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.
Checkon the intricacies of 3DMark's scoring system.
|Sony Xperia Z2||18,971|
|Amazon Kindle Fire 8.9 (2014)||20,298|
|Google Nexus 9||25,854|
|Nvidia Shield Tablet||28,104|
|Sony Xperia Z2||2.3GHz quad-core Krait 400||Adreno 330||3GB||Android 4.4.2|
If you like playing games in the bath or while casually lounging in your pool, the Sony Xperia Z2 is the tablet for you. The waterproof 10-inch slate is a speedy performer, packing a mighty 3GB of RAM, and it's also thin and lightweight for easy travel. However, it's only waterproof for up to 30 minutes, so don't expect to fully prune in the tub while gaming.
|Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 (2014)||Qualcomm Snapdragon 805; 2.5 GHz quad-core Krait 450||Adreno 420 GPU||2GB||Amazon Android Sangria 4.0|
The Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 is a great tablet for sharing with your family, and it's not too bad for gaming, either. The 2014 model looks exactly like last year's, but houses a faster Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 system-on-a-chip. The Amazon Appstore doesn't offer as many gaming options as the iOS or Google Play app stores, but the big games available consistently launch fast and perform smoothly.
|Google Nexus 9||NVIDIA Tegra K1; 2.3GHz dual-core Denver||Kepler DX1||2GB||Android 5.0|
Google's latest flagship tablet is a powerful performer with a beautifully subdued design. It didn't outscore the top gaming tablet (below) in overall performance, but it reigns supreme in graphics performance. Running the latest version of Android 5.0, the Nexus 9 is the prominent premium Android tablet to get.
|Nvidia Shield||Nvidia Tegra K1; 2.2GHz quad-core A15||ULP GeForce Kepler||2GB||Android 5.0|
The Nvidia Shield tablet is a gaming machine, quite literally. It houses the same SoC as the Nexus 9, boasting excellent graphics despite a different GPU, and you can stream PC games with compatible gaming PCs. The addition of the wireless Shield controller also allows you to connect to your TV for gaming or streaming video. Its latest OTA update includes an upgrade to Android Lollipop 5.0 and, if you need data to go, it comes in an LTE version.
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.