While we’d be the first to say that gaming is best on PC, there’s no denying mobile gaming is more popular than ever. Indeed, the overwhelming majority of people play on their phones. But, being able to whip out a phone at any point in the day for a spot of gaming while convenient comes with its limitations, not least straining the eyes to track on-screen action.
Tablets, specifically those with enough under-the-hood juice to power games, bridge the gap between portability, screen size, and performance, all at a price point that’s easier to stomach than a decked-out gaming rig. With better specifications, not to say battery, and larger screens than phones, and virtually the same portability, gaming tablets are the device of choice for playing mobile games on the move.
Where to start? Which Android tablets are best equipped to handle the demands of gaming? We’ll be answering those very questions in today’s guide by sharing our top recommendations for the best Android tablets for gaming.
Products at a Glance
With no gaming-specific tablets per se on the market today, hunting down the best android tablets for gaming is more or less akin to unearthing the best Android tablets. The best Android gaming tablets also double as multi-functional devices designed for web-browsing, streaming video media, and app use. The best ones, while jack of all trades devices, incorporate more processing grunt and an ecosystem and feature set better geared toward gaming.
With so many companies jumping on the tablet bandwagon in recent years, we used several vital factors to narrow down our selection: specifications, display type and size, gaming features, build quality, and battery life.
In the end, we settled on five Android tablets that, in our estimation, hit all the right notes for those looking for a portable gaming device. Read on to find a brief round-up of what each has to offer alongside what we liked and didn’t like. Let’s get into it.
Best Android Tablet For Gaming in 2021
Stunning 12.4-inch 120 Hz Super AMOLED display
Samsung Game Booster feature
Nippy Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus
No audio jack
The tablet market is very much framed as Apple versus the rest, but with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+, Samsung has delivered its most considered device yet and one that rubs shoulders with Apple’s flagship iPad. Comparisons with Apple aside, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ is the best Android tablet that money can buy.
The tablet is built around the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus, a chipset that packs plenty of speedy performance, both in everyday applications and gaming. Everything feels responsive, load times are short, and there’s no sign of any performance issues whatsoever. Paired with a generous 8 GB of RAM and up to 512 GB of storage, there’s no Android game the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ can run with ease.
A stunning, best-in-class 12.4-inch 120 Hz Super AMOLED display is bright and crisp and ensures buttery smooth visuals with striking, pin-point color reproduction and deep blacks. Games look incredible. There’s quite simply no better Android tablet display out there.
With Project xCloud compatibility and Samsung’s Game Boost feature (which optimizes the tablet for game performance and disables distracting notifications and the like), Samsung has taken welcome steps to position the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ as the top gaming tablet with easy access to some of the best Android games around.
It goes without saying that the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ is also a top-tier multi-function device. Fluid web scrolling, snappy app performance, a massive 10,090mAh battery, and even 5G support.
With such a premium feel and top specifications, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ comes with a price tag to match, which is one of the few negatives of what is without a doubt the best Android tablet for gaming.
Excellent 10.4-inch LCD display
Ultra compact, sturdy, and stylish design
Gaming performance tails behind Tab S7+
If the steep price puts you off the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+, then Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite may be more your speed. In essence, the tablet is a paired down and more compact version of Samsung’s previously-flagship S6 and given it’s technically a last-gen device, the price point is far more attractive.
Don’t let last-gen put you off, though; the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite packs a punch. Inside, you’ll find the Exynos 9610 chipset, 4 GB or 6 GB of RAM, and up to 128 GB of storage. Though the tablet is missing the Super AMOLED display of the S7+, the 10.4-inch WUXGA+ screen performs admirably for a TFT LCD display.
We won’t sugar coat it: gaming is a step down compared to the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+. This comes with the mid-range territory. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite will breeze through casual titles and more demanding games with lag-free performance but will struggle to run graphically intensive games like PUBG with the settings maxed out. Unless you lower the settings to medium, frame rates plummet too low to deliver an enjoyable experience. That said, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 handles the likes of Minecraft and Call of Duty Mobile well.
The Galaxy Tab S6 Lite should also suit gamers that are constantly on the go thanks to up to 13 hours of battery life on a single charge, a feathery weight of only 1.02 lb, and a slim yet sturdy design that both looks and feels great.
Lightweight and compact
10.1" WUXGA Full HD display
Low graphical settings a must for demanding games
Another step down the Samsung price ladder, and we find the Samsung Galaxy Tab A, specifically the 2019 10.1 model, which has been superseded by the pricier 2020 A7. Priced at just under $150, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A is far more affordable than the two above.
Under the hood, an Octa-Core Lassen O+ Exynos 7904A does most of the heavy lifting, sided by 2 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage. In keeping with Samsung’s laudable habit of integrating quality displays into all its devices, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A sports a 10.1″ WUXGA Full HD display. Unlike other budget tablets from competing manufacturers, there’s no substantial reduction in visual sharpness and brightness to parallel the resolution drop. For the price, the display is one of the Tab A’s best assets. We also love the thin corner-to-corner bezels, which help with the sense of immersion when playing games.
Overall, these are slim specifications compared to the S6 and S7, but a much lower price involves some compromises, which is mirrored in the plastic-aluminum construction. The quality synonymous with Samsung is there, but the tablet doesn’t feel as premium.
In gaming, you unsurprisingly don’t have the same performance either. Still, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A is more than equipped to satisfy casual gamers looking for a reliable tablet to run the most popular Android games. Minecraft, Stardew Valley, Among Us, and even Genshin Impact, with the graphics settings set to low, will do well on this tablet.
Bright, colorful display
Performance issues in the most demanding games
Now that we’ve scoured the Samsung lineup for its best gaming contenders, we turn our attention to other manufacturers. Perennial friend to the budget tech fans out there, Lenovo delivers a value-packed tablet fit for gaming in the Lenovo Tab M10 Plus.
The Lenovo Tab M10 Plus is available with several different configurations – all feature the MediaTek P22 Tab, Octa-Core chipset – but for bang-for-the-buck, our eye is on the 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB storage version. This one strikes a balance between decent specifications and price. Regardless of the model you go for, the Lenovo Tab M10 Plus sports a bright, colorful 10.3″ FHD IPS display.
On the gaming side of things, we recommend adapting your expectations to the specifications and price point. The Lenovo Tab M10 Plus isn’t the best gaming tablet out there, but when running most games, it delivers a good experience. However, low graphics settings are an inevitable part of the deal here, especially as you move up the echelons of the most graphically intensive games. Even then, expect some stuttering and frame rate issues.
We’d say this one is best suited to casual gamers who want a robust tablet that happens to run games decently, all at an entry-level price point. Battery life isn’t anything to write home about either, but very few tablets have impressive batteries at this price point.
Decent specifications and performance for the price
Display lacks brightness
On the specification side of things, the Dragon Touch Max10 sports an Octa-Core CPU, 3 GB of RAM, and 32 GB storage with a MicroSD slot that supports up to 128 GB. Once again, these pale compared to the pricier tablets above, and Dragon Touch has made some evident compromises to keep the cost down.
A 10.1″ Full HD IPS display picks up some of the slack. For the price, it’s a surprisingly nice display with vibrant colors and respectably crisp visuals, although the brightness could do with some work, and maxing it out is the only way to use the tablet, even indoors. A 5000 mAh battery ensures around 10 hours of use on a single charge, even when gaming.
Gaming performance is commensurate with the hardware, and it’s best not to go in with ambitions of playing the most resource-hungry games on the highest settings. Call of Duty Mobile works well enough with next to no lag or stuttering on the default optimized settings. The Dragon Touch Max10 has no trouble running casual titles. This isn’t a gaming powerhouse, but it performs well for this price point and makes resourceful use of what it does have.
A last point; the Dragon Touch Max10 is a rugged tablet with a metallic rear panel. At an entry-level price point, it’s the type of tablet you won’t mind tossing about, safe in the knowledge that it hasn’t cost you an arm and a leg and is built to last.
Things To Consider
Aside from the larger display and better processing power, one of the main benefits of tablets over smartphones is longer battery life. As portable devices, a tablet’s battery is arguably one of the most critical points to consider, especially as gaming drains the battery faster than general use.
Apple’s iPad lineup tends to lead in this regard, but Android devices keep up relatively well. Most Android tablets worth their salt offer at least 10 hours of use on a single charge, while the better ones can push this as high as 15 hours. As a general rule, you should expect at least a day’s use without having to scramble for a plug socket. Those that intend to play the most intensive games often should consider a tablet with beefier battery.
Charging time is also worth weighing up, especially if you’ll be pumping in juice intermittently in short spurts throughout the day rather than in one concentrated overnight burst.
Storage and RAM
As a general rule, the more storage a tablet has, the better, as you won’t have to schedule a monthly app purge to free up space. At a minimum, we’d recommend 32 GB or 64 GB if you tend to hoard loads of apps. Tablets with MicroSD card readers negate the need for a sizable in-built storage capacity to a certain extent. They allow you to slot in an SD card to drastically extend storage. Some tablets even support SD cards with up to 512 GB.
As for RAM, we’d urge you to settle for no less than 3 GB or 4 GB. Any less and games will begin to struggle, and you can more or less forget about playing more demanding titles like PUBG and Fortnite. The priciest tablets push the RAM count out to 8 GB and even 16 GB for hybrid 2-in-1 tablets like the Microsoft Surface. There is a limit to how well this will improve game performance, so we’d suggest 6 GB as a happy middle ground, although 3 GB or 4 GB is more than enough to play most mobile games with decent results.
You’ll want to weigh up the quality of the display and its size. Gaming is primarily a visual experience, and nothing takes away from the hard work put in by developers to bring games to life with stunning visuals than a shoddy display.
Similarly, one of the main benefits of tablets is a balance between portability and screen size. We’d suggest at least a 10-inch or possibly even 12-inch display if your budget allows it.
All our recommendations above feature at least 10-inch displays with excellent quality.
There’s little contest when it comes to pin-pointing the best Android tablet for gaming. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ is the resounding winner thanks to an absolutely stunning display, long battery life, and top gaming performance. Apart from the high price, there’s little to fault here.
Our top 10-inch tablet recommendation goes to the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite. Essentially a dialed-down S6, the tablet includes all the great features we’ve come to expect from Samsung tablets – an excellent LCD, a stylish, ultra-compact design, and a great gaming experience.
If you’re set on picking up a Samsung device but aren’t ready to invest quite as much money, we recommend a look at the Samsung Galaxy Tab A. Much like the tablets above, Samsung delivers a well-built tablet that’s lightweight and compact with a long-lasting battery. The Samsung Galaxy Tab A handles most games well and even fares surprisingly well in demanding titles with the appropriate graphical settings adjustments.
Finally, for those that need to stick to a tight budget, we have Lenovo Tab M10 Plus and Dragon Touch Max10. If you can accept the compromises that come hand in hand with entry-level devices, these should serve the casual gamers among you well.
With that, we’ll end our guide to the best Android tablets for gaming. The comments section below is open, so don’t hesitate to drop in with any questions. We’d be happy to help.