What’s the best Android tablet to buy as of October 2013

Earlier this week we talked about what the best Android phone to buy this month was, and now — for the first time ever — we’ll be going through the best Android tablets your hard-earned money can buy. This space doesn’t move quite as fast as smartphones, but we’re about ready to head into what should be an interesting holiday season with a few new tablets leading the way (including one we’ve just reviewed this morning). Let’s hop to it!

5 – Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0

Samsung’s Note series has become the go-to for performance and features in the tablet space, so the more weildy of the bunch — the Note 8.0 — deserves a bit of recognition in the top 5. The Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0′s HD resolution and quad-core chipset are quite nice, and that all-important S-Pen functionality pushes this one of the top as one of the better “small” tablets to consider at the point of sale.

4 – Amazon Kindle Fire HDX

Just announced by Amazon, the HDX line of Kindle Fire tablets is the latest in Amazon’s series. This changes the game up quite a bit by Amazon’s standards, a company whose modest first step into the tablet arena has since been bested with better offerings each year to follow. The HDX comes in 7-inch and 8.9-inch flavors, giving users a decent balance between screen real estate and portability.

The Amazon Kindle Fire HDX includes 2560 x 1600 resolution, storage options of 16-64GB, 4G LTE, a quad-core 2.2GHz processor (likely a Snapdragon 800), and more. As we all know by now, though, it isn’t the specs Amazon is hoping will win your hearts. It’s the deep integration with their various services, including Prime Instant Video, MP3, Cloud Storage, Kindle e-Books, the Amazon Appstore, and a whole lot more.

kindle fire hdx 89

Amazon also introduced a unique feature for customer support this go-round. The “Mayday” button, as it’s called, will give users the ability to connect to a customer support representative who can help with any trouble you might be having with your Kindle. The rep can manipulate the device remotely, and you two will be connected via both video and voice for a more personal experience.

Amazon’s goal is be hit 15 seconds or less for a response time whenever that button is hit, which would be a much more pleasant wait time than most companies can say they offer. This thing comes in all sorts of different shapes, sizes, storage and connectivity options, so be sure to read our initial announcement post for the full breakdown on all of that (and don’t forget to check out what makes the latest Kindle Fire OS 3.0 so great in this one).

3 – Nexus 10

The Nexus 10 is quite old, and is rumored to be supplanted by an updated offering in the weeks to come, but as it stands it’s still one of the better tablets to buy. A lot of that is on price and principal — who can say no to a Nexus device? And who can say no to a Nexus device with these specs for $400?

The specs I’m referring to include a 10.055-inch 2560 x 1600 display, Exynos 5 Dual (which is an ARM Cortex-A15 dual-core chipset with Mali T604 graphics), 2GB of RAM, 16-32GB of internal storage, WiFi + MiMo, Bluetooth, NFC, and more. Of course, its status as a Nexus devices means it should be up and runnong on the latest version of Android for as long as it can stand it.

Nexus 10 Google Play WiFi

Indeed, owners are currently enjoying Android 4.3, something not many others can say right now. And you can bet your bottom dollar that it’ll be one of the first tablets to get Android 4.4. Kit Kat whenever Google sees fit to fully unveil that, as well.

2 – Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition

We thought this device might sneak into our #1 overall spot this month, but the Galaxy Note 10.1 hasn’t exactly been the greatest of sports in all the departments that matter. In our Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition review, Rob Jackson noted some pitfalls of the entirety of the experience, the biggest of which being a laggy user interface when flipping through MyMagazines or trying to use popup apps.

Galaxy Note 10.1 Air Command

That was enough to keep it out of our first spot, but not nearly enough to kick it out of our top 5. The Note 10.1 2014 edition reads like a fantastic device on paper, with specs being comprised of the following:

  • 1.9GHz Exynos 5420 quad-core processor
  • 3GB of RAM.
  • 16GB or 32GB options for internal storage
  • 8MP rear camera
  • 2MP front facing camera
  • MicroUSB 2.0
  • MicroSD slot
  • 8,220 mAh battery and more

That said, for a starting price of $550 with 3GB of RAM and a quad-core processor, we simply can’t forgive the sluggishness that showed up in our testing. It has great S-Pen driven features and it’s good enough for second best, though it probably won’t move further beyond that until Samsung releases a software upgrade that gets some of that lag under control.

1 – Nexus 7 2013

We’ve finally arrived to the coveted #1 spot. I hope this selection wasn’t too obvious. It’s a Nexus Tablet. It’s $230. And it has a spec sheet that will make anyone stand up and take notice. This 7-inch ASUS-made wonder slides in at the number 1 spot thanks to that nice 1920 x 1200 resolution (323 ppi), quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro chipset clocked at 1.5GHz, 2GB of RAM, 16-32GB of internal storage, 5 megapixel rear camera, 2 megapixel front camera, dual-band WiFi N, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC and more.

New Nexus 7 hand wm

The Nexus 7 2013 was the launchpad for Android 4.3, which is currently the latest version of Google’s beloved mobile operating system. And thanks to its status as a Nexus device it will most certainly be seeing Android 4.4 Kit Kat (whatever that turns out to be) ahead of the rest of the pack.

Google really does make it a bit unfair with their willingness to throw profits aside and offer this device up for dirt cheap, but that doesn’t make us feel reluctant or guilty for awarding the Nexus 7 2013 the top spot anyway.

Honorable Mentions

Amazon Kindle Fire HD

It’s not quite as powerful as the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 or 8.9, but the 7-inch Kindle Fire HD still holds its own where it counts. Amazon couldn’t care less about the profit from device sales here, though, which is why it’s so cheap at a starting price of just $140. As with the HDX, it’s all about apps and services for Amazon. Specs include 1280 x 800 resolution, a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 8-16GB of internal storage, 10 hours of battery life and more.

Tablets to look forward to

Here are just a few tablets to look forward to in the weeks and months to come. None of them are available for purchase yet, and some aren’t even official, but it’ll give you a good idea of what to expect once that ever-difficult purchasing decision arises this holiday seasons.

ASUS Transformer Pad TF701T

This is the latest product from ASUS that will allow you to transform your tablet into a netbook. The Transformer Pad TF701 is a 10.1-inch 2560 x 1600 device with NVIDIA’s Tegra 4 processor on board. This powerhouse also includes a 5 megapixel rear camera, a 1.2 megapixel front camera, HDMI-out and more. And when you dock the tablet inside the dock, you’ll get a combined 17 hours of battery life (which is much more than any of today’s Netbooks can claim).

ASUS Padfone Infinity

This marvelous phone/tablet combo pack is set to launch sometime soon. ASUS was one of the first companies to make our “use a powerful phone as the guts of a tablet” dreams come true, and now they’ve gone and outdone themselves with the announcement of the Padfone Infinity.

the-new-padfone-infinity-hands-on

The phone bit includes a 5-inch 1080p HD Super IPS display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB or 32GB of internal storage with microSD, 13 megapixel rear camera with a 2 megapixel front camera, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi N, 2,400mAh battery and more.

Dock the phone into the rear of a device that has a 10.1-inch HD display and a huge battery, and you’ve got yourself one of the most powerful tablets, as well. Sounds pretty damned good to me, and worth keeping an eye out for once ASUS makes these available.

Motorola DROID tablets

Motorola has a tablet or two launching soon. We’re not sure what they are. We’re not sure how they’ll look. We’re not even sure when we’ll be seeing them. All we know is that they’ve confirmed some tablets are in the works, and that one of them will most certainly be headed straight for Verizon’s DROID lineup. With the great work they’ve done with the Moto X and the latest DROID phones, Motorola definitely gets a good deal of our attention.

What say you?

And that’ll do it for our list of the best Android tablets to buy. Things should be even more interesting by the time we put the next installment out, but take some time to go over the list for October, and think about where you stand on it. Feel free to disagree — we all have our own thoughts and opinions about these sorts of things, so you won’t be hurting our feelings! We want to hear all about it in the comments section below, so have at it!

PS: don’t forget that you can talk all about these tablets, and more, over at AndroidForums.com. Be sure to make an account and join the millions of folks currently driving some very healthy discussion over there.

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  • Kyle Cordiano

    Hisense Sero 7 Pro.

    • http://www.phandroid.com Quentyn Kennemer

      lulz

      • ScottColbert

        Then who would you recommend it for, if not a common user? Certainly not a power user.

        • ChristianMcC

          Someone who had $130, plus tax, and had to have a tablet with hdmi out within two hours, after checking local classifieds and Craigslist.

          • http://www.phandroid.com Quentyn Kennemer

            This. Anyone else, I’m going to refer them to something like the Nexus 7 (original if the latest is too costly).

      • Kyle Cordiano

        I’d think it would be the opposite. The common user would not care about an OEM’s (they probably wouldn’t even know what OEM meant) track record, only the power user would. This is a great steal for $130.

  • shooter50

    did they ever fix the volume problem with the nexus 7? Tried 3. Speaker and headphone volume sucked on all of them.

    • ChristianMcC

      Not to be rude, but how bad is your hearing? I personally can’t use my headphone volume over 25% without it being too loud 9/10 times.

    • http://www.xrks.com/ intangible

      I had the old Nexus 7 and Nexus 10; Loving my new Nexus 7 FHD… Haven’t noticed any kind of volume problem; what did you see?

  • Ben Guenther

    ROM’med nook hd+ (10″) can’t be beat for the price, with refurbs going for $110
    not to mention nook hd (7″) refurbs go for $80

  • toomuchgame441

    android tablets are still lackluster… Nexus 7 is just an oversized phone as far as several apps still are concerned. This is a great article only because I been thinking to myself what I can switch from from my iPad 3rd gen. And to be honest we still have a lacking offering.

    Do not think I’m trolling or bashing Android because I do love our Android phone selection, but The apps aren’t there yet. You can get all the google apps to your hearts content and all the polished apps u need on an iPad. A perfect compliment to my HTC One.

    • Gustavo Gomez

      I guess it is a choice between paying $260 for 32gb and paying $720 for 32gb. No bashing but $500 difference is beyond comprehension. Of course the apps that I use look great in my Nexus.

    • harold

      That funny I thought this was a android article. You can say what you want but I buy apps once and they work with my phone and tablet so why do I want to buy two devices that run on different os’s .

    • mcl630

      “The apps aren’t there yet”

      That may have been true in 2011, but it’s not the case now. What apps do you know of that don’t work well on tablets? The only ones I know of are ESPN’s apps, they work but they’re portrait only and don’t take advantage of the screen real estate. Every other app I’ve tried on my tablet either has a proper tablet layout or scales up well enough.

  • DJArt81

    I’m interested to see what moto is bringing to the table for tablets!

  • MttFrog13

    The LG G Pad is also a tablet to look forward to. I wish they’d tell us what the price and release date was.

  • mcl630

    No mention of the upcoming Nexus 10 refresh in the “tablets to look forward to”?

    • New_Guy777

      Right!?!

  • scoter man1

    If the kindle fire hdx had a developer community, it could potentially be better than the N7 2013. I’m still having screen issues, and IMHO, it’s definitely not the smoothest of devices. It’s smoother than the first N7, but not as smooth as my N4.

    • ChristianMcC

      They really need a hardware and/or software fix.

      • scoter man1

        Very badly. It’s especially sucky when you type fast or try to swype type fast.

  • Aaron Peromsik

    That #2 pick looks really strange. All those specs and it still can’t perform, but you still think it’s worth $550? Perhaps a software update will make it work, but I wouldn’t recommend shelling out that kind of money before that happens. I have no experience with the device but it just seems like the text written above doesn’t fit with the number 2.

  • rageboardr

    Got to throw a vote to the Sony xperia tablet Z. Wonderful tablet, and You can’t beat the fact that it’s waterproof. Just got to get past the price.

    • Kyle Cordiano

      It is a very nice tablet. Waterproof is IMO, a great feature for a tablet or phone.

  • Tony Lai

    I really wanna see that new Padfone infinity coming to the States side….

  • lolwut

    Had to return 3 Nexus 7 tablets because of touchscreen issues

    beware

    • mapsnetman

      a Software update fixed the issue few weeks ago.

      • ChristianMcC

        The R update fixed it for many, but not all, sadly. I must say I am happy that I didn’t jump on this and have to be without my tab for any time. Had the screen lift issue on my N7.1 and luckily the second did not, which the wife is now using since I got a 32GB for $150 new in May.

      • lolwut

        No it didn’t

  • mapsnetman

    Kindle fire shouldn’t even have made it to the list

  • Nate595

    Still rocking that Toshiba excite 10

  • peter g

    This makes no sense with all the reported problems. Look it up.

  • Garret_Broemser

    How about the lg g pad… Snapdragon 600, large battery, hd resolution, and a nice design.

  • irishrally

    I’d take the N10 over the new N7.

  • JerryBarcenas

    Sony Xperia Z tablet should be on here… Great display, battery, design, and speed. Much better than the late 2013 galaxy note 10.1

  • Joshua Hill

    Looking forward to the LG Gpad. I was surprised it didn’t make Phandroid’s ‘Tablets to look forward too’.

  • Rob Schoenfeld

    Low End: Hisense 7 Pro
    Mid Rang: Tie Between Kindle HDX and Nexus 2013
    High End: Sony Xperia Z Tablet, Ipad (Sorry it’s damn good tablet, Nexus 10 (Soon 2013)

    Samsung Tab 3.0 or Samsung Notes are to expensive and the barf on the screen called touchwiz isn’t that good either.

    • AbbyZFresh

      i personally think the Nexus 7 2013 belongs in the high-end category. It’s just about as powerful as the current Nexus 10(before the new one comes)

  • CGS

    I’d love a Windows/Android tablet/laptop hybrid.

    • Dave Paison

      I believe that ASUS either already has or is coming to market with one of those. The ASUS Transformer Book caught my eye recently and I believe the pricier version was going to do something very similar to that. Windows 8/8.1 on an Intel chip when docked and Android on a Tegra when undocked.

      I would also gladly jump on that train.

  • jessez93

    *Which is* the best Android tablet to buy as of October 2013
    ;)

  • misternagoya

    Loving my note 8, it’s fast, it’s clear,it’s highly functional, it’s portable and since I have the 3g version, it makes calls…. for me it’s the perfect tablet. Now if they release a version which can be me a nice cup of coffee I might considering trading it in…

  • jefferylamontagne321

    my Aunty Mila recently got Audi Q5 Hybrid by working parttime from a macbook… here are the findings J­a­m­2­0­.­ℂ­o­m

    • supremekizzle

      I hope your aunt Mila crashes her stupid ass hybrid into you and then a brick wall going 100+ mph without a seatbelt.

  • Samuel Serafim

    Excellent post. I agree 95%. I have an very nice Note 8.

  • Tojen1981

    Surprised the galaxy tab3 8.0 didn’t make the list. Has a 4.5 out of 5 on amazon right now. I’ve played with one and it is pretty nice.

    • Kyle Cordiano

      It’s not worth the $300 price tag.

  • Raz Zor

    Im rl hoping that Nexus 10 2 will eat them all 4 breakfast.

  • deep throat

    Also throwing in my vote for the Xperia Z Tablet. It is truly a great tablet and the fact that you can use it in the bathtub or the pool has to count for something too.

  • http://www.DavidPat.com David Pat

    Waiting for the Moto tablet. I need good build quality and sound.

  • rudyy

    waiting for the nexus to get stereo speakers, on the front.

  • CesarinaBeneventi

    My friend completely got a stunning Chevrolet Suburban SUV by exert yourself

    Part-time using a laptop. Discover comatose this at this point BIG44.­c­o­m

  • Cole Boggess

    I’m really hoping the next Nexus 10 is going to be killer

  • http://www.facebook.com/AndroidAppsGamesHacking AndroidAppsGamesHacking

    Xperia Tablet Z <<< my love..