Update: The new iPad has landed, and after going through our in-depth review process Apple's latest slate has managed to break into our top 10 best tablets list. Find out where it places below (spoiler: it's high, really high).
Best tablet 2017
The best tablets are all about combination, with most offering a decent keyboard and desktop-style experience to sound the death knell for laptops.
From Apple's larger iPad Pro to Android's Google Pixel and Samsung tablets, there's a lot of choice out there.
And unlike the best smartphones - Windows makes an appearance too.
In terms of how we decide which goes where, we rank them based on multiple elements including performance, battery life, screen quality and more, with price playing an important part too.
If none of the best tablets here take your fancy then head on over to our tablet reviews pages, where you'll find in-depth reviews of many more models.
Let us know your thoughts on the top 10 (and what order you think they should go in) in the comment box below.
1. New iPad (2017)
The best iPad, giving you plenty of power and bang for your buck
Weight: 469g | Dimensions: 240 x 169.5 x 7.5 mm | OS: iOS 10 | Screen size: 9.7-inch | Resolution: 1536 x 2048 pixels | CPU: A9 | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 32GB/128GB | microSD slot: No | Battery: approx 8,800mAh | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 1.2MP
The best tablet you can buy right now is the new iPad (2017) with its crisp 9.7-inch display, punchy A9 power and a lower price tag than the tablet it replaces - the iPad Air 2.
The new iPad (2017) doesn't reinvent the tablet, in fact it doesn't differ much at all from its predecessor. The only real upgrade is the chipset, with Apple's A9 heart giving the new iPad more power - however it's the price which is the real winner.
There's no 16GB model, with the iPad kicking things off at 32GB, and considering that's cheaper than the entry level iPad Air 2 it offers serious value for money.
- What's next? The new iPad has only just launched, so we won't see a replacement for a while - but Apple's iPad Mini line is in need of an update, so keep an eye out for the iPad Mini 5 in the coming months.
2. iPad Pro 9.7
A brilliant tablet that brings power to portability
Weight: 437g | Dimensions: 240 x 169.5 x 6.1 mm | OS: iOS 10 | Screen size: 9.7-inch | Resolution: 1536 x 2048 pixels | CPU: A9X | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 32GB/128GB/256GB | microSD slot: No | Battery: TBC | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 5MP
The iPad Pro 9.7 is the best iPad in terms of raw specs, but the higher price tag means it drops in below the more reasonably priced iPad (2017).
The iPad Pro 9.7 offers a lot of the power of the larger iPad Pro, along with the Smart Keyboard and Pencil support, but brings it in a much more bag-and-palm friendly size. Oh, and those four speakers are just brilliant too.
It's a decent laptop alternative for those trying to work out if they need the worry of a new Windows device, but only if you're working on rudimentary files. Free access to Apple's office suite helps a huge amount though...
Read the full review: iPad Pro 9.7
- What's next? We're expecting a new iPad Pro 2 (and maybe two) to appear in March or April this year, to coincide with iOS 10.3 launch.
3. Samsung Galaxy Tab S3
A top-notch iPad Pro rival
Weight: 429g | Dimensions: 237.3 x 169 x 6mm | OS: Android 7 | Screen size: 9.7-inch | Resolution: 1536 x 2048 | CPU: Snapdragon 820 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 32GB | Battery: 6,000mAh | Rear camera: 13MP | Front camera: 5MP
It may not be the best tablet on our list, but the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 is the best Android tablet you can buy right now.
It's stuffed full of power, has an excellent display and features an iPad-Pro rivaling S-Pen stylus and optional keyboard.
The price tag could be a stumbling block, but if you're looking for the best Android has to offer in tablet form the Galaxy Tab S3 is the slate for you.
Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy Tab S3
- What's next? The Galaxy Tab S3 has just launch, so it won't be replaced anytime soon.
4. iPad mini 4
The best small-screen tablet
Weight: 299g | Dimensions: 203.2 x 134.8 x 6.1mm | OS: iOS 10 | Screen size: 7.9-inch | Resolution: 1536 x 2048 | CPU: Dual-core 1.5 GHz | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 16GB/64GB/128GB | Battery: 5124mAh | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 1.2MP
The best 7-inch tablet at the moment is definitely the iPad mini 4. If you like the look of Apple's iPad Air 2 and iPad Pro, but find them a) too big, b) too expensive or c) both, then you're in luck as the diminutive iPad mini 4 gives you the best of Apple's tablet world in a form factor that's not only beautiful, but highly portable.
It lacks the Pro features of a keyboard or Pencil support (the latter would be really nice to have on this smaller display) but overall it's got a decent screen upgrade and more than enough power to enjoy every day.
Read the full review: iPad mini 4
5. Asus ZenPad 3S 10
One of the best new Android tablets out
Weight: 430g | Dimensions: 240.5 x 163.7 x 7.2 mm | OS: Android Marshmallow | Screen size: 9.7-inch | Resolution: 1536 x 2048 | CPU: Mediatek MT8176 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 32GB/64GB | Battery: up to 10 hours | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 5MP
With an iPad-like design, the Asus ZenPad is something of a direct rival to Apple's best tablets with an alternative operating system.
The screen is sharp and bright, and the power is decent - if not a well-known chipset running things.
The battery life and build quality aren't quite up to Apple's standards, but then again, neither is the price - a good option if you want a larger screen for less.
Read our full review: Asus ZenPad 3S 10
6. Google Pixel C
The best Android tablet (if you ignore the price)
Weight: 517g | Dimensions: 242 x 179 x 7mm | OS: Android Nougat | Screen size: 10.2-inch | Resolution: 2560 x 1800 | CPU: Tegra X1 | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 32GB/64GB | Battery: up to 10 hours | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 2MP
Google's Pixel C is one of the best Android tablets. It has it all: a fantastic display, heaps of power and a premium design.
Plus, for those willing to splash the cash, the keyboard is a great accessory (and if you look around, there are some good low-cost alternatives).
It's not quite a laptop replacement, but for those in the market for a truly premium Android tablet - look no further. That's especially great as you can now download Android 7 Nougat software.
Read the full review: Google Pixel C
7. iPad Pro 12.9
Apple's biggest slate isn't its best, but it's not far off
Weight: 713g | Dimensions: 305.7 x 220.6 x 6.9mm | OS: iOS 10 | Screen size: 12.9-inch | Resolution: 2048 x 2732 | CPU: Dual-core 2.26 GHz | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 32GB/128GB | Battery: 10,307mAh | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 1.2MP
The iPad Pro won't be for everyone due to the size and cost, but for those it does appeal to (and can afford it) you're unlikely to find a better tablet for your needs, and you'll swiftly find it indispensable.
Whether its graphics, multi-tasking or providing a pseudo-Mac experience when you're away from the office the iPad Pro is capable of so much.
Even the Pencil - hilarious name aside - is an impressive tool for a particular niche. For the more professional user, or just one that cares about a larger, more expansive screen to work on, this is the best tablet out there and more than capable of replacing a laptop.
Read the full review: iPad Pro
- What's next? Like the smaller iPad Pro 9.7, there's a good chance we'll be seeing a refreshed iPad Pro 12.9 2 in the first half of 2017, with more power than ever before (and the high price tag to go along with it).
8. Microsoft Surface Pro 4
The Windows tablet that can replace your Windows laptop
Weight: 766g/786g | Dimensions: 292.10 x 201.42 x 8.45mm | OS: Windows 10 Pro | Screen size: 12.3-inch | Resolution: 2,736 x 1,824 | CPU: Various | RAM: 4GB/8GB/16GB | Storage: 128GB | Battery: up to 9 hours | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 5MP
Can a tablet really replace your laptop or home PC? That's still up for debate, but the best tablet trying to make that happen is the Microsoft Surface Pro 4.
It does a fine job with the full blown version of Windows 10, an integrated kickstand and optional keyboard attachment. Great for for creative professionals, students and everyday folks alike, this is a top choice and one of best Windows Laptop we've reviewed.
Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Pro 4
- What's next? We're expecting to see the refreshed Surface Pro 5 in spring 2017, with a new rechargeable stylus alongside.
9. iPad mini 2
A great tablet but a little old
Weight: 331g | Dimensions: 200 x 134.7 x 7.5 mm | OS: iOS 10 | Screen size: 7.9-inch | Resolution: 1536 x 2048 | CPU: Dual-core 1.3 GHz | RAM: 1GB | Storage: 16/32/64/128GB | Battery: 6470 mAh | Rear camera: 5MP | Front camera: 1.2MP
The iPad mini 2 is a great tablet if you can get it for the right price - it's one of the best budget tablets around.
The things you'll miss are a better, clearer and brighter screen and improved design if you don't spend the extra to go for the iPad mini 4 - but for many people, that's perfectly acceptable and this slate is a great portal into the excellent world of iPads and all the great apps you get access to.
Read the full review: iPad mini 2
As with today's best smartphones, applications play a big role on tablets – once you've decided which of these tablets is right for you, check out our top app lists so you can get your fill of Temple Run, update your friends on Facebook and read the latest news, all on a bigger screen.
- Best Android apps
- Best iPad apps
- Best free iPad apps
- Best free Android games
- Best iPad games
- Best free iPad games
If you're not quite ready to part with your cash, then take a look at the slates which will be coming out this year. A few have launched but we're waiting for them to come in for review before seeing if they make it into the top 10, while others are based on rumours but we feel confident they will arrive in 2016.
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S
Windows 10 where you'd expect Android to be
Weight: 693g | Dimensions: 290.3 x 198.8 x 6.3mm | OS: Windows 10 | Screen size: 12-inch | Resolution: 2160 x 1440 | CPU: Intel Core M | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 128GB/256GB | Battery: up to 10.5 hours | Rear camera: 5MP | Front camera: 5MP
The Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S was unveiled at the very start of 2016 and boasts a great screen, solid build and Windows 10. It's an odd device, but one that works better than we expected it to.
The keyboard dock isn't great, with a cramped mouse and keys which aren't the easiest to type on - but over all Samsung's made a solid Windows slate with a great design and a good option if you're looking for a laptop replacement with sleek lines.
Read our review: Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S
Weight: 640g | Dimensions: 278.8 x 194.1 x 6.9mm | OS: Windows 10 | Screen size: 12-inch | Resolution: 2160 x 1440 | CPU: 6th Gen Intel Core m | RAM: 4/8GB | Storage: 128/256/512GB | microSD slot: No | Battery: 4430mAh | Rear camera: No | Front camera: 5MP
Huawei's first Windows 10 device is a well-designed 2-in-1 that rivals the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 and iPad Pro in places. It's a promising, yet pricey, first 2-in-1 from the Chinese company, managing to feel fresh despite arriving late to the party.
Read our review: Huawei MateBook
Sony Xperia Z6 Tablet
The high-end waterproof tablet
Things have gone a bit pear-shaped in Sony's camp in 2016. After we expect it to launch either the flagship Xperia Z6 or Xperia Z6 Tablet (or both) at MWC 2016, Sony did neither - instead launching the confusing new X series instead. That's left the talk of the Xperia Z6 Tablet a little up in the air. Will we ever see this tablet?
Tips for Sony: what we want to see on the Sony Xperia Z6 Tablet