What's the best tablet for 2014? Today's latest tablets compared and rated - constantly updated

Tablets are taking the world by storm. Just a few years ago they were an unknown for many people, but nowadays you've got more choice than you can shake a mildly agitated koala at.

And with choice comes decisions - difficult decisions. Do you eschew Apple's high prices, join the Android brigade and find the best iPad alternative? Or jump on board Apple's lovetrain, and use one of the most popular tablets on the planet?

Remember – the iPad Air 2 is nearly available to buy, as is the new iPad Mini 3 (or iPad mini with Retina 2, if you're getting really picky) so perhaps hold off that new tablet purchase for the next few weeks to check out what's on offer – or if the new Apple slates will force the cost of Android options down.

It's a difficult process divining which place each of these excellent tablets should occupy in our list, so we take into account multiple elements including performance, battery life, screen quality and more.

Price plays a minor part, as does age: a tablet that's been replaced by a sequel will tumble down the rankings as you can get all the great features on a better slate.

If none of the top 10 tablets here take your fancy then head on over to our tablet reviews pages, where you'll find in-depth reviews for many more models.

Let us know your thoughts on the top 10 (and whether you think we've got the order wrong) in the comment box below.

10. iPad mini

iPad mini

Apple's former CEO Steve Jobs famously slammed small tablets a few years back, leading many to believe the Cupertino-based firm would never dabble in the budget end of the market, but this model proved that wrong.

In terms of consistency in the tablet market Apple cannot be matched, as it still lays claim to the the top spot in our top 10, although the iPad mini is no longer the jewel in an already glistening crown - it's already been usurped by the upgraded Google Nexus 7 and its successor.

However, the new iPad mini 3 is nearly here. Don't buy this one now - it will probably go off sale really soon. If you must have it, the price will drop quickly at other retailers if you wait.

Quick verdict

When it landed we dubbed the iPad mini "the best iPad Apple has ever created", and while the iPad Air now claims that title now, this pint sized slate is still an OK choice on a budget - but don't buy it right now.

9. Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7

Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7

Leaner, meaner and more powerful than its predecessor, Amazon has stepped its game up with the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 as it looks to keep pace with the new Nexus 7.

On paper Amazon's latest 7-inch tablet is more than up to the job with a 2.2GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, full HD display, up to 64GB of storage and prices starting at $US268 (but which jumps up to $499 if you buy through local retailer Dick Smith).

In reality however it's not the complete offering the Nexus 7 is, with Amazon's heavily modified Fire OS 3.0 stripping out a lot of the functionality of Android and putting the retailer's services front and centre.

There's also a number of features that simply aren't available for Australian users, like Amazon Prime, for example.

Quick verdict

For the customisation you give up, you gain simplicity and ease of use on the Kindle Fire HDX 7. We'd like to call this the sort of tablet you give to someone who is less than tech savvy, but those devices don't usually have such good hardware.

For those who want a little more functionality reach for a Nexus 7, or if you have deeper pockets check out the iPad mini 2.

8. Microsoft Surface Pro 3

Microsoft Surface Pro 3

With every iteration of its Surface Pro lineup, Microsoft gets one step closer to achieving its goal of becoming as good at hardware as Apple.

The Surface Pro 3 is by far the best piece of kit that Redmond has ever released, with its boost to screen performance and its thinner and lighter magnesium frame.

It's a shining light on exactly what a hybrid tablet/laptop can be, although it still needs a bit of work on battery life and heat dissipation. Oh, and price... This thing is mighty expensive for a tablet.

Quick verdict

It may be the most striking and impressive product Microsoft has ever released, but it still has its flaws.

For one, its battery life performance is much more in line with a laptop than a tablet, and while it straddles the two categories, in the world of the iPad Air, that's just not going to cut it.

If you enjoy your tablets with Windows and hate the prospect of carrying around a laptop and a tablet, this is by far the best example of what a hybrid device can do.

7. LG G Pad 8.3

Google Nexus 10

Well, when you make an Android tablet with a design language like this one, perhaps it's time to quietly worry at Samsung. In place of plastic, it's got a lovely aluminium shell, and connectivity with other Android phones makes it a viable option for a wider range of users.

Some might question whether the Snapdragon 600 chip is too low-power for a tablet that costs around $400, but it allows for a sleeker design according to the Korean brand.

Quick verdict

We really liked the G Pad 8.3, and it was only lower down in our list thanks to a slightly higher battery drain than we were expecting - plus the overlay can take some getting used to.

But its one of the closest competitors to the iPad Mini out there in terms of design, and it's a tablet we're not ashamed to pull out of a stylishly slim bag.

6. Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2

Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2

Never one to leave a tablet niche unexplored, Samsung pushed screen sizes up to new heights with the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2.

Thankfully that's not all it has going for it, as the Note Pro 12.2's 3GB of RAM and quad-core processor give it superior performance, while the S Pen becomes truly useful in combination with the slates large, bright screen.

It's an obvious choice for digital artists or anyone else who wants a device they can be productive on, but the bigger screen makes it great just for web browsing and watching videos too.

On the flip side the increased size makes it a little unwieldy and the build quality is a touch creaky thanks to the larger chassis, but is offset by the sheer expanse of screen to play with.

Quick verdict

Its big screen and S Pen support make the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 an extremely useful productivity tool - if you're a fan of the Note range, there's very little better on the market and Samsung seems to be successfully convincing the world that the stylu... sorry, S Pen is still relevant to today's gadget fans.