Best Android Tablets [June 2014]

best-tablets-april-2014

May proved to be a slow month for tablet releases, and as such, there hasn’t been much change at the top in our latest roundup of best Android slates. Still, the extra time to reflect and releases on the horizon have provided reason to reconsider our overall rankings. Read on to see our picks for the top Android tablets as of June 2014.

Previously: May | April 

5. Nexus 7

New Nexus 7 hand wm

The original Nexus 7 laid the groundwork for the many sub-$250 Android tablets, and its 2013 edition held pace and hangs on to a spot on our list this month despite starting to show its age. The big upgrade with the second iteration of the Nexus 7 was the addition of a high resolution display, and the modestly specced tablet remains a go-to for those looking for a stock Android experience with quick updates from Google. It isn’t out of the question to think this might the last month the N7 will appear as one of our best tablets — the Google I/O conference at the end of the month could introduce the next generation of Nexus devices.

4. Kindle Fire HDX

Amazon Kindle Fire HDX

Equally affordable in comparison to the Nexus 7, the Android experience here  couldn’t be more different. Amazon’s Kindle Fire HDX eschews a traditional Android skin in favor of easy access to the vast library of digital content offered by the online retailer. A gorgeous HD display for consuming said digital content is the highlight, but the HDX is powerful enough to act as a gaming device and, to a lesser extent, productivity tool.

3. Samsung Galaxy Tab 4

Galaxy Tab4 10.1 (SM-T530) White_1

With a month to consider Samsung’s latest budget-minded lineup of Android slates, we’ve bumped the Galaxy Tab 4 up two spots. These mid-tier outfits offer 720p HD displays and and otherwise modest spec sheet, but they do so with Samsung’s ever-improving take on the tablet. Starting at $199 for the 7-inch version (8 and 10.1-inch models are also available), the Galaxy Tab 4 series features a portable, compact design and makes for a great option for the casual tablet user.

2. Samsung Galaxy NotePro

Samsung Galaxy Note Pro DSC05107

We’ve praised the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro as the best Android tablet for the  past few months, but we are beginning to see its steep price tag and large display as a hindrance rather than a preference. While there is certainly a space for 12-inch tablets in the current market, few manufacturers seem willing to get behind the form factor. A trend towards cheaper slates also puts the NotePro in a precarious position. Still, the powerful tablet with included stylus input gives a best-of-both-worlds option that is equally equipped for work and play.

1. Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet

sony-xperia-z2-tablet-6

The Sont Xperia Z2 slides into the top spot on the strength of its design, but don’t blink at the powerful hardware encased within its sleek outlines. A beautiful display, Snapdragon 801 processor, and 8.1MP camera could stand toe-to-toe with any other tablet on the market. You’d be hard-pressed, however, to find another that packages it in a frame that is only 6.1mm thick (and waterproof).

Honorable Mentions

OK, you want a few more options? The above are what we consider the best available, but here are other Android tablets to consider that barely missed our list.

lenovo-yoga-tablet-10-2

  1. LG G Pad 8.3 — LG is on the verge of updating their G Pad line. Be on the lookout for closeout deals on this mighty tablet in a compact frame.
  2. Samsung Galaxy TabPro — Equivalent to the NotePro in Samsung’s lineup, the TabPro line highlights top-tier specs in several size options.
  3. Amazon Kindle Fire HD — Not quite on the same level as the HDX, the Kindle Fire HD remains an affordable media device for the user seeking a simple entertainment device.
  4. ASUS Padfone X — A twofer for our list, the Padfone X isn’t the newest device out there, but it will finally be available from AT&T this month. It’s actually a phone that slips into a tablet dock, offering a unique possibility for tablet shoppers.
  5. Lenovo Yoga 10 HD+ — A powerful productivity device with built in kickstand for when you want to kick back.

Tablets to look forward to

This month’s Computex show brought us a handful of new tablet options, and other manufacturers have kept busy as well. Here are just a couple recently announced tablets to look forward to in the coming months.

ASUS Transformer Book V

ASUS Transformer Book V_PR02

A true 5-in-1, the recently announced ASUS Transformer Book V features a 5-inch Android smartphone that can dock into a hybrid Windows 8.1/Android tablet, which in turn can be docked with a keyboard as a hybrid Windows 8.1/Android laptop. We think they covered everything. The Transformer Book V features a 12.5-inch HD display, Intel chipset, and sports 1TB of storage in laptop mode. Expect ASUS’ latest transforming Android device sometime in the second half of the year.

LG G Pad 2014 lineup

lg g pad family

Announced earlier this month, LG will be updating its G Pad, introducing two new sizes and revamped hardware. The G Pad 8.3 will be replaced by the G Pad 8.0 along with a G Pad 7.0 and G Pad 10.1. LG hasn’t revealed the full details on what to expect when the tablets launch in Q2 of this year, but we hope it includes the revamped UI found in the recently announced LG G3.

Rumor Mill

The following tablets haven’t been announced yet, but that hasn’t kept them out of the headlines. Surprise, surprise, we can expect yet another slate from Samsung.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S

samsung tab into color invite

Still a rumor by definition but no secret by any means, Samsung is expected to reveal the Galaxy Tab S at an event scheduled for July 12th. What we know so far? Specs include a 10.5-inch Quad HD display, Exynos 5420 octa-core chipset, and Galaxy S5 inspired design. As the name implies, the Tab S is expected to be positioned as Samsung’s flagship tablet for 2014. Don’t expect this thing to come cheap.

Nexus 8

nexus-devices

We continue to see mentions of long-rumored the Nexus 8 alongside the Nexus 6, and it seems logical that Google’s next tablet could be revealed later this month at Google I/O. Regardless, not much is known about this mysterious tablet but it could be an HTC-produced slate currently being developed under the code name Flounder. An updated Nexus 7 is also a possibility with a second device code named Molly also found floating around the Android code database.

What say you?

We get the feeling Samsung’s tablet announcement this month and Google I/O could see our list looking very different next month, but here’s where we are as of June 2014. Agree? Disagree? Agree to disagree? Let us know what you see as the best Android tablet in the comments below!

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  • Unorthodox

    I want a new Note 10.1 or 8.

  • http://twitter.com/Vanakatherock Vanakatherock

    Love my Xperia Z2 Tablet so far. 3-4 hours better battery life than my Nexus 10.

  • Martin Lane

    Samsung’s tablets alone would make up most of the top 5 with similar high performance and higher resolution displays, I like how they just forgot these other devices.

    1. Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2
    2. Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014
    3. Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1
    4. Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
    5. Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet

    The Galaxy Tab 4 doesn’t deserve to be in the top 5, it’s a budget tablet with budget hardware.

    • AS

      Hardware wise, probably. They really need to get a Google play edition ROM out and slim down touchwiz.

  • Martin Lane

    Why is the Kindle Fire HDX included? with no Play Store and heavily modified interface it’s not really Android anymore, not unless you flash a custom rom.

    • improvius

      If anyone’s curious, the bootloader still has not been unlocked for the HDX. Also, the last system update effectively blocked root access. For those lucky few of us who managed to root and block updates before that happened, though, there are a couple of good packages out there that will give you a dual Amazon/Google (or just Google) environment. So it certainly has the potential to be a top Android tablet. I mean, the hardware itself is phenomenal.

      But for the average Android user, unless you really, really want a dedicated Amazon media consumption device, look elsewhere.

  • Kyle Cordiano

    Thank you for honoring Lenovo. Their yoga lineup is pretty damn good.

  • Sean

    I only have one issue, the nexus 7. I say this as a previous owner of 2 nexus 4s, 2 nexus 7 2012s, and a nexus 5: I enjoyed every one of those immensely, but the new nexus 7 was nothing special from day one. I’ll skip all the complaints that made me take it back within a week and just focus on the present.

    That tablet, as decent as it was, should not be in this list above the g pad. If we’re taking about now, the month of June, you can get a new g pad for as little as $269. At that price, it beats the nexus 7 hands down. We know that by specs alone the g pad is a superior tablet, the only thing giving nexus the edge was the price difference, and fast updates. While the nexus 7 has come down in price a little as well, the gap is smaller overall than it once was.

    LGs software may not look better to many but it is more functional. If updates are all you care about them nexus is the only viable option period. But since that’s not the case with this list (which even includes the kindle with its foreign software) I don’t see how the nexus can be considered better.

    We’re not talking about for everybody, just overall, and overall the g pad is flat out a better tablet, for just a little more.

    • Nathan McCrackan

      Agree 100%

    • Dwight

      Personally I prefer the g pad for the screen size and knock on, but the n7 is definitely faster as they have pretty much the same processor (the snapdragon s4 pro in the n7 and the 600 in the g pad are very similar) and lg’s skin slows android down quite a bit.
      Also there is hardly any dev support on xda for the g pad when compared to the n7.

      Bottom line: it’s ridiculous to say that the g pad is “flat out better”. In my mind they are about the same, really is up to the individual consumer. Neither one is clearly better than the other.

      • Sean

        G Pad is better all around. It’s specs are better, it’s built better, has longer battery life, bigger screen, more features… Need I go on. You can claim the nexus opens apps faster, and it might most of the time if you really measured it down to milliseconds. But LGs skin is much lighter than say, Samsung’s and it’s never noticeably slowed down my G2 or my G Pad.

        Also, the G Pad has a bunch of Roms. It’s officially supported by cm with snapshot releases too. I had cm11 on mine for about a week, went back to stock. Why? LGs software is better. Can’t even use the ir port with a custom ROM.

        Bottom line, the only area that the N7 is better is price.

        • Dwight

          Yeah, there are custom roms.. but not as many as the n7.
          Also the support is simply better due to a greater number of people. Take your issue of the IR blaster – an issue like that would be fixed by the countless people working with that device, where the gPad’s numbers are limited. I’m not trying to argue that the n7 is better, just that the gPad is not necessarily “better”.
          In terms of “it’s specs are better”, could you point me to which spec you are referring to? The only difference I see is a 0.2 gHz clock speed difference, which is easily made up for by the speed of KitKat compared to LG’s skin.
          And finally, as far as battery life goes, while the gPad does have a bigger battery in terms of mAh, it also has a larger screen which sucks more battery life, and LG’s skin also seems to take some up. Having used both devices, i can say that they do get very similar battery life.

          Again, they are both great tablets, but neither one is “better all around”. They each have their strengths and weaknesses.

  • No_Nickname90

    Hold the phone!! I thought the Android/Windows tablets weren’t coming out? So they still are? I’d pick one of those up for a take-with-me tablet. I have plans on building a desktop, so I’ll leave that to my gaming.

  • AS

    I’m hoping for an 8″ tegra k1 note

  • Lennatron

    Nexus should be ahead of the Fire. The Fire is newer but the Nexus is much better with access to the Google Play Store and Google Apps.

    • jensonmacabensw

      i P r o T a b l et– is worth reviewing and offers ten new Tablets to launch in June – including the new Ramos i 10 Pro ($399) Windows 8.1 – Android hybrid, that’s the first Dual Boot tablet on the market, with an 8-second Windows boot-up time with an Intel Bay Trail 64-bit CPU plus features a 10″ 1920×1200 HD display, Bluetooth, GPS, along with 9 hours battery life — also new is the Ramos i12 ($299), an ultra-size 12-inch tablet also powered by Intel; plus the new iFive mini4 ($199) which is the first 8-inch Android tablet available with a retina-quality 2048×1536 display.

  • http://www.samsunggalaxysvii.com pradeep

    nexus 7 and 8 are really impressive with more better specs and design..
    awesome article !!
    http://samsunggalaxysvii.com

  • Sam

    These are top android tabs and worth buying, any of them will be good to
    buy. I found android tablets are way much better than iPad!
    http://www.techwhatsapp.com