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12 Best Android Tablets in the World Right Now

If you’re looking for a tablet and don’t fancy an iPad, then Android is the way to go. (Don’t know what an Android tablet is? Check out: What is an Android tablet?)

There are other options out there; Windows 7 tablets are available, the BlackBerry PlayBook is on sale now and the HP TouchPad is coming soon. But Android 3.0 is currently the main OS rival to the iPad, and the products are creeping onto the shelves one by one.

We’ve gone from zero Android tablets to stacks of the things in a very short space of time, and inevitably some are better than others.

Some have ten-inch screens, others seven, and there are big differences in battery life, processing power and on-board RAM. So which Android tablet is the most tempting? Let’s find out.


1. Asus Eee Pad Transformer

Best Android tablet PC for: replacing your netbook

We love the Asus Eee Pad Transformer. In our opinion, it’s the most compelling Android tablet we’ve yet seen. Not only is it powerful and well featured, it’s designed to work with a keyboard dock which turns it into a fully-fledged Android-powered netbook.

What’s more, it costs just £429 on launch, with the keyboard – £379 without. This is the way it’s supposed to be. This is the tablet that changes the game. Look out also for the Asus Eee Pad Slider which comes packing a slide-out keyboard – it’s coming soon and promises great things!


2. Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

Best Android tablet for: the out-and-out tablet experience

While the Transformer offers something a little different at an unbeatable price, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 (not to be confused with the Galaxy Tab 10.1V – see below) offers a direct alternative to Apple’s iPad 2.

Sporting the Tegra 2 dual-core platform, it’s both thinner and lighter than the iPad 2. This is some achievement, especially when you consider the fuss Apple made about how thin and light the iPad 2 was on launch. If you want an iPad-like tablet that’s not an iPad, this is the one. The prices are the same as the iPad 2, so it’s a straight shoot-out on features…

Find out more about Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 here


3. Motorola Xoom

Best Android tablet for: sleek good looks and solid performance

The Motorola Xoom was the first Honeycomb tablet to hit the shelves, and while it’s a lovely piece of kit, there’s a snag. It’s just a little too expensive. Current prices are floating around the £459 which is simply too high when you’ve got the Transformer available keyboard-free for £379.

In all other respects, this is a tablet that’s worthy of your attention. Solid build quality, decent battery life, good performance. If the price drops by another £50, this could become the iPad rival Motorola wants it to be.


4. LG Optimus Pad

Best Android tablet for: Playing around with 3D

The consumer electronics giants are throwing everything at 3D, and LG has decided that its first Android tablet should play a role in its ’3D is the best’ hearts and minds mission. The tablet has dual-5MP cameras which work together to shoot 3D images and record 3D footage. Cool, huh? The problem is that there’s no 3D screen, so if you want to watch your 3D movies you’ll need to either plug the tablet into a 3D TV or watch in anaglyph 3D on the tablet’s screen.

If you’re crazy about 3D, this is your next Android tablet.


5. Acer Iconia Tab A500

Best Android tablet for: fans of brushed aluminium bodywork

Acer’s Android tablet is good looking and offers similar performance to the other Android 3.0 tablets on show here. We like it, but it’s missing a bit of sparkle and there’s not much on show here that we can cling on to.

It’s not as stylish as the Galaxy Tab 10.1, and doesn’t offer anything different like the Transformer does with its keyboard.


6. Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1V

Best Android tablet for: taking 8MP photographs

The Galaxy Tab 10.1V’s key selling point is its 8MP rear-facing camera. It’s the best cameratablet (did we just make up a word?) yet and frankly makes a mockery of the 0.7MP camera that the iPad 2′s of this world are rocking.

It’s a snazzy tablet then, lightweight, powerful and a joy to use. It’s due to come out very soon, but at the moment we’re not 100% sure when or how much it’s going to cost. If the price is under £450, this could be a winner.

UPDATE: Samsung and Vodafone have both decided they will not be selling this device in the UK. It is to be replaced by the newer Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

htc flyer

7. HTC Flyer

Best Android tablet for: Portability and fans of Sense UI

HTC has decided to release the tablet running on Android Gingerbread, which will upset some purists that believe these tablets should run on Honeycomb. However, the HTC Sense overlay deals with that, offering a new range of widgets and content to mask the fact it’s running older versions of the OS (although a Honeycomb update is imminent).

The new tablet has a 7-inch LCD screen, and comes with an aluminium unibody shell that feels very nice in the hand. However, with a price of nearly £600, can this tablet compete?

samsung galaxy tab

8. Samsung Galaxy Tab

The original iPad rival – does the Galaxy Tab still have something to offer?

Samsung’s original 7-inch Galaxy Tab is looking a bit old and tired now, and we weren’t big fans of it when it was brand new anyway. However, with heavy discounts, this tablet is now available for under £300 and there are plenty of attractive 3G package deals available.

There’s no Android 3.0 here though, which makes this Tab little more than a smartphone on steroids.

viewpad 7

9. Viewsonic Viewpad 7

A decent Android 2.2 tablet but it’s already out of date

The Viewsonic Viewpad 7 is exactly the same, albeit slightly more expensive than the Linx Commtiva N700 – and confusingly, Viewsonic is marketing it as a smartphone.

It’s a terrible smartphone but it’s a fairly competent 7-inch Android tablet: its 600MHz processor isn’t really fast enough for Flash though, not to mention recent Android releases.

10. Creative Ziio

Resistive screen and Android 2.1 meets bargain retail price

The Creative Ziio 7-inch tablet runs long out-of-date Android 2.1 and has no access to the Android Market.

However, it’s a decent media tablet, designed to stream music to wireless speakers and it’s available for under £200. Depending on your needs, this tablet has a chance of being the one.

viewpad 10s

11. Viewsonic Viewpad 10s

A step too far for Viewsonic’s weakling Android tablet

We called the original Viewpad 10 a stinker, so what about its successor? It runs Android 2.2 with its own Tap UI overlay, there’s a 1GHz processor inside, and there’s a very useful option to give each family member their own account. We wish the iPad had that.

The 10s is a vast improvement over its predecessor, although it just can’t compete with the products higher up in this list.

Hannspree hannspad

12. Hannspree Hannspad

Another Android tablet bereft of the Android Market

This tablet has more in common with Samsung’s current tablet offering, the seven-inch Galaxy Tab, than the new boys when it comes to software. However, it’s a match for them when it comes to hardware grunt.

The problem is that it’s let down by the absence of Android 3.0 and the Android Market, an unresponsive touchscreen, poor viewing angles and some shoddy optimisations.

And our pick of the hottest up-and-coming tablets is….


Amazon Kindle Fire

After months of speculation, the Amazon Kindle Fire has been officially announced at an event in New York, marking the first time the company has entered the tablet market proper.

The successor to the Amazon Kindle is a 7-inch device that comes with Android, albeit a version that has been heavily altered by Amazon to make the best use of the company’s e-shopping spine. The screen is an IPS display that’s made from Gorilla Glass, it houses dual-core processor, and weighs in at 14.6 ounces. There is a tablet-optimised shopping app on board – this is said to comprise simplified and streamlined pages, so it is easier to buy stuff on than the actual Amazon website.

Come back for our full Amazon Kindle Fire review very soon!

12 best Android tablets in the world