A Guide to Selecting an Android Tablet
The Android operating system has been used on mobile devices since 2003, but there have been constant upgrades and improvement since then. If you get a state-of-the-art tablet computer, it will probably be up to Android version 12 or 12L by now (in the year 2023). Android offers you an intuitive user interface and wide range of features. Besides functioning as a e-reader and a device for web browsing and games, an Android-powered tablet also provides you access to apps, a front-facing and rear-facing camera, fingerprint sensors and facial recognition technology.
You’ll see a lot of variation among tablet computers. There are tablet computers that run Windows and iOS, but the most popular by far are those running Android, or Fire OS (an Android hybrid developed by Amazon for their tablets). We’ll see that there are affordable, entry-level tablets, as well as tablets that have the functionality of a small laptop, with a detachable keyboard and mouse!
Types of Android Tablets
Besides differences in the Android operating system on various tablet computers, there will be differences in the tablet’s hardware. But we can distinguish between a few main versions:
Samsung Android Tablet: The latest edition of the Samsung Android tablet, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8, offers “DeX Multitasking”. “DeX” is a contraction of “Desktop eXperience”, which means that it allows you to hook up a keyboard and mouse. It also comes with a stylus that allows you to draw on the tablet, or take handwritten notes or annotate text. This is in addition to the touchscreen features that are common to all tablet computers. Samsung also offers the S8+ and S8 Ultra, with progressively more storage space, memory, and battery life.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Plus with keyboard and stylus
There are also entry-level Samsung tablets, such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 10.5” 32GB Android Tablet. It has 32 GB of storage space, although for just a few dollars more, you can get a version with 64 GB of storage.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 10.5” 32GB Android Table
Lenovo Tablets: Lenovo is also a well-known manufacturer of Android tablets. Their latest version as of 2023 is the Lenovo Tab P11 series, including the Lenovo Tab P11 Plus and the P11 Pro Gen 2. The P11 Plus has 128 GB of storage, and has Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, while the P11 Pro Gen 2 has only 6 GB of storage and no Bluetooth option.
Lenovo Tab P11 Pro Gen 2
Amazon Fire Tablet: Amazon makes a line of tablet computers that run a branch of the Android operating system, known as the Fire operating system. As of the year 2023, the supported devices are the Fire HD 10, Fire HD 8 and 8 Plus, and the Fire 7. An Amazon Fire Tablet may not allow access to certain Google apps, but you’ll be able to use it as a Kindle reader by means of the Kindle app.
Amazon Fire HD 10 Tablet
Amazon also makes Fire Tablets for children, in two age groups: the Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Pro for ages 6-12, and the Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids for ages 3-7. The Fire HD 10 Kids Pro also offers a keyboard and mouse touchpad option. This version has 3 GB of memory, 1 TB of expandable storage, a 10.1” HD display, and dual cameras. The tablet comes in a shock-absorbent, detachable case to protect it.
Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Pro, with separate keyboard
Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids
What reviewers say
Here are some customers’ impressions about the Android Tablet that they purchased:
Accelerometer for gaming: The accelerometer in a tablet computer senses changes in the orientation of the tablet. Some tablets have a gyroscope sensor as well. The accelerometer detects differences in linear movement of the tablet, while a gyroscope sensor detects angular movement of the tablet, if you tilt it. This feature can be useful in certain games on your tablet, as well as in Virtual Reality applications and videos.
Good even for seniors: One customer who bought the Amazon Fire HD 10 Tablet said that the touchscreen and other features are simple and intuitive. Even senior citizens and people who aren’t accustomed to using a computer will find it accessible and easy to use!
More speakers: Some Android tablets have an array of speakers, such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab A7, which has Dolby Atmos Surround Sound. It greatly enhances your experience when watching movies!
Here are some tips to help you select an Android tablet:
Battery life: Battery life will differ greatly, depending on which apps you use and how much energy they consume. The Amazon Fire HD 10 advertises that it gives you 12 hours of use on a single charge for typical activities such as reading text, browsing the web, watching videos and listening to music. Many tablets have a USB-C port for recharging, which works faster than the older USB technology.
WiFi and Bluetooth: Take note if the tablet you’re interested in has Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity. Some of the newer tablets, such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8+, has Wi-Fi 6E, which is up to 3 times faster than the 5 GHz band.
Subscriptions: If you buy a Fire HD Kids tablet, Amazon offers a 1-year subscription to Amazon Kids+, allowing you access to books, games, videos, and apps for children. After the year is up, you have the option of continuing your subscription at the price of $4.99 per month.
We took a brief look at some of the most popular Android tablet computers available on the market nowadays. You have a choice of buying a slightly older model, which will be more affordable, or going for a tablet with the most advanced features. If you want to use your tablet for streaming video and music content, you may want a newer model. On the other hand, if you just want to use it as a Kindle reader, you may be able to settle for a model with fewer features. Either way, an Android tablet computer is a convenient way to have Internet access, an e-reader, a media player, and a camera, all rolled into one!