Sam­ple five of the best tablets in the mar­ket


Ama­zon Fire: Ama­zon’s Fire tablet isn’t an iPad, and doesn’t try to be. It runs An­droid, although not Google’s An­droid, and there­fore doesn’t come with Google apps or the Play Store. In­stead it has ac­cess to the Ama­zon app store and Ama­zon’s var­i­ous me­dia, book and mu­sic ser­vices, as well as shop­ping apps and ad­verts on the screen (which cost £10 to re­move). Comes loaded with only 1GB of Ram, so run­ning mul­ti­ple apps or graph­ics-in­ten­sive games can prove chal­leng­ing.

De­spite the touch­screen be­ing only 17.7cm (7in), the tablet is chunky and quite heavy. It has a rel­a­tively low-res­o­lu­tion screen, pretty poor cam­eras and only one speaker. There’s a mi­croSD card slot for adding more stor­age and Ama­zon’s Fire OS 5 is pretty good for ba­sic tablet needs.

Ver­dict: Cheap and cheer­ful – and you get a lot of tablet for your money.

Sam­sung Gal­axy Tab S2 8.0: Sam­sung’s Gal­axy Tab S2 has a stun­ning 20.3cm (8in) screen (a 24.6cm ver­sion is also avail­able) that knocks the socks off the com­pe­ti­tion in its price bracket.

The Tab S2 is also one of the thinnest and light­est An­droid tablets avail­able, which makes read­ing on the crisp screen a plea­sure. A de­cent pro­ces­sor, 3GB of Ram and 32GB of builtin stor­age, plus a mi­croSD card slot, mean you get plenty of per­for­mance for the money too.

A fin­ger­print scan­ner on the front makes un­lock­ing it a dod­dle, while de­cent cam­eras on the back and front will do in a pinch, if your smart­phone isn’t to hand.

The Sam­sung runs Google’s An­droid, which re­cently got up­dated to the lat­est ver­sion 6.0.1 Marsh­mal­low, and all the apps and games you can shake a stick at through the Google Play Store.

Ver­dict: A great small tablet with bril­liant screen that doesn’t break the bank.

Google Pixel C: Google’s first own-brand An­droid tablet is ar­guably the best avail­able. With a solid all-alu­minium build that is quite dif­fer­ent from most other tablets, a bril­liant screen and stereo speak­ers it is ev­ery bit top-end.

It also runs the lat­est ver­sion of An­droid, and is guar­an­teed to get up­dates faster than al­most any­thing else. It takes USB-C, both for charg­ing and for data trans­fer, has a bat­tery that lasts pretty much all day and a pro­ces­sor that can han­dle al­most much any­thing you’d want to do with it.

There’s even a bat­tery mon­i­tor on the back that lights up with a dou­ble tap. The back and front cam­eras are good for a tablet, while there’s a choice of 32 or 64GB of stor­age, but no mi­croSD card slot for adding more.

The Pixel C also lacks a fin­ger­print scan­ner. A very good op­tional (£120) key­board mag­net­i­cally at­taches to the back, turn­ing it into an An­droid­pow­ered lap­top, and in­duc­tively charges when closed over the screen.

Ver­dict: The best An­droid tablet that’s ca­pa­ble of both work and play. Ap­ple iPad Pro: £499-£1,019 Ap­ple’s lat­est tablet, the iPad Pro, comes in two sizes: 24.6cm (9.7in) and 32.8cm (12.9in). They both share the same pro­ces­sor and stor­age space, while the larger iPad has twice the amount of Ram at 4GB.

Both tablets are ar­guably the most pow­er­ful non-PCs on the mar­ket, run­ning Ap­ple’s mo­bile op­er­at­ing sys­tem iOS, just like an iPhone or pre­vi­ous iPads. But the iPad Pro is trans­formed into more than just a me­di­a­con­sump­tion de­vice with the help of third-party apps.

Both iPad Pros have around a day’s bat­tery, great screens, alu­minium bod­ies and Ap­ple’s new Smart Con­nec­tor port for con­nect­ing op­tional key­boards, and sup­port for Ap­ple’s op­tional sty­lus, Ap­ple Pen­cil.

The big­ger iPad Pro is the best non-PC large-screened tablet go­ing, but it’s not that light or por­ta­ble com­pared with smaller tablets.

Ver­dict: The iPad’s strength is in its third-party apps: these de­vices have plenty of power to make them fly.

Mi­crosoft Sur­face Pro 4: If you need a full PC in a tablet, the Sur­face Pro 4 is the pin­na­cle of Win­dows 10 tablets. Un­like An­droid or iOS tablets, the Sur­face Pro 4 can run both tablet apps and full Win­dows desk­top apps.

It has a great, high-res­o­lu­tion screen, stereo speak­ers, a kick­stand and nine-hour bat­tery for con­sum­ing me­dia. It also has the full suite of Win­dows soft­ware for pro­duc­tiv­ity (although Win­dows Of­fice is a 30-day trial ver­sion), an op­tional key­board/cover and full In­tel core pro­ces­sors to han­dle most of what you might do with a pow­er­ful lap­top.

The Sur­face Pro 4 weighs 786g, so isn’t par­tic­u­larly light for a tablet, but is very light for a PC. It also isn’t al­ways quite as in­stant-on as most tablets and there’s a dearth of the kinds of good apps you find on iOS or An­droid, but when you get to a desk you can dock it with mul­ti­ple mon­i­tors and ev­ery­thing else you might con­nect to a PC.

Ver­dict: The ul­ti­mate com­bi­na­tion of work ma­chine and tablet, if your bias is to­wards work.

Sam­sung Gal­axy Tab S2 8.0:

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