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Best Android tablet: Our 4 biggest recommendations

Looking to pick up a great tablet, but not keen on Apple’s iPad line? Then chances are, you’ll be looking to grab an Android tablet.

But which to get? Check any store and you’ll see multiple options, some from brands you’ve never heard of. While the choice on offer is welcome, picking a device that’s actually good has become a tricky task for even the most tech-savvy of buyers.

Despite the marketing hype, we know from experience that not every Android tablet is created equal. Many of the devices to pass through our labs fail to live up to the claims made, offering sub-bar performance.

Note, too, that there’s greater variety to the Android tablet offering over Apple iPads, with the range being offered across a wider spectrum of price points as well as more specific use cases. Already there are Android tablets designed for artists, tantrum-prone kids, movie buffs and students.

Here to help, our team of product experts has created this list detailing the top-scoring Android tablets we’ve tested in the most common categories of user.

This includes the all-round top performers for giant-screened tablets that have been bespoke designed for movie buffs, affordable options for students and buyers on a strict budget, to ruggedised models for parents looking for a tablet to keep their kids entertained.

We review each tablet using a mix of stringent lab tests and real-word use to ensure our advice is accurate and reflects what people care about most when picking a tablet. This includes the price as well as areas such as screen quality, audio performance, a tablet’s ability to run games and handle creative workloads, plus battery life.

How we test

Learn more about how we test tablets

Every Android tablet on this list has been fully reviewed by one of the product experts at Trusted Reviews. This involves it being benchmarked in our labs and then being used by our reviewer for at least five days as their main tablet.

Lab tests include synthetic benchmarks to gauge general performance, gaming performance, screen colour accuracy, contrast ratio, max brightness and battery life. The latter covers the average hourly discharge rate when playing games and video, as well as how long the tablet will last running basic office tasks such as web browsing and word processing.

We then check our lab findings to see how the device performs with everyday use. This will see the reviewer use the tablet as their primary device, enacting common tasks such as movie streaming, gaming, web browsing and video calling. If the device is targeted at a specific market such as digital artists, for example, then the tester will also cover areas such as digital stylus support and whether or not the device can effectively run any relevant applications.

When a product is sent to us with optional extras, such as a stylus and keyboard cover, we’ll review how well it performs both with and without these accessories.

Xiaomi Pad 5

The best Android tablet for most people
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Pros

  • Excellent screen that’s ideal for Neflix and gaming
  • Decent every day performance
  • Good build quality
  • Powerful speaker setup

Cons

  • Software features some bloatware
  • Demanding tasks heavily impact battery

The Xiaomi Pad 5 is the Chinese tech giant’s attempt to create an Android-powered version of the iPad Air. And, following a fortnight of use, we found the device completely succeeds in this endeavor, making it the best Android tablet we’d recommend to most people.

Out of the box the device immediately impressed, sporting a slim but sturdy metal chassis that felt suitably scratch-resistant to comfortably slot into most regular-sized bags and backpacks without concern.

While it didn’t prove to be the best tablet in any one area during our lab and real-world tests, it delivered reliable performance in pretty much all of the core areas we tested. The Xiaomi Pad 5’s 11-inch LCD screen doesn’t offer as deep blacks as the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra, which features an AMOLED panel. But to the naked eye it’s still capable of presenting decent contrast and a high enough level of maximum brightness to make HDR content on Netflix pop.

The quad-speaker setup isn’t as powerful as the system seen on the competing Lenovo P12 Pro, with the low-end – in particular – in the latter sounding more powerful. But given the price difference between the two devices, this is more than forgivable. Overall, the Xiaomi Pad 5’s audio offering was more than powerful, detailed and controlled enough to comfortably watch movies and play games.

For gaming, the 120Hz refresh rate is a welcome upgrade over competing tablets we’ve tested at this price, including the iPad Air 2022. The tech lets the Xiaomi Pad 5 render 120 images per second, which is twice the number seen on standard tablet screens locked to 60Hz.

Scrolling, therefore, felt like a far smoother experience on this tablet compared to the iPad Air and rival Android models such as the Lenovo Yoga Tab 13 (2021) with 60Hz screens. This will also be great news for early adopters of game streaming services such as GeForce Now, who will be able to play full-fat PC games on the Xiaomi Pad 5 over the cloud at 120fps.

Add the reliable battery life and the Xiaomi Pad 5 easily earns its place as our current best overall Android tablet offering for most people. During testing, the tablet’s 8720mAh battery shed an average of 9-11% of its charge per hour while streaming 1080p video on Wi-Fi. That figure for streaming games over GeForce Now was 22-25%. Using the Xiaomi Pad 5 for office work, the tablet easily lasted around 10 hours.

The only tablet we’ve tested with these features to offer better stamina is the Lenovo P12 Pro, which can last up to 15 hours of video streaming based on our tests.

Reviewer: Alastair Stevenson
Full review: Xiaomi Pad 5 Review

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra

The best for streaming
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Pros

  • Large screen is perfect for streaming movies and playing games
  • Fast performance
  • Great work from Samsung makes it quick and easy to scribble notes using the included S Pen
  • The DeX desktop view is a welcome bonus when you need to do basic office work

Cons

  • The big screen means demanding tasks like gaming put a serious drain on its battery
  • Not a lot of creative apps on Google’s official app store compared to iPadOS

Big-screen Android tablets have been a rarity up until now, with the space currently being dominated by Apple’s iPad Pro 12.9-inch device. Thankfully, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra filled the hole in the market earlier this year, unveiled alongside the Galaxy Tab S8 and Galaxy Tab S8 Plus, which we are yet to review.

During testing, the S8 Ultra proved to be a fantastic option for Android fans after a big-screen tablet for watching movies and playing games. It took our reviewer a good two days to get used to the device’s size, and it’s likely that the dimensions won’t be for everyone – even without its optional keyboard case, the tablet wouldn’t fit into the laptop sleeve in our reviewer’s satchel.

However, the moment we powered it up, the S8 Ultra’s giant 14.6-inch AMOLED screen more than made up for the lack of portability. The screen is wonderfully calibrated for binge-watching TV shows and movies, with the added screen real-estate making movies feel more immersive. The AMOLED screen also delivers wonderfully deep blacks, which, coupled with solid levels of max brightness, made HDR content in particular pop. Dark scenes, such as those in BladeRunner, displayed detail that was completely lost in smaller tablets such as the Lenovo P12 Pro. The iPad Pro 12.9-inch is the only tablet we’ve tested to offer better HDR performance.

The S8 Ultra also features a high 120Hz refresh rate, which we found made it a great option for gaming as well. Streaming games over GeForce Now, with a Razer Raiju Bluetooth controller paired to the device, the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra delivered one of the best experiences we’ve had on a tablet. The generous screen size let us see details, such as the ammo count in first-person-shooter, more clearly, specifics that were too squished to make out on smaller 11-inch slates. The high refresh rate also ensured games looked smooth, and the Snapdragon Gen 1 chip kept every game and app we threw at the device running stutter-free.

The only serious downside is that the tablet doesn’t quite match its main big-screen rival, the iPad Pro 12.9-inch, in a couple of key areas. First, for creatives looking for a mobile sketch or video-editing station, the Android software lags behind Apple’s iPad OS offering. During testing, we struggled to find a reliable video-editing app; outside of Krita, there are woefully few digital painting services that come with full-fat keyboard shortcuts. This makes the iPad Pro a far better option for creative users.

Battery life is also slightly longer on the iPad, which isn’t surprising considering its smaller screen. During tests, streaming non-HDR video from Netflix saw the Tab S8 Ultra discharge an average of 12-14% of its charge. The iPad Pro 12.9 lost 8% of its charge per hour running the same test.

Reviewer: Alastair Stevenson
Full review: Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra Review

Realme Pad

The best value Android tablet
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Pros

  • Fantastic build quality
  • Detailed screen
  • Powerful speakers

Cons

  • Not the most powerful device
  • Screen isn’t that bright

There are lots of affordable Android tablets on the market right now. However, based on our time reviewing them, many fall short of offering good value for money. The majority deliver at best mediocre performance, terrible battery life and feature washed-out screens that make viewing Netflix a horribly compromised experience.

Which is the reason we were so impressed with the Realme Pad when we got it in for review. Despite retailing for less than $250/£250, the tablet performed surprisingly well in all our tests. Out of the box, the screen surround appears slightly chunky, with retro-looking bezels; but the aluminum chassis feels solid and suffers no flex when pressed, leaving our reviewer reassured that the Realme Pad is a device that could happily survive the odd accidental bump and scrape.

The tablet doesn’t come with the cutting-edge, high refresh rate panels seen on more expensive devices such as the Lenovo P12 Pro and Xiaomi Pad 5, but its 10.4-inch screen is the best we’ve seen on a device at this price. Unlike a lot of affordable tablets, we found the screen suitably sharp and comfortable for reading e-books. The resolution is around 224ppi, which puts it in the same ballpark as the iPad (2021) at 265ppi. Pixels per inch (ppi) is a measurement of the number of pixels across an area of the screen.

Colours aren’t as accurate as those seen on more expensive devices, and to the naked eye max brightness levels are lower than the Xiaomi Pad 5. Blacks also appeared slightly more grey when we placed the two devices next to each other. Nevertheless, screen quality is more than good enough to watch Netflix, and the accompanying speakers offered surprisingly loud audio in tests.

For battery life, the Realme Pad matched more expensive rivals such as the Xiaomi Pad 5, lasting roughly 10 hours of screen-on time running basic tasks such as video streaming, web browsing and basic word processing.

The only serious drawback is that the tablet did feel undeniably slower to use than most of the other tablets on this list. Following the Xiaomi Pad 5, apps took noticeably longer to load and, on occasion, I noticed a slight delay before touch inputs were recognised while cropping and applying filters to photos in Photoshop Express. This can largely be put down to the lower-end MediaTek CPU running the tablet, which is a lot less powerful than the Qualcomm chips that power most of the other tablets in this list.

Reviewer: Ian Morris
Full review: Realme Pad Review

Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids

The best Android tablet for kids
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Pros

  • Super-chunky case offers a lot of protection
  • Excellent parental controls
  • Worry-free guarantee
  • Bright screen

Cons

  • A little expensive
  • Limited app library

The Realme Pad may well be cheap and well built, but we still wouldn’t recommend it to any buyer looking for a tablet for a child aged 8 or below. Like most tech, it 100% will not survive a full-blown tantrum where it’s thrown across a room.

If you’re after a device that’s more sturdy then we’d recommend looking at the Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids (2021). Designed specifically for younger kids, it comes with a rugged but cute-looking “Bumper” case that envelopes the chassis in foam, and a plastic outer shell. Having pitted the tablet against a toddler, we can personally attest to its robustness, with our review unit surviving more than a few tantrum throws and a game of tug of war between the child and the family dog.

As an added assurance, Amazon also offers a two-year “no questions asked” replacement policy, where the company will send out a new device free of charge if your progeny does somehow manage to break it.

The 10-inch screen offers similar picture quality to the Realme Pad, with blacks taking on a slightly grey tone. Nevertheless, in our tests images proved plenty sharp and vibrant enough to happily keep kids entertained watching video, reading books or playing games.

The only slight quibble parents should be aware of is that, although its operating system is based on Android, FireOS is generally limited to Amazon services. As such, you won’t have access to Android’s full range of apps and you’ll need an Amazon Prime subscription to make the most of the tablet.

This has been a reason we’ve traditionally awarded middling scores to Amazon’s other Fire tablets. However, given the Fire HD 10 Kids’ focus, our reviewer found these limitations to actually be a positive. Advanced parental controls make it quick and easy to filter the content your kids can access, restrict or block in-app purchases, and set limits on how much screen time they’re allowed each day.

The bundled one-year subscription to Amazon Kids+ also grants access to enough content to keep kids entertained. Reviewing the device we found oodles of videos, games, books and audible books vetted to be safe for use by kids, all available for download and offline use.

Finally, some minor issues to consider. The tablet isn’t terribly fast and it offers only middling battery life. On occasion apps can chug and the device can take a few seconds to recognise commands. This isn’t a significant issue, but it did cause our test subject toddler to occasionally hit the screen in frustration when the pauses occurred. We also found the tablet’s battery could run out after just four hours of video playback. If you want to use the Fire HD 10 Kids to keep your child entertained on a long car journey then you’ll definitely want to invest in a battery pack to keep it running.

Reviewer: David Ludlow
Full review: Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Review

FAQs

Is OLED better than LCD?

On a tablet OLED isn’t a guarantee a screen will be good. But they uniformly will offer deeper blacks. Based on our experience this lets them offer more immersive video watching thanks to their improved contrast ratios. You can see a full breakdown of how the two screen technologies compare in our OLED vs LCD guide.

Is it worth investing in 5G on a tablet?

5G is a fantastic networking technology that lets you download entire TV series in minutes and is generally a great upgrade for business users who regularly need to download large files onto their tablets on the go. But for general consumers the contracts are very expensive and considering the fact you’ll likely have a phone you can tether the tablet to, we’d recommend most people save their money and opt for a WiFi only option.

Why are software updates important?

Android tablets famously don’t get great software support compared to their iPad rivals. This is one of the reasons iPads tend to score better in our reviews. Software updates are important as they add new services and features to the device and include security upgrades that help keep you safe from cyber criminals.

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Comparison specs

Specifications offer an insight into a product’s potential. But they don’t tell the full story which is why we always put any products in our best lists through a thorough review process to see how they are to actually use. As you can see in the tablet below the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is the most powerful product in this list featuring a giant OLED screen and cutting edge Qualcomm CPU.

UK RRP
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Manufacturer
Screen Size
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Rear Camera
Front Camera
Video Recording
IP rating
Battery
Fast Charging
Size (Dimensions)
Weight
ASIN
Operating System
Release Date
First Reviewed Date
Model Number
Resolution
HDR
Refresh Rate
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Trusted Reviews test data

Collecting test data is an important part of review process, but it doesn’t tell the full story of a product’s performance, which is why we back it up with real world testing. As you can see, despite not being the top scoring product in any one area, the Xiaomi Pad 5 is the best all rounder in this list. This coupled with its competitive price is why it’s currently our recommended Android tablet for most people.

Geekbench 5 single core
Geekbench 5 multi core
sRGB
Adobe RGB
DCI-P3
Max brightness
1 hour video playback (Netflix, HDR)
30 minute gaming (intensive)
30 minute gaming (light)
1 hour music streaming (online)
Time from 0-100% charge
Time from 0-50% charge
3D Mark – Wild Life
3D Mark – Sling Shot Extreme

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Founded in 2004, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.

Today, we have millions of users a month from around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.

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