There’s plenty of choice in tablets these days and our best tablet round-up includes all the ones you should seriously consider, like the best iPads and best Android tablets.
2016 was seriously sparse for really great tablets, so lots of the slates featured on this list were actually released way back in 2015. Will 2017 be any different?
Don’t let that bother you though as there are still plenty of good options.
Whether you’re looking for something to sling in your bag and watch the latest episode of Westworld on your commute, or a replacement for your tired laptop, we’ve got something for you.
There are a couple of upcoming tablets that could find their way into this list when we give them the full review treatment. There’s the new iPad 9.7-inch – which replaces the iPad Air 2 – and Samsung’s Tab S3.
The main things to consider are size and price, though there are a few specialist tablets these days that offer something different.
This Week’s Best Tablet Deals
Amazon Fire HD 6 at Amazon.com | Was $99 | Now $69
Microsoft Surface 3 at Amazon.com | Was $499 | Now $399
1 of 8
Huawei’s latest mini tablet might be a pricey piece of kit, but it does what it sets out to do very well. The 8.4-inch 3560 x 1600 resolution display is great, while the plentiful internal combination of the Kirin 950 and 4GB RAM make it snappy and quick to use. The media experience is improved further by the great-sounding speakers.
It looks good too, with a sturdy metal and glass body that certainly has a similar look to the brand’s flagship P9 smartphone. It has similar issues to that phone too, notably the dodgy EMUI software that Huawei keeps loading on top of Android 6.0.1. It’s slow, ugly and slightly buggy and just not as good as competing skins.
32GB of internal storage comes as standard (along with a microSD card slot) and there’s a decent 8MP camera on both the front and back. As with any tablet camera, we’d probably avoid using it as your main snapper.
2 of 8
Samsung’s latest high-end tablet is good, it’s even great in some areas, but the poor software really lets it down. Android just isn’t built for tablets and the multitasking implementation is far from the best.
Still, this tablet is great for media thanks to the HDR display and impressive battery life. It also comes with an S-Pen in the box, which is accurate and easy to write and draw with.
3 of 8
Think tablets start at seven inches? Think again. Amazon has produced a six inch tablet, and its low price makes it an obvious choice for those looking to tool up the kids with their very first tablet. There’s no need to keep this one just for the youngsters, though, as it’s easily the best tablet we’ve seen at this price to date. The IPS screen is pretty good, with its just-over-720p resolution giving a sharper image than most budget 7-inch tablets.
It uses Fire OS rather than ‘normal’ Android, though, meaning it’s best for people who don’t mind being bombarded with Amazon services like Amazon MP3 and Amazon Instant Video. It’s also quite chunky and heavy, but for the price it’s a pretty hot deal.
4 of 8
The Google Pixel C is the first Android tablet designed and built exclusively by Google and it’s a damn fine start. The 10.2-inch screen makes the Pixel C feel more like an iPad Air than an iPad Pro, but the optional keyboard case features a brilliant magnetic hinge that makes it a really useful tool.
Of course, being a Google product, it runs a completely clean version of Android and it’s been modified to work better on a tablet screen, which is nice. The only downside is the comparative lack of really good tablet apps, which gives the iPad a slight edge.
Still, this is a great tablet with a super screen that’s blisteringly fast thanks to the Nvidia Tegra K1 processor. If you want an Android tablet, start here.
5 of 8
Nvidia’s second tablet for gamers is even better. The Shield Tablet K1 builds on the formula of the last as it uses the same 8-inch, Full HD display. It’s slim and understated and we like the combination of rubber and soft-touch plastic, which makes the K1 nice to hold.
Gaming grunt comes from Nvidia’s Tegra K1 processor, which is every bit as powerful as you’d expect. It’s certainly among the very fastest chips found in any Android device, so there are no problems there.
The K1 runs near stock Android, too, but there are plenty of Nvidia apps that add extra features, such as the ability to stream games from the cloud or from a PC. An optional controller makes it easier to play these games, and we recommend the very handy folding case cover as well.
6 of 8
Microsoft has more or less nailed the tablet formula now, as evidenced by the Surface Pro 4. It’s a minor update to the Pro 3 in many respects, but it’s a very complete and thoughtful product that’s ideal for anyone who demands a tablet fit for any situation.
Most of the core elements are the same, including the wonderful fully-adjustable hinge, but the screen is a smidgen larger – 12.3-inches now. The Surface Pen is very good, despite some slight issues with latency, but the star is the screen. It’s arguably the best screen on any tablet – it’s sharp, colourful and very accurate.
As ever, the Pro 4 comes in a range of configurations, starting with Intel Core M processors to Core i7 chips with as much as 16GB of RAM. Basically, it’s as fast as you need it to be, or as fast as you can afford, and a full version of Windows gives you ultimate flexibility. It’s the do anything, any time tablet.
7 of 8
The cheapest iPad currently for sale, the 9.7-inch is the perfect mixture of price and performance. It’s not the laptop replacement the iPad Pro wants to be, but it has an excellent screen and enough grunt to easily handle any app or game on the App Store.
The battery is big enough to last 10-hours on a charge and it’ll benefit from the improved split-screen features that will be coming in iOS 11 later in the year.
iPad Pro 10.5
8 of 8
Is a regular iPad too small for you? Then consider the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, also known as the iPad Pro 2. It’s not cheap, but it does have the best screen, best camera and best performance ever seen on a tablet. It’s rather expensive if you want something just for Netflix binges and web browsing, this might be overkill. But if you want something designed for creativity and productivity on the move, this might be spot on.
It’s a slightly more sensible follow-up to the original 12.9-inch Pad Pro, which was somewhere between an iPad, a MacBook and the Surface Pro. If the 10.5-inch iPad Pro 2 is still too much tablet for you, it’s worth also looking out for the 9.7-inch iPad Pro.