Best Samsung tablet Android Central 2021
It's no secret that Android tablets have waned in popularity over the past few years. Despite that, Samsung regularly releases new tablet options, channeling its Android know-how into respectable software hosted on killer hardware. Whether you choose our top overall pick — the Galaxy Tab S7 — or any other option in this roundup, the best Samsung tablets all have plenty to recommend compared to iPads, Fires, and other popular brands.
- Best overall: Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Mystic Black
- Best upgrade: Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ Mystic Black
- Best for streaming and battery life: Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Fan Edition
- Best value: Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e- 64GB
- Best for students: Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite 10.4", 64GB
- Best compact budget tablet: Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite
Best overall: Samsung Galaxy Tab S7
You have a large number of Galaxy Tabs to choose from, but above everything that's on offer, the Galaxy Tab S7 stands out as our go-to recommendation. It's one of the newest tablets in Samsung's lineup, and for most folks, it'll be the best one you can buy.
The most important aspect of any tablet is its display, and in this regard, the Tab S7 has a lot going for it. You're treated to an 11-inch LCD panel with a 2560x1600 resolution and a buttery smooth 120Hz refresh rate. So whether you play a lot of games or watch a ton of movies, they'll all look excellent on the Tab S7. Plus, thanks to the Snapdragon 865+ processor and 8GB of RAM, you'll be able to do most of what you want without skipping a beat.
Samsung includes an S Pen with the Tab S7 at no added cost, with this version of the iconic stylus offering a mere 9ms latency for lifelike drawing and writing. When you aren't using it, just place the S Pen on the back of the Tab S7, and magnets will keep it secure.
When all of that is said and done, the Galaxy Tab S7 ends up being one of the best Android tablets overall.
- 120Hz display is very smooth
- Slim bezels and premium metal design
- Flagship performance
- Comes with an S Pen
- 45W wired charging speeds
- Screen is not AMOLED
Best upgrade: Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus
Should you find yourself with a bit more money to spend and want something even more impressive, that's exactly where the Galaxy Tab S7+ comes into play. It shares most of the same DNA with the regular Tab S7, though it brings a couple of welcome upgrades, the first of which is an even prettier display. Along with a larger 12.4-inch size, you also get an AMOLED panel instead of an LCD one. This means richer colors and deeper blacks for an even more immersive experience.
The larger size of the Tab S7+ also gives you a bigger battery, with Samsung promising up to 14 hours of video playback. You get the same Snapdragon 865+ processor and 8GB of RAM, along with the S Pen and its impressive 9ms latency.
Both the Tab S7 and S7+ support Samsung's DeX desktop interface and work with an optional keyboard cover, but those two things shine especially bright on the S7+. The larger screen is top-notch for working on documents, spreadsheets, and managing Zoom calls, so if you want to have your tablet function as a sort of laptop replacement, the Tab S7+ is perfectly equipped to do just that.
- AMOLED display with 120Hz
- 12.4-inch size is great for productivity
- Has the Snapdragon 865+ processor
- Large battery with fast charging
- S Pen included for free
- Might be too big for some people
- Very expensive
Best for streaming and battery life: Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE
Most Samsung FE devices maintain the excellence of flagship phones at a discounted price, like the flagship-killing Galaxy S20 FE. But the "Fan Edition" of the Galaxy Tab S7 series doesn't quite live up to the label. Samsung took elements of both the S7 and S7+ and jammed them into a massive tablet that's more affordable than both, but makes some significant compromises to justify the price drop.
The Galaxy Tab S7 FE gives you tons of perks for a mid-range tablet, tempered with price-cutting compromises outshone by the other S7s. It has the same massive 12.4-inch display as the S7+, but you get a TFT LCD instead of AMOLED and 60Hz instead of 120Hz. It comes with an S Pen and supports DeX mode for productivity, but its Snapdragon 750G chipset limits its performance compared to the S7's 865+. And even though its cellular version offers 5G — which no other tablets have yet — its speeds will be limited by its 4GB of RAM.
If you can afford it, the S7+ obviously triumphs here. But the Galaxy Tab S7 FE beats other older, cheaper offerings on this list, like the Tab S5e and S6 Lite, while crushing the Tab A series. The main battle is the Galaxy Tab S7 FE vs. Galaxy Tab S7, and there are a few reasons to choose the FE here. It gives you an extra 2.4 inches of screen space, a much larger battery to compensate, 5G support, and Android 11 out of the box, which means it'll get an extra year of support compared to the S7.
If you can do without 120Hz — and many people won't notice the absence unless they're already used to the feature — this tablet looks plenty bright and colorful and will last 13 hours per charge whether you're at home or on the road.
- 10,090mAh battery
- 12.4-inch display
- More affordable than other S7s
- Comes with S Pen, 1TB microSD slot
- 5G support
- Lacks AMOLED, 60Hz refresh rate
- Snapdragon 750G speeds are only average
- Only 4GB/64GB base memory
- Only 8MP/5MP cameras
Best value: Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e
There's no doubt that the Galaxy Tab S7 and S7+ are extremely capable machines, but if you're working with a smaller budget, the Galaxy Tab S5e is a fine alternative.
Looking at the core specs of the Tab S5e, you'll see it's a well-rounded device. There's a 10.5-inch AMOLED display with a 2560x1600 resolution, Qualcomm's Snapdragon 660 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage that can be expanded with a microSD card. You also have the option of getting a keyboard case if you'd like to get a bit of work done.
The Tab S5e provides a user experience that most people should be quite happy with, though there are a couple of drawbacks to hitting this low price: the lack of an S Pen and a generic design. However, if those two things don't bother you, the Tab S5e is an easy tablet recommendation for anyone looking to save a bit of cash.
- AMOLED display looks fantastic
- Good performance for most tasks
- Reliable battery life
- Competitive price tag
- Has an optional keyboard case
- Doesn't have a headphone jack
- No S Pen included
- Boring design
Best for students: Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite
While we're on the subject of low-cost tablets, we should mention the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite. We don't think it's as good an overall value as the Tab S5e, but the Tab S6 Lite has a few strong attributes worth mentioning for students.
In regards to its display, the S6 Lite boasts a 10.4-inch LCD panel with a 2000x1200 resolution. Whichever app or game you're running will look good here, and thanks to the included S Pen, you have a great canvas for taking notes in class or drawing during your free time. Pair that with excellent stereo speakers and a 3.5mm headphone jack, and you're getting a lot for a small amount of money.
Unfortunately, Samsung does drop the ball with the Tab S6 Lite's performance, which leaves a lot to be desired. There's also the fact that you don't get a fingerprint sensor of any kind, which is annoying if you use banking apps and password managers. You get a better experience in those regards with the Tab S5e, but if you really want a tablet with a great display and an S Pen while spending as little as possible, The Tab S6 Lite has you covered.
- Aluminum design looks and feels nice
- Solid LCD panel
- Stereo speakers sound great
- Free S Pen in the box
- Has a 3.5mm headphone jack
- Disappointing performance
- No fingerprint sensor
Best compact budget tablet: Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite
Just as with Samsung smartphones, Galaxy S tablets typically crush their Galaxy A Tab counterparts. But if you're in the market for a cheap Android tablet that doesn't make too many compromises, the Galaxy Tab A7 Lite is your best bet to compete with Amazon or Lenovo tablets built for the budget market. It's incredibly affordable, with the great app library Fire tablets lack, plus the Samsung tools and tricks you know and love. And at 8 inches, weighing just 13oz/ 367g, it's much easier to hold while laying in bed than any other pick on this list.
Keep in mind that this is truly a "budget" tablet. Its MediaTek MT8768T Helio P22T chipset can clock 4 x 2.3GHz + 4 x 1.8GHz, solid but nothing to write home about. With a 1340x800 TFT display, it won't be able to hit FHD when streaming. And like most in its class, it has thicker bezels on the top and bottom. But for its price, these specs aren't bad at all.
You'll get decently long-lasting battery life, dual stereo speakers, 15W fast charging, expandable storage up to 1TB, Android 11 out of the box, and up to 4GB of RAM — equal to the base RAM of more expensive Samsung tablets. The Galaxy Tab A7 Lite also uses a lightweight aluminum frame that makes it especially comfortable to hold. So for casual streaming and browsing without eating into your savings, this is a great option.
- Super affordable
- Lightweight and stylish
- Long-lasting battery
- Stereo speakers
- Slowest performance on this list
- Display isn't particularly pretty
- No S Pen included
Samsung's lineup of Android tablets is rather impressive, seeing as hardly anyone else supports the form factor. Looking through its list of available options, we have to give our highest recommendation to the Galaxy Tab S7.
The Tab S7 has the latest specs you could ask for, packages them up in a really nice design, and comes in at a price tag that's pretty fair when you consider everything you're getting — a 120Hz display, high-quality S Pen, Snapdragon 865+ processor, and so on.
There are other options out there if you have different tastes and budgets, but overall, the Galaxy Tab S7 strikes that balance of being the Samsung tablet to get.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Joe Maring has loved anything with a screen and CPU since he can remember. He's been talking/writing about Android in one form or another since 2012 and often does so while camping out at the nearest coffee shop. Have a tip for the site? Reach out on Twitter @JoeMaring1!
We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.