Tablets are wonderful creations that have nearly limitless application. People buy them for all sorts of different reasons, whether it be a budget-level device or a premium slate. And, if you ask anyone that has ever owned one, you’ll know they love their tablet for reasons of portability, convenience and form factor. Often there are times when you don’t need to pull out a whole computer.
When it comes to buying a tablet, it’s important to consider how you’ll be using it. Will you be using it for reading, primarily? How about watching videos? Maybe some emails, web browsing, and gaming? How about price? Is durability a concern? Most people want their tablets to last a considerable amount of time (two years+), and usually that means you’re going to need to be looking at a more premium line of devices, instead of lesser known brands.
Thankfully, the marketplace is ripe with choice, and competition has never been more intense. As a result, you have myriad options available, based on your budget, the size and form factor you desire, and the build quality and brand you most prefer. With so many different options available, how does one know what to choose? Thankfully, we’ve got your best interest at heart, and have rounded up our picks of the best Android tablets available at the moment.
Read on to find out our top five choices for the best Android tablets, as of September, 2013.
ASUS Nexus 7 (2013)
Those that have owned iPads and larger form tablets will surely know that a large tablet make a desirable device not. This is where the Nexus 7 (2013) steps in. With its 7 inch form factor, the new Nexus 7 fits perfectly in the hand, and doesn’t fatigue the user — something most larger 10 inch tablets do because of their weight. The ASUS Nexus 7 (2013) is a testament to just how well the previous generation of Nexus 7′s performed and sold. Running the latest version of Android without any added bloatware or elements that’ll slow down your experience, the Nexus 7 (2013) is one of the best tablets you can get in terms of smoothness of operation and performance.
The build quality and design are fantastic. There’s a reason why Google continued in its partnership with ASUS for the Nexus 7, and it’s simple, really. The original Nexus 7 was a fan favorite, and featured great specs and an even better price when it originally launched. With the new Nexus 7, Google and ASUS have opted for a vastly superior display (7.02 inch 1920×1200), a much improved processor (Snapdragon Pro, Adreno 320GPU), and it comes in at a very agreeable price, too.
Overall, the ASUS Nexus 7 (2013) is our first best Android tablet you can get your hands on at a relative cheap price — $229+. And, for those of you that love mobile data and want a great 7 inch tablet, the HSPA+/LTE specific variant of the Nexus 7 LTE was just released, and is priced at $349.99, for the 32GB model.
Nexus 7 (2013) Specs
- Profile: 7.62mm (0.3-inch); 2mm thinner, reduced bezel by 3mm on each side
- Weight: 318g (11.2oz)
- 7-inch LCD IPS display with 1920 x 1200 resolution (323ppi)
- 1.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor
- Adreno 320 graphics
- 2GB of DDR3LM memory
- 16/32GB storage
- 5-megapixel camera
- 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera
- dual-stereo speakers
- virtual surround sound technology
- 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi
- Bluetooth 4.0
- MicroUSB port with SlimPort
- 9 hours video playback, 10 hours web and reading
- Android 4.3 Jelly Bean
Samsung Nexus 10
Samsung’s Nexus 10 is similar to the Nexus 7 (2013) in that it’s running the latest version of stock Android (4.3 Jelly Bean). Hardware and quality wise, you’re going to be able to get a lot of use out this high performer.
It’s easy to handle the 10-inch tablet, though like most 10-inch tablets, it does get tiring after a while. It has a rubberized back to make for an easy grip, and it’s not likely to break if you accidentally drop it. Overall, it definitely feels like a premium device worthy of a best Android tablet list, unlike a few other options out there.
With its industry leading 2560×1600 10 inch display, the Nexus 10 offers a best in class display with a level of detail and sharpness rarely seen on all but the best displays. And for those among us more prone to the accidental, the Nexus 10 is a very durable tablet, with this writer having dropped his more times than he’d like to count.
Samsung Nexus 10 Specs
- Size: 263.9 x 177.6 x 8.9mm
- Weight: 603g
- 10.055-inch touchscreen WQXGA display with 2560 x 1600 resolution, and Corning Gorilla Glass 2 (300ppi)
- 1.7GHz Dual-core Exynos chip with Mali T604 GPU
- 2GB of RAM
- 16/32GB internal memory
- 5-megapixel camera, 1.9-megapixel front-facing camera
- Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n (MIMO+HT40)
- Bluetooth, NFC, GPS
- Micro USB, Micro HDMI
- 3.5mm headphone jack
- Magnetic Pogo pin charger
- 9000mAh Litium polymer battery
- Sensors: microphone, accelerometer, compass, ambient light, gyroscope, barometer
- Android 4.3 Jelly Bean
As our second best Android tablet on the list, the Nexus 10 is one of our favorites here at Android Authority.
For more info on Samsung’s Nexus 10, including our review, click here! Remember to watch for price drops on this one, as it’s likely to be replaced by a newer version in the coming months ahead (November, 2013 onwards)
Sony Xperia Tablet Z
Third on our list is Sony’s Xperia Tablet Z. It’s arguably the most stylish of the bunch. It really feels like an amazingly premium device, and it commands quite a few looks from the curious in the coffee shops it frequents. Truth be told, the Sony Xperia Z tablet is a wonderful tablet, and it has a stock Android-like interface in that the design is similar to Ice Cream Sandwich. Unlike Nexus devices, the Xperia Tablet Z does have a few preloaded apps, but it doesn’t bog down the system at all. In fact, some of the apps are extremely useful.
As for build quality, this is one of the tablets on the list that actually feels like a premium device. With its angular edges and strong construction it’s quite comforting to know that this is one of the few water/dust resistant tablets out there. Despite being a 10 inch tablet, it is incredibly light, and thinner than any tablet on this list. As such, it feels great in the hand.
With the price starting at $499 on the Xperia Tablet Z, you would certainly hope you were getting the best Android tablet out there. Let me reassure you — the Sony Xperia Tablet Z is a very premium tablet. Sony has worked hard to provide a good experience here, and it shows.
Sony Xperia Tablet Z Specs
- 172 x 266 x 6.9 mm
- 495 grams
- 10.1-inch TFT display capable of 1,920 x 1,200 resolution (224ppi)
- 1.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU
- Adreno 320 GPU
- 8.1-megapixel rear camera
- 2.2-megapixel front-facing camera
- IPX57 water resistant and IP5X dust proof
- Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
LG G Pad 8.3
While LG might not be a name associated with tablets, they still are one to watch. The 8.3 inch G Pad features a very compelling feature set, and a beautiful 1920×1080 8.3 inch IPS LCD display. What’s particularly nice about the G Pad is that, much like the Nexus 7 (2013), it is able to be held by one hand, and still manages to fit a beautiful, crisp 1920×1200 resolution display.
While it might not be as easy to find as the Nexus 7 (2013), the Nexus 10, or the Sony Xperia Tablet Z, it might be worth holding out for. The G Pad represents LG’s renewed focus in the tablet market, and you can be sure they’ve fully invested their expertise into making a fantastic tablet.
- 216.8 x 126.5 x 8.3mm
- 338 grams
- 8.3-inch TFT display capable of 1,920 x 1,200 resolution (272.79 PPI)
- 1.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor, 2GB of RAM
- Adreno 320 GPU
- 5MP rear camera
- 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera
- 4600 mAh battery
- Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
Packing the latest in display technology, The G Pad 8.3 features a 1.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon 600 CPU and is accompanied by 2GB of RAM. The device also has a beautiful 8.3-inch 1920 x 1200 display, 16GB storage, microSD, a 5MP rear cam, 1.3MP front cam and a 4,600 mAh battery. As for the OS, the G Pad will arrive with Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. In terms of size, it sites somewhere between the iPad mini and the new Nexus 7. One big upside for the tablet is that it includes expandable storage in the form of a much loved microSD slot, something few tablets these days, offer.
While pricing is not official, it’s likely that the LG G Pad will hit the market at $300. It’s one of our favorites because of its fantastic form factor, its amazing display, and its powerful spec sheet. And it’s svelte, light, and feels great in the hand. What’s not to love?
For more on the LG G Pad 8.3, click here.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition
We originally saw the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 back in 2012, but during the IFA 2013 trade show in Berlin, Germany, Samsung unveiled a successor, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition is the definition of the best Android tablet, especially in terms of functionality. The Note 10.1 2014 Edition is packing a lot of new software features, including a lot of the features found in the newly announced Galaxy Note 3 smartphone, such as Air Command.
Now, we haven’t had a whole lot of time to play with the new Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, but from the time we had with it, it really is an impressive device, worthy of the best Android tablet list. It’s well built, durable, and stylish.
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition tablet is one beast of a device, and it certainly belongs on anyone’s best Android tablet list.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition Specs
- Size: 243.1 x 171.4 x 7.9mm
- Weight: 535g
- 10.1-inch WQXGA Super clear LCD (2560 x 1600 resolution)
- 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor (LTE version) / 1.9GHz octa-core Exynos 5 Octa processor (3G/Wi-Fi version)
- 3GB of RAM
- 16/32/64GB of storage
- microSD support up to 64GB
- 8-megapixel camera with BSI sensor, and LED flash
- 2-megapixel camera with BSI sensor
- Wi-Fi ac/a/b/g/n (2.4GHz & 5GHz), Wi-Fi Direct
- Bluetooth 4.0
- USB 2.0
- GPS, GLONASS
- S Pen
- 8220mAh battery
- Android 4.3 Jelly Bean with TouchWiz on top and Samsung features
The device isn’t available just yet, though. The device will begin hitting stores in the third quarter. So we can expect to begin seeing the device go through a gradual rollout, starting this month. The good news is that Samsung plans on selling three versions of this device, the first being a Wi-Fi model. And for you cellular junkies, there’ll be a Wi-Fi + 3G version and a Wi-Fi + LTE option. With three different models available, this’ll definitely be the best Android tablet for many.
In this list, we have the ASUS Nexus 7 (2013), Samsung Nexus 10, Sony Xperia Tablet Z, LG G Pad 8.3, and the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition. These are just five of the best Android tablets in the market, and probably the most well known devices, too.
There are plenty of premium tablets out there, with manufacturers looking at bringing more to the market in just a few months, too. Regardless, if you decide to jump the gun on one of these, you’ll get a good few years of usage out of it before needing to upgrade.
Every year we see new tablets and smartphones launch, always having better specs than the previous version. Truth be told, you really aren’t going to need to worry about that yearly upgrade with these tablets. Each device in our best Android tablet list will get you through your daily tasks for weeks, months, and years to come.
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Let us know which tablet is your favourite and why in the comments below.