Best tablets of 2015: The best iOS, Android and Windows tablets

Not sure which tablet to buy? Alphr picks the best tablets for every budget and every operating system

Alphr
31 Jul 2015

Page 1 of 2 Best tablets of 2015: The best iOS, Android and Windows tablets

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 have passed through Alphr's offices.

Needless to say, 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 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.

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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.

BUY NOW FROM AMAZON: Apple iPad Air 2

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.

BUY NOW FROM AMAZON: iPad Air

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. 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.

BUY NOW FROM AMAZON: Nexus 9

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.

BUY NOW FROM AMAZON: Apple iPad mini 2

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.

BUY NOW FROM AMAZON: Sony Xperia Z2

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.

BUY NOW FROM AMAZON: Linx 8

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. 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.

 

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.

BUY NOW FROM AMAZON: Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5

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.

BUY NOW FROM AMAZON: Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact 

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.

BUY NOW FROM AMAZON: Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4

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.

BUY NOW FROM AMAZON: Microsoft Surface Pro 3

13. Kindle Fire HDX 7in

Price when reviewed: £199 inc VAT

Amazon Kindle Fire HDX

A lovely piece of hardware, and since the demise of the Nexus 7 it has little in the way of premium-class competitors. Apart, perhaps, from the gorgeous Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 which is currently sitting at number 11 in our charts. In terms of value, however, Amazon's compact tablet knocks most of its competitors for six: the Kindle Fire HDX is now only £219 for the 16GB model with 4G. If you don't mind the Amazon tie-in, then the HDX 7in delivers premium performance in a dainty, affordable package. 

BUY NOW FROM AMAZON: Kindle Fire HDX 7in

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. It's not the greatest looker, but the astonishingly sturdy build quality and fantastic screen mean that this tablet has the measure of much of the competition. 

BUY NOW FROM AMAZON: Kindle Fire HDX 8.9in

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. Stocks are beginning to run low, however, so you better get a move on if you want a piece of the action.

BUY NOW FROM AMAZON: Asus Transformer Book T100

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 little bit more.

 

Page 1 of 2 Best tablets of 2015: The best iOS, Android and Windows tablets

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