It’s been an interesting past month for Android tablets, with Black Friday deals seeing Samsung push the Galaxy Tab S even more than before and the Nexus 9 turned out to be a little less impressive than we were hoping for. Still, with 2014 coming to a close there’s no better time to purchase an Android tablet, but what are your choices? Below are 10 of the best Android tablets available right now and any of them would make excellent last-minute gifts for Christmas, or a steal for yourself over the Holiday break.
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 with 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.
07. Google Nexus 7
There’s a good chance that many of you picked up a Nexus 7 over Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the sales, and if you did, you got a great deal. With Android 5.0 Lollipop now present and accounted for, the 7-inch Nexus 7 holds its own against a lot of other tablets. It is however, still pretty basic and the Snapdragon S4 Pro is starting to show its age. The 7-inch, 1920 x 1200 display is still one of the best out there, and if you got a good deal on a Nexus 7, then you’ll be happy with it for some time yet.
06. Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
Sony has been making excellent tablets for some time now, and while they’re not the most affordable out there, the new Z3 Tablet Compact should go some ways to alleviating that problem as this isn’t quite as pricey as previous models were in the past. Being waterproof and having 3GB of RAM as well as a Snapdragon 801 under the hood, makes this one of the most powerful ‘compact’ tablet on the market. Having said that, it would have been nice to see a slightly higher resolution, with the 8-inch panel here being 1920 x 1200, and maybe some extra features, but with the ability to play PS4 games and some of the best specs available, Sony’s latest is pretty good.
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.
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 – 2014 Edition
The Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition is definitely aging a little now, but it’s still an excellent all-round choice. The S-Pen can help those looking for a companion for work while on the move and the 10.1-inch 2560 x 1600 display is great for watching movies and reading magazines. It’s not a Super AMOLED power slate like the Galaxy Tab S line and it’s not as powerful as the Galaxy Tab Pro line, but what it is is sensibly priced, full of features and a great offering from Samsung.
02. Google Nexus 9
My personal tablet of choice, the Nexus 9 is easily one of the best Android tablets to hit shelves. However, things are a little hit and miss on the production side of things. With light bleed issues and a build quality that doesn’t reflect its pricing, it’s clear that HTC wasn’t as ready as we thought to start making tablets. The 4:3, 8.9-inch 2048 x 1536 display is sharp, with some decent overall color reproduction, but it’s ultimately unremarkable. As is so often the case with Nexus devices, the Nexus 9 is a great piece of hardware, and one many will be happy with, but it’s still difficult to get too excited about things.
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.