1. NVIDIA Shield Tablet K1
The Shield Tablet is a gaming powerhouse featuring NVIDIA's cutting edge 2.2 GHz Tegra K1 processor. Forward-facing stereo speakers offer quality sound, and the now optional stylus opens up helpful functionality for day-to-day usage. But the Shield Tablet's software is what really sets it apart. Built right into the notification tray, for example, is the ability to stream what's on your screen to Twitch. Remote access software combined with the optional hardware gamepad allow
you to play games that are running on your PC.
Alternatively, the Geforce Now cloud gaming service lets you do the same with games and computers hosted by NVIDIA. The Shield Tablet K1 recently received a mild refresh over the original, changing the exterior styling a little but more importantly reducing the price by $100. You no longer get a charger or the stylus included in the box, but the savings do give you enough extra cash to pick up the cover and controller. Which you really want if you're going to use the Shield to its fullest.
Even for those that aren't hardcore gamers, the NVIDIA Shield Tablet is a powerful tablet and offers excellent value for the price. In 2016 it will also get updated to Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
2. HTC Nexus 9
The back of the Nexus 9 has a soft touch coating available in a few different colors, but what's great about it right now is that you can find it for some bargain prices. Deals are frequent and since it's a Nexus you're getting the latest software, usually before everyone else. If you want to get some work done with the Nexus 9, there's an optional keyboard cover for it, too.
For Android enthusiasts, the Nexus 9 is an easy pick. But if you just want a big tablet, running Android and don't want to spend the earth, check it out.
3. Samsung Galaxy Tab S2
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 is available in two sizes, 8 inches and 9.7 inches, each only 5.6 mm thin. The display resolution comes in at 2048 x 1536, which is more than enough for enjoying HD movies or 3D games. Inside you'll find a 1.9 GHz processor and 3GB of RAM. An 8 megapixel camera sits on the back, and the home button doubles as a fingerprint scanner. The Galaxy Tab S2 ticks all of the boxes on hardware and while Samsung's software still divides opinion, it's packed with useful features.
4. Dell Venue 10 7000
The Venue 10 7000 continues Dell's successful dive into the world of Android tablets. The company is using some of its PC design tools and putting them onto Android tablets, and that's a good thing for everyone. The Venue 10 7000 earns high marks in particular for its great keyboard accessory. Typing is a pure joy on it, as it is on many Dell laptops. The Venue 10 7000 has a sturdy construction and an excellent 10.5-inch 2560 x 1600 display.
The Intel 2.3 GHz quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM can handle most things you'll throw at it in the course of a day. Variants with 16GB and 32GB of storage are available, and though you can pick up the tablet on its own, we really suggest grabbing the keyboard dock while you're at it. It's what sets it apart from the crowd.
5. ASUS Zenpad S 8.0
ASUS' software is a bit hit-and-miss, but all the pre-loaded apps right down to the launcher and camera are in the Google Play Store. This means updates without waiting on a whole OS refresh. That's the right way to do things. There are some thoughtful design touches too, like the off-center USB-C port that makes it easier to charge while using in landscape. The metallic back adds an air of the luxury and there is a good selection of accessories, too, including a keyboard and and additional speaker to crank up your audio even further.
ASUS' Zenpad line can be confusing to navigate, but if you're taken by its approach and the price, this is the one to get.
6. Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
The 10.1-inch display has a 2560 x 1600 resolution, and is powered by a 2 GHz octa-core processor with 3GB of RAM. The rear camera has an 8 megapixel sensor, while the front wide-angle unit is 5.1 megapixels. Sony pre-loads some useful apps, including now the Microsoft Office suite, and some not so useful, but most is removable. Sony's take on Android has improved over the years and is nowadays a pleasurable thing to use.
An added bonus for gamers is the PS4 remote play capabilities built into new Xperia devices along with Sony's own software solution to allow livestreaming to both Twitch and YouTube.