I've used dozens of tablets and these are the ones I'd consider buying this Black Friday

Amazon Fire Max 11 angled on desk
(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

When it comes to making a purchasing decision, tablets are a lot like Chromebooks. There are so many options to choose from, with many quick to jump at the cheapest one they can find. But, when you take it out of the box and start using it, it becomes immediately apparent that you made the wrong decision. 

As someone who has tested out dozens of tablets in 2023 alone, I've spent plenty of time with many of the best tablets. As we barrel toward the holiday season, I've rounded up four tablets that should be on your radar. And as an added bonus, all four of these are already on sale, if you don't want to wait around for Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 and Tab S8 Ultra

(Image credit: Nick Sutrich / Android Central)

You might be surprised that I didn't suggest the Galaxy Tab S9 or the newer Galaxy Tab S9 FE. There's a very good reason for that and it's actually quite simple. Besides the improved AMOLED display and slightly faster processor, there's not much of a difference between the Tab S8 and Tab S9.

There's also the added benefit of being able to spend less, as not only does the Tab S9 have a higher retail price, but you're also unlikely to find it for as cheap as the Galaxy Tab S8. Besides that, you're still getting the best tablet experience that Android has to offer, and don't need to spring extra for a stylus as the S Pen is included.

Plus, you can rest easy knowing that there are still a few years of software updates left. By the time the bell tolls on the Tab S8, you'll more than likely be looking to upgrade to something new and shiny, anyway.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8: $699.99 $504.44 at Amazon

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8: $699.99 $504.44 at Amazon

Frankly speaking, you don't need the latest and greatest tablet to get a good experience. The Galaxy Tab S8 has pretty much all of the same features as the newer Tab S9, but doesn't cost quite as much and can be found on sale.  

Google Pixel Tablet

Emoji Wallpaper on Pixel Tablet

(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

The Pixel Tablet has turned into somewhat of a controversial conversation piece. There are those, like myself, who see this as a suitable (albeit more expensive) replacement for the Nest Hub Max. While others don't really see the point since you can't actually use the Charging Speaker Dock when the tablet is detached.

While I'm still holding out hope for a first-party keyboard and stylus, there are workarounds for this thanks to the USI 2.0 compatibility and excellent case options. Even still, the Tensor G2 is powerful enough for a lot of the things that you would want to do. Arguably the biggest selling point to me is that it's running Google's version of Android which is something I've been wanting for years.

I'm also a big fan of the fact that Google includes the aforementioned dock in the box. So if you thought that the Pixel Tablet was still priced too high, we're already seeing some pretty good deals pop up.

Google Pixel Tablet: $499 $399 at Amazon

Google Pixel Tablet: $499 $399 at Amazon

By itself, the Pixel Tablet really isn't all that special, besides being Google's first tablet since the Nexus 7. Once you consider the included Charging Speaker Dock and USI compatibility, it starts to open the door to being more useful.

Amazon Fire Max 11

Recent apps on Amazon Fire Max 11

(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

If you go back and look at my various Amazon reviews over the years, I haven't been so kind. Mainly, because I'm getting tired of ads showing up up everywhere and anywhere, with Amazon being a big culprit. That being said, the Fire Max 11 kind of bucks that trend for me, as long as you grab the "Without Lockscreen Ads" variant.

It's not the most powerful, and pretty much lines up with the Pixel Tablet in terms of overall performance. But Amazon managed to work up some magic with the Fire Max 11 to the point that I keep going to it when I'm not messing around with foldable phones.

But if there's one recommendation I can make, it's to get the Productivity Bundle. This includes both the keyboard and stylus, giving you much more versatility and flexibility as opposed to just grabbing the tablet by itself. I'm just still wishing that Amazon released a docking station like what we had with the Fire HD 8 Plus.

Amazon Fire Max 11 Productivity Bundle:$369.97$289.97 at Amazon

Amazon Fire Max 11 Productivity Bundle: $369.97 $289.97 at Amazon

Amazon's Fire Max 11 kind of came out of left field, but we couldn't be more delighted that it did. It's easily Amazon's best tablet ever, and as long as you ditch the lockscreen ads, it's one of the best tablets available today.

iPad (10th Generation)

2022 iPad Pro running Stage Manager

(Image credit: iMore)

What more do I really need to say about the iPad? Even though it's cheaper and Apple is still selling it, I wouldn't recommend the iPad (9th Generation) to anyone. It's probably going to be phased out of Apple's iPad lineup soon, and it just looks as dated as ever.

I really would've rather recommended the iPad Mini here, but that's over two years old and is overdue for a spec bump. There's also a jelly-scrolling issue with the display that is tough to get past, and there are rumors that Apple might switch to an OLED panel if it ever actually releases an updated iPad Mini.

Yes, you'll have to deal with setting up an Apple ID, and you won't get a stylus or keyboard case in the box. Even still, the iPad is simply one of the best tablets, bar none.

iPad (10th Generation): $449 $399 at Amazon

iPad (10th Generation): $449 $399 at Amazon

The iPad is the obvious choice for those who want a tablet that "just works" and doesn't require a lot of fiddling around. It also helps that the accessory market is flooded with plenty of different options compared to many Android tablets.

Andrew Myrick
Senior Editor - Chromebooks and tablets

Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.