17 best tablets of 2015: The best iOS, Android and Windows tablets reviewed and rated

The best tablets at any price - Alphr picks the tablets you need to buy

29 Jun 2015

Page 1 of 2 17 best tablets of 2015: The best iOS, Android and Windows tablets reviewed and rated

No matter whether you have £100 or £1,000 burning a hole in your pocket, this constantly-updated list covers the very finest tablets that have passed through Alphr's offices.

There's a dizzying amount of choice. This line-up includes every operating system going - there are iOS, Android, Windows 8.1 and Fire OS tablets here - and the winners come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, not to mention a rich variety of specifications and key features.

But if that dizzying amount of choice is giving you headaches, Alphr is here to help. We explain the key features you need to know about in our buyer's guide on Page 2.

Ready to get stuck in? Then scroll down and start chewing your way through the definitive Alphr chart.

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17 best tablets of 2015

1. Apple iPad Air 2

Price when reviewed: £399 inc VAT, 16GB Wi-Fi

iPad Air 2 review - front on view

Apple shaves a little off the thickness of its iPad Air 2, adds Touch ID and a new triple-core A8X processor, setting a new standard in the tablet market. The 16GB model still seems a little pointless - that's nowhere near enough storage to take advantage of the iPad Air 2's myriad talents - but the 64GB model for £479 offers a cracking balance of power, features and all-round refinement.

2. iPad Air

Price when reviewed: from £319 inc VAT

iPad Air

Can't quite stretch to the iPad Air 2? Oh well, never mind. The iPad Air is now cheaper than ever, and it's still a cracking tablet. The 32GB version is an absolute bargain at £359, and the 4G version at £459 is something of a steal, too. It might not have the sheer grunt of the iPad Air 2, but in all honesty, you're highly unlikely to notice.

3. Microsoft Surface 3

Price when reviewed: £419 inc VAT, 64GB Wi-Fi (£529 with Type Cover)

best tablet Surface 3

With a starting price of £419, the Surface 3 is Microsoft’s cheapest Surface yet, and it’s a genuine contender for the best tablet you can buy. It’s a touch smaller than the Surface Pro 3 and lighter, too, with both the tablet and Type Cover weighing 884g. That’s less than the super-slim 12in Apple MacBook. Couple that with full Windows app support, and superb battery life and you have an adorable halfway house between a tablet and a laptop.

4. Nexus 9

Price when reviewed: from £319 inc VAT

Nexus 9 front view

The much-hyped Nexus 9 is an obscenely fast, turbo-charged slab of a tablet, and features the very latest update to Google's Android operating system. There are plenty of good points, too. It has a bright, super-high resolution 8.9in display; there's a vanilla, un-fiddled-with version of Android; and the speakers pump out the jams with the very best of them. Only build quality quibbles leave it to fall short of tablet greatness.

5. Apple iPad mini 2

Price when reviewed: £239 inc VAT, 16GB Wi-Fi

Apple iPad Mini 2 with Retina Display

A major upgrade to the original iPad mini, with a top-notch Retina display and fast processor. The result is a superb compact tablet, that's even better value now that the barely different iPad mini 3 has pushed the price down to £239. What do you end up missing out on? In truth, not much at all. The new iPad mini 3 comes in a blinged-out gold version and has Touch ID, but as the processor and display remains the same, the iPad mini 2 is by far the better buy.

6. Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet

Price when reviewed: £399 inc VAT

Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet

It has since been superseded by the pricey Xperia Z4 Tablet, but the Z2 still retains a healthy appeal. It's possible to pick it up for a bargain sum if you shop around, and the combination of an excellent display and superb battery life mean that Sony's tablet remains one the best of the Android tablet bunch.

7. Linx 8

Price when reviewed: £90 inc VAT

For £90, the Linx 8 is a hugely appealing little Windows tablet. It doesn’t have much RAM, which limits its potential somewhat, but performance, build quality and the range of features on offer are far in excess of what you should be able to expect for the money.

8. Bush MyTablet 8

Price when reviewed: £100 inc VAT

The age of low-cost Windows tablets is upon us. A potent quad-core Atom processor, 32GB of storage and a good quality 8in IPS screen make for one of the most affordable and competent budget Windows tablets yet. There are plenty of rivals out there, not least the Linx 8 listed above, but Bush has done itself proud here.

9. Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5

Price when reviewed: £329 inc VAT

Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5

Stupendously good hardware, but lags narrowly behind the Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet as our Android tablet of choice.

10. Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact

Price when reviewed: £329 inc VAT

Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact - an incredibly slim and light tablet

Sony's super-skinny Z3 Tablet Compact is so thin and light we mistook it for a 7in tablet at first. In fact, it has an 8in display, and a top-quality 1,200 x 1,920 resolution one at that. All-round, this is the best compact Android tablet on the market right now - but it is a little on the pricey side.

11. Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4

Price when reviewed: £319 inc VAT

Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 review

A great compact tablet, with a top-quality screen, fast performance and superb battery life. Originally a little too expensive, but now that the price has fallen close to £200, it's a real bargain.

12. Microsoft Surface Pro 3

Price when reviewed: from £639 inc VAT

Surface Pro 4 Rumors - Surface Pro 3 front 3/4

The Surface Pro 3 represents a confident step towards the best-possible hybrid device. It still isn’t brilliant in every scenario, but it feels considerably less compromised than the previous generations.

13. Kindle Fire HDX 7in

Price when reviewed: £199 inc VAT

Amazon Kindle Fire HDX

A lovely piece of hardware, but the Nexus 7 is almost as good, boasts more features and is more flexible.

14. Kindle Fire HDX 8.9in

Price when reviewed: £329 inc VAT

Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9in

The Amazon Kindle Fire started life as a smaller cheaper alternative to the iPad, but with the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9in, it's now a serious rival.

15. Asus Transformer Book T100

Price when reviewed: £349 inc VAT

Asus Transformer Book T100

Thanks to Intel's new Atom CPU, the Transformer Book T100 delivers full Windows 8.1 in a tiny, affordable package. As a tablet or laptop, this hybrid remains a real bargain.

16. Tesco Hudl2

Price when reviewed: £129 inc VAT

Hudl 2

Tesco’s budget wonder takes a huge step forward from last year's model, with an attractive new design and a larger, brighter, higher-resolution 8.3in screen. Pound for pound, it's among the best tablet deals around, particularly since Tesco dropped the price to £99.

17. Asus MemoPad 7 ME572C

Price when reviewed: £150 inc VAT

Asus MemoPad 7 ME572C from the front

Asus' budget compact is a little more expensive than the Tesco Hudl 2, and the screen is an inch smaller, but in some ways it makes a more sensible choice. It's faster, for a start, but the big advantage is superior battery life. A good alternative as long as you don't mind spending a touch extra.

Page 1 of 2 17 best tablets of 2015: The best iOS, Android and Windows tablets reviewed and rated

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