Best Android tablets 2018: Samsung vs Amazon vs everyone else

You have a phone. You have a laptop. But something is missing. You need a device to take up the middle ground between the two. Touchscreen tablets fill that void perfectly, providing you with a nifty, portable doohickey that combines the best elements of the aforementioned devices.

Tablets are ideal for settling down on the sofa and surfing the web, sorting through emails, playing games, or streaming some high quality Netflix content. They’re also great devices for the commute or on a long overseas plane ride since they’re not too bulky and have the storage capacity for all your favourite films, TV series, audiobooks and more.

READ NEXT: Best ebook readers

Apple’s iPad lineup – which uses iOS – is the most popular type of tablet on the market, and there are various models to suit different purposes. They aren’t necessarily the most budget-friendly options, however. The Microsoft Windows 2-in-1 laptop/tablet hybrids – again, are pretty popular, but this PC operating system has more than its fair share of detractors.

Finally, you can buy tablets powered by Android, and that’s precisely what this buying guide is for. Perhaps you’re already familiar with Android on your phone that you simply want an extension of the software but on a device with a larger screen. Or, maybe you’re desperate for a tablet but your budget can’t stretch to accommodate the latest iPad. Whatever your reasons for wanting an Android tablet, we’ve got you covered.

Below we roundup the best Android tablets in 2018, from Samsung to Huawei to Amazon and beyond, to help you make the right tablet purchase for you.  

Best Android tablet to buy in 2018

1. Amazon Fire HD 8

Price: £80 | Buy now from Amazon

Amazon Fire HD 8 main

Kicking off our list is the best budget Android tablet in 2018. Amazon’s Fire HD 8 is a sturdy and capable 8in tablet with long-lasting battery life and a 1,280 x 800 resolution display. Arguably Its best feature is the built-in Alexa voice-controlled smart assistant. Aside from the Echo Dot, this is one of the cheapest ways to access Amazon’s digital butler.

Amazon Fire HD 8: Who is it for?

Touchscreen fiends on a budget. At only £80, the Amazon Fire HD 8 is the best value Android tablet to buy in 2018. Though more compact than most, there’s a choice of either 16GB of 32GB of on-board storage, with a lengthy battery life, and top-notch build quality There’s also a Kids Edition of the Fire HD 8 which comes bundles with a childproof protective case and a one-year Fire for Kids Unlimited Pass, which is packed with oodles of children’s content.

Read our full Amazon Fire HD 8 review

2. Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7

Price: £345 | Buy now from Amazon

Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S2 locks heads with Apple’s iPad Air 2 – and it more than holds its own. Its 9.7in display has been upgraded to a crisp 4:3 aspect ratio, with a resolution of 2,048 x 1,536. These specs are identical to the iPad Air 2, and both are priced within £20 of one another, so the deciding factor really comes down to your preferred type of OS. That said, the Tab S2 is also thinner and lighter than its Apple rival, weighing just 389g with a width of 5.6mm.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7: Who is it for?

If you’ve got a little more cash at your disposal, this is the tablet for you. We gave the Tab S2 a five-star review and still consider it the best Android tablet for under £500. Pretty good, considering it’s now only £345.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Tab S2  9.7 review

3. Samsung Galaxy Tab S3

Price: £470 | Buy now from Amazon

The next generation of the Galaxy Tab, superseding the S2 9.7 in every aspect apart from price – but even that’s getting lower. The Tab S3 launched at a lofty £600 in 2017 but has since dropped by a good £130. The most significant upgrade on the previous model is a brand new and improved S-Pen stylus, which Samsung has thrown in with the tablet for free.

A speedy Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor has also replaced the Tab S2’s Exynos Octa 5433, it has a longer-lasting battery, and runs Android 7. While the display specs remain the same as on the Galaxy Tab S2, the S3 now also supports HDR content.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3: Who is it for?

The Tab S3 is the obvious choice for those who want a sophisticated Android tablet. As well as the S-Pen stylus there’s even an optional keyboard attachment in the box, too.

Read our full review Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 review

4. Asus ZenPad 3S 10

Price: £300 | Buy now from Currys PC World

Asus ZenPad 3s 10

A lovely tablet that’s similar in both size and style to the Samsung Tab S2 9.7, but costs roughly £50 less. The ZenPad 3S 10’s 9.7in 2,048 x 1,536 resolution display has an 879:1 aspect ratio with minimal bezels on all four sides. Battery life is excellent, and Android 6 runs is speedy enough, even with Asus’ own OS overlay.

Asus ZenPad 3S 10: Who is it for?

The ZenPad 3S isn’t best suited for gaming. Its integrated GPU can’t hack demanding 3D games in the same way that its Qualcomm or Nvidia-powered rivals can. Aside from gaming, the ZenPad 3S 10 is a great multi-purpose purchase for watching Netflix or getting some work polished off when you’re out and about.

Read our full Asus ZenPad 3S 10 review

Buy now from Currys PC World

5. Lenovo Yoga Book (Android OS)

Price: £450 | Buy now from Amazon

Lenovo is well-known for breaking boundaries  – they made the first convertible laptop, after all – and they’ve applied the same inventive touch to the multi-use Yoga Book hybrid. It’s surprisingly slim; with a quad-core 2.4GHz Intel Atom x5-Z8550 processor and a 10.1in 1,920 x 1,200 resolution display. With a closed width of only 9.6mm, it’s one of the thinnest hybrids, too.

Its best feature is the dual-purpose keyboard/touchpad, which doubles up as a sketching and note taking tool when not used for typing. The bundled stylus operates with a high degree of sensitivity, providing 1:1 precision from sketch to screen.  The Yoga Book offers something totally different to the rest of the Android tablet competition – and for £100 more you can buy the Windows 10 Pro edition.

Lenovo Yoga Book: Who is it for?

Full time note takers and serious sketch artists will benefit greatly from the Yoga Book’s Halo keyboard which, when turned off, doubles up as a fantastic digital scrawling pad through the use of “electromagnetic resonance” tech. Essentially, you can see what you’re drawing on screen using the hyper-sensitive stylus, and can attach proper notebooks for simultaneous digital and physical note taking.

Read our full Lenovo Yoga Book review

6. Huawei MediaPad M5 Pro

Price: £480 | Buy now from Amazon

Huawei’s MediaPad M5 Pro is one of the speediest Android tablets on the market, and whether you’re using your grubby fingers or the bundled stylus, its touchscreen is excellent, too. You might argue that it’s trying too hard to be a laptop – in fact, Huawei says that you can “leave the PC behind” in the M5 Pro’s marketing materials. We won’t go that far, but it does run buttery-smooth on Android 8, has a camera that puts many smartphones to shame and a quad-speaker that’s so good you won’t bother pairing it with Bluetooth speakers.

It’s generously equipped for a tablet, too. With a 10.8in 2,560 x 1,600 resolution display and an Octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 960 processor powering things from the inside, the MediaPad M5 Pro is a tablet tour-de-force.

Huawei MediaPad M5 Pro: Who is it for?

If you’re after the best of both worlds, the Huawei MediaPad M5 Pro is the perfect compromise. It’s a beefy machine for video streaming, gaming and working although you’ll want to buy the optional keyboard case to keep on top of your spreadsheets on the go.

Read our full Huawei MediaPad M5 Pro review

Prefer Microsoft? The Surface Pro may be the way to go

If you aren’t sold on any of the Android tablets listed above, then perhaps you’d like to consider some Windows 10 tablet hybrids. We have two devices to recommend, both from Microsoft’s pride and joy: the Surface Pro range of laptop/tablet hybrids.

The Surface Pro 4 faces extinction, but it remains good value for money if top-end specs aren’t what you’re after. Its successor, the confusingly-titled Surface Pro, is miles better in almost every way, but its asking price is much higher than the model it replaces.

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