop interface needs work

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 was once our best Android tablet, but now it has been bumped down by the Galaxy Tab S6, among other things. It’s not exactly cheap – although its price has dropped significantly in recent months – but it comes packing a whole host of features to ensure you’re getting plenty of bang for your buck.

Unlike Apple’s iPad Pro range, the Galaxy Tab S4 comes with Samsung’s S Pen stylus included in the box, while under the hood you get the powerful Snapdragon 835 chipset alongside 6GB of RAM ensuring Android runs super-smoothly on screen.

That’s only half the story though. Pair the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 with a keyboard and mouse and it’ll transfer from Android into a desktop-like experience as it attempts to replace your laptop as well as your tablet.

The desktop aspect of the tablet is limited, but still useful. In short, the Galaxy Tab S4 is one of the most versatile Android tablets around.

Read our Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 review

Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus

(Image credit: Amazon)

6. Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus

Amazon’s 8-inch slate now ships with added fire

Specifications

Weight: 355g

Dimensions: 202 x 137 x 9.7mm

OS: Fire OS

Screen size: 8-inch

Resolution: 880 x 1280

CPU: quad-core

Storage: 32GB/64GB

Battery: up to 12 hours

Rear camera: 2MP

Front camera: 2MP

Reasons to buy

Wireless charging Can be used like an Echo Show

Reasons to avoid

Poor screen qualityNot swift, even with extra RAM

The Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus (2020) is the best of Amazon’s 8-inch slates. It’s no premium tablet – far from it in fact, so you’re not getting top-end performance, but with 3GB of RAM you do get a boost on the standard Fire HD 8 (2020).

Arguably the real highlight of this Plus model though is its support for wireless charging and the optional dock you can therefore get that turns it into a smart display like the Echo Show.

Beyond that it’s a fairly basic tablet, but with all the basics covered, a respectable amount of storage, and the same compact build as the non-Plus model.

Read our full Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus review

Amazon Fire HD 10 (2019)

(Image credit: Amazon)

7. Amazon Fire HD 10 (2019)

A cheap tablet with a huge screen

Specifications

Weight: 504g

Dimensions: 262 x 159 x 9.8mm

OS: Fire OS

Screen size: 10.1-inch

Resolution: 1920 x 1200

CPU: octa-core

Storage: 32GB/64GB

Battery: up to 12 hours

Rear camera: 2MP

Front camera: 2MP

Reasons to buy

Large, clear screen Dependable battery life

Reasons to avoid

Divisive softwareOnly okay speakers

The Amazon Fire HD 10 (2019) is essentially built for Amazon Prime members, since its big 10.1-inch 1200 x 1920 screen is a great way to consume the films, TV shows and even ebooks it gives you access to.

And the Amazon-centric interface used – which won’t appeal to everyone – ensure you’re never far from Amazon Prime content.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t buy the Amazon Fire HD 10 (2019) if you’re not an Amazon Prime member. This is a durable, affordable slate with reasonable specs for the money, so it’s also a strong choice for anyone on a tight budget. But some of the options above in this list will likely be a better fit if money is no object.

Read our Amazon Fire HD 10 (2019) review

Amazon Fire HD 8 (2020)

(Image credit: Amazon)

8. Amazon Fire HD 8 (2020)

Amazon’s middle-sized tablet gets an upgrade

Specifications

Weight: 355g

Dimensions: 202 x 137 x 9.7mm

OS: Fire OS

Screen size: 8-inch

Resolution: 880 x 1280

CPU: quad-core

Storage: 32GB/64GB

Battery: up to 12 hours

Rear camera: 2MP

Front camera: 2MP

Reasons to buy

Super-low price Great front camera placement

Reasons to avoid

Poor screen qualityLocked to Amazon’s ecosystem

The Amazon Fire HD 8 (2020) is – along with the Fire HD 8 Plus – the latest version of Amazon’s 8-inch tablet, and by opting for this rather than the Plus model you get slightly less RAM and no wireless charging, but an otherwise near identical slate at a lower price.

It’s an upgrade on its predecessor thanks to 30% more power, improved battery life, double the storage, and the presence of a USB-C (rather than micro USB) port, but that aside this is familiar territory if you’ve used an Amazon slate before.

You’re locked in to Amazon’s ecosystem, which isn’t quite as rich as full-fat Android, but if you’re an Amazon Prime subscriber then much of your content will be front and center, and you’re paying a lot less than you would for most comparable Android tablets.

Read our full Amazon Fire HD 8 (2020) review

January 18, 2021
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