Whether you’re looking to game on the go, watch your favorite films, read books or leisurely browse the web, tablets have always been great devices for media consumption. While the Amazon Fire tablet was one of the first devices to offer a worthy alternative to the ubiquitous iPad, companies such as Lenovo and Samsung have also created excellent tablets, offering new ideas for how these devices fit into our life. While the iPad is still the best tablet overall, the best iPad alternatives offer many of the same features at a fraction of the cost of a new Apple product.
While the interest in Android tablets has fallen off in recent years, both from consumers and manufacturers, there are still plenty of good options available and just as many reasons why you’d want to have one. In addition to being more affordable than iPads, these cheap tablets offer many of the same apps and features, are in some ways more versatile (they were optimized for a keyboard and mouse long before iPads were).
From portable powerhouses to beautiful displays, models for kids and more, we’ve rounded up 10 of the best Android tablets available in 2021. Keep reading for our selection of the best Android tablets from top brands like Samsung, Amazon, and Lenovo.
1. Samsung Galaxy Tab S7
BEST ANDROID TABLET OVERALL
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 is easily the most capable Android tablet on this list, with an octo-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+ CPU and 6 GB of RAM. It also comes with the S Pen, allowing you to markup documents, sign contracts or take notes right on your tablet, and features 5G mobile broadband, so you can stay connected at blazing speeds even when there’s no Wi-Fi signal. Plus, you can binge your favorite content on the Super AMOLED 11-inch display for up to 15 hours before it needs a charge. And if you choose to add the optional keyboard, the UI will even transform into DeX mode, which offers more of a traditional laptop experience. It’s pricey, but you are getting something close to a laptop in tablet form.
2. Amazon Fire HD 10 Tablet
As Amazon’s best available tablet, the Fire 10 comes with a stunning 10.1-inch 1080p HD display and a powerful 2 GHz octa-core processor for performance that can handle all of your media and entertainment consumption. It also comes with 2GB of built-in RAM and sports a 10-hour battery life. Sure, the specs may not sound as impressive as the other tablets, but the name recognition definitely counts in the Fire’s favor. Plus, Fire tablets — for the most part — are really built to last thanks to solid software support and a robust app selection. And because the Fire HD Tablet comes from Amazon, it also comes with Alexa baked in, which makes this a truly smart tablet when your hands are full with something else.
3. TCL Tab
BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK
TCL is best known for its excellent flat-screen TVs, which offer amazing performance for the price you pay, but now the company is taking that philosophy and applying it to tablets with the TCL Tab. Considering this is TCL’s first crack at a tablet, the TCL Tab is impressive, with a 2.0 GHz octa-core CPU, 3 GB of RAM and an 8-inch, 1080p display that makes this an excellent choice for reading or streaming. But what we love most is that the battery can provide up to 24 hours of use on a single charge while offering the ability to wirelessly share it’s power with Qi-compatible phones. And when you consider that all of this comes packed in a device that costs less than $200, we could see this having the same impact on Android tablets that TCL’s 6-Series had on TVs.
4. Samsung Tab A7
BEST MID-RANGE TABLET
Available in both 32 GB and 64 GB offerings, the Samsung Tab A7 is a tablet that offers excellent performance for the price. This 10.4-inch tablet packs an octa-core Snapdragon 662 CPU that’s paired with 3 GB of RAM, and while the base model might be a bit light on storage, the MicroSD card slot means that you can add up to 1 TB of additional storage. While you may not be playing all of the latest mobile games or using this like a hybrid PC, the Samsung Tab A7 is more than equipped to make browsing the web, streaming video and reading books a pleasurable experience. And when you’re on the go, you don’t worry about recharging the Samsung Tab A7, because it’s rated for 15 hours of use on a single charge, which adds to its portability factor.
5. Lenovo Tab M10 Plus
The Lenovo Tab M10 Plus may not be the most fully-featured tablet, but a 1080p display, octa-core CPU and 4GB of RAM aren’t too shabby when you consider the price of this 10.3-inch tablet. It comes with 64GB of storage which can be expanded to 256GB with a MicroSD card, so you and all your family can store their content without it getting filled up. And while you’re sharing with your kids, you can use advanced parental controls for their protection. Speaking of protection, this Lenovo Tablet also features facial recognition for easily signing in multiple users.
6. Amazon Fire 7
BEST CHEAP TABLET
It’s nothing short of incredible that the Amazon Fire 7, is only $50. This 7-inch tablet comes in either 16GB or 32GB variety with a 1.3 GHz quad-core processor to let you accomplish most of the basic tasks you want a tablet such as web browsing, video, and music. And while you’re doing all of that, you can expect about seven hours of battery life, which isn’t as good as some other tablets, but for the price, that’s pretty good.
7. Lenovo Smart Tab M8
BEST SMART HOME TABLET
If you’re torn on whether to use your hard-earned money on a new tablet or a smart display, why not buy something that offers you the functionality of both in a single package? The Lenovo Smart Tab M8 is a respectable, if not quite phenomenal, mid-range tablet with a quad-core CPU, 2 GB of RAM and an 8-inch, 1280×800 display. But what really makes this one stand out from the pack is that it comes with a dock that, when in use, launches a separate software experience that turns it into a smart display capable of managing your smart home thanks to Google Assistant integration. And so if you’re not fully sure how much you’ll end up using your tablet a year from now, or are diving into the smart home ecosystem, there’s a dramatically slimmer chance that this thing will be collecting dust anytime soon.
8. Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus
BEST FOR AMAZON JUNKIES
What makes Amazon’s Fire OS so great is that it’s built around Amazon’s suite of entertainment and media services, namely the Kindle Store and Prime Video. And if your primary reasons for using a tablet revolve around those two things, Amazon Tablets are a delight to use since all of your content is woven into the home screen experience. And if you want the perfect hardware complement to the OS, consider the Fire HD 8 Plus, which is small enough to comfortably function as a reader, but has a screen big enough that you don’t have to squint while watching movies such as Borat 2. Equipped with an 8-inch, 1280×800 display, 3 GB of RAM and a 2 GHz quad-core CPU, all of your media needs will be satisfied. And if you buy the optional charging dock, you can transform the tablet into a smart display, much like the Lenovo Smart Tab M8.
9. Lenovo Yoga Smart Tab
BEST ANDROID TABLET FOR VIDEO
One of the best uses for a tablet is watching video in places where you might not have a TV, but keeping that screen propped up either requires you to use a stand accessory or rely on a foldable cover, which isn’t always the most stable solution. The 10-Inch Lenovo Yoga Smart Tab, however, has a flip-out stand integrated into its base so that you can easily take things vertical whenever a Netflix craving might strike, and the footprint is small enough that you don’t have to clear out a bunch of space around it. And as an added benefit, the cylindrical base also makes for a great hand grip when you’re using it as a reader. Equipped with a 2 GHz quad-core CPU, 1080p resolution and 4 GB of RAM, this thing will be your go-to media consumption device for a long time after you buy it.
10. Fire HD 8 Kids Edition Tablet
BEST TABLET FOR KIDS
Unlike the other tablets on this list, the Fire HD 8 was made specifically for children. If you’re tired of the kids always hogging your tablet, then this is a practical solution. With a beautiful 8-inch display and kid-friendly case, it comes with 32GB of internal storage and sports a battery life up to 10 hours (perfect for those longer road trips). As an added bonus, it also comes with a free 12-month subscription to FreeTime Unlimited, which features more than 20,000 different games, apps, audiobooks and more that are specifically geared toward kids. Not all of the best Android tablets are super kid-friendly, but the Amazon line of Fire tablets for kids was made specifically for the Minecraft generation.