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Best Tablet 2017: 9 best tablets you can buy

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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.

mediapad 1

The best 8-inch Android tablet

Key features:
  • 8.4-inch 2560x1440 display
  • Kirin 950 CPU, 4GB RAM, 32GB storage
  • Great speakers

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.

Buy Now at Amazon.co.uk from £328

At time of review the Huawei MediaPad M3 was available for £379.99.
Amazon Fire HD 6

A super cheap tablet ideal for Amazon Prime users

Key features:

  • 6-inch 1,280 x 800 pixel IPS screen
  • Mediatek MT8135 quad-core CPU
  • Fire OS
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 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.

Buy Now at Amazon.co.uk from £79.99 | Amazon.com from $89.99

At time of review the Amazon Fire HD 6 was available for £79.99.

The best Samsung Android tablet

Key features:

  • Vibrant Super AMOLED display
  • Octa-core Samsung processor
  • Built in fingerprint scanner
The Galaxy Tab S2 may not look like the most exciting tablet in our list. Featuring an unassuming rubberised chassis, the tablet doesn’t have much visual flair. But underneath its unassuming skin, the Galaxy Tab S2 is packed full of top-end internal components.

Key selling points include a powerful octa-core Samsung processor, a sharp and incredibly rich 8-inch, 2,048 x 1,536 resolution AMOLED display and security-savvy fingerprint scanner. The combination of parts make the Galaxy Tab S2 one of the best all round Android tablets on the market.

Buy Now at Amazon.co.uk from £253.99 | Amazon.com from $349


At time of review the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 was available for £320.

Pixel C

The best tablet for Android purists

Key Features:
  • 10.2-inch, 2,560 x 1,800 LCD display
  • Nvidia Tegra X1 chip
  • Optional keyboard cover

The Google Pixel C is the first Android tablet designed and built exclusively by Google and it's 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.

Buy Now at Amazon.co.uk from £479 | Amazon.com from $559

At time of review the Google Pixel C was available for £400 (without keyboard).

5 / 9

Our Score:

8

iPad Pro

Read full iPad Pro review

The best large tablet

Key Features:

  • 12.9-inch, 2,048 x 2,732 resolution IPS display
  • Dual-core A9X processor and 4GB of RAM
  • Four stereo speakers, optional Apple Pencil and Keyboard Cover

If you look at an iPad and think "if only it were bigger" then the iPad Pro is for you. In an effort to create something between an iPad, a MacBook and the Surface Pro, Apple released the 12.9-inch tablet late in 2015 with a focus on creativity and productivity. New features in iOS let you use two apps side-by-side, and the optional keyboard makes it easier to type.

As for getting creative, the optional Apple Pencil is ideal. It's accurate and, unlike the Surface Pro 4, suffers almost no latency. The only let down is the lack of high-end, professional apps, which makes the iPad Pro an addition to, rather than a replacement for, existing devices.

Beyond this, it has a great screen and four great speakers. It's rather expensive if you just want to watch Netflix, but it's a great option for anyone who wants to write notes or be creative on the move.

Buy Now at Amazon.co.uk from £575 | Amazon.com from $726

At time of review the iPad Pro was available from £679.

Nvidia Shield Tablet K1 27

The best tablet for gamers

Key Features:
  • 8-inch, 1,920 x 1,200 IPS display
  • Nvidia Tegra K1 processor and 2GB of RAM
  • 16GB storage and microSD expansion

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.

Buy Now at Amazon.co.uk from £149 | Amazon.com from $199

At time of review the Nvidia Shield Tablet K1 was available for £300.

Surface Pro 4

The power users' tablet of choice

Key Features:
  • 12.3-inch screen
  • Intel Core i processors
  • N-Trig active digitiser pen

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.

Buy Now at Amazon.co.uk from £639.99 | Amazon.com from $884

At time of review the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 was available from £749.


The best Apple tablet

Key features:

  • 9.7-inch 2,048 x 1,536 IPS True Tone screen
  • Apple A9X CPU with 2GB RAM
  • Support for Apple Pencil, Smart Keyboard

Apple's 9.7-inch iPad Pro won't replace your laptop. We're sure of that. But it is a really fantastic tablet with a stunning display, iconic build and access to the huge iOS App Store. Let's start with the display; while it's the same resolution as the iPad Air 3, it features something called True Tone tech. This dynamically adjusts the display depending on your environment, making it easier to read in darker conditions.

Like the bigger iPad Pro, it has Apple's A9X CPU and it handles everything with ease, even 4K video editing. There's also support for a duo of add-ons, the addictive Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard. Both are pricey, but great additions to the slate.

It's an awesome media tablet too, with quad-speakers and a 256GB option. We do wish the base model came with more the 32GB storage, though.

Buy Now at Amazon.co.uk from £450 | Amazon.com from $603

At time of review the 9.7-inch iPad Pro was available from £599 (with cellular).

iPad Air 2

The best basic iOS tablet

Key features:

  • 9.7-inch, 2,048 x 1,536 IPS screen
  • Apple A7 CPU
  • iOS 10
Apple's iPad Air line is now seemingly dead, replaced by the 'iPad' but it should be a strong pick. It's got a beautiful 9.7-inch 2048 x 1536 Retina screen, snappy A7 CPU and all the joys of iOS 10.

It's not as productive as the iPad Pro, but if you want a great Netflix and browsing machine then you can't get better than the iPad Air 2.

Buy Now at Amazon.co.uk from £304 | Amazon.com from $377

At time of review the iPad Air 2 was available for £399.

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