Not buying an iPad? These are the only 3 Android tablets to consider

Google, Samsung and Amazon have you covered for tablets

Google Pixel Tablet shown from behind
(Image credit: Google)

If you're on the hunt for one of the best tablets around, then you're obviously going to consider something like the Apple iPad for your needs – but perhaps you've decided that you want to go with Android as your platform of choice.

While there are quite a few Android tablets on the market, personally speaking there are only three main ones that I'd consider at the moment. They're the ones that stand out in terms of their features, specs, and functionality, and I wouldn't recommend spending money on any other Android tablet until you've given these three some serious consideration.

Of course not everyone has the same priorities when it comes to tablets – the best tablets for students aren't necessarily the best tablets for creatives, for example – but this rundown will help you decide if any of these slates are right for you.

1. Google Pixel Tablet

Google Pixel Tablet review

(Image credit: Future / Mike Lowe)

It's not just what the Google Pixel Tablet can do as a tablet, it's the added speaker dock and smart home functionality that makes this particular slate so appealing. It's an Android tablet on the move and a Nest Hub Max when on its stand – letting you pump out audio (like music or podcasts) and control your smart lights with a tap.

Yours for a starting price of £599 / $499 (with the dock), the Google Pixel Tablet offers a 10.95-inch LCD display (running at a 2560 x 1600 pixel resolution), a powerful Google Tensor G2 processor, 8GB of RAM, and either 128GB or 256GB of built-in storage. You can pick it up in a creamy Porcelain or a grey-green Hazel colour.

This being a Google device, you are also first in line when it comes to software updates. We like the little extras that Google tends to put on Pixel devices – like the home screen widget showing weather and upcoming appointments – and this is a case of hardware and software working in partnership to produce a fine device.

2. Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra review: tablet on a wooden table

(Image credit: Future)

If you want something to genuinely match the iPad in terms of power and productivity then the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra could well be the Android tablet for you. If you can manage the asking price of £1,199 / $1,199 (and up), then you've got a device that's speedy and versatile and huge – the screen measures 14.6 inches, corner to corner, packing in 2960 x 1848 pixels.

That means it's a lot to carry around, but you definitely feel the benefit of the large display when you sit it down on a desk with the Book Cover Keyboard (sold separately). Samsung has done a good job of making the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra a lot like a laptop when it's docked, and the S Pen stylus (supplied in the box) gives you yet another input option.

In other words, it's a tablet that you can do just about anything on. There's a speedy Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor under the hood here, together with up to 16GB of RAM and up to 512GB of storage – so if budget allows, you can kit this out with very impressive specs indeed. There's just one colour option though, the dark grey Graphite.

3. Amazon Fire Max 11

Amazon Fire Max 11, shown from the front

(Image credit: Amazon)

At the opposite end of the price scale to the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra you'll find the Amazon Fire tablets, with the Amazon Fire Max 11 the newest of the bunch. It starts at a mere £249.99 / $229.99, with a keyboard cover and a stylus sold separately if you want to turn this into something you can do some serious work on.

Of course you're not going to get cutting-edge specs down at the budget end of the market, but the Fire Max 11 manages to hold its own – and it's debatable just how much processing power you need to check your emails and watch videos. As you would expect, it works very well with Amazon's own services and apps, such as Prime Video.

The tablet offers an 11-inch (2000 x 1200 pixel) display, a MediaTek MTK8188J processor, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of integrated storage. There's also fingerprint recognition and Wi-Fi 6, as nice added bonuses. As long as your needs aren't too demanding, the Amazon Fire Max 11 offers excellent value for money in a solid, straightforward design.

David Nield

Dave has over 20 years' experience in the tech journalism industry, covering hardware and software across mobile, computing, smart home, home entertainment, wearables, gaming and the web – you can find his writing online, in print, and even in the occasional scientific paper, across major tech titles like T3, TechRadar, Gizmodo and Wired. Outside of work, he enjoys long walks in the countryside, skiing down mountains, watching football matches (as long as his team is winning) and keeping up with the latest movies.