Written by Jerry Hildenbrand, Android Central
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 (Best Overall)
The two most important things to have in a full-size Android tablet are a great screen and software that uses every inch of it. That’s what makes the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 the best Android tablet.
An amazing screen from Samsung is no surprise. The 9.7-inch 2048×1536 Super AMOLED on the Tab S3 carries on the tradition, and it’s simply the best display on a tablet. Android and Samsung mesh to provide a great software experience and the new S Pen and its 4096-level pressure sensitivity makes taking notes or producing digital artwork a breeze.
Bottom line: The Galaxy Tab S3 is the best tablet Samsung has ever made, as well as the best Android Tablet you can buy.
One more thing: The internal hardware is also top notch and will keep up with everything you would want to do.
Why the Galaxy Tab S3 is the best
It’s exactly what we want from a tablet.
In 2018, a tablet is no longer just a bigger version of a phone. They have to pull extra duty and be a media player, a book reader, a web browser, and a work tool without any complaints or complications. Some tablets are great at some of these things, but the Tabs S3 is great at all of them.
Working, whether it’s a presentation for your boss or a paper for your professor, is very different on a tablet than it is on a more conventional computer. Apps are designed to be more simple and easy to use with a touchscreen, while omitting many of the battery-hungry features you would find in their desktop counterparts. The biggest hurdle has always been finding a way to organize the things you’re doing on your screen while you’re doing them. Samsung has had this figured out for a while and with the debut of native features with Android Nougat, you’ll be able to run your apps just how you like to run them.
The S Pen takes things over the top. A tablet with a wonderful screen, a custom-fit keyboard and cover, and powerful hardware is made better with a fully capable digital pen. The excellent Wacom integration makes taking notes or using photoshop a fluid and enjoyable experience that you won’t find with any other tablet on the market.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 (BEST SMALLER TABLET)
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 is an 8-inch tablet that would have been the best tablet you can buy last year. It’s the predecessor to our top pick, and shares features like an incredible screen, great battery life and plenty of power.
The Tab S2 may be a year old, but it’s still a great tablet if you’re looking for one in the 8-inch category. And the price won’t make you cringe — you can pick up a Tab 2 for under $300.
Bottom line: If you want something super thin and ultra-light, the Tab S2 is the best.
One more thing: The Tab S2 also has a fingerprint sensor!
Amazon Fire HD 10 (BEST ON A BUDGET)
The Amazon Fire HD 10 isn’t going to blow you away with speeds and feeds — that’s not why it exists. Instead, it’s simply the best budget tablet for doing many things, from watching movies and TV shows to playing mindless games. Best of all, at under $150, you can hand it to your kids and not worry about it.
Bottom line: The Fire HD 10 is one of the best values in technology products you’ll find.
One more thing: Did we mention that it’s under $150?
Pixel C (FOR THE ENTHUSIAST)
We liked the Pixel C when it first arrived at the end of 2015. We thought the design was striking and the NVIDIA Tegra X1 processor handled everything well. We really loved the crisp display and thought the package represented the Pixel brand very well. It reached its full potential with Android 7.0 and the native multi-window display feature.
Enthusiasts will love the Pixel C because the hardware is open and unlockable. Third-party Android builds or Linux builds or something nobody has thought of yet can be flashed to the tablet with no worries and the path back is as easy as downloading the software from Google.
Bottom line: The community will continue support for the Pixel C long after it officially ends because of its open hardware and bootloader.
One more thing: Because this is a Google hardware product, the Pixel C will be among the first Android tablets to be updated with new features.
Like most things, there is no one Android tablet that’s right for everyone. That’s one of the big reasons Google was able to break Apple’s dominance in mobile computing — it offers a choice for just about everyone. Whether you want the stylish look and thin profile of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 or the high-powered yet low-priced NVIDIA Shield K1 — or anything in between — someone is making a tablet that will work for you.
Our pick with the Galaxy Tab S3 is tough to beat. Great construction, an awesome screen, and Samsung’s unique S Pen experience put it at the top of our list.