2015 has yet to get off to much of a start when it comes to Android tablets, and while we’ve seen a number of budget offerings appear during CES, there’s nothing to come from the likes of Samsung and co just yet. We’re all expecting their fresh tablets for 2015 to launch during Mobile World Congress. With Samsung and Sony sure to release at least a tablet each, and possibly some other surprises, it looks like we won’t be seeing anything fresh in the tablet world for a little while yet. For now though, these are the best tablets to consider if you have any money left from the Holidays.
10. Amazon Fire HD 6 and 7
Amazon’s Fire tablets might not feature the same sort of Google Services that a lot of us would be accustomed to on a tablet, but they’re great for content consumption as well as handing over to the little ones without fear of destroying your own tablet. Coming in at either 6-inch or 7-inch versions this time around, these aren’t much to look at, but they’ll make excellent first-time tablets or for casual users, as well kids. With a two-year worry-free guarantee that ensures a replacement Fire no matter what your little ones manage to get up to, these are great options for the whole family. Plus, they’ve been on offer for some great prices a lot this past month.
09. Amazon Fire HDX 8.9
If you’re looking for something more powerful, but are perfectly happy with Amazon’s ecosystem then the Fire HDX 8.9 is an excellent choice. With one of the best displays available with a stunning 2560 x 1600 resolution at just 8.9-inches. It’s a great tablet with some of the finest horsepower available as well thanks to that Snapdragon 801 and 2GB of RAM. Still, if you’re too invested in Google services, then this isn’t immediately the one for you. Having said that, Amazon’s offerings now have all the digital content you’d need as well as many of the best Android apps available from Google, too.
08. Yoga Tablet 2 Pro
Not too long ago, Lenovo introduced follow-ups to their original Yoga tablets and out of those was the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro, which features a 13-inch Quad HD display and a subwoofer thanks to a JBL sound system. We recently reviewed the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro and we really liked what we saw. The Pico Projector isn’t exactly great, but it does the job and it’s a feature many of its competitors simply can’t offer. The same can be said of the subwoofer and excellent sound quality all round. Its size however, remains a downside for a lot of users and we can see why many would look elsewhere. The stand that made the Android Yoga tablets popular in the first place for Lenovo is back again and this time around there’s a hook involved, further extending the uses for this big beast of a tablet.
07. Google Nexus 7 (2013)
While the Nexus 9 has been out for some time now, there’s no reason why the Nexus 7 from 2013 isn’t a tablet to pick up. After all, that 1920 x 1200 7-inch display still looks great and it’s been updated to Android 5.0 Lollipop. An excellent little tablet that’s perfect for those on the move looking for a tablet to keep themselves entertained, the Nexus 7 might be getting on a bit, but that now means that they can be bought for less than ever. That Snapdragon S4 Pro is not quite as spry as it used to be, but Lollipop has made things a little sweeter for Nexus 7 users.
06. Sony Xperia Z3 Compact Tablet
The Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact, despite it’s fairly ridiculous name, is a tablet that builds on the excellence found in the Xperia Z2 and the Xperia Z3 line of smartphones. It is however, a little pricey, especially for a tablet that uses a 1080p display in the face of Quad HD panels. Still, it’s powered by a Snapdragon 801 and like the Xperia Z3, it’s one of the best out there for listening to music and overall performance. If only it were a little more affordable, Sony would have a real winner on their hands.
05. Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4
Perhaps the best compromise between small and large in a tablet, the Galaxy Tab S 8.4 has the right boxes ticked, with big, golden ticks. The display is an excellent 2560 x 1600, but the 8.4-inch panel really comes to life thanks to the Super AMOLED technology Samsung uses in their high-end smartphones. Great for reading magazines, watching movies and generally anything that involves a lot of color and images, the Galaxy Tab S 8.4 is the take-everywhere tablet that has the specs and display of something a little larger. For more on the Galaxy Tab S 8.4, check out our review.
04. NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet
Versatility is the aim of the game with the SHIELD Tablet from NVIDIA, and with its recent update to Android 5.0 Lollipop, it just got a whole lot better. Not only does this guy feature stock, clean Android software, a great piece of silicon in the Tegra K1 and a controller for gaming, but it also has NVIDIA Grid which changes things quite a bit. If you’re a casual gamer, looking for a decent tablet all-round, then this is a decent bet, and it won’t break the bank, either.
03. Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 – 2014 Edition
This is one of the tablets we’re hoping Samsung releases a new version of during Mobile World Congress. There’s a ‘Pro’ version of the device, which is arguably nowhere near as versatile thanks to it being just a little too big for those on the move, and this tablet has been on sale since the end of 2013. No matter, this 10.1-inch 2560 x 1600 tablet has oodles of features that make this a tablet that does pretty much everything. The S-Pen is excellent here and there’s a lot of versatility. We just wish that the rest of Samsung’s tablets could stay around as long as this one.
02. Google Nexus 9
You know what the Nexus 9 isn’t? Exciting. That’s not a bad thing though, at least not in my eyes, a tablet doesn’t have to be exciting for it to be good. Instead what the Nexus 9 is is solid, dependable and one of the few available that offers a 4:3 display, which is hi-res at 2048 x 1536 and very bright. Sure, there were some hiccups at the beginning that I hope HTC has ironed out and Lollipop still has some bugs on the run, but for an all-round tablet that’s great for apps, browsing the web and gaming, this Tegra K1-powered 64-bit machine ticks a lot of the right boxes. Our review can be found here.
01. Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
Samsung’s Super AMOLED display tech is even more impressive on a display at this sort of size, the Galaxy Tab S 10.5 is the tablet to take with you on long trips to watch your favorite TV or movies on and it’s also a great all-rounder as well. It offers the same sort of size as an iPad, has an arguably superior display and the widescreen format is great for movies, YouTube and playing games. It’s got it where it counts on the inside, too and this is easily one of the best tablets Samsung has ever rolled off its production line, for now, at least. While it doesn’t feature Lollipop or a blazing-fast graphics chip, what it does have is an impressive laundry list of features great for tablet users and one of the best displays available anywhere.