The 10 best tablets you can buy in 2016

The best tablet right now is the iPad Pro 9.7

Best Tablet April 2016

We spend more time than we really should testing the latest tablets - so when we tell you that the new iPad Pro 9.7 is the best tablet around, that's based on thorough and exhaustive research.

You might prefer the amazing screen size of the iPad Pro 12.9, complete with superlative sonic performance, but you're adding a lot to the cost if you choose that one.

If you're looking something a bit more Android-y, then it's easily the Google Pixel C you want to check out - made by Google, it's always going to be one of the better tablets out there given it's pretty much a Nexus device. You can also look at the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 if you want a slightly more dynamic screen, but that was launched a little longer ago.

The best Microsoft tablet around is the Surface Pro 4 - pricey, yes, but the only one worth considering. Yes, the Surface Pro 3 doesn't lose too much and it's a bit cheaper, but the upgrades to Microsoft's tablet are considerable enough for us to recommend the newer model.

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Price plays a part, as does age: a tablet that's been replaced by a sequel will tumble down the rankings as you can get all the great features on a better slate.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

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 and game 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.

iPad Pro

1. iPad Pro 9.7

Simply the best tablet around right now

Weight: 437g | Dimensions: 240 x 169.5 x 6.1 mm | OS: iOS 9.3 | 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 new 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 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 done it – the new Pixel C is the best Android tablet. The Pixel C 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 5.1 | 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 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 iPad Air 2 a real run for its money, although it's getting a little older now.

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 9.1 | 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? Well you're in luck as the diminutive iPad mini 4 gives you the best of Apple's tablet world in a form factor which is not only beautiful, but highly portable.

Read the full review: iPad mini 4

5. Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet

Lighter, faster, waterproof… a keyboarded iPad Pro rival

Weight: 389g | Dimensions: 254 x 167 x 6.1 mm | OS: Android 5.0 | Screen size: 10.1-inch | Resolution: 2560 x 1600 | CPU: octa-core | RAM: 3GB of RAM | 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, simply because 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, although it's a little on the wobbly side.

This tablet is ageing a little nowadays - we're still waiting for Sony to bring the reboot out, but this one is still powerful enough.

Read the full review: Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet

6. 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 9.1 | 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, but for those it does appeal to 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 professionals, this is the best tablet out there and for some it's more than capable of replacing a laptop - it's only so low down the list due to the higher price.

iOS software still doesn't offer the same desktop experience as the macOS, but it's not far off for many tasks - this is a great 'sling in the bag and still get the power you need' device.

Read the full review: iPad Pro 12.9

Nexus 9

7. Nexus 9

A perfect all round Android tablet

Weight: 425g | Dimensions: 228.2 x 153.7 x 8mm | OS: Android 5.1 | 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, although it's not being stocked as widely as before, which we're taking to mean we'll see a successor appearing soon.

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 OS, v5.0.2 | Screen size: 8.0-inch | Resolution: 1200 x 1920 | CPU: Quad-core 2.5GHz | 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.

Read the full review: Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact

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 - it's only the laptop-esque prices that push it down the list, but if you're willing to pay for it, you're getting a lot of power. A LOT.

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 9.1 | 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

Sleek
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, and the best part is the new Pro means the price of this model's dropped a fair bit. 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

Also consider

If you're not quite ready to part with your cash, then there's a wealth of other tablets that sit just below this ranking that are worth checking out. We've put them through our review process and while they're not currently in the top 10, further price drops might bring them into contention... so they're worth checking out.

Tab Pro S

Samsung Galaxy TabPro 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 TabPro S was unveiled at the very start of 2016 and boasts a great screen, solid build and Windows 10 - it's a great 12-inch device indeed. As a tablet it's one that works better than we expected it to, although the keyboard dock isn't great, with a cramped mouse and keys not being the easiest to type on - but overall, Samsung's made a solid Windows slate.

Read our full review: Samsung Galaxy TabPro S

Huawei

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.

Our review of the new tablet found that general performance and battery life were chief among the concerns, but the screen was lovely and the fingerprint reader strong indeed.

Read our review: Huawei MateBook

Coming soon

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? We're not sure, but eyes are now on IFA 2016 in Berlin this September.

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

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