Android tablets vary in price, size and quality, but some are exceptionally good value indeed and are typically the best iPad alternatives. Here we bring to you the best Android tablets available to buy in the UK in 2016. See also: Best tablets of 2016.
Latest entry: Google Pixel C.
Android tablet buying advice
With the exception of a few, Android tablets are a cheaper alternative to an iPad (the latest models at least). The Android operating system is open source, which means manufacturers can use Google's software for free. This has led to a very healthy battleground, with manufacturers seemingly racing to the lowest price possible. The result of this influx of low cost tablets has led to traditional hardware manufacturers such as Samsung, Acer and Asus struggling to match the success they've experienced in the smartphone market. Take a look at 2016's best cheap tablets too.
The reason for this is because non-traditional technology hardware manufacturers such as Tesco got in on the game and drove down the price in order to get customers to use built-in software that lets them buy content from the brand's own online stores. Also see: Best SIM-only deals: Best SIM-only and Data SIM deals for smartphone and tablet users
The result is that you can buy an Android tablet with remarkable specs and build quality for a budget price. And you'll notice below that some of the tablets in our list aren't particularly new. However, that doesn't mean they're not good or that you shouldn't buy them.
You'll notice we haven't included Amazon tablets here. That's because they're not Android tablets in the true sense. They do run a heavily customised version of Android, but they don't have any Google apps, so you can't buy apps from the Play store, nor use the official YouTube app, Google Maps, Gmail and more.
If you're after a tablet for a child, check out our Best tablets for kids roundup.
Android tablets are just like other tablets when it comes to specifications, you simply want to get as much as you can for your money. The key things to look out for are storage space (GBs); screen resolution; memory (RAM); the latest processors; and also how thin and light the device is. If you see a tablet you like, you should check all of these specs against some other tablets in the same price range to make sure you're getting a good deal.
Specs, though, will take you only so far. That's why it's crucial to read our reviews to find out if a tablet's screen is good or bad, how long the battery lasts and whether the cameras are any good.
Best Android tablets: reader poll
Best Android tablets you can buy in 2016
- Reviewed on: 23 July 15
- RRP: £150 inc VAT
This isn't a bad attempt at a budget tablet with decent build and almost stock Android. If you want 4G data on the go for simple tasks then the Vodafone Tab Prime 6 isn't a bad choice with the PAYG option. However, if you're not going to make use of the 4G then you're much better off going for a tablet like the Tesco Hudl 2 which is cheaper and offers much better specs. It's the screen which is the biggest let down here.
Read our Vodafone Tab Prime 6 review.
- Reviewed on: 26 August 15
- Buy for 79.99
The Asus ZenPad C 7.0 is a fine tool for carrying in your bag wherever you go and using to check emails and social media and browse the web. Beyond that its functionality is limited, but what more can you expect from an £80 tablet? If you can stretch to the £99 Hudl 2 you will find a noticeable jump in performance, but the Asus is the more portable of the two.
Read our Asus ZenPad C 7.0 review.
- Reviewed on: 20 August 15
- RRP: £369 inc VAT
The Dell Venue 8 7000 is an attractive Android tablet with a super slim design, a great screen and offers smooth performance combined with good battery life. However, it's more expensive than closely matched rivals and the RealSense camera technology which is supposedly a selling point isn't worth the time of day.
Read our Dell Venue 8 7000 review.
- Reviewed on: 12 February 14
- RRP: £269.99 inc VAT
Touchwiz and fake stitching aside the Note 10.1 is a very good tablet with the added S-Pen feature for those who want it.
Read our Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014) review.
12. Asus Memo Pad 8
- Reviewed on: 27 January 15
- RRP: £169.99
Asus's Memo Pad 8 tablet is stylish, well-built and plenty powerful enough for most users looking to play casual games, browse the web and carry out basic productivity tasks. It is well-worth considering at £120 (you'll find it for that price on Amazon) if display and camera quality aren't top of your priority list.
If you want to save a bit of extra cash and aren't worried about loosing an inch off the display, we'd recommend opting for the smaller but very similarly specced Asus Memo Pad 7, which you'll find for under £100 if you shop around.
Read our Asus Memo Pad 8 review.
11. LG G Pad 8.3
- Reviewed on: 13 February 14
- RRP: £199 inc VAT
The G Pad 8.3 is undoubtedly LG's best tablet to date and at £199 it's a bit of a steal. A nice selection of hardware and software make this a great choice for a small tablet. However, occasionally laggy performance means the Nexus 7 might be a better choice.
Read our LG G Pad 8.3 review.
10. Nexus 7 (2013)
- Reviewed on: 22 July 14
- RRP: £199 (32 GB)/£239 (1 32GB)
The 2013 flavour of the Nexus 7 is no longer available from Google. But shop around and you can find it in various online stores, at a great low price. Arguably the Hudl 2 offers a similar blend of value and quality, and may even be a bit faster. But you are unlikely to notice, and although the Nexus 7 is still lacking a microSD card slot, for many people will be the best 7in tablet around. It may even be the best value tablet there is.
Read our Nexus 7 (2013) review.
- Reviewed on: 17 April 14
- RRP: From £399 inc VAT
The Xperia Z2 is a great looking and well built Android tablet. It is staggeringly thin and light for a 10in device, has a great screen, expandable storage and good performance. We like the OS and the camera. Indeed, our only issues with the Xperia Z2 Tablet is occasionally laggy web browsing, and the fact that the screen is poor under natural light. But priced in line with the iPad Air this is right at the top of the shop.
Read our Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet review.
- Reviewed on: 18 May 15
- RRP: £299 inc VAT
Previous Nexus tablets, particularly the Nexus 7, have been hard to beat for value but that's not the case for the Nexus 9. It's not a bad tablet - especially if performance is a priority - but the screen isn't perfect and neither is build quality. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 is a better choice if you can live with a smaller screen, and don't forget the original iPad Air also costs £319 now, making it look very good value indeed.
Read our Google Nexus 9 review.
- Reviewed on: 2 December 14
- RRP: £269 inc. VAT
It's great to see Sony finally make a smaller tablet and the 8in form factor is proving to be increasingly popular. The Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact is super thin and light and is waterproof to boot. Hardware is decent but not mind-blowing and while rivals like the Galaxy Tab S offer a bit more gadgetry, Sony offers High-Res audio and a killer feature for gamers in the form of PS4 Remote Play. It's a great effort from Sony if you're looking for a high-end 8in tablet.
Read our Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact review.
6. Amazon Fire
- Reviewed on: 10 February 16
- RRP: £49 inc VAT
It's certainly not perfect, and the lack of Google apps will still put some people off, but the Fire is excellent value at under £50. The latest Fire OS is so Android-like that it's easy to use, and the Fire for Kids app makes it possible to limit what you kids can do and how long they can use the tablet. There are some sore points: the poor cameras, the sluggish performance at times, and the long charging time. But at this price it's hard to complain. And you certainly won't find a better tablet for the same money.
Read our Amazon Fire review.
- Reviewed on: 26 January 16
- RRP: £144 inc VAT
Whether Xiaomi intended to or not, the Mi Pad 2 is an Android tablet disguised as an iPad mini. This may disgust you or be exactly what you're looking for. Either way, we can't deny that this is a well-made, stylish tablet with decent specs for the price. You're best off getting the 64GB model and if the iOS style user interface is a turn-off, remember that Android is highly customisable.
Read our Xiaomi Mi Pad 2 review.
- Reviewed on: 28 July 15
- RRP: £499 inc VAT
The Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet is a seriously impressive device and easily one of the best tablets we've ever tested. The design is astonishingly thin and light and the waterproofing with only the need for one cover is a bonus. This topped with excellent hardware, performance and software means we can barely fault it. However, the fact Sony bundles it with the Bluetooth keyboard with no option to buy it alone means that it's more expensive than rivals. We feel it's a 9/10 products but we've no choice but to mark the value score lower.
Read our Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet review.
- Reviewed on: 27 August 14
- RRP: £319 inc VAT
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 is one of the best Android tablets we've ever reviewed. In terms of hardware it's the best you can buy right now and has a superbly thin and light design. There's very little to dislike here aside from some elements of the TouchWiz software and the higher price compared to Android rivals (the iPad mini 2 is the obvious alternative if you're not set on Android). If you would rather save money and aren't so bothered about top-notch spec and additional features like the fingerprint scanner and IR blaster, check out the Nexus 7 and LG G Pad 8.3.
Read our Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 review.
- Reviewed on: 16 November 15
- RRP: £319
We loved the Galaxy Tab S2 since the very first time we got our hands on it back in August, and upon further investigation and after spending more time with it we just love it even more. It's a tablet well worth considering if you've been thinking about buying the iPad mini 4, as it can contend and sometimes outshine Apple's tablet when it comes to design and power. It's almost unbelievably thin and light and that screen is a joy to use.
Read our Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8 review.
- Reviewed on: 20 January 16
- RRP: £399 inc VAT ($500) for 32GB; £479 inc VAT ($600) for 64GB
As a standalone tablet, the Pixel C is superb. It’s better than the HTC-made Nexus 9 which was great but not exceptional. Which the 'C' most certainly is. Storage is a bit limited, but if you can live with 32GB it’s good value at £399. Paying an extra £119 for the keyboard is something we can’t see many buyers doing. If typing is a priority, you’d be better off spending your £518 on a decent ultraportable laptop as Android Marshmallow – good as it is – isn’t nearly as versatile as Windows. And while the keyboard is well designed, you’ll still prefer a full-size laptop keyboard. If you need to run Windows apps, the consider the Surface 3 which is slightly cheaper - even with the optional keyboard - but remember that there are even cheaper options such as the Asus Transformer T100HA.
Read our Google Pixel C review.