The fastest Android gaming tablets

Which Android tablets provide the smoothest gaming experience? CNET Labs delves deep to find out.

Editors' note:This list was originally published on April 26, 2013, and is updated periodically.

If you're looking for an Android tablet that can deliver impressive graphics, we've got you covered. We gathered every high-performance Android tablet we could find in the CNET Labs and put them to the test. Below are our top five.

We've listed each tablet with as much pertinent-to-gaming-performance information as we could think of and have listed them here in order, from weakest to strongest based on benchmark scores derived from 3DMark.


3DMark runs a canned demo of a simulated sci-fi game called Ice Storm. The 3DMark scores are determined by three tests: two focus on GPU speed, and another on CPU performance. The tests were run on each tablet a few times, and the chart below represents the highest score for each tablet, with higher scores indicating faster performance.

Check here for more on the intricacies of 3DMark's scoring system.

Google Pixel C
40922
Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro
25928
Apple iPad Air 2
22008
Dell Venue 8 7000
21167
Apple iPad Mini 4
18909
Asus ZenPad S 8.0
13468

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

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One of the best, most affordable Android tablets.

Josh Miller/CNET

Asus ZenPad S 8.0

For an affordable tablet, the ZenPad S 8.0 isn't half bad. Heck, it's not bad at all. It's got a slim and lightweight design with a super-sharp screen and starts around $200. In that price range, you won't find a much better tablet than the Asus. Read the full review.


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A small, spectacular screen

Sarah Tew/CNET

Apple iPad Mini 4

Spoiler alert: Apple's iPad Mini 4 doesn't best the iPad Air 2 in performance. Despite this, the Mini 4 is still an impressive machine with a beautiful screen, speedy performance and luxe aluminum design. With Apple's App Store consistently packed to the brim with the latest and greatest apps, it's also one of the best tablets for downloading a wide variety of apps. Read the full review.


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This Dell tablet features a slim, high-end design that rivals the likes of Google and Apple's best.

Josh P. Miller

Dell Venue 8 7000

The Dell Venue 8 7000 could rival the iPads in the good-looks department. It's sleek aluminum design feels great in your hands, and it's such a featherweight you'll soon forget you're even holding it. Performance-wise, it's a swift operator with a gorgeous screen and front-facing speakers -- a rare treat on a tablet. It also has a cool stereoscopic camera on the back. Read the full review.


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No new iPad Air this year, but last year's model is still a great pick.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Apple iPad Air 2

No surprises here. The iPad has been one of the best tablets ever since its invention and the Air 2 is no different. It's lightning fast to launch games and gameplay is smooth as butter. Though it didn't get a reboot this year (unlike the iPad Mini 4 above) with Apple's latest operating system, iOS 9, recently rolled out, there are some new useful features, like split-screen windows and a low battery mode. Read the full review.


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A design geared towards one-handed and hands-free use limits the Lenovo's gaming capabilities.

Josh Miller/CNET

Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro

The Yoga Tab 3 Pro has a built-in pico projector that works better for movie nights than gaming, but don't let that confuse you; the tablet is a gaming powerhouse. It's faster than the iPad Air 2 by a hair and houses four (yes, four) front-facing speakers that provide an unrivaled sonic experience for a tablet. The bad news is that, due to its design, which features a chunky rounded bottom edge, holding it horizontally (like many games require) feels cumbersome and uncomfortable. Aside from that, there's little not to like about the Yoga Tab 3 Pro. Read the full review.


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Google's best tablet yet is also the best Android slate around.

Josh Miller/CNET

Google Pixel C

If you looked at the 3DMark benchmarks score above, you might've noticed that Google's latest tablet is almost twice as fast as the second-fastest tablet on this list. That's really fast. This portable powerhouse is the best Android tablet money can buy, whether for work or play. If it's the former, there's also an optional magnetic keyboard that's sold separately. Read the full review.


If gaming isn't your only priority, check out our list of the best Android tablets in general. And if you're not tied to Android, we've rounded up our picks for the best tablets overall, regardless of platform.

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