UPDATE: After a long Android tablet drought, we now have a new addition to our list of the Best tablets of 2017 with the arrival of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3, successor to the might Tab S2. On top of this, we've also added Microsoft's newest and best Surface Pro to date. Where did they place? You'll just have to read on to find out!
When Apple revolutionised the tablet category with the iPad, it was criticised for being a device designed for consumption rather than creation, despite it clearly being the best tablet around.
From Apple's larger iPad Pro to Android's Google and Samsung tablets, there's a lot of choice out there. And it's more than just iOS and Android Nougat devices, unlike the best smartphones - Windows makes an appearance, too.
And with the arrival of even more powerful devices like the iPad Pro and the new Microsoft Surface Pro, that trend towards creation is only going to grow.
But it creates a new problem. With so many quality devices to choose from, how do you select which device is best for your needs?
It's only the beginning of 2017, so we can expect a number of tablet announcements in the near future. For now, we've tried to make it easy for you to pick the right slate for you with our round up of the best tablets of the moment available in Australia.
10. iPad Pro (12.9-inch)
Apple's biggest slate isn't its best, but it's not far off either
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
The iPad Pro is Apple's biggest and most powerful tablet yet, with a 12.9-inch screen, an A9X processor and 4GB of RAM.
That big screen combined with four great speakers make it a media powerhouse and if you splash out for the Apple Pencil or Smart Keyboard you can get serious work done on it too.
The size and weight won't be for everyone and the price certainly won't be, but the iPad Pro is an accomplished slate for everything from gaming and movies, to drawing and typing. It's not quite a laptop replacement, but it's the closest you'll to that this side of a Surface Pro.
Read the full review: iPad Pro
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9. 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
The iPad mini 3 might have been a disappointment but Apple more than made up for it with the iPad mini 4. With its sleek design, fairly powerful processor and stunning screen it's everything the mini 3 should have been.
It's still slightly less powerful than the iPad Air 2 and a lot less powerful than the iPad Pro, but it's also cheaper than them and it's one of the highest-spec compact slates around.
So if you want an Apple tablet in a smaller package than is offered by the Air 2 then this is the best in the business and with Touch ID and iOS 9 it's slick and feature-packed too.
Read the full review:
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8. Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro
A great tablet option for the media-minded
Weight: 667g | Dimensions: 246 x 179 x 4.6mm | OS: Android 5.0 Lollipop | Screen size: 10.1 inches | Resolution: 2,560 x 1,600 | CPU: Intel Atom x 5-Z8500, quad-core | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 32GB | microSD slot: Yes | Battery: 10,200mAh | Rear camera: 13MP | Front camera: 5MP
Most tablets are very similar to one another, but not the Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro. It sits in its own sub-category of Android tablets that try and succeed at being weird, yet awesome.
This tablet has all of the usual amenities that one desires in a 2017 tablet, such as 2,560 x 1600 display and a huge 10,200mAh battery. But this tablet also houses a hidden projector that can splash the screen onto a wall for night-time viewing. Cool, right? It's novel, but actually useful.
Read the full review: Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro
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7. Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
Lighter, faster, waterproof… this is a real iPad Air 2 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
Sony's Xperia Z4 Tablet is one of the best Android tablets available on the market and it's one of the few capable of putting up a fight against the iPad Air 2.
It's got a lovely screen, lightweight design, all the Sony elements you'd look for and the right power combination to keep it on the front foot.
The waterproof design makes it a more attractive proposition over the less robust slates on the market, although the UI isn't the slickest and the price tag is one of the highest.
Read the full review: Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
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6. Samsung Galaxy Tab S2
The best iPad rival around
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
There are plenty of reasons to invest in the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 - especially if you're after the best Android tablet on the market.
It's reading and web surfing-friendly, while the new 4:3 screen and general size and shape is better suited for most things. Videos work better on its predecessor thanks to the more elongated aspect ratio - but they don't exactly look bad here.
You can pick the Tab S2 up in 8-inch and 9.7-inch variants, to challenge Apple's iPad and iPad Mini ranges, with the smaller option being more portable and cheaper.
Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy Tab S2
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5. iPad (9.7-inch)
The Wi-Fi 32GB iPad is terrific value for money
Weight: 469g | Dimensions: 240 x 169.5 x 7.5 mm | OS: iOS 10.3 | Screen size: 9.7-inch | Resolution: 1536 x 2048 | CPU: A9 | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 32GB/128GB | Battery: 8,827mAh | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 1.2MP
Even though it has been replaced by Apple iPad Pro line, it's Wi-Fi only iPad is 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 than ever before thanks to the release of the iPad Pro 9.7, with a hard-to-beat price of $469. Apple's range of tablet-optimised apps and a slick user interface makes the iPad extremely versatile while also being incredibly easy and enjoyable to use.
If you want an iPad but aren't interested in cellular connectivity or the iPad Pro's productivity-focused features, this is the iPad to get. Alternatively, you can also opt for a cellular version with 128GB of storage for $799, but for the purposes of this list, we're recommending the entry-level model because of its unbeatable price.
4. Google Pixel C
The best Android Tablet around
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
Google's done it – it's made the best Android tablet around. The Pixel C has it all: a fantastic display, heaps of power and a premium design.
Okay, it's not quite got it all - it's a little on the heavy side and the pricey (yet rather clever) keyboard dock isn't fully utilised by the Android interface which is made very much for touch and not physical keys and productivity.
The Pixel C just misses out on top spot to the iPad Air 2, which has an even more desirable design and a fleet of tablet optimised applications for a more complete experience.
Read the full review: Google Pixel C
3. Microsoft Surface Pro
The best Surface Pro by a good margin
Weight: 766g/786g | Dimensions: 292 x 201 x 8.5 mm | OS: Windows 10 Pro | Screen size: 12.3-inch | Resolution: 2,736 x 1,824 | CPU: Various | RAM: 4GB/8GB/16GB | Storage: 128GB / 256GB / 512GB / 1TB | Battery: up to 13.5 hours | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 5MP
There’s no doubt that the Surface Pro 4 has its fair share of issues, many of which took a bit too long to rectify or at least patch up. With the new, numberless Surface Pro, it couldn’t be more obvious that Microsoft took that feedback to heart.
For one, the battery life has been improved by as much as 32%, based on our testing, in a design that refines the existing template without tangibly adding any weight or thickness. Secondly, Microsoft vastly improved the Surface Pen, Type Cover and even the Surface Pro hinge to make it a stronger laptop-and-tablet replacement than ever.
Though it no longer includes a Surface Pen in the package, Microsoft has improved just about every facet of the Surface Pro 4’s design while addressing complaints of battery life and even issues some might not have even noticed – like a hinge that could have titled even further.
If you’re willing to pay a bit more for the latest accessories than even before, the new Surface Pro remains the ultimate 2-in-1 laptop and productivity tablet. So much so that, despite Microsoft’s decision to pull the Surface Pen from the box, it remains worthy of our Recommended award.
Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Pro
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2. Samsung Galaxy Tab S3
The best Android tablet to date
Weight: 429g | Dimensions: 237.3 x 169 x 6 mm | OS: Android Nougat 7.0 | Screen size: 9.7-inch | Resolution: 1536 x 2048 | CPU: Snapdragon 820 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 32GB (microSD up to 225GB) | Battery: 6,000mAh | Rear camera: 13MP | Front camera: 5MP
Finally available to buy in Australia, the Galaxy Tab S3 is easily the best Android tablet on the market right now thanks to its all-glass design upgrade, a beautiful future-proofed HDR-ready display and included S Pen and all the extra functionality that brings with it. It's hardly a difficult call for us to make – the year-old Google Pixel C is its only real challenger at a similar size, and the Tab S3 replaces the now-cheaper, but still impressive Samsung Galaxy Tab S2.
The Galaxy Tab S3 is Samsung’s best travel-friendly 2-in-1 tablet that can pull off productivity – if you’re willing to pay for the separate keyboard. It’s thinner and lighter than the equally tempting 2-in-1 Samsung Galaxy Book, and it finally gives the iPad Pro some meaningful competition.
Among the Galaxy Tab S3's numerous improvements over the Tab S2, the ones made to its battery might be our favourites. Its larger 6,000mAh battery capacity offers longer use throughout the day, while its new fast charging capability lets you get up and running again in a much quicker fashion than its sloth-like predecessor.
If you’re an early adopter who wants to stay ahead of the curve, with an eye on watching HDR movies in the near future, this really is the best tablet for you. Along with its multimedia focus, the capacity for productivity is also there thanks to the optional keyboard accessory, so long as slow your work speed down to meet the pace of Android multitasking.
Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy Tab S3
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1. iPad Pro (10.5-inch)
A brilliant tablet that brings power to portability
Weight: 469g | Dimensions: 250.6 x 174.1 x 6.1 mm | OS: iOS 10.3 | Screen size: 10.5-inch | Resolution: 1668 x 2224 | CPU: A10X Fusion | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64/256/512GB | Battery: up to 10 hours | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 7MP
The best tablet you can buy right now is the iPad Pro 10.5 - Slightly smaller than the too big 12.9-inch model, Apple has hit the sweet spot here, offering terrific build quality and powerful innards to produce the best tablet on the market.
The 10.5-inch iPad Pro represents Apple deciding to make a tablet with absolutely everything crammed in. The best in audio performance, the cream of the company's mobile screen tech, and all the power that can be crammed inside the metal walls of a digital slate.
Make no mistake: the new iPad Pro is the device that Apple wants you to buy to replace your laptop if you're not going to pay out for a new MacBook.
The 10.5-inch iPad Pro is a stunning machine in many ways. The speed and raw power on offer when doing pretty much any task on it can't be understated, and the upgrades to the screen are just beautiful at times.
The issue comes when comparing what's on offer to the cost – when you add up all the things you need to make the iPad Pro a real laptop competitor – the Smart Keyboard, Apple Pencil and the iPad itself – you're looking at a hefty chuck of change that's verging on MacBook territory.
Still, this is a magnificent iPad with a perfectly sized display, one that feels more 'pro' than the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, and less over-the-top than the enormous 12.9 inch version. This is the iPad Pro to get in our eyes.
As with today's best phones, 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.