Best tablets of 2015

This is Alphr's pick of the very best tablets for every budget, every screen size and every operating system

19 Aug 2015

Looking for the ultimate tablet? Then Alphr has you covered. We've reviewed countless iOS, Android and Windows tablets over the years, so whether you want a sub-£100 Windows tablet, a premium Android portable or simply can't decide between the members of Apple's iPad family, this constantly-updated list covers the very finest tablets that money can buy.

Needless to say, this line-up includes every operating system going – there are iOS, Android, Windows 8.1 and even Amazon Fire OS tablets here – and the winners come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, not to mention with a rich variety of specifications and key features.

Not sure what you really want or need from your new tablet? Click onto Page 2 and take a look at our in-depth Buyer's Guide.

17 best tablets of 2015

1. Apple iPad Air 2

Price when reviewed: from £399 inc VAT

iPad Air 2 review: Bottom half, at an angle

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 unlikely to notice.


3. Microsoft Surface 3

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

Microsoft Surface 3 review - rear edge view

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

Google Nexus 9 front

The much-hyped Nexus 9 is an obscenely fast, turbocharged 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. Recently, however, flash sales have seen the price tumble as low as £200 – have a look in Argos and you might just pick yourself up a bargain.


5. Apple iPad mini 2

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

iPad mini 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, which is 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.

BUY NOW FROM AMAZON: Apple iPad mini 2

6. 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 expect for the money.


7. 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. Popularity has its downsides, though: with Argos selling off the remaining stock for as little as £70, the few that are left aren't likely to last long. Snap one up while you can.

8. 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 means that Sony's tablet remains one the best of the Android tablet bunch.


9. 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.

BUY NOW FROM AMAZON: Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact 

10. 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.

BUY NOW FROM AMAZON: Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4

11. Microsoft Surface Pro 3

Price when reviewed: from £639 inc VAT

Surface Pro 3 vs Surface 3

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.

BUY NOW FROM AMAZON: Microsoft Surface Pro 3

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