Not everyone wants an iPad. Although Apple’s share of the tablet market continues to increase with every new product release and iteration of iOS, Android tablets still possess plenty of allure given the open-source nature of their operating system and robust integration with the Google ecosystem. Moreover, most sell at a lower price point than anything Apple has to offer, while granting you unique features in the form of expandable storage, wireless charging, NFC capabilities, and other facets often foreign to the iPad.
Not all Android tablets are created equal, though, so it’s best to narrow down what exactly you’re looking for in a tablet before dropping several hundred bucks. Do you want robust power or an enormous display? Would you rather opt for marathon battery life or a quirky, built-in kickstand designed for optimal viewing from any angle? Below are our five favorite tablets for every situation imaginable.
The high-end, Venue 8 7000 challenges the iPad Mini — even if it does come from Dell. The svelte tablet features a gorgeous, machined-aluminum body and an extremely thin bezel, along with 2,560 x 1,600 pixel resolution and a pixel density of 361ppi. The latter hallmark allows for the utmost color accuracy and renders the display one of the most stunning on the market, while Intel’s Atom processor and the equipped 2GB of RAM provide quick and reliable performance. Moreover, the standout tablet features a 8-megapixel camera and two 720p stereoscoptic cameras on the back, which allow it to capture and process depth data in a way no other consumer tablet is doing. The tablet’s expandable storage capacity (up to 512GB) and comfortable, lightweight design further its appeal more than the standard battery life ever could.
The Google Nexus 9 was built with the die-hard Android user in mind. It was the first tablet to run Android Lollipop 5.0, and as such, it features high-class specifications second only to its sleek, lightweight build. The 64-bit Nvidia Tegra K1 processor delivers quick and fluid performance when multitasking, bolstered by a long-lasting battery and a 8.9-inch display touting 2,048 x 1,536 pixel resolution. The matte-plastic backing might flex on occasion and it might lack a MicroSD card slot, yet, it offers more high-end function than most for the price.
The Galaxy Tab S 8.4 is the go-to when it comes to 8-inch tablets. It’s thinner and lighter than the iPad Mini at 10.37 ounces, and lined with the same dimpled faux leather plastic back and metallic edging as the Galaxy S5. However, the Exynos 5 Octa processor in the Tab S 8.4 is quicker than that housed in the like-minded smartphone, flanked with 3GB RAM and a MicroSD card slot that allows for up to 128GB of storage. It suffers from the occasional app launch delay, sure, but it’s also hard to overlook the Super AMOLED display.
Both the 8.4 and 10-inch movels of Lenovo’s Yoga Tablet 2 may be on the bulkier side and lack robust customization, but they excel when it comes to battery life and price. The pair of mid-range slates feature 1920 x 1080-pixel IPS displays, 2GB of RAM, and Intel’s Atom Z3745 processor, all of which make for decent performance with minimal lag. Moreover, they feature impressive sound via the front-facing speakers built directly into the tablet’s integrated kickstand, which allows you to prop up your device at any angle you want.
The Xperia Z2 isn’t cheap, though, the price is justifiable. The streamlined device is nearly two ounces lighter than its predecessor, outfitted with rubberized construction and a vibrant, high-resolution LCD display that offers 1920 x 1200 pixel resolution. The 10.1-inch tablet is comfortable to hold despite its thick bezel and comes lined with quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor and 3GB of RAM for cutting-edge performance. It even offers a microSD slot for expandable storage and waterproof construction.