Top 3 Android Tablets You Can Buy Right Now
It's not that the manufacturers are making crappy tablets, it's just that the OS has a clear focus on smaller screened devices.
To make matters worse, Google itself seems to be giving up on the idea that Android tablets are ever going to come back from obscurity. Evidence suggests that they're moving to a more productivity-based operating system in the form of Chrome OS.
But, from time to time, there's a gem of an Android tablet that appears in the wild from OEMs that refuse to believe that Android tablets are dead. These tablets have the potential to give Apple a run for its money. They check all the right boxes such as build-quality and specs. As a media consumption device, it goes without saying that the screen and speakers on these devices are also topnotch.
Galaxy Tab S4
Samsung has always been Apple's closest rival. The Korean firm also continually outsells their American counterparts in terms of smartphones. But when it comes to content-consumption tablets, Apple has clear dominance no matter what pricing scheme Samsung implements.
This doesn't mean that they don't produce quality products though. The Galaxy Tab S4, for example, is one of the best Android tablets that's ever produced. It's the newest in Samsung's Galaxy Tab lineup. However, it has last year's Snapdragon 835 and 4GB of RAM on the inside which, quite frankly, aren't exciting. But considering the use-cases that Samsung envisions for it, these may be adequate. When they're paired with the 64GB and 256GB storage options, you're also on par with a lot of mobile productivity-based tablets and laptops.
What makes it a truly unique proposition from the rest of this list is that it's so versatile. You can dock it, through a single USB-C cable into a monitor and it transforms its interface. You can liken the resulting interface to a desktop computer. This way, the applications are endless. Samsung calls it the Dex.
You can edit images on it through the larger monitor while using the tablet as a regular digitizer and many more applications that this setup permits.
However, the Dex is still in its infancy. The interface is still not as polished as a desktop. This does not take anything away from the Tab S4's tablet interface though. It's still one of the best Android tablets out there.
The versatility costs though. So, the Galaxy Tab S4 would set you back $650USD. For that price, it's already competing with the iPad Pro.
Zenpad 10 3s
The Galaxy Tab S4, albeit superb tablet, proves that desktop computing based on a mobile OS such as Android is not yet a fully realized vision. So let's stick with tablet-only devices from here on.
Next to the Galaxy Tab S4 in terms of price in this list is the Asus Zenpad 10 3s. Its name is a bit complex to pronounce but the system is everything as simple as you can get.
It runs Zen UI which is Asus' Android skin that they put on almost all of their mobile devices. It works well similar to how well their smartphones function. The MediaTek process isn't something to be amazed by and the 64GB storage leaves a lot to be desired. But the outdated Android 6 works extremely well on it. But it never intended this to be the most advanced and cutting-edge machine.
Where it aims to make its money is in the audio. It has 5-magnet stereo speakers with a built-in amp which makes it sound great. Its headset sounds should also be top notch because it supports 24-bit, 192kHz audio. This means that you can get 7.1 surround sound on your earphones. So, for $290USD, you get an outstanding media consumption tablet. But anything more than media consumption, then you're out of luck with the Zenpad.
Mi Pad 4 Plus
Xiaomi has been a perennial top performer in the smartphone world now. Their refusal to go more than 5% more than the production cost of each of their devices is part of this success. When it comes to tablets, they seemingly enforce this same philosophy. The Mi Pad 4 Plus, despite having a close resemblance in both hardware and specs to the iPad, costs more than $100 less.
The Mi Pad 4 is the latest in their tablet efforts and it seems that they're also climbing up the tablet ladder as well. It's a great budget tablet that's well balanced in all of its tiny compromises.
More than anything else on this list, this is the most like an iPad clone. The great thing about it is that it works to its advantage. The 10.1-inch screen is absolutely stunning. The sound is also excellent.
Performance-wise, the mid-range Snapdragon 660 and the 4GB of RAM is more than enough for what it's intended for.
What it is is a well-balanced machine that you can watch videos on and do some light work. Answering emails, spreadsheets, and word-processing shouldn't be an exercise in patience. But, without a device-specific keyboard or any other input method other than touch, it's a limited piece of slab.
What does the future of Android tablets look like?
The tablet world will still be at the hands of Apple. Even if these devices can match or maybe even surpass the latest iPad release, Apple's prolonged dominance would make it difficult for them to get any kind of success. To be honest, the future looks bleak. Aside from ultra-cheap Amazon tablets that’s more of a marketing play than product push, Android as a consumer electronics device seems to be on the decline.
From the looks of it, Google's has probably got it right in making Chrome OS instead of fighting Apple at its own turf. But as for Android tablets, it seems that a lot more is needed to topple the current king of the hill.