The Android tablet world has become an interesting place. It’s now May and there’s been no big launches from the likes of Samsung and co. However, instead we’ve seen some interesting – yet expensive – tablets launch from Dell and Sony have finally given us a follow-up to the Xperia Tablet Z2. It’s an eclectic mix these days, and if value for money is your main aim, then older tablets still have a lot to give these days.
10. Amazon Fire HDX
The Amazon Fire line of tablets has become the de facto Android tablet to buy someone that you know is going to get a lot of use out of it, but ultimately doesn’t care too much about what’s going on underneath. The Fire HDX however, is a tablet for someone that’s more than okay with the fact that there’s no Google services and just wants an excellent tablet to consume all sorts of great content with. For that, the 8.9-inch, 2560 x 1600 Snapdragon 801-powered Fire HDX is an excellent choice.
09. Google Nexus 7 (2013)
It’s amazing that the Nexus 7 from way back in 2013 continues to prove itself an excellent product, but it does just that. With an excellent 7-inch display with a resolution of 1920 x 1200 and of course Android 5.1 Lollipop. These days, the Nexus 7 is often found at cut price as either a refurbished unit or some other deal. If you’re looking for something affordable, that shouldn’t put you off, though as the Nexus 7 is one of the best tablets where value-for-money is concerned.
08. Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
Sadly, the majority of Android tablets out there represent giant phones, however the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact is a perfect example of that fact. It’s basically a larger Xperia Z3, the specs are similar and the display is just 1920 x 1200 which isn’t bad, but in 2015 we expect more from our tablets. Of course, with hallmark Sony Xperia features like water-resistance and PS4 Remote Play, there’s a lot on offer here, but there are better alternatives out there if you’re looking for more of an all-rounder.
07. Lenovo 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 don’t offer. The same can be said of the subwoofer and excellent sound quality all round. Its size however, remains a challenge for a lot of users as a 13-inch display is far from what you’d call super-portable. The stand that made the Android Yoga tablets popular in the first place is back again and this time around there’s a hook, further extending the uses for this big beast of a tablet. Innovative hardware like this is what will drive tablet sales forward in a market that feels close to stagnating.
06. Dell Venue 8 7000
Dell’s Venue 8 7000 is a pretty formidable tablet, not only that but it’s a real looker, too. With a fresh design that we haven’t seen in an Android tablet before, Dell is finally making good Android tablets. This is powered by an Intel Atom, a 64-bit, quad-core affair with some serious horsepower. We reviewed a similar model, the Venue 8 7480 a little while ago and were fairly impressed. Even more impressive is that now, the Venue 8 7000 series runs Android 5.0.2 Lollipop which is a most welcome update. The Intel RealSense camera tricks are nice and all, but the tablet is a pretty great all-rounder.
05. NVIDIA SHIELD
Versatility is the aim of the game with the SHIELD Tablet from NVIDIA, and with its recent update to Android 5.0 Lollipop, it joins an elusive club of tablets running the latest version of Google’s OS. 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.
04. 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.
03. Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
The Xperia Z4 Tablet was something of a surprise reveal back in March from Sony, and on the face of things it’s just another 10-inch Android tablet. However, with a stunning Quad HD IPS display and a modern Snapdragon 810 and 3GB of RAM this is one of the most powerful Android tablets on the market. Sony is keen to offer this to everyone, and while it is going to be pretty expensive, it’s also got a pretty great keyboard dock on offer, too. Another great tablet from Sony, this looks like something people could use to actually get some work done away from the office.
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. This 4:3 ratio helps the Nexus 9 to stand out and for those spend most of their time browsing the web, this is a great tablet to consider. If you want a tablet that does everything fairly well, then this is a decent candidate. The display is really bright, and while not vivid it’s accurate and more than good enough. That 64-bit Tegra K1 ensures excellent performance in games and should ensure smooth performance on all future Android updates like Android 5.1. With stereo BoomSound speakers firing sound out from the front of the tablet, this also has some of the best sound reproduction available for a tablet. Our review can be found here as well as realistic evaluation 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.