The 12 best tablets of 2015

The best tablets in the UK reviewed and rated – Alphr's ultimate guide includes the finest Android, iOS and Windows devices you can buy

2 Oct 2015

With so many great tablets on the market, you can be forgiven for finding it difficult to make up your mind – it's a tough choice. This is where Alphr's guide to the very best tablets comes in. Whether you want a sub-£100 Windows tablet, a premium Android tablet or simply can't decide between the members of Apple's iPad family, this constantly-updated list has you covered.

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.

The 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's iPad Air 2 set the standard in the tablet market. It was the thinnest in the world in 2014, yet packed in a fingerprint sensor, a triple-core A8X processor and a stunningly good 9.7in display. It remains our favourite tablet for now, but with Apple having just announced the iPad Pro (click here to read our hands-on iPad Pro review), it may not be for very long. Click here to read our Apple iPad Air 2 review

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 an absolutely 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. Click here to read our Apple iPad Air review

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 10.8in 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. Click here to read our Microsoft Surface 3 review

4. Nexus 9

Price when reviewed: from £319 inc VAT

Google Nexus 9 front

The Nexus 9 is an obscenely fast, turbocharged slab of a tablet. 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, 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. Click here to read our Nexus 9 review

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. Click here to read our Apple iPad mini 2 review

6. Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8in

Price when reviewed: £300 inc VAT, 32GB Wi-Fi

Samsung has taken its rather lovely Galaxy Tab S 8.4 and given it a mighty impressive once-over. The screen size has shrunk to 8in, but the wider 4:3 aspect ratio makes a positive difference and image quality remains top dollar. Despite a 5.6mm thin body, both performance and battery life have taken a turn for the better, too. The only quibble? The price. Click here to read our Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8in review

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 expect for the money. Click here to read our Linx 8 review

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. Click here to read out Bush MyTablet 8 review

9. 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 – and unlike the Z4, you can buy it without a keyboard. 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. Click here to read our Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet review

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. Click here to read our Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact review

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. Click here to read our Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 review

12. 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. This is one of the only tablets here which genuinely can double as a desltop PC. Click here to read our Microsoft Surface Pro 3 review


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