Best Android tablets to buy right now

Best Android tablets to buy right now
The Android tablet market is flooded, quite literally, with offerings from mostly unknown brands and manufacturers. Some of them can actually be a solid buy in their own right, but finding just the right one could be a hassle, seeing as how most of them come from China. Some of the big names are still releasing Android-powered, albeit not as frequently as before, when the world was crazy about tablets.

Still, if you're looking for a really solid Android tablet—be it for multimedia, artistic endeavors, or even work; cheap, expensive, or somewhere in-between—there's a handful of really, really good devices that you can choose from.

And who knows, maybe this year we'll see more big names returning to the scene with renewed energy. Maybe Sony or Acer will release a stellar new slate, or maybe we'll see another Pixel tablet from Google! We've got our fingers crossed, especially for the latter. The Pixel C was a great device when it launched back in 2015, but it needs a refreshment.

With that said, have a look at our list for the best Android tablets you can get in 2018!

Google Pixel Slate




Pros

  • Gorgeous display
  • Good battery life
  • Folio keyboard is nice

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Not as good for creatives and power users as some of the competition

The Pixel Slate is Google’s latest attempt at creating a premium 2-in-1 hybrid device that aims to bridge the gap between tablets and laptops. It is a premium offering that runs Chrome OS and is a direct competitor to the iPads, Surfaces, and Galaxy Tabs in the high-end tablet sector.

The Google Pixel Slate has a gorgeous 12.3-inch 3000 x 2000 display with a 3:2 aspect ratio. It is quite a nice thing to look at, both when working and consuming media. The display produces ample 400 nits of brightness, which makes it suitable to work on even in brightly-lit environments. Under the hood, the Pixel Slate is powered by one of four Intel CPUs, ranging from Celeron to Core i7, depending on the option you choose. It also comes in versions with 4GB, 8GB, and 16GB of RAM.

The Folio keyboard is also a highlight for the Pixel Slate. It has a touchpad and a solid magnetic fold that snaps right onto the back of the Pixel Slate and allows you to tilt the display at many different angles, emulating the feeling of laptop hinges. Unfortunately, however, the Folio keyboard doesn't come with the Pixel Slate, but is a separate $199 purchase.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4



Pros

  • Gorgeous display
  • Premium design with slim bezels
  • S Pen included in the box
  • Actually OK cameras on a tablet

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Older chipset

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 was (and still is) an excellent 2-in-1 device with a great screen, S Pen support and great quad-speaker setup tuned by AKG. The Galaxy Tab S4 follows in its footsteps but is even better. Sporting a solid build and premium design with slim bezels and an immersive 16:10 AMOLED display, the Tab S4 is a sight to behold.

Furthermore, with the Galaxy Tab S4, Samsung brings its DeX dock to a tablet for the first time. Samsung DeX on the Galaxy Tab S4 transforms the user interface and experience so you can multitask like you would on a PC, without any additional accessories needed. For example, you can open multiple PC-style applications— including Android and Microsoft Office apps— directly on the Galaxy Tab S4. You can even resize windows, drag and drop content between apps, and use keyboard shortcuts and commands. The experience is further supplemented by the excellent S Pen stylus, which comes in the box.

On the hardware and software fronts, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 runs the latest version of the Samsung Experience, based on Android 8.1 Oreo. The tablet is powered by the Snapdragon 835 (2.35GHz + 1.9GHz) and comes with 4GB of RAM and a 7,300 mAh battery with Fast Charging support. It is also available in two storage options – 64GB or 256GB, both expandable to up to 400GB via the microSD card slot.


Samsung Galaxy Tab S3



Pros

  • Beautiful HDR-ready AMOLED display
  • Elegant premium design
  • S-Pen included in the box
  • USB Type-C

Cons

  • Quite expensive
  • Multitasking isn't all that great
  • Samsung's Android skin is prone to lag

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 is hands-down one of the best Android tablets you can get right now. Boasting an ultra crisp, 9.7” Super AMOLED display—the world's first HDR-ready panel on a tablet—as well quad stereo speakers, the Galaxy Tab S3 is pretty excellently suited for multimedia consumption and entertainment.

Furthermore, the Tab S3 also comes with Samsung's trademark S-Pen, which leverages the perks of the tablet's outstanding display. It's perfect for note-taking, that's a given, but it's also a powerful tool for artists. Coming from the now-ancient 12.2” Galaxy TabPRO, I found the Tab S3 to be a tad small for drawing with its 9.7” screen, but even if may not be the first choice for artists, it's such a well rounded device otherwise.

As far as looks are concerned, the tablet has a glass and metal design that channels that classic Samsung look, which we're seeing less and less of these days, with the bezel-less craze in full swing, and I quite like it. Would it have looked better, had Samsung shaved a bit more on the sides, top and bottom, leaving the frame thinner? Perhaps it would've, but it's not a bad-looking device as is.

The Galaxy Tab S3 is powered by a Snapdragon 820 processor, which is not quite up to par with the current top-of-the-line Snapdragon 835, but it's still more than capable of delivering an adequately smooth experience. That being said, Samsung's Android skin is as usual prone to lag at times, so keep that in mind.

The tablet comes with 32GB of on-board memory and is powered by a 6,000 mAh battery, which is able to deliver average battery life of around seven and a half hours of video at full charge. You can also turn the Tab S3 into a 2-in-1 if you opt to attach a keyboard ti it, but the keyboard's sold separately, so it will run you extra on top of the tablet's already premium price.'

Huawei MediaPad M5



Pros

  • Slim and lightweight design
  • M-Pen stylus is quite nice
  • Solid audio setup by Harman Kardon
  • Great battery life

Cons

  • Throwaway cameras
  • Struggles with more demanding games


The MediaPad M5 is a multimedia-focused device with a sleek design. It sports a 10.8” 2560 x 1600 widescreen display encased in a metal frame with slender bezels on the sides. At this size and resolution, the IPS panel delivers an excellent (for a tablet) pixel density of 280 ppi, which is not the absolute best we've seen, but it is quite serviceable for watching videos and playing games. The MediaPad M5's multimedia capabilities are further accentuated by a pair of quality stereo Harman Kardon speakers that go surprisingly loud for a tablet and deliver crisp sound even at high volumes.

On the hardware front, the MediaPad M3 is powered by a Huawei HiSilicon Kirin octa-core processor, backed by 4 GB of LPDDR4 RAM, which ensures smooth performance most of the time, although stutters in more demanding games are to be expected. The tablet comes with 128 GB of on-board memory, which is expandable up to 256GB via the microSD card slot. The battery inside the MediaPad M3 has a 7500 mAh capacity and is capable of delivering great screen-on time.


Asus ZenPad 3S 10



Pros

  • Premium, lightweight design
  • Gorgeous 2K display
  • Good speakers
  • Expandable storage

Cons

  • Asus' custom Android skin looks and feels outdated
  • Battery life not great


At first glance, the ZenPad 3S 10 may seem more expensive than it really is. The all-metal design of this tablet, its ultra-thin 5.8-millimeter profile, and the 78-percent screen-to-body ratio all contribute to to a premium look that you'd expect to come with a higher price tag. The 9.7” IPS display boasts a 2K resolution of 2048 x 1536, which, coupled with the high-quality dual five-magnet speakers on board, makes watching videos and movies a treat on this tablet.

The ZenPad 3S 10 comes equipped with a healthy 4GB of RAM, but the hexa-core Mediatek 8176 at the heart of it is nothing to write home about. Heavier games will make the device stutter, but at least normal tasks, such as browsing social media, checking email, streaming HD video, and running multiple apps at once run fine on the Asus tablet. The ZenPad 3S 10 is powered by a 5,900 mAh battery and comes in two versions – with either 32 GB or 64 GB of expandable storage.

Our main gripes with this slate pertain to its cameras and software. It's not like anyone would buy this device for the camera, but image and video quality is bad even for tablet standards. Asus' custom interface, however, is something you should keep in mind. It is cluttered, gimmicky, and bloated, to say the least, and it can bog the user experience quite a bit. Fortunately, most all of these issues can be alleviated by using a custom launcher and can't be dubbed a real deal-breaker, considering how well-rounded the device is.


Lenovo Yoga Book



Pros

  • Hugely ambitious design
  • Super-thin, flexible build
  • Well-priced, comes with pen and keyboard

Cons

  • Display not as good as on other Lenovo tablets
  • Subpar performance
  • Slow to charge


The Lenovo Yoga Book is an interesting beast, to say the least. It features a striking, foldable design that allows the two thin slates that make up the tablet to rotate a full 360 degrees. That's done thanks to an impressively designed, and eye-catching hinge, that allows the screen and keyboard to rotate freely and keep their position when no pressure is applied. Ah yes, we said keyboard, and the Lenovo Yoga Book does, indeed, come with a keyboard, just not a traditional one. It's non-detachable and consists of capacitive keys that are located on the tablet's second “screen”, which also doubles as a digitizer. You can lay a sheet of paper on top of the keyboard, and using the included Real Pen stylus, you can create digital copies of your notes or drawings.

Unfortunately, for its unique and ambitious design, the Yoga Book falls flat in one key area. That's the 10.1” display, which has a resolution of 1920 x 1200, putting it well below the competition on this list. It's not terrible by any means, but this particular device could have benefited from a more pixel dense display.

Other than that, the Yoga Book runs on Intel silicon: a quad-core 2.4GHz Atom x5-Z8550 processor, paired with 4GB of RAM and a healthy 64GB of expandable storage. Although that sounds sweet on paper, it's not the best performer out there, but it's not that bad either. The seemingly massive 8500 mAh battery also sounds like a better deal than it actually is, delivering just over a 7 hours of screen-on time in our custom endurance test.

Having said all that, the Lenovo Yoga Book is an interesting and adequately priced device, that, unlike the Galaxy Tab S3 and the iPad Pro, comes with both a pen and a keyboard out of the box. It may be a capacitive keyboard, but it also doubles as a digitizer. If you are an artistic type and are looking for the complete package at a decent price, then the Yoga Book might just be the Android tablet to buy.

FEATURED VIDEO

The comment section has been disabled for this story.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.