All of the major carriers are currently selling cellular enabled Wi-Fi Tablets Pc. You can add them to a monthly family plan, or pay for data by the day. T-Mobile and Verizon tablets are unlocked and can be used on any service that the tablets’ radios are compatible with, while AT&T and Sprint tablets tend to be locked to that service.
If you have a hotspot option on your smartphone plan, you can save money by just using that with a Wi-Fi-enabled tablet. But that will burn your smartphone’s battery, of course. And unless you’re on a T-Mobile plan with BingeOn, be aware that streaming video on a tablet will quickly eat up an LTE service plan.
Some of our favorite tablets are available in both LTE and Wi-Fi versions. The Galaxy Tab S2 has an LTE version, and the Asus Zenpad Z8 (and its big brother the Z10) is sold by Verizon with LTE.
Don’t Forget About Design
Performance on even the least expensive devices tends to be passable these days, so pay extra attention to design and display quality. The software experience might improve over time, but that chintzy plastic body isn’t getting any upgrades. Low-cost tablets also tend to have dull, 1,024-by-600 or 1,280-by-800 screens, which can look grainy to the modern eye. Higher-quality tablets are often in the 2,048-by-1,536 range, which is notably shaper. We recommend IPS and AMOLED displays for their wide viewing angles, vibrant colors, and excellent contrast.
There are plenty of bargain bin options out there promising the same Android experience as big names. While many of these off-label tabs are perfectly serviceable, we recommend choosing a brand you can count on for software support and hardware quality control.
Check out the selection here for the best Android-based tablets we’ve tested. Have a favorite we didn’t include? Tell us in the comments. If you’re looking for a great phone to complement your new tablet, head over to our Best Android Phones roundup. Or if you want to look beyond the realm of Android, check out our roundups of the Best Wi-Fi Tablets Pc across all operating systems.