There has been a steady decline in tablets entering the market, with companies such as Microsoft now labelling their tablets or 2-in-1 devices as laptops. Still, tablets are incredibly versatile devices that are great to have around the home, on the go or for the kids to play around with. Surf the internet, tap out a quick email, watch TV via iPlayer or Netflix, play games – tablets are the go-to devices for when you want to sit back and enjoy everything the internet has to offer. However, with hundreds of different models all in different shapes and sizes, not to mention different operating systems and prices, it can be hard to know where to start.
In this article, we've rounded up all our favourite tablets, no matter the budget. Whether you're after Android, Apple or Windows, there's a tablet here for you. We've also included a handy buyer's guide to help you choose – see the page three.
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The best tablets you can buy in 2018
1. Microsoft Surface Pro 4
Price when reviewed: £1,189 - Buy now from LaptopsDirect
The Surface Pro 4 is a fantastic laptop replacement – it's in a true class of its own. It has one of the best styluses out there and has a lot of processing power for intensive tasks. When used with its keyboard, the Surface Pro 4 becomes a powerhouse multitasking machine, where its integration with Windows 10 really shines through. If you're looking for the ultimate Windows 10 portable experience, the Surface Pro 4 is an excellent choice.
Read our full Microsoft Surface Pro 4 review for details
Key specs – Processor: Dual-core 2.4GHz Intel Core i5-6300U; Screen size: 12.3in; Screen resolution: 2,736 x 1,824; Storage: 256GB; Size: 201 x 8 x 292mm, Weight: 1.37kg (inc keyboard & power brick); Operating system: Windows 10
2. Apple iPad Pro 10.5in
Price when reviewed: £619 - Buy now from John Lewis
The iPad Pro 10.5in replaces the 9.7in (below), as one of the best tablets Apple has ever made. The tablet is so powerful, that when used alongside its keyboard should be considered as a full-blown computer. This powerhouse runs Apple's latest A10X Fusion chip which will power through anything you throw at it. With an improved resolution, the latest iOS version and increased storage, the 10.5 variant is better in every single way over the 9.7in version. If you have the budget, you won't regret the investment.
Read our full Apple iPad Pro 10.5in review for details
Key specs - Processor: Apple A10X Fusion; Screen size: 10.5in; Screen resolution: 2,224 x 1,668; Storage: 64/256/512GB; Size: 174.1 x 6.1 x 250.6mm; Weight: 469g; Operating system: iOS 10
3. Apple iPad Pro 9.7in
Price when reviewed: £499 - Buy now from Currys
The iPad Pro 9.7in was once one of the best tablets Apple had ever made, it has now been surpassed by its predecessors, and has officially been discontinued by Apple. You can still find it through various retailers, but its price might be inflated. Yet, its powerful processor, high-quality screen, speakers and even camera, there's very little competition for the iPad Pro 9.7in. It's smaller than the 12.9in variant, making it much less awkward. It doesn't quite replace a laptop, but its capabilities are vast, making it one of the best tablets on the market today.
Read our full Apple iPad Pro 9.7in review for details
Key specs - Processor: Dual-core 2.16GHz Apple A9X; Screen size: 9.7in; Screen resolution: 2,048 x 1,536; Storage: 32/128/256GB; Size: 170 x 6.1 x 240mm; Weight: 437g; Operating system: iOS 10
4. Samsung Galaxy Book
Price when reviewed: £650 - Buy now from John Lewis
The Samsung Galaxy Book is powerful enough to be considered a laptop. There are two models in the product line, the 10.6in that features an Intel Core m3, and the more expensive 12in variant with an Intel Core i5 inside. Depending on your needs and your ideal size, the two tablets provide exceptional value for money. Both come bundled with a fantastic keyboard and stylus, which is a huge plus over Microsoft and Apple's equivalent.
Its beauty doesn't stop there, its display is absolutely flawless. A wide colour gamut results in a vibrant, colour accurate display, which means movies, games and browsing will be an extremely pleasant experience. There's not much to dislike from the Samsung Galaxy Book - if you're looking for the complete package, both the 10.6in and 12in tablets provide a fantastic alternative to the Surface Pro and iPad tablets.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy Book review for details
Key specs – Processor: Dual-core Intel Core m3; Screen size: 10.6in; Screen resolution: 1,920 x 1,280; Storage: 64GB; Size: 179.1 x 8.9 x 261.2mm, Weight: 0.65kg; Operating system: Windows 10
5. Apple iPad Pro 12.9in (2017)
Price when reviewed: £769 - Buy now from John Lewis
The iPad Pro 12.9in is an extremely large tablet with a very high-resolution screen, amazing speakers and an excellent battery life. The 2017 version comes with a new 120Hz ProMotion panel, which is excellent for navigating and sketching on the tablet. If you're an artist or seeking a big tablet, the iPad Pro 12.9in is a fantastic pick.
Read our full Apple iPad Pro 12.9in review for details
Key specs – Processor: Apple A10X Fusion; Screen size: 12.9in; Screen resolution: 2,732 x 2,048; Storage: 64/256/512GB; Size (WDH): 220.6 x 6.9 x 305.7mm; Weight: 677g; Operating system: iOS 10
6. New Microsoft Surface Pro 5
Price when reviewed: £2,149 - Buy now from Microsoft
The new Surface Pro (also known as the Surface Pro 5) is a top-class laptop/tablet hybrid that offers everything you'd ever need. Despite being the best tablet we've ever come across, the price alone will put many off. Unlike some of its rivals, the new Surface Pro doesn't even include a Type Cover, which will need to be purchased separately for £125.
The new Surface Pro offers a luxurious experience, with a fantastic build and design that oozes quality. Its display is stunning and the blisteringly fast 7th generation Intel Core processor provides plenty of power. We reviewed the model with an i7-7660U inside, but you can save yourself a substantial amount if you were to downgrade to the i5 or m3 models.
If you're looking for the best tablet around that can convert into a fully functional Windows laptop, and have the budget, nothing truly beats the new Microsoft Surface Pro.
Read our full Microsoft Surface Pro 5 review for details
Key specs – Processor: Dual-core Intel Core i7-7660U; Screen size: 12.3in; Screen resolution: 2,736 x 1,824; Storage: 256/512GB, 1TB; Size: 201.42 x 8.5 x 201.42mm, Weight: 0.784kg; Operating system: Windows 10 Pro
7. Apple iPad Air 2
Price when reviewed: £400 - Buy now from Amazon
The iPad Air 2 is a thin and yet powerful tablet for its price. The Air 2 comes with Touch ID and has a relatively fast processor, useful for multitasking and browsing, while its integration with iOS works flawlessly and provides a smooth experience. A worthy tablet, and still a fantastic iPad to purchase. It should be noted that it has since been discontinued, but can still be found through third-party sellers.
Read our full Apple iPad Air 2 review for details
Key specs - Processor: Tri-core 1.5GHz Apple A8X; Screen size: 9.7in, Screen resolution: 2,048 x 1,536; Storage: 16/32/64/128GB; Size (WDH): 169.5 x 6.1 x 240mm; Weight: 437g; Operating system: iOS 10
8. Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7
Price when reviewed: £400 - Buy now from Laptopsdirect
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 binned its 16:9 display for a 4:3 ratio, making it compete directly with the Apple iPad Air 2. Its resolution and colour accuracy are impressive for a tablet of its size. It runs on Android fluidly and has a premium build quality, making it a great iOS alternative.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 review for details
Key specs – Processor: Octa-core 1.9GHz + 1.3GHz Samsung Exynos Octa 5433; Screen size: 9.7in; Screen resolution: 2,048 x 1,536; Storage: 32GB; Size (WDH): 169 x 5.6 x 237mm, Weight: 389g, Operating system: Android 6.0.1
9. Apple iPad mini 4
Price when reviewed: £319 - Buy now from Amazon
The iPad mini 4 is one of the best compact tablets Apple has ever produced. It has a fantastic display, a decent processor and is ultra-portable at only 299g. This makes it a great tablet to take on the go. In comparison to other Apple products, the mini 4 is aimed at those who value portability over speed.
Read our full Apple iPad mini 4 review for details
Key specs – Processor: Dual-core 1.5GHz Apple A8; Screen size: 7.9in; Screen resolution: 2,048 x 1,536; Storage: 16/64/128GB; Size: 134 x 6.1 x 203mm; Weight: 299g; Operating system: iOS 10
10. Asus ZenPad 3S 10
Price when reviewed: £300 - Buy now from Currys
The Asus ZenPad 3S 10 has a gorgeous design and an impressive IPS display. It's a good iPad alternative, and if found for less than £300, it's a better buy than the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7in, which is also highly regarded for its performance.
Read our full Asus ZenPad 3S 10 review for details
Key specs – Processor: Hexa-core 2.1GHz MediaTek MT8176; Screen size: 9.7in; Screen resolution: 2,048 x 1,536; Storage: 32GB; Size (WDH): 163.7 x 7.15 x 240.5mm; Weight: 430g; Operating system: Android 6 ZenUI
11. Samsung Galaxy Tab S3
Price when reviewed: £599 - Buy now from Amazon
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 takes on from the Tab S2. With a Snapdragon 820 processor, the tablet flies through intensive tasks and with its 4GB of RAM multitasking is a breeze. Samsung also includes an S-Pen stylus in the box, which makes it ideal for browsing and sketching.
You might be wondering, though, why does it end up lower down the list over the Tab S2. It's simple, the price. At around £600, it's not a cheap tablet - but if you can afford it and you're in the market for the best Android tablet on the market, get the Tab S3.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 review for details
Key specs – Processor: Quad-core Snapdragon 820; Screen size: 9.7in; Screen resolution: 2,048 x 1,536; Storage: 32GB; Size (WDH): 169 x 6 x 237.3mm, Weight: 429g, Operating system: Android 7.0
12. Huawei MediaPad M5 Pro
Price when reviewed: £500 - Buy now from Huawei
The Huawei MediaPad M5 Pro is a powerful tablet that has built-in 4G connectivity, four impressive speakers, a blisteringly fast fingerprint sensor and a speedy processor. It also comes bundled with a pressure-sensitive stylus. The non-Pro variant is around £50 cheaper and doesn't feature or support the stylus.
If you're looking for something a little cheaper, there's the smaller M5 8.4in, which features the same specs as its bigger 10.8in sibling but doesn't support the M-Pen stylus. The MediaPad M5 products are an excellent alternative to the Samsung Tab S and Galaxy Book line.
Read our full Huawei MediaPad M5 Pro (10.8in) review for details
Key specs – Processor: Octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 960; Screen size: 10.8in; Screen resolution: 2,560 x 1,600; Storage: 64GB; Size (WDH): 171.8 x 7.3 x 258.7mm, Weight: 498g, Operating system: Android 8