The Galaxy Tab S6 is the best Android tablet you can buy

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 is the best Android tablet available right now. It has a big screen, high-end specs, tons of features, a stylus, and support for a full keyboard. It’s expensive, and not the right pick for anyone who wants a smaller and more portable tablet, but as an all-around device, it can’t be beaten. For those who have different needs (or budgets), there are a few other picks that work well as media consumption devices and won’t break the bank.

Best Overall: Samsung Galaxy Tab S6

The most important things to have in a full-size Android tablet are a great screen, loud speakers, robust build quality, and software that makes use of the extra screen size. That’s what makes the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 the best Android tablet — it has a combination of everything.

Its spec sheet leaves little to be desired, with a super-fast Snapdragon 855 processor, 6GB of RAM, plenty of storage and well-optimized software. And because it’s a Samsung product, you’re getting a best-in-class display — coming in at 10.5 inches — and a fantastic metal build. You also now get an in-display fingerprint sensor, which was missing on prior models.

Beyond the specs, you get extras like great quad speakers, a microSD card slot and a stylus included in the box that attaches to the back of the tablet when not in use. And despite being thin and light, it gets great battery life. You can add a tremendous first-party keyboard cover to get some work done, and then jump into the DeX desktop-style interface for a more laptop-like experience.

If you want a do-everything Android tablet and you’re willing to spend the money, there’s nowhere else to go but the Galaxy Tab S6.

Pros:

  • Best screen available on an Android tablet
  • S Pen stylus included in the box
  • Robust and beautiful hardware
  • Long battery life
  • First-party detachable keyboard support
  • High-quality quad speakers

Cons:

  • Expensive if you’re only a casual tablet user
  • Not suited for portrait or handheld use for long

Best Android Tablet Overall

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6

$650 at Amazon
$650 at Best Buy
$650 at Walmart

The best all-around Android tablet for most people

It’s Samsung’s best-ever tablet, and it can do it all. Solid specs, a great display and long battery life are all selling points.

Productivity for Less: Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e

The Galaxy Tab S6’s capabilities — and price — are a bit overkill for most people. That’s why Samsung makes the Galaxy Tab S5e. It’s built on the same tenets as the Tab S6, but takes strategic cuts back to be more affordable — and that makes it extremely enticing.

You get the same 10.5-inch AMOLED display, which is a huge plus, as well as 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage and high-quality quad speakers. The battery is a little smaller, and the Snapdragon 670 processor isn’t going to blow you away with performance, but those are fine trade-offs for a solid price drop.

The entire body is a sleek metal rather than glass. It may not feel quite as high-end but helps the Tab S5e be extremely light for its size at just 399 g (0.88 lb). That makes it great for media consumption and handheld use in ways the Tab S6 isn’t. But you can still attach a hardware keyboard and jump into DeX desktop mode to get some serious work done just as well.

Pros:

  • Super light for its size
  • Large high-quality screen
  • Quad speakers
  • Optional hardware keyboard cover
  • Productivity features including DeX Desktop

Cons:

  • Not as powerful as Galaxy Tab S6
  • No stylus support

Productivity for Less

Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e

$350 at Amazon
$400 at Best Buy
$350 at Walmart

Get a high-quality tablet with productivity features for less

The Tab S6 is appealing but expensive. The Tab S5e gets the basics done, and trims in the right places to be a great value.

For Content Consumption: Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1

Much like the Tab S5e is a watered-down version of the Tab S6, the Tab A 10.1 simply takes another step down the ladder in capabilities and price. You’re still getting a big beautiful display, that signature Samsung design and build quality, and surround sound speakers — but there are big cuts particularly in the aspects of productivity, to hit a much more palatable price.

The slower processor and just 2GB of RAM are going to be deal-breakers for any sort of heavy lifting on the Tab A 10.1, as will the lack of official keyboard and stylus support. But that’s not really what this tablet is for; its huge 6150mAh battery and great screen will always get the job done for content viewing and casual use, and at this price you won’t be upset with that one bit.

Pros:

  • Great screen
  • Lightweight body
  • Surround speakers
  • Big battery
  • Expandable storage

Cons:

  • Slower processor and low memory
  • No stylus or keyboard support
  • Just 32GB of storage base

For Content Consumption

Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1

$230 at Amazon
$230 at Best Buy
$230 at Samsung

A big screen with a big battery — and not much else

For those who have no need for productivity, but want a big screen and long battery to binge all day, the Tab A 10.1 is perfect.

Big on a Small Budget: Amazon Fire HD 10

The Amazon Fire HD 10 is one of those deals that’s almost too good to pass up if you’re after a device with a large screen but a small price tag. It’s simply the best big Android tablet for doing the basics, from watching movies and TV shows to browsing and playing some casual games.

The big caveat to keep in mind with an Amazon Fire tablet is that you don’t get the Google Play Store or Google’s great apps and services. Instead, you’ll rely on the Amazon App Store, which has a dramatically limited app selection. But for this price and what you’re likely to do with it, that’s an okay trade-off for most.

Pros:

  • Exceptional value for this size
  • Solid display
  • Amazon’s apps get the basics done
  • Fun color options available

Cons:

  • No access to Google Play apps
  • Cheap-feeling plastic body

Big on a Small Budget

Amazon Fire HD 10

$150 at Amazon $150 at Best Buy

Solid, budget-friendly tablet that gets the job done

The Fire HD 10 is all about the essential tablet experience without the extra complication and cost of productivity features.

Cheap as it Gets: Amazon Fire HD 8

Amazon also makes the best super-inexpensive Android tablet available, the Fire HD 8. And it was just refreshed in June 2020 to provide a great value at what is still an excellent price. You’re still getting an 8-inch HD display, but now 32GB of storage and 2GB of RAM, and this new version has a 30% faster processor and finally charges with USB-C.

It still comes in a variety of neat colors, which can keep things interesting for kids and adults alike. You can spend a little more to get 64GB of storage for apps and video, and also opt to spend a little more to remove Amazon’s “Special Offers” lock screen ads.

Like the Fire HD 10, it doesn’t have the Google Play Store or Google apps. But you’re even more likely to look past that when you’re spending this little on a tablet. This is an excellent choice for media consumption, browsing, or handing to your kids.

Pros:

  • Small enough for kids to use
  • Fun color choices
  • Gets all of the basics done
  • Now has 32GB storage and USB-C
  • Almost unbelievable price

Cons:

  • Low-quality screen
  • Cheap-feeling plastic build
  • No access to Google Play apps

Cheap as it Gets

Amazon Fire HD 8

$90 at Amazon
$90 at Best Buy

Solid, budget-friendly tablet that gets the job done

A light and portable tablet at a great price — there isn’t much you can complain about in that equation.

Best for Kids: Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition

The Fire HD 10 Kids Edition is filled with the best hardware and software you could ask for as a parent. Amazon took its top big tablet and loaded it with parental controls, child-specific content, and wrapped it in a durable and functional case. While the screen size could be difficult for young children, the provided case includes a kickstand for viewing.

The 1080p display provides solid colors and clarity for content. This is important when your child is learning to read since text can be clearer, and it’s what you want for video too. The HD 10 Kids Edition also has the same awesome dual-speaker setup. However, for those times when you’d like to limit the noise, there’s a standard headphone jack.

Since this is a kids edition from Amazon, it gets a free year of Amazon’s FreeTime Unlimited software. This provides parental controls for you and over 20,000 age-specific titles for your kids. Not only that, but the tablet also gets two years of “worry-free” guarantee — if the tablet breaks, Amazon will replace it. That could be the most important feature of all.

Pros:

  • Great warranty
  • Lots of content for kids of all ages
  • Excellent parental controls
  • Fantastic display
  • Great sounding dual speakers

Cons:

  • Can be a bit large for some children
  • On the expensive side
  • No Google services built-in

Best for Kids

Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition

$200 at Amazon
$200 at Best Buy

Top-notch experience for kids

With up to 12 hours of battery life and over 20,000 titles of kid-approved content, your kid will have plenty of entertainment.

Bottom line

Now that a lot of us are working from home, you might be looking for a tablet for productivity or just fun around the house. The number of great Android tablet options is limited, but there are a few that are worthy of recommending. The best possible Android tablet experience comes from Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 with its high-end materials, great screen, capable software, hardware keyboard support, and stylus.

The Tab S6 may be a bit too expensive for many tablet buyers, but Samsung also makes a great alternative in the Galaxy Tab S5e. For much less, you’re getting the same core experience and productivity features, in a lighter overall package, but with a few shortcomings in specs and frills. For those who don’t need every bell and whistle under the sun, the Amazon Fire HD 10 and HD 8 offer a excellent media experience without costing you an arm and a leg — so long as you can live without Google Play services.

There are plenty of different use cases for tablets that might influence which one you should buy. Yes, the Galaxy Tab S6 is the best overall option with the most horsepower and even the capability to replace your laptop, but you don’t need all of that if you just want to stream videos and play casual games on occasion. Know your needs and don’t overpay for a tablet that does more than you need.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Andrew Martonik is the Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central. He has been a mobile enthusiast since the Windows Mobile days, and covering all things Android-related with a unique perspective at AC since 2012. For suggestions and updates, you can reach him at [email protected] or on Twitter at @andrewmartonik.

Jerry Hildenbrand is Mobile Nation’s Senior Editor and works from a Chromebook full time. Currently, he is using Google’s Pixelbook but is always looking at new products and may have any Chromebook in his hands at any time. You’ll find him across the Mobile Nations network and you can hit him up on Twitter if you want to say hey.

Daniel Bader is the Managing Editor of Android Central. As he’s writing this, a mountain of old Android phones is about to fall on his head, but his Great Dane will protect him. He drinks way too much coffee and sleeps too little. He wonders if there’s a correlation.

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Author: Andrew Martonik