Best Android tablets

December 5, 2014
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Android tablets make great holiday gifts, and the best thing about them is that everyone can use them, from a three-year-old to your grandma. But with so many devices out there, how can you make sure you get the best Android tablet for your money?

There are probably hundreds of Android tablets on Amazon, and avoiding the overpriced and the plain bad can be daunting. But it doesn’t have to be that hard. Just take a look at the tablets below – they are the very best Android has to offer, and you really can’t go wrong with any of them.

Without further ado, here’s our list of the best Android tablets available in December 2014.

Editor’s Note – If you’re interested in some great, cheaper tablets, check out our Best Cheap Android Tablets Guide! 


Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4

Update – Price drop to $363.00 – if you want the fastest performance and most incredible display  of any compact tablet on the market then this is the one to get.

Most of us use tablets for watching movies, reading, and playing games. So it makes sense to go for the very best display you can get, and it’s hard to find anything better than the Galaxy Tab S 8.4. The Tab S 8.4 is one of the few tablets with an AMOLED screen and a super crisp Quad HD at that, with an excellent 359 ppi pixel density. Being AMOLED, the screen will show deep blacks and vivid colors, perfect for games and movies.

The portable Tab S 8.4 combines the portability of smaller devices with the screen real estate afforded by larger tablets. Plus, this 8.4-incher is fast and feature-rich, making it good for just about any task.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 212.8 x 125.6 x 6.6 mm (8.38 x 4.94 x 0.26 in), 298 g (10.51 oz)
  • Display: 8.4-inch AMOLED, Quad HD (2560 x 1600) resolution, 359 ppi
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, 2.3GHz quad-core
  • GPU: Adreno 330 GPU
  • Memory: 3GB RAM
  • Storage: 16/32GB
  • microSD slot: Yes, up to 128 GB
  • Cameras: 8 MP rear, 2.1 MP front
  • Battery: 4,900 mAh
  • OS: Android 4.4.2 KitKat with TouchWiz
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi/3G-LTE
  • Others: fingerprint scanner

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Buy now from Amazon for $363.00

Nvidia Shield Tablet

Nvidia is known for video cards, not Android tablets, but the Shield Tablet is definitely worth of your attention, especially if you’re into gaming. That’s because the Shield Tablet is powered by a mighty Tegra K1 processor and comes with Nvidia’s TegraZone portal, that gives you access to dozens of Tegra-optimized Android games.

The rest of the specs are nothing to sneeze at, and build quality and design are top-notch. The Shield’s stereo front-facing speakers are great for gaming, video, and music, and the stylus that comes in the box will amp up your productivity. On the downside, this device is a bit heavy and the battery life tends towards the lower end of the spectrum.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 221 x 126 x 9.2 mm (8.70 x 4.96 x 0.36 in), 390 g (13.76 oz)
  • Display: 8-inch LCD, Full HD (1920 x 1200) resolution, 283 ppi
  • Processor: Nvidia Tegra K1, 2.2GHz quad-core
  • GPU: Kepler (192 cores)
  • Memory: 2GB RAM
  • Storage: 16/32GB
  • microSD slot: Yes
  • Cameras: 5 MP rear, 5  MP front
  • Battery: 5,200 mAh
  • OS: Android 4.4.2 KitKat
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi/3G-LTE
  • Others: stylus, stereo speaker

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Buy now from Amazon for $299

Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5

Like the Tab S 8.4, the Tab S 10.5 gives you a beautiful high-resolution AMOLED display that is ideal for consuming media. Everything is in a bigger package, so if a large screen is on your priorities list, the Galaxy Tab S 10.5 is the ideal choice from our list of best Android tablets. Despite its generous dimensions, the Tab S 10.5 is easy to handle, weighing a little over a pound.

The Tab S 10.5 comes with almost everything you may want in a tablet, and Samsung’s TouchWiz delivers tons of features on the software side, though you may end up ignoring some of them. And while the Tab S 10.5 is all plastic, it still feels like a premium device.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 247.3 x 177.3 x 6.6 mm (9.74 x 6.98 x 0.26 in), 467 g (1.03 lb)
  • Display: 10.5-inch AMOLED, Quad HD (2560 x 1600) resolution, 288 ppi
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, 2.3GHz quad-core
  • GPU: Adreno 330 GPU
  • Memory: 3GB RAM
  • Storage: 16/32GB
  • microSD slot: Yes, up to 128 GB
  • Cameras: 8 MP rear, 2.1 MP front
  • Battery: 7,900 mAh
  • OS: Android 4.4.2 KitKat with TouchWiz
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi/3G-LTE
  • Others: fingerprint scanner

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Buy Now from Amazon for $382

Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact

Don’t let the mouthful of a name fool you – the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact is as sleek as Android tablets get. This 8-inch device impresses through its lightness and very slim profile – at 6.4 millimeters, this is the thinnest tablet you can get. But the Z3 Tablet Compact has more than good looks. On the inside, the fast Snapdragon 801 processor and 3GB of RAM ensure you will be flying through the screens of Sony’s minimalist user interface.

The LCD screen is not Quad HD, but Sony’s unique display technology ensures you get vivid colors that are similar to what you get on AMOLED. Another unique attribute of the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact is its water resistance. Yup, you can take this device to beach or the hot tub without worrying about dropping it in the water.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 213.4 x 123.6 x 6.4 mm (8.40 x 4.87 x 0.25 in), 270 g (9.52 oz)
  • Display: 8-inch LCD, Full HD (1920 x 1200) resolution, 283 ppi
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, 2.5GHz quad-core
  • GPU: Adreno 330 GPU
  • Memory: 3GB RAM
  • Storage: 16GB
  • microSD slot: Yes, up to 128 GB
  • Cameras: 8.1 MP rear, 2.2 MP front
  • Battery: 4,500 mAh
  • OS: Android 4.4.4 KitKat
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi/3G-LTE
  • Others: IP68 water resistance

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See it on Amazon for $469

Google Nexus 9

The brand new Nexus 9 from Google and HTC is an Android fanboy’s dream. It runs the purest, most recent version of Android – Lollipop 5.0 – and it will stay current for at least two years. There are no OEM additions (though stock Android may be a little too minimal for your taste) and therefore nothing to bog down the user experience.

The Nexus 9 is just as impressive on the hardware side – you get a 64-bit Tegra processor, a beautiful 1536 x 2048 pixels screen, stereo front speakers (disguised under the protective glass) and a big battery. However, like all Nexus devices, there’s no microSD card slot. The device features a utilitarian, yet elegant design, with an aluminum frame that gives it rigidity without adding much heft.

 Specs

  • Dimensions: 228.2 x 153.7 x 7.9 mm (8.98 x 6.05 x 0.31 in), 270 g (9.52 oz)
  • Display: 8.95-inch IPS LCD, 1536 x 2048 resolution, 281 ppi
  • Processor: Nvidia Tegra K1 Denver, 2.3 GHz dual-core
  • GPU: Kepler DX1
  • Memory: 2GB RAM
  • Storage: 16/32GB
  • microSD slot: No
  • Cameras: 8 MP rear, 1.6 MP front
  • Battery: 6,700 mAh
  • OS: Android 5.0 Lollipop
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi/3G-LTE

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Get it on Amazon for $399

Best for money – Google Nexus 7 (2013)

Not everyone looks for the latest specs and thinnest designs. For some, getting a good deal is more important that staying on the edge. That is why we can’t wrap up our list of best Android tablets without mentioning the Nexus 7 (2013). Although it’s a year old, the Nexus 7 is still a great tablet that gives you all the essentials in an attractive package. The Full HD screen is still great, and its pixel density is actually higher than some devices listed above.

While you won’t get the same lighting fast performance you’ll get from the Nexus 9, the Nexus 7 is more than capable, especially for less demanding users. Coupled with the guaranteed fast update to Lollipop, the Nexus 7 remains a top choice for those looking for an affordable tablet.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 200 x 114 x 8.7 mm (7.87 x 4.49 x 0.34 in), 299 g  (10.55 oz)
  • Display: 7-inch IPS LCD, Full HD (1200 x 1920) resolution, 323 ppi
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro, 1.5 GHz quad-core
  • GPU: Adreno 320
  • Memory: 2GB RAM
  • Storage: 16/32GB
  • microSD slot: No
  • Cameras: 5 MP rear, 1.2 MP front
  • Battery: 3950 mAh
  • OS: Android 4.4 KitKat (Lollipop coming soon)
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi/3G-LTE

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Buy now from Amazon for $199

There you have it – our picks from the best Android has to offer right now. Missed anything? Tell us in the comments!

For more tablet information head on over to the TabTimes blog for more tablet news, reviews and information.

 

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