The 10 best tablets you can buy in 2016

The best tablet right now is the iPad Pro 9.7

Update: iOS 10 has landed for the Apple tablets - and with Nougat on the way for most of the Android slates, the list is chock-full of interesting choices.

The best tablets of 2016 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 Nexus and Samsung tablets, there's a lot of choice out there. And it's more than just iOS 10 and Android Marshmallow devices (with Android Nougat updates coming soon too), 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 for 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.

iPad Pro 9 7

1. 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

Great speakers
Pencil and keyboard support
Pricey with accessories
Not as much RAM as larger iPad Pro

The best tablet you can buy right now is the iPad Pro 9.7 - the smaller screen with powerful innards is the best combination on the market.

While there are plenty of brilliant Android tablets around at the moment, the newest iPad 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!

Read the full review: iPad Pro 9.7

2. Google Pixel C

This is the best Android tablet

Weight: 517g | Dimensions: 242 x 179 x 7mm | OS: Android Marshmallow | 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

Fantastic screen
Premium design
Plenty of power

Google's Pixel C is simply the best Android tablet. 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. It's not quite a laptop replacement, but for those in the market for a premium Android tablet - look no further.

Read the full review: Google Pixel C

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2

3. Samsung Galaxy Tab S2

A top notch iPad rival

Weight: 256g/389g | Dimensions: 198.6 x 134.8 x 5.6mm/237.3 x 169 x 5.6mm | OS: Android Marshmallow | Screen size: 8.0-inch/9.7-inch | Resolution: 1536 x 2048 | CPU: Octa-core | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 32GB/64GB | Battery: 4000mAh/5870mAh | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 2.1MP

Thinner, lighter design
Rare expandable memory
Improved interface

There are plenty of reasons to invest in the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 - especially if you're after a top Android tablet. This is the best tablet that Samsung has ever produced - it's both reading and web surfing-friendly, has a sensational Super AMOLED screen, and you can pick it up in 8-inch and 9.7-inch variants. Almost impossibly thin, pumped full of power and with a slicker interface it gives the best iPads a real run for its money.

Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy Tab S2

iPad mini 4

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

Brilliant screen
Sleek design
Touch ID finger scanner

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.

Read the full review: iPad mini 4

5. Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet

Lighter, faster, waterproof… a real iPad Air 2 rival

Weight: 389g | Dimensions: 254 x 167 x 6.1 mm | OS: Android Marshmallow | Screen size: 10.1-inch | Resolution: 2560 x 1600 | CPU: Snapdragon 810 | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 32GB | Battery: 6000mAh | Rear camera: 8.1MP | Front camera: 5.1MP

Gorgeous display
Improved lightweight design
Keyboard dock included

The Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet is the best option for PS4 owners as it allows you to stream games from your console direct to the tablet when you're in another room of your house. Link up your PS4 controller to the Z4 Tablet and you'll be gaming in bed, in the kitchen and on the toilet. The included keyboard dock in the box also makes for a great stand.

Read the full review: Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet

6. iPad Pro

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

Expansive screen
Hugely powerful
Great speakers

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. 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 pro, this is the best tablet out there and more than capable of replacing a laptop.

Read the full review: iPad Pro

Nexus 9

7. Nexus 9

A perfect all round Android tablet

Weight: 425g | Dimensions: 228.2 x 153.7 x 8mm | OS: Android Marshmallow | Screen size: 8.9-inch | Resolution: 1536 x 2048 | CPU: Dual-core 2.3 GHz | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 16/32GB | Battery: 6700 mAh | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 1.6MP

Great value for money
Stock Android experience
Solid performance

Originally a rather expensive Google-branded tablet, the Nexus 9 has now dropped so much in price it's the best value tablet out there. There's a whole load of power, stock Android and a high res screen making it a great all-round tablet at a very affordable price - and it's still getting the latest Android updates.

Read the full review: Nexus 9

Sony Xperia Tablet Z3 Compact

8. Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact

Compact, portable and powerful

Weight: 270g | Dimensions: 213.4 x 123.6 x 6.4mm | OS: Android Marshmallow | Screen size: 8.0-inch | Resolution: 1200 x 1920 | CPU: Snapdragon 801 | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 16GB | Battery: 4500mAh | Rear camera: 8.1MP | Front camera: 2.2MP

Great battery life
Very thin and light
Waterproof body

Tablets don't have to be big and cumbersome, and the rather clumsily named Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact is testament to just that. It's not Sony's best tablet - that goes to the Z4 further up the page, but it's super-slim profile, waterproof chassis, bright display and solid line up of specs means it'll comfortably slip in your bag and won't baulk at the first sign of rain. However, it's a little older now, so be warned that it won't be getting all the Android updates you might hope for.

Read the full review: Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact

Microsoft Surface Pro 4

9. Microsoft Surface Pro 4

The tablet that can replace your 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

Larger, sharper screen
Vastly improved Type Cover
Built in kickstand

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 - and 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.

Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Pro 4

10. iPad Air 2

The iPad Air 2 is still a good choice

Weight: 437g | Dimensions: 240 x 169.5 x 6.1mm | OS: iOS 10 | Screen size: 9.7-inch | Resolution: 1536 x 2048 | CPU: Triple-core 1.5 GHz | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 16/64/128GB | Battery: 7340mAh | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 1.2MP

Superbly powerful
Unbeatable app selection

Until the iPad Pro 9.7, this was the best tablet in the world. Even though it has been replaced by Apple, it's still a brilliant tablet that has further raised the bar for the rest of the competition in terms of build quality, features and performance. The best part is this is now cheaper thanks to the release of the iPad Pro 9.7. Apple's range of tablet-optimised apps and a slick user interface makes the iPad Air 2 extremely versatile while also being incredibly easy, and enjoyable, to use.

Read the full review: iPad Air 2

Tablet apps

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.

Also consider

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 TabPro S

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

Sleek design
Good use of Windows 10
Poor keyboard
Plastic design

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.

Read our review: Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S

Huawei MateBook

Huawei MateBook

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

Solid design
Keyboard accessory
No MicroSDS card slot
Only one USB port

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 Z4 Tablet

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

iPad mini 4

iPad Mini 5

Thinner, lighter and even more portable?

The popular iPad mini range has won fans around the world, probably due to the fact it's the cheapest iPad offering in Apple's range. While the arrival of the iPad mini 5 in 2016 is likely, there's a small question mark around whether Apple will bother after criticism for its less than impressive iPad mini 3 update. If it does arrive expect more power with a new processor, iOS 10 on screen and the same premium metal body.

What it needs to beat: iPad mini 4


Phones and Tablets Editor

Gareth (Twitter, Google+) has been part of the mobile phone industry from the era of the brick to the tiny device in the pocket... and now watching them grow back up to behemothic proportions once more. He's spent five years dissecting all the top phones in the world as TechRadar's Phones and Tablets Editor, and still can't resist answering the dreaded question - "which new phone should I get?" - with 15 choices.