10 best Android tablets in the world
6th Dec 2013 | 16:46
Lots of movers and shakers in our top 10
Best Android tablets: 10-6
Our list of the best Android tablets in the world - regularly updated
If you're looking for a tablet and don't fancy an iPad, then Android is currently the way to go. (Don't know what an Android tablet is? Check out: what is an Android tablet?)
There are other options out there with Windows 8 tablets such as the Surface 2, Ativ Tab and the upcoming Nokia Lumia 2520 - but Android Jelly Bean is currently the main rival to the iOS 7 toting iPad Air and iPad mini 2.
Are you wondering what the iPad rival to the new Nexus 7, G Pad 8.3 and Kindle Fire HDX is like?
- Check our iPad mini review to find out!
Some Android tablets have 10-inch screens, others seven, and some land somewhere in between. There are big differences in battery life, processing power and onboard RAM.
10. Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1
Movie playback on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 is decent, with the large 10.1-inch, 1280 x 800 screen doing feature films justice and the front facing speakers delivering sound directly at you instead of behind the tablet.
Even though the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 only comes as a 16GB option, the inclusion of a microSD card slot on top of the tablet will keep the majority happy.
As far as middle of the road Android tablets go, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 hits the nail on the head.
It's doesn't stray too far from the norm, failing to offer anything truly exciting or different, but also ensuring it doesn't fall flat on its face. However, we're loving the recent price drop, meaning we're happy to boost the score on a tablet that brings rich power on top of the latest version of Android for under £240.
9. Asus Transformer Pad Infinity
If it wasn't for the higher price, the Infinity would be a real contender for the top spot. It's got everything you could want in a tablet, a keyboard dock as standard and it can handle anything you can throw at it.
Add in the Super IPS panel with a tremendous resolution, and you can see why this is a tablet to rate very highly - especially if you're fond of typing on the go but crave the simplicity of a slate too. New firmware updates in some territories have brought features like Wi-Fi Direct to the Infinity, and Android 4.2 will be landing soon too.
Everything we'd look for in a high-end tablet is present and accounted for with the Transformer Pad Infinity.
While power is always welcomed, it was the improved screen that really caught our attention. Given that we use our tablet mostly for browsing the web and watching video, we couldn't help but marvel at the resolution, either.
8. Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0
The Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 arrived on the scene with the iPad mini firmly set in its sights and while it gave a strong showing the Android tablet, complete with S Pen, didn't manage to hit the same heights as its Apple-made rival.
That's not to say the Galaxy Note 8.0 isn't a good tablet as it's a light, solidly built, highly portable device and there's no denying that its display is far better than that of the iPad Mini.
The Galaxy Note 8.0 is a good device. There are better out there for the money, and with an arguably better design as well.
However, for those that like the S Pen as a tool, it's a great offering, albeit not really worth the extra cash for most.
7. Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9
Boasting a full HD display, powerful 2.2GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM and 16, 32 or 64GB of internal storage at touch over £300 you definitely get a decent bang for your buck, but the heavily modified Android platform will be an issue for some.
It's not as good its Apple and LG rivals thanks to Amazon's restrictive OS giving you little in the way of options outside the retailer's grip, although it is easy to use and could well be a hit with parents (and grandparents!) across the country.
6. Tesco Hudl
Given it's price the Hudl is very well-specced, sports a solid build and a decent 7-inch display. Stock Android will please those who are not fans of overlays, and the addition of a microSD slot is useful.
The Hudl isn't going to blow you away with super slick operation, but there is a quad-core processor under the hood. The less said about the camera, the better.
If you can stretch to £200, we'd still recommend the Google Nexus 7 as the best pound-for-pound tablet on the market. If you're looking at spending closer to half that, though, we can't see any compact tablet out there that tops the Hudl.
Number 5: Google Nexus 10
5. Google Nexus 10
The 10.1 display is one of the biggest talking points on the Google Nexus 10. At 300 pixels per inch it's the highest resolution tablet display on the planet - take that, Apple and your Retina displays.
It's a great performer too. Other than taking a while to process panoramic photos we never felt like it was struggling to keep up. It's fast and smooth whatever you throw at it.
Sure it may not be as stunning to look at, or as well built as an iPad Air, and the lack of expandable memory will irk some, but overall the Nexus 10 gives you a quality, big-screen Android experience which is not to be sniffed at.
On top of that, the tablet has already been updated to Android 4.3 - the latest version of the operating system - showing this is the tablet to buy if you want a larger screen that Google won't give up on.
The Google Nexus 10 is easily one of the best Android tablets on the market and while it's not quite as fantastic value for money as the new Nexus 7, it certainly gives Apple's high-priced iPad a run for its money. For the price you're paying, you won't be disappointed.
Number 4: Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7
4. Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7
Leaner, meaner and more powerful than its predecessor, Amazon has stepped its game up with the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 as it looks to keep pace with the new Nexus 7.
On paper Amazon's latest 7-inch tablet is more than up to the job with a 2.2GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, full HD display, up to 64GB of storage and prices starting at £200.
In reality however it's not the complete offering the Nexus 7 is, with Amazon's heavily modified Fire OS 3.0 stripping out a lot of the functionality of Android and putting the retailer's services front and centre.
For the customisation you give up, you gain simplicity and ease of use on the Kindle Fire HDX 7. We'd like to call this the sort of tablet you give to someone who is less than tech savvy, but those devices don't usually have such good hardware.
If you're a Prime subscriber, or heavily invested in Amazon's ecosystem, the Kindle Fire HDX 7 is a smart purchase. For those who want a little more functionality, reach for a Nexus 7.
Number 3: LG G Pad 8.3
3. LG G Pad 8.3
What's this? LG in the top five for smartphones and tablets? Could the brand be on a rebound?
Well, when you make an Android tablet with a design language like this one, perhaps it's time to quietly worry at Samsung. In place of plastic, it's got a lovely aluminium shell, and connectivity with other Android phones makes it a viable option for a wider range of users - you can receive and reply to texts direct from the G Pad 8.3.
Some might question whether the Snapdragon 600 chip is too low-power for a tablet that costs nearly £270, but it allows for a sleeker design according to the Korean brand.
We really liked the G Pad 8.3, and it was only lower down in our list thanks to a slightly higher battery drain than we were expecting - plus the overlay can take some getting used to.
It's the closest competitor to the iPad Mini out there, in terms of design, and it's a tablet we're not ashamed to pull out of a stylishly slim bag. Perfect if you like the size of the iPad mini 2, but can't afford it or prefer the Android OS.
Number 2: Sony Xperia Tablet Z
2. Sony Xperia Tablet Z
Sleek, powerful, iconic - these are all words used to describe the impressive tablet from Sony.
Until recently the Xperia Tablet Z had been sitting pretty at the top of the tablet tree, but thanks to a certain Google-branded 7-inch slate it has been bumped - but don't let that put you off.
The brand has been plugging away in the mobile space for a few years, but now the combination of the Sony Xperia Z and Tablet Z show that the Japanese brand is bringing us devices that the public can finally really lust after.
And that's one of the things we liked about the Tablet Z: it's light, really light, yet looks premium too. Sony has surpassed expectation with this and delivered a tablet that wouldn't look out of place in a business class lounge or at the centre of a home entertainment network.
It's waterproof too - sure, you might not use that feature a whole lot, but it gives it an air of ruggedness that puts your mind at ease when manhandling something that costs so much.
With a super slim chassis, impressive screen and whole glut of Sony extras on board, the Xperia Tablet Z is one of the finest pieces of kit we've seen in 2013. Its quality abounds the moment you take it out your bag, and the speedy internals and impressive weight are enough for us to recommend it wholeheartedly.
Number 1: Google Nexus 7 (2013)
1. Google Nexus 7 (2013)
There's a new king in the Android tablet world and while it's name may be to same as a previous pole sitter, the new Nexus 7 (2013 edition) improves on its predecessor in multiple ways while still keeping an incredibly attractive price tag.
The screen is to die for and the form factor, while taking some getting used to, is ideal for media consumption. It's light, it's bright, it's fun and it's thin.
The battery life is really impressive, and the sheer diversity on offer, be it through the uprated CPU, screen, or GPU, mean that we struggled to put it down at times.
We're also slightly annoyed that Google hasn't given us an LTE model at launch, since we know one exists, but it's a minor issue.
We really like the new Nexus 7. We really, really like the Nexus 7. Google has taken what made the original such a belter, corrected almost every niggle with it, bumped the price up ever so slightly, yet also made the Nexus 7 feel so much more premium.
If you're looking for a 7-inch tablet, we'll put it like this: there is no better alternative on the market, right now.
- Google Nexus 7 review (2013)