It’s clear that the tablet industry as a whole is struggling to increase sales, as shipments for tablets continue to either fall or stagnate. Sadly, in Android world things are much the same, with Google continuing to ignore Android on tablets, creating a software stack that mostly delivers just another larger phone experience. Thankfully for us though, companies like Lenovo, Sony and Samsung have released thoughtful and innovative designs throughout the year and now Samsung is back with the Galaxy Tab S2 pair. So, how does our list of some of the best Top 10 Android tablets look halfway through 2015?
10. Amazon Fire HDX 8.9
The Amazon Fire HDX might have been on offer during Prime Day like Amazon had an urgent need to get rid of them, but it’s not a bargain bin tablet. Instead. what the Amazon Fire HDX is, is excellent hardware for those looking to consume content and little else. If you’re familiar with Amazon’s offerings and a Prime member, then you’ll enjoy what Amazon have on offer here. Plus, the Snapdragon 801 CPU and 8.9-inch 2560 x 1600 display (lauded for its color accuracy) don’t hurt, either.
09. Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
Despite the complicated tongue-twister of a name, the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact is a pretty decent option for those looking for something a little smaller than usual. On the face of things, the 1920 x 1080 8-inch display won’t turn heads, but with water-resistance and a pretty excellent camera on offer, there’s more than meets the eye here. Plus, it’s got some of the best audio output on any tablet in this list, making it great for listening to music and reading on the move. A little pricey, and perhaps a little familiar to the Xperia Z3 smartphone, this is a decent offering from Sony.
08. Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 Pro
You might not think it, but one of the most innovative tablets from this past year was from Lenovo. The Yoga Tablet 2 Pro is not only larger, offering a 13-inch display, but it adds a JBL-engineered subwoofer as well as a pico projector. Both of which essentially make this an entertainment powerhouse. The stand which also offers up a hook of sorts is well worth considering as well. The problem is that this is kind of pricey, and the 13-inch display size might not be great for everyday use, but at least it’s another choice. You can read our review here.
07. Dell Venue 8 7000
As with the Lenovo, you wouldn’t expect Dell to offer up such a compelling tablet. Having said that, at this sort of price you would certainly expect something good. Which is why it’s nice to see that Dell have put together one of their greatest Android tablet offerings to date. It’s got a unique look and feel to it, an excellent display and some quality performance to boot. It’s got party tricks as well, thanks to Intel’s RealSense technology that can estimate distances. It’s a decent portable option as it’s smaller than most, but it does unfortunately come at a premium, which might be hard for some to swallow.
06. NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet
As we recently found out with their SHIELD TV offering, NVIDIA clearly know how to do Android. While the SHIELD Tablet isn’t going to be for everyone’s tastes, it sure has a lot going for it. The display could be better, as colors aren’t perfect and at 8-inches with a 1080p display it could be denser, but the Tegra K1 and stock software build serve up excellent gaming performance as well as everyday punch. It’s fairly well priced, and with the SHIELD Controller, you get an excellent little gaming machine on the go; you can even plug it into your TV for extended gaming sessions.
05. Dell Venue 10 7000
Much like its smaller brother, the Venue 10 from Dell offers a fresh, professional and classy design in an Android tablet. It has all the punch with an Intel quad-core CPU, a stunning 2560 x 1600 display and a keyboard dock to get things done while on the go. In our review we found the keyboard to be pretty usable, especially at this sort of size. With a Lollipop software build that’s mostly stock, along with some thoughtful software expansions, the Dell Venue 10 is a decent option for those looking for both an Android tablet as well as some sort of keyboard to get things done while on the move.
04. Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0
Samsung surprised us all this past week by announcing the Galaxy Tab S2 out of nowhere. We now know why there was little fanfare, as there’s not much to write home about here. At 5.6mm thin, this is one hell of a good-looking tablet, and the Super AMOLED display is back, and this time at a more sensible 4:3 aspect ratio. With a resolution of 2048 x 1536 it’s dense as well as colorful, but there’s something missing here. Last time around, the Galaxy Tab S 8.4-inch offered a great size as well as an excellent display to boot. As a smaller tablet, it’s hard to see how Samsung hope the Galaxy Tab S2 to compete against the Nexus 9 and company.
03. Google Nexus 9
When the Nexus 9 was launched, it was panned as being too expensive, and while it still is quite pricey, it’s now more reasonably priced. Plus, with Android 5.1.1 now available, it’s a little speedier. The display here is not as punchy as the Super AMOLED found in the new kids on the block, but it’s accurate and really bright, making it good for reading and in the sunlight. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again; the Nexus 9 is not exciting, but it’s satisfying. The 4:3 aspect ratio works well, BoomSound sounds great and the stock Android software offers up hassle free software. At 8.9-inches it’s one of the few “middle ground” tablets out there, and for some the size might be perfect.
02. Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
Sony are back, and this time they’ve improved their tablet game exponentially. The display is a stunning 2560 x 1600, colors are rich and deep, and viewing angles are perfect. It’s also incredibly thin at just 6.4mm thick, and it’s an elegant looking tablet. We recently reviewed the Xperia Z4 Tablet and found the keyboard to be a welcome addition, with some meaningful software enhancements where needed. It’s too pricey for some, but those looking to do more with their tablet will enjoy the keyboard, the fact that it’s life proof thanks to its water-resistance and that gorgeous display.
01. Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7
Its smaller brother might be something of a disappointment for some, but the 9.7-inch version is perhaps the best Android tablet available. The 4:3 aspect ratio makes apps and browsing the web a much more pleasant experience, and while watching movies and TV does suffer a little as a result, everyday use is much better. Reading on a 4:3 tablet is a much more natural way of doing things and with that Super AMOLED display, blacks are deep and text pin-sharp. An excellent all-rounder that is just 5.6mm thick and weighs just 389g, Samsung have done it again.