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These are the best Android tablets you can buy today

iPads may get the attention of most tablet owners, but there are plenty of Android-based options out there.

Android tablets vary in size and quality, but some are exceptionally good value and can make very superb iPad alternatives. In the chart below we rank the best Android tablets available to buy in the UK in 2021 so far.

If you don’t specifically need an Android tablet, be sure to check out our list of the best tablets for any operating system, including the latest iPads and the occasional Windows tablet.

Best Android Tablets 2021

2. Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1 (2019) – Best value

Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1 (2019)

3. Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e – Great for entertainment

Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e

4. Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite – Great for productivity

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite

5. Lenovo Tab P11 Pro – Highly versatile

Lenovo Tab P11 Pro

6. Samsung Galaxy Tab Active 3 – Most ruggedised

Samsung Galaxy Tab Active 3

7. Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus (2020) – Best for kids

Amazon Fire HD 8 (10th gen)

8. Amazon Fire HD 10 (2019) – Great for entertainment

Amazon Fire HD 10 (2019)

9. Amazon Fire 7 (2019) – Great for kids

Amazon Fire 7 (2019)

10. Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 – Still capable

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4

What to look for in an Android tablet

Android tablets are much like iPads. The main difference is the operating system (or OS) on which they run: Google’s Android platform. Android, as you’re likely to find it on most devices, comes with an app store all its own, called the Play Store. Chances are all the popular apps you’d find on an iPad running iOS will also be available to Android users too, however, there are the odd exceptions or those times where an Android version of an app takes a little longer to appear than it does on iOS.

As for Amazon’s Fire tablets things are a little different, as they run on a forked version of Android that’s heavily customised, locked down and employs Amazon’s own app store in place of the Google Play Store. Fire tablets make for good kids’ tablets – so if you’re after a tablet for a child, check out our list of the best tablets for kids.

What size tablet should I buy?

The first thing to consider (apart from budget) is screen size. This ranges from around 7in to 13in, although for most people an 8in or 9in tablet represents the best compromise between usability and portability.

With bigger screens comes more weight. Aim for a maximum of around 450g, as anything heavier can be uncomfortable to hold for long periods, such as when watching a film. That said, if you intend for your new slate to spend most of its life propped up on your lap or on a desk weight isn’t likely to be so much of an issue.

How much storage do I need?

Ideally, you should aim for 32GB of internal storage as a minimum, but more is better for downloading media.

Many, but not all, Android tablets feature a microSD card slot, so you can add more storage when you need it. If you’re going for a tablet with no slot, make sure you buy the biggest capacity you can afford, as videos and some apps can use up an awful lot of storage in a single hit.

And don’t forget that the big number on the box – 32GB, say – is the total amount. The usable amount, i.e. the amount which is empty and available for you to use after the Android OS itself is installed, can be quite a lot less than that headline figure.

What about the screen?

Few tablets these days have poor-quality screens, but some do. Look for an IPS LCD or (better yet) AMOLED screen and avoid anything with a ‘TN’ screen as these have poor viewing angles.

In terms of resolution, higher is better, but the more important number relates to pixel density. Aim for 300 pixels per inch (often abbreviated to ‘ppi’) or higher, as this will ensure a sharp-looking image that’s not jagged or blocky.

What features do I need?

Most Android tablets feature WiFi and Bluetooth as their primary means of connectivity, and some have NFC as well. NFC may come in handy for pairing to other compatible devices quickly, but it’s by no means essential.

What’s more useful is a video output so you can connect your tablet to your TV (usually via HDMI). However, you can use most Android tablets with Google’s Chromecast for watching catch-up TV, YouTube and other internet video services that are supported.

Some tablets have GPS – which makes them useful for navigation – but not all do. Another thing to watch for is a SIM slot. This is useful if you want to get online when you’re travelling or out of WiFi range.

However, you’ll usually pay more for a cellular (3G/4G/5G) tablet, and you will need a dedicated SIM card with a data-only plan to enable in. In truth, it’s better to tether your tablet to your smartphone, if your mobile plan/carrier allows this.

Performance, battery life and cameras

If you want to know if a particular model is great for gaming or too slow for web browsing, then read our reviews, which include benchmark results for a more empirical comparison; you can’t rely on specifications such as processor speed or number of cores it possesses to guarantee good performance.

We also test battery life, to give you an accurate idea of how long each tablet should likely last between charges. The best tablets last around ten hours or more, while the worst only manage four to five hours on a charge.

The same applies to cameras, and as with performance, you shouldn’t judge by the number of megapixels. Instead, check out our test photos in each review to see whether you’re happy with the quality on offer. Few Android tablets have great cameras, and quite a few have awful ones, so if photos, videos and video calls are important, don’t buy before you’ve read our reviews.

Once you’ve got your Android tablet, you might do yourself a favour of investing in one of our best tablet stands, to make usage more comfortable, reduce neck strain, and improve your posture.

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