Which Android Tablet Should You Choose?

·5 min read

iPads dominate the tablet market, but there are plenty of great, affordable Android options to choose from, too

By Thomas Germain

A lot of people just think “iPad” when they’re shopping for a new tablet, but there are plenty of reasons to look at an Android model instead.

“Since Android is an open-source platform, developers have a lot of flexibility,” says Antonette Asedillo, who oversees tablet and computer testing for Consumer Reports. And that means more choices for consumers—in price, features, and design. These tablets are also appealing to people with Android phones. When your tablet uses the same operating system as your smartphone, it makes it easier to sync apps and files between your devices.

Scan our ratings (available to CR members) and you’ll find solid options from Lenovo, Samsung, and Walmart’s in-house brand Onn, including one model priced as low as $90. By comparison, the lowest-priced Apple iPad sells for $330.

If you really want the cheapest option, you can also consider an Amazon Fire tablet, which uses a highly customized version of the Android operating system known as Fire OS and Amazon’s somewhat limited app store. On the plus side, Amazon models provide access to lots of kid-friendly content and feature a robust selection of parental controls.

All the tablets in our ratings are graded on almost 240 data points, covering everything from the device’s predicted reliability to its performance to the quality of the display. As we do with every product we test, from mesh routers to mattresses, we bought the models listed below at retail to ensure that manufacturers don’t try to influence our testing.

Best Android Tablet for Most People

You can spend more for a faster tablet with an even more beautiful screen, but the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite should be a perfect fit for a majority of people. It gets above-average ratings for performance and display quality, and the best part may be the price. Retailing for around $330 (the same as the entry-level iPad), the S6 Lite may be the best value for an Android tablet right now.

The S6 has a 10.4-inch screen, which is just north of medium-sized without verging into the unwieldy territory you’ll get with bigger models. It lasted 12.2 hours in our web-browsing battery test and comes with 128GB of built-in storage. If you need additional storage, you can throw in a microSD card. For a bit more money, you could instead pick up the regular Galaxy Tab S6, which scores a little higher for performance but sacrifices some battery life in exchange.

Best Premium Android Tablet

The Galaxy Tab S8 could be is a great choice for people who want to use it for work, whether that’s manipulating spreadsheets or editing video, with an outstanding score for performance and a great display. What really sets it apart is the battery life, with a generous 13.5 hours of web-browsing time. Like Samsung’s other tablets, it comes with 128GB of storage that’s expandable thanks to the microSD card slot. Professional tablets come at professional prices; it costs about $700 when it’s not on sale.

At 11 inches, the screen should be more than big enough for most people (it may even be too big for some). But if you’re doing work that calls for even more real estate, you could try the Galaxy Tab S8+, which is very similar aside from its 12.4-inch screen and shorter battery life. There’s also the S8 Ultra, the biggest tablet in our ratings. It has an enormous 14.6-inch display and a super-sized $1,300 price.

Best Cheap Android Tablet

For around $90, you can nab the 8-inch Onn Tablet Pro 8. Much like an Amazon Fire tablet (and some Onn TVs), it provides good value for the price. It also gets you full access to the app selection in the Google Play store, which you’ll miss on Amazon’s devices. It’s also nice and light, weighing in at under a pound, making it our top choice for the best lightweight Android tablet, too.

This model scores well across most categories, including performance and versatility—but it technically doesn’t score well enough for an official CR recommendation. That’s because of the display, which is a little too dim to use outdoors in the sunshine, and the built-in camera, which our testers say produces photos with unnatural colors and limited detail. The webcam, however, performed well enough for the occasional Zoom call.

However, if you’re looking for an Android tablet to do simple things like watching Netflix, browsing the web, and reading an e-book, this model gets you there for under $100.

Onn Tablet Pro 8

Best Android Tablet for Battery Life

If you need a tablet to power through the workday—and then some—this 13-inch Lenovo Yoga Tab 13 should be at the top of your list.

It clocks in at almost 14.5 hours in our web-browsing tests and nearly 13 hours for video playback. That’s more than enough time to catch up on the news and get through your inbox at the local coffee shop and still have time to watch a few episodes of your favorite show at home without having to reach for the charger.

The Yoga Tab 13 also scored well for performance and display quality, making this a solid choice if the last thing you want to worry about is the battery of your tablet dying right in the middle of a “Stranger Things” episode.

Lenovo Yoga Tab 13

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