Holiday Gift Guide 2016: Best Android tablets


Tablets are often some of the most overlooked devices when it comes to Android. Tablets as a whole aren’t used nearly as much as phones, but they’re still excellent to have around. If you aren’t sure about buying a phone for a loved one this holiday season, a nice tablet will almost certainly do. There’s certainly not as many options out there as you might find with a phone, but there’s still some very high-end and premium tablets on the market.

We’re going to show you some of the best tablets on the market right now, and hopefully help you make a buying decision for a gift this holiday season. Be sure to join us after the break!

Google Pixel C


Google launched the Pixel C last year, but it’s still one of the best Android tablet experiences you can buy to date. Saying that, the Pixel C is quite pricey, but Google makes it all worth it. You get a big and beautiful 10.2-inch display, making this device the perfect unit for watching any sort of media. Planning on taking a flight soon? Between the crisp display and a massive 34.2WHr battery, you’ll be able to enjoy any sort of media — YouTube subscriptions, movies and more — without any hindrance.

It’s powered by a 64-bit 1.9GHz octa-core NVIDIA Tegra X1 processor and 3GB of RAM, so this tablet does fly through tasks. And, if you want to really up your productivity, Google sells a keyboard and a folio keyboard for the device that quickly snaps onto the tablet. And, of course, being an in-house tablet, you’ll get all of the latest and greatest Android updates, with the most recent one being Android 7.0 Nougat.

Buy it now: Google Store

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0


Not into the stock Android experience? Then you might want to take a look at Samsung’s 8-inch Galaxy Tab S2. This tablet has a lot going for it, though this is another one that sits at a premium price. With an 8-inch display, it’s certainly not as large as the Pixel C’s 10.2-inch screen, but that’s not a bad thing. You still get a crisp and clear picture, but the slightly smaller screen makes the Galaxy Tab S2 substantially more portable and easier to hold in the hand. For those that prefer the larger screen option, Samsung does offer it in a 9.7-inch model as well, albeit it’s a little pricier.

Instead of that stock Android experience, Samsung is rocking its very own TouchWiz UI. It’s arguably a little bit more colorful and also offers a ton of different built-in features that you won’t find on a lightweight version of Android. If you’re looking for a tablet with excellent portability, speedy software and a clear picture, you can’t go wrong with the Galaxy Tab S2.

Buy it now: Samsung, Best Buy, Amazon



The SHIELD Tablet K1 from NVIDIA is one of the more unique Android tablet experiences on the market. To start off, NVIDIA does a lot of the standard stuff really well. Coming in with an 8-inch display, you get awesome portability. Not only that, but that display is crisp and clear thanks to that Full HD 1080p resolution. Under the hood is a NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor and 2GB of RAM. This keeps things running insanely fast. Whether you’re watching movies, playing games or doing a lot of multi-tasking, the hardware package will be able to fly through these tasks. You can expect to get a large bit of life out of this tablet as well, all thanks to the 5,200mAh battery.

What’s unique about the SHIELD Tablet K1 is its focus on gaming. NVIDIA loads some of its own applications on this tablet, including a marketplace where you can shop for games optimized for the tablet. Not only that, but those who own the SHIELD Tablet K1 have access to NVIDIA’s cloud game streaming service, NVIDIA GRID. With this cloud streaming service, you’ll be able to play PC games right on your tablet, something that, really, no other tablet can do.

That in mind, you might expect the SHIELD Tablet K1 to be rather pricey. But it’s not. On top of the great performance package and portability, the SHIELD Tablet K1 is also extremely affordable at just $200.

Buy it now: NVIDIA, Best Buy, Amazon

Nexus 9


Last up on our list is an oldie but a goodie: the Nexus 9. While it launched all the way back in late 2014, the Nexus 9 is still one of the best tablets you can get on the market. It was created by Google in partnership with HTC, and similar to the Pixel C, the Nexus 9 features stock Android. And with it being a Nexus device, you can be sure you’ll get the latest versions of Android as well. Most recently, it was updated to Android 7.0 Nougat.

It’s got some fairly impressive specifications, too. With a 8.9-inch display, you can be sure you’re watching media on a crisp and clear screen. Not only that, but you can guarantee some amount of portability. Keeping the lights on under the hood is a NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor and 2GB of RAM, so you can expect this tablet to fly through tasks. It’s an overall excellent experience.

Essentially what you’re getting here is a polished tablet experience with high-end specifications. Sure, it’s not packed with cutting edge hardware specifications like the Pixel C, but it doesn’t need to be. The tablet is speedy and will be able to handle anything you throw at it. Not to mention that it’s a little cheaper than the Pixel C, too.

Buy it now: Amazon


One thing’s for certain: there’s something for everybody on this list. Need a cheap tablet to put under the Christmas tree this year, but at the same time, you don’t want it to have low specifications? Then the SHIELD Tablet K1 is right up your alley. Or, maybe you’re looking for portability with an overall polished tablet experience. In that case, the Nexus 9 might just be the perfect fit. But, maybe you’re on the prowl for premium-level devices. In that case, and if you have the money to spend, neither the Pixel C or Galaxy Tab S2 will be a disappointment.

About the Author: Brad Ward

Brad is a tech enthusiast, writing and tinkering with all things technology since 2011. He currently bounces between the LG G3 and his beloved Moto X! His interests include reading, entrepreneurship, the gym, and of course, queso.

  • jdrch

    The Shield K1 is the best value of these for the money.