10 Best Android Tablets 2015
Our round-up of the best Android tablets features 7-inch, 8-inch and 10-inch tablets, as well as the best models for specific needs, including work, drawing and gaming.
Tablets were once seen as a luxury gadget, lying somewhere in the No Man’s Land between laptops and smartphones but not as useful as either. They’ve improved dramatically though, and are now widely used as entertainment devices and commute-buddies. Screen quality, battery life and power are all surging upwards, while budget devices have also improved massively.
Hit the dropdown menu above to head straight to our short reviews or read on for more tablet buying advice.
How much should you spend?
There’s a massive difference in price between the cheapest and most expensive tablets on the market. While you can now buy models for less than £100, some will set you back as much as £1,000. Generally speaking, smaller tablets around the 7-inch mark are cheap, while 10-inchers and above are significantly costlier.
Unless you plan on using your tablet for work purposes, you have little reason to spend more than £300. Some high-end Android tablets cost a tad more than this, but they’re often endowed with an exceptional feature, such as a super-sharp screen or a stylus.
Lots of tablets available for between £100 and £300 are good enough for watching TV and movies, reading, gaming and browsing the web, which are the key capabilities most consumers look out for. Within this bracket, price is determined by screen size, which we’ll discuss in more depth further down the page.
However, be wary of ‘bargains’. If you find something retailing for far less than its product description suggests it should, do your research. The £99.99 Argos MyTablet and £149.99 Aldi Medion Lifetab S10346 are classic examples of this, and scored 3/10 and 4/10, respectively. That says it all.
Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Google has unveiled the next version of its mobile operating system, Android 6.0 Marshmallow. It will officially land this autumn as the follow-up to Lollipop, and will come with a wide selection of brand new features. Some of the highlights are Android Pay, Google Now on Tap, fingerprint support and Doze, which is designed to lengthen battery life. Follow the link below for the full breakdown.
SEE ALSO: Android Marshmallow: What's new?
What size is best for you?
Size is a very important factor when it comes to deciding which Android tablet to buy. Yes, small translates as cheap and large translates as not-so-cheap, but there’s a little more to it than that.
Buy a 7-inch tablet if…
…you want something cheap, light and highly portable.
The primary advantages of 7-inch tablets are affordability and portability. They weigh and cost a lot less than larger tablets, but are still more than generous in terms of screen quality, performance and battery life. They’re also a family-friendly choice, since even the smallest hands can get to grips with them. This makes them perfect for using on the go, whether that’s for reading eBooks on a train or taking pictures on a sunny beach.
7-inch tablets aren’t so great for watching movies or browsing the web, however, due to the screen size and the tendency for them to feature quite weak, tinny speakers. You’ll also struggle to get the most out of them for work purposes, because they’re uncomfortable to use in this manner for long periods, even if you buy a keyboard dock.
Buy a 10-inch tablet if…
…you want to use it for work and entertainment purposes.
Like smartphones, tablets seem to be growing bigger, and it’s now possible to find models up to 13 inches in size. That’s a fair bit of heft, and means that large tablets are a lot heavier and trickier to handle than 7-inchers.
However, what you lose in portability you gain in several other areas. Displays and speakers tend to be far superior, making these great for watching movies or listening to music on. They’re also terrific for reading the news, though they’re a little too cumbersome for using on a packed commuter train.
Crucially, plenty of 10-inch Android tablets now come with keyboard docks, which transform them into productivity devices. However, this comes at a price, which 10-inchers and above usually costing over twice as much as 7-inchers.
Buy an 8-inch tablet if…
… you want to strike a balance between the two.
8-inch tablets sit on the pleasant middle-ground. They're better for browsing the web, reading eBooks and watching movies than 7-inch tablets, yet they’re far easier to use on the go than 10-inch tablets.
However, they're also a fair bit more expensive than some of the best 7-inch Android tablets on the market. Still, this hasn’t stopped them from becoming the most popular tablet size amongst consumers.
If you'd like a little more guidance on what to look for when buying a new tablet, you should read our tablet buyer's guide, which blasts away the jargon and explains anything else you may need to consider, technical or otherwise.