The 15 best tablets of 2016: which tablet should you buy?

The 15 best tablets you can buy – and prices start from only £50

Alphr
19 Jan 2016

With so many great tablets on the market, and new contenders constantly arriving to throw their hat into the ring, you can be forgiven for finding it difficult to make up your mind – buying a new tablet presents a genuinely tough choice.

That's why Alphr's regularly-updated chart of the best tablets is the helping hand you've been looking for. Whether you want a sub-£100 Windows tablet, a premium Android tablet or simply can't decide between the members of Apple's growing iPad family, 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.

Best tablets 2016: 1-5

1. Apple iPad Air 2

Price when reviewed: from £399 inc VAT

iPad Air 2 review: From the side, on a bench

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

Screen Camera Processor Storage Battery life
9.7in
1,536 x 2,048
1.2MP
8MP
Triple-core Apple A8X
2GB RAM
16/64/128GB
No microSD
12h 46m video playback

2. Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7in

Price when reviewed: £400 inc VAT, 32GB Wi-Fi

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7in

Imagine an Android tablet that rivals the iPad for raw performance, and that matches Apple's tablet pixel for pixel while providing superior image quality. The Galaxy Tab S2 9.7in is that tablet. It's a mere 5.6mm-thin, and weighs 389g (10% lighter than the Air 2), yet feels solid and sturdy in all the right ways. The only downside? The accessories aren't as plentiful as with Apple's well-established iPad, and gaming performance could be better. This is still the best Android tablet by far, though. Click here to read our Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7in review

Screen Camera Processor Storage Battery life
9.7in
1,536 x 2,048
2.1MP
8MP
Octa-core Exynos 5433
3GB RAM
32/64GB
+ microSD
12h 09m video playback

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. 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

Screen Camera Processor Storage Battery life
10.8in
1,280 x 1,920
3.5MP
8MP
Octa-core Atom x7-Z8700
2/4GB RAM
64/128GB
+ microSD
7h 48m video playback

4. Apple iPad mini 4

Price when reviewed: from £319 inc VAT

Apple iPad mini 4 review: Bottom edge

In many ways, the iPad mini remains the small tablet to beat. The performance enhancements in this version keep it ahead of (most) of its competitors, and the quality of third-party applications on iOS make it a superior platform overall (or at least that's that Ian thinks - feel free to disagree on the review's comments thread). However, the size of the iPad mini is beginning to feel like a compromise. If you want something to carry around with you at all times, the Apple iPhone 6s Plus may be a better option. Click here to read our Apple iPad mini 4 review

Screen Camera Processor Storage Battery life
7.9in
1,536 x 2,048
1.2MP
8MP
Dual-core Apple A8
2GB RAM
16/64/128GB
No microSD
10h 43m video playback

5. 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

Screen Camera Processor Storage Battery life
8in
1,536 x 2,048
2.1MP
8MP
Octa-core Exynos 5433
3GB RAM
32/64GB
+ microSD
14h 07m video playback

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