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Best Android tablet 2022: Exceptional iPad alternatives from £50

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In search of a tablet but not sold on an iPad? These are the best Android tablets on the market

If you're after an affordable iPad or Microsoft Surface alternative, you should consider buying one of the best Android tablets.

And while the best Android tablet will typically cost a lot less than its iOS or Windows counterparts, that doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a shortage of quality options to choose from. Samsung is usually the way to go if you've got a decent budget, while Amazon's devices are a great choice if you want to pick up one of the best Android tablets for not much money.

With plenty of options to choose from, it can be tough deciding which Android tablet to buy, but we’re here to make that decision a little easier. We’ve tested countless tablets over the years and below you'll find a list of the best tablets that run Android OS or an operating system based on Android, like FireOS.

READ NEXT: Our pick of this month’s best tablet deals

Fire 7 Tablet (2019) now selling for a RECORD LOW price

We've never seen it so cheap. Amazon's Fire 7 Tablet (2019) was already our favourite cheap Android tablet, but now its just ridiculous value at the lowest price its ever been. With its 7in display, you can stream all the shows you like and a whole lot more for a truly great value of just £30. Buy it before stocks run low and prices return to normal.
Amazon
Was £43
Now £30

Best Android tablet: At a glance

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How to choose the best Android tablet for you

Why should I buy an Android tablet?

The biggest advantage Android tablets have over their rivals is affordability. The cheapest options from Apple and Microsoft will cost you well over £300, but there are numerous great Android tablets available for a fraction of that price. If you want a cheap tablet, there are no two ways about it, one of the best Android tablets is the way to go.

Another big draw of Android tablets is that Android OS is an open-source operating system and therefore far more customisable than Windows OS or iOS. Features and applications can be tailored to your own personal tastes in ways they can’t if you’re tied to Microsoft’s or Apple’s systems. It’s worth noting that Fire OS, which is exclusively used by Amazon’s tablets, works slightly differently. It’s based on Android OS but lacks Google’s apps and services.

What size Android tablet should I buy?

This very much depends on what you’re going to use the tablet for. The smallest option on this best Android tablet list features a 7in screen, which is fine for catching up on the news or firing off a few emails but not so hot when you want to watch a movie. If you plan on streaming a lot of video content on your Android tablet, you’ll be better served by a display of 10in or above.

How important is an Android tablet’s processor?

The processor is the driving force behind your Android tablet. The better the processor, the faster the tablet will be, though the price tag will reflect this improved performance. We won’t detail the exhaustive list of processors used by Android tablets, but a general rule of thumb is the more cores it has, the better it will perform. The best Android tablets typically house processors with eight cores (referred to as octa-core processors), while most of the others have four cores.

Does screen resolution matter?

Resolution is dictated by the number of pixels displayed on the screen and affects picture quality. It’s presented as two numbers, 1,920 x 1080px for example, the first of which relates to horizontal pixels and the second vertical pixels. If two otherwise identical 11in screens have different resolutions, the one with a higher resolution will display a higher-quality image. The difference isn’t always obvious on smaller screens, but if you’re buying a larger tablet and plan on doing a lot of streaming, aim for the highest resolution possible.

How much storage does my Android tablet need?

You get what you pay for when it comes to storage. Cheaper Android tablets generally come with 16GB or 32GB of storage, while larger tablets provide 256GB, sometimes even more. How much you need entirely depends on what you intend on using the tablet for. If you’re using it for work and need to be able to save hundreds of files or find yourself recording videos and taking loads of pictures, 16GB will get eaten up pretty quickly. If you use the cloud to save documents or only plan on using your tablet for light web browsing, a less roomy device will do the trick just fine.

Should I buy a cellular or Wi-Fi Android tablet?

All tablets come with the ability to connect to Wi-Fi networks, but if you want to be able to get online when you don’t have network access, you’ll have to buy a cellular version. These allow you to insert a SIM card into your tablet as you would with your smartphone and use data to access the internet. Cellular tablets typically cost more than Wi-Fi models, and you also have to factor in the extra money you’ll be spending on data. So, unless you’re desperate for internet access wherever you are, we recommend you stick with a Wi-Fi-only model.

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The best Android tablets you can buy

1. Amazon Fire 7 (2019): Best cheap Android tablet

Price: £50 | Buy now from Amazon

There’s no tablet manufacturer on earth that can compete with the price of the Amazon Fire 7. This is the smallest and cheapest Android tablet sold by Amazon and even after several upgrades, its price has been fixed at just £50. The 2019 Fire 7 supports hands-free Alexa interaction and it has double the base storage of the previous model – 16GB instead of 8GB. Better yet, if you spend only £10 more you can double the storage to 32GB. The 7in, 1,024 x 600 display hasn’t changed at all, however, and the cameras and plastic chassis are also identical to the last Fire 7. There are three new colours to choose from, though.

If you want to get a functional Android tablet while spending as little money as possible, then the Fire 7 is evidently the best option. Sure, it might have a low-resolution display and sluggish performance, but it is only £50. And, although its materials aren’t the nicest, that chunky plastic casing is reasonably kid-proof.

Read our full Amazon Fire 7 review for more details

Key specs – Processor: Quad-core 1.3GHz ARM MT8163; Screen: 7in, 1,024 x 600px; Storage: 16GB or 32GB; Size: 115 x 192 x 9.6mm; Weight: 286g; Operating system: FireOS 6.3.1.2


2. Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus: Best Android tablet overall

Price: £799 | Buy now from Amazon

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus is a cracking all-rounder and, despite having been superseded by the Tab S8 Ultra, is still a great tablet. Its 12.4in AMOLED screen is absolutely stunning and has an impressive refresh rate of 120Hz, though you can toggle it down to 60Hz should you wish. Coupled with the gorgeous display is a super speedy octa-core Qualcomm processor that lets the S7 Plus breeze through everyday tasks without breaking a sweat.

For those wanting to use the Tab S7 Plus for work, Samsung sells a two-part keyboard cover separately, which works particularly well when the Tab S7 Plus is in DeX mode: Samsung’s desktop-like interface that transforms the tablet into a makeshift laptop.

If you’re after the absolute best of the best when it comes to Android tablets, look no further – the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus is it.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus review for more details

Key specs – Processor: Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus; Screen: 12.4in, 2,800 x 1,753px; Storage: 128GB or 256GB; Size: 285 x 185 x 5.7mm; Weight: 575g; Operating system: Android 10 (ONE UI 2.5)


3. Amazon Fire HD 10 (2021): Best Android tablet for most people

Price: £150 | Buy now from Amazon

Amazon’s largest tablet received a refresh in May 2021 and is now slimmer, 8% lighter and packs an extra 1GB of RAM. It still houses the MediaTek Helio P60T processor found in its predecessor so you’re not going to see a huge uptick in performance, but you won’t find a more rapid or responsive tablet for the money.

Although the 10in display retains a resolution of 1,200px, it’s 10% brighter than its predecessor, which is a very welcome improvement. The Fire HD 10 also benefits from a new split-screen mode that’s handy when you want to view two apps at the same time.

As was the case with the Fire HD 8’s 2020 refresh, this update brings with it the option of buying a “Plus” version. The Fire HD 10 Plus will set you back £180, with the extra £30 getting you an additional 1GB of RAM, wireless charging functionality and a soft-touch finish.

Should you want to use the tablet as a makeshift laptop, it’s worth checking out the Productivity Bundle, which comes with a Bluetooth keyboard and a 12-month subscription to Microsoft 365.

Read our full Amazon Fire HD 10 (2021) review for more details

Key specs – Processor: Octa-core 2GHz MediaTek MT8183 Helio P60T; Screen: 10in, 1,920 x 1,200px; Storage: 32GB or 64GB; Size: 247 x 166 x 9.2mm; Weight: 465g; Operating system: FireOS 7


4. Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra: Best big-screened Android tablet

Price: From £999 | Buy now from Samsung

If you want the biggest possible screen and have the money to spare, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is the only way to go. Its massive 14.6in AMOLED screen is a delight: its razor-sharp resolution and vivid colours make it the best display we’ve ever seen on any device and it’s sensational for watching content on YouTube, Netflix or any other streaming service.

The Tab S8 Ultra isn’t just for watching films and TV on, though. Like other high-end tablets, Samsung has designed it so you can use it like a laptop, although you do have to pay extra for the keyboard cover (currently £150).

We weren’t all that impressed with this – the sheer size of the tablet makes it tricky to perch on your lap and we found the touchpad over-sensitive to ghost clicks. However, the keyboard itself is decent if used on a desk and, paired with a Bluetooth mouse, it serves the purposes of a laptop replacement well enough. The tablet is also supplied with a Samsung S Pen stylus in the box so you can use that as an alternative to the touchpad if you need to as well.

All told, this means the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra isn’t quite good enough to compete with the 12.9in Apple iPad Pro in the alternative laptop space but if watching TV and films is your priority – or you just don’t get on with Apple devices – then it’s certainly worth a look.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra review for more details

Key specs – Processor: Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1; Screen: 14.6in, 2,960 x 1,848px; Storage: 128GB, 256GB or 512GB; Size: 326 x 209 x 5.5mm; Weight: 728g; Operating system: Android 12 (ONE UI 4.1)

Buy now from Samsung


5. Amazon Fire HD 8 (2020): Best Android tablet under £100

Price: £90 | Buy now from Amazon

Our favourite budget Android tablet is back and it’s better than ever. It’s £10 more expensive than the previous model but has received some much-needed hardware upgrades, with a faster MediaTek MT8168 processor and 32GB base storage, twice that of its predecessor. It’s also received a slight boost in RAM from 1.5GB to 2GB, and finally includes a USB-C port. All that translates to speedier CPU and GPU performance, and battery life has improved, too.

The 8in display, however, has not received an upgrade. It’s still perfectly functional, but the 1,280 x 800px resolution looks rather fuzzy when compared with the vibrant screens on Apple tablets. That’s one of only two drawbacks to what is otherwise a superb budget tablet, the other being the somewhat limited range of applications on the Amazon app store.

Don’t let those minor issues discourage you, though: you simply won’t find a better Android tablet for under £100. And if you’re happy to stretch your budget to £110, the Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus (2020) provides extended battery life, 1GB more RAM and a faster charger.

Read our full Amazon Fire HD 8 (2020) review for details

Key specs – Processor: Quad-core MediaTek MT8168; Screen: 8in, 1,280 x 800px; Storage: 32GB; Size: 202 x 137 x 9.7mm; Weight: 335g; Operating system: Fire OS


6. Nokia T20: Best for software

Price: £180 l Buy now from Amazon

Nokia's return to the tablet arena might not have started with a bang, but the Nokia T20 still possesses a significant leg-up on the competition in one key area. After a brief hiatus, Nokia has finally provided a bit of variety on the cheaper end of the tablet-buying spectrum, and the Nokia T20 – which costs just a bit more than the Fire HD 10 above – absolutely blows Amazon's low-cost tablet out of the water when it comes to software.

While the shopping giant's tablets are heavily restricted with Amazon's Fire OS overlay (with a sorely lacking app store), the Nokia T20 has no such restrictions and you're free to use Android as you please. This stock version of Android 11 is delightful to use, with no bloatware pre-installed, and the Play Store's wide library of apps, games and services are at your disposal, too.

Of course, there's always a downside and that, sadly, comes from the screen. While the tablet's native 1,200p resolution is quite generous for the price, the T20's restrictive video playback resolution means you can only watch films and TV shows at a maximum resolution of 480p. While this is disappointing, the Nokia T20 is still a commendable alternative to Amazon's budget tablets and even more so if you aren't fussed about watching video at higher resolutions.

Read our full Nokia T20 review for more details

Key specs – Processor: Octa-core Unisoc T610; Screen: 10.4in, 2,000 x 1,200px; Storage: 64GB; Size: 248 x 158 x 7.8mm; Weight: 465g; Operating system: Android 11


7. Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite: Best-value Android tablet

Price: £349 | Buy now from Amazon

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite is the stripped-back, cheaper version of the Galaxy Tab S6 above and, for the most part, makes sacrifices in the right places. Its screen lacks the AMOLED technology of its more expensive sibling but is still one of the tablet’s standout features. The colours produced by it are rich and bold no matter what angle you’re viewing from, and it looks extremely sharp, too.

It also cuts the ultra-wide camera present on the Tab S6, but it’s not really missed: the 8MP rear camera and 5MP selfie cam – both of which are capable of recording video in 1080p at 30fps – are more than sufficient for most people’s needs.

GPU and CPU performance fall a little way behind the 10.2in iPad but battery life is excellent, coming in at just shy of 15 hours, more than two hours longer than its Apple rival. The Tab S6 Lite also has the edge over the 10.2in iPad in the stylus department. It comes bundled with a neat S Pen stylus, where the Apple Pencil is sold separately.

It may not be the most innovative of tablets, but it’s the best value for money Android tablet out there.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite review for more details

Key specs – Processor: Octa-core Exynos 9611; Screen: 10.4in, 2,000 x 1,200px; Storage: 64GB (128GB version not available in the UK); Size: 245 x 155 x 7mm; Weight: 467g; Operating system: Android 10.0


8. Samsung Galaxy Tab Active 2: Best rugged Android tablet

Price: £420 | Buy now from Amazon

Samsung has targeted a niche demographic with the Tab Active 2. The Active line is aimed at professionals who work a lot in the outdoors – surveyors and construction personnel, for example – as well as adventurers who want a tablet tough enough to withstand the elements.

Its display isn’t Full HD and performance could be better, but there’s no disputing its capabilities as a device for drawing, annotating and taking notes on the go. It’s waterproof, dust-proof and reasonably drop-proof thanks to a “ruggedised” casing, and it comes with a garaged S Pen stylus.

This is a tablet for anyone who loves the great outdoors but wants to take a piece of civilisation with them. It’s the perfect companion for professionals who need a portable, weather-resistant device for their job, and may also appeal to parents in search of a child-proof tablet.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Tab Active 2 review for more details

Key specs – Processor: Octa-core Samsung Exynos 7870; Screen: 8in, 1,200 x 800px; Storage: 16GB; Size: 128 x 215 x 9mm; Weight: 413g; Operating system: Android 7.0


9. Huawei MatePad Pro: A speedy Google-free option

Price: £400 | Buy now from Huawei

If you can live without the various apps absent due to the US’s ongoing trade war with China, the MatePad Pro offers some seriously impressive specs. Its Kirin 990 processor is speedy, the 10.8in display crisp and pixel-rich, and bezels are virtually non-existent at a mere 4.3mm thick: this is a device that’s all screen. Battery life is solid at around 12 hours, while audio from the quad-speaker setup tuned by Harman Kardon is impressive.

In addition to all of these attractive traits, the MatePad Pro can be charged wirelessly and also possesses the capability to reverse-charge other compatible devices. It’s a real shame the MatePad Pro is hamstrung by software restrictions because when it comes to hardware, it’s up there with the best Android tablets around.

Read our full Huawei MatePad Pro review for more details

Key specs – Processor: Octa-core Huawei Kirin 990; Screen: 10.8in, 2,560 x 1,600px; Storage: 128GB; Size: 246 x 159 x 7.2mm; Weight: 460g; Operating system: Android 10 (EMUI 10.0.1)


10. Lenovo Tab P11 Pro: A great-value laptop alternative

Price: £499 | Buy now from Amazon

A lightweight and highly portable package of tablet, keyboard, stand and pen, the Lenovo Tab P11 Pro makes a solid argument for the laptop alternative. Featuring an 11.5in OLED panel that produces exquisitely reproduced colours and purportedly reaches a peak brightness of 500cd/m², the P11 Pro is equally equipped for a workday or watching a movie.

Whatever you choose to do with it, the P11 Pro can handle it swiftly. The Snapdragon 730G processor sits in the middle of Qualcomm’s range, but was beefy enough to produce respectable scores in our series of benchmark tests. The results don’t match up to the iPad Air – the obvious Apple competition for this machine – but suffice to say that the P11 Pro never felt slow to use.

If there’s one final flourish that makes the P11 Pro worth considering, it’s the battery life. Put through our standard video-rundown test, with flight mode on and the screen set to a brightness of 170cd/m², it lasted for a total of 17hrs 28mins. In context, that’s a whole five hours longer than the iPad Air. If all-day use is important to you, the Lenovo Tab P11 Pro is an excellent choice for an even better price.

Read our full Lenovo Tab P11 Pro review for more details

Key specs – Processor: Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G; Screen: 11.5in, 2,560 x 1,600px; Storage: 128GB; Size: 171 x 264 x 6mm; Weight: 485g; Operating system: Android 10


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

If you’re not sold on any of the Android tablets listed above, then perhaps you’d like to consider some Windows 10 tablet/laptop hybrids.

The Microsoft Surface Go 2 is a tried-and-tested hybrid that functions extremely well as a secondary device, though it’s rather dear, especially when you factor in the cost of the detachable keyboard and stylus pen. Those seeking greater power from their portable device will want to check out the Microsoft Surface Pro 7. This latest iteration of the Surface line finally has a USB-C port and packs either an Intel Core i3, i5 or i7 10th-generation processor.

And if neither of those tickles your fancy, there’s always our pick of the best Apple iPads on the market.

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