The best tablets of 2014 have maximized the mobile experience, from Apple's dominating iPad to Google's Nexus series of slates.

And it's more than just iOS 8 and Android devices, unlike the best smartphones list. Windows plays a limited role with its larger laptop-replacements if that's what you need.

All of our top picks posses even more versatility. Tablets for work by day have to be able to turn into tablets for kids by night, whether they're 7 or 9.7 or 12.2 inches.

Just as important, they feature wider price ranges, more efficient processors, longer battery life and thinner and lighter designs for 2014 than years past.

iPad Air 2, Samsung Galaxy Tab S, and Google Nexus 9 get that right more than ever, especially as iOS 8 and Android 5.0 Lollipop make the best tablets even better.

10. Lenovo Yoga 10 HD+

best tablet 2014 in the US

Lenovo's tablet with a cylindrical spine makes our best tablets list because it's one of the most versatile Android mid-range slates at 10 inches.

The Yoga 10 HD+ features a the company's patented stand that's great for watching movies and doing work. The kickstand can be tucked away in an instant for a typical tablet design.

Best of all, that unique form factor doubles as good functionality. The cylinder battery tops the charts among the Android tablets we have tested.

The 1920 x 1200 pixel screen resolution is one of the many improvements Lenovo has made to its best tablet for 2014, though it doesn't quite compare to the sharpness of the iPad Air 2 and Samsung Galaxy Tab S.

Quick verdict

If you are looking for a 10-inch Android tablet, you can do worse than the Yoga 10 HD+, but if its key features are not important to you, devices like the Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 come in at a similar price.

As a combined Android tablet for media consumption and a bit of work, the Yoga is appealing with its front facing stereo speakers enhancing media consumption and the stand working well with a Bluetooth keyboard connected.

If you fancy using it on the go, the LTE model isn't a lot more money than the main option, which changes the value proposition quite a bit. And at the end of the day, you won't find an Android tablet with better battery life right now.

9. iPad Air

best tablet 2014 in the US

Apple's pencil-thin tablet was spectacular a year ago and it's still one of the top tablets to own even though it's been usurped by the newer iPad Air 2.

It's no slouch in performance thanks to the one-step-behind A7 processor and its 9.7-inch screen boasts the same 2048 x 1536-pixel resolution at 264 ppi. It's just not laminated.

That may be an okay compromise for a price that's $100 cheaper compared to the iPad Air's Touch ID-enabled and sub-pencil-thin successor.

In fact, you can find it iPad Air on sale for even cheaper at major retailers like Walmart. With the iOS 8 upgrade in place, there's no shame in going the "cheaper" $400 route.

Quick verdict

"It's not just Apple's best tablet, it's the only tablet you should be considering if you're keen on a larger screen." That's what we said in the verdict of our in-depth iPad Air review. While the Galaxy Tab S is a brilliant tablet, the Air just took things to the next level.

It may not quite be a match for the iPad Air 2, but the original iPad Air is still one of the very best tablets around and it's not even among the most expensive any more.

best tablet 2014 in the US

8. Google Nexus 7

The smallest tablet worth buying right now is the 7-inch Nexus 7 that came out in 2013. It's a small tablet that made big improvements over the Nexus 7 2012.

Even at just 0.57 lbs. (260g), it packs reasonable specs like a 1.5GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM and either 16GB or our suggested 32GB of internal storage.

The ASUS-made Nexus 7 barely fits into our American-made non-skinny jeans pocket, unlike its successor, the larger and Nexus 9 that has a boxier 4:3 aspect ratio.

Nexus 7 is 16:9, making its widescreen 1920 x 1200 display with 323 ppi ideal for everything from movies to games while on the go.

Update: It's not being sold by Google anymore, but you can buy Amazon's Nexus 7 deal for under $200 makes it compact in more ways than one.

Quick verdict

If you're considering a tablet now and are already dabbling in the Android ecosystem, we see no reason why shouldn't take the plunge with a Nexus 7, especially if you don't like the size (or price) of the Nexus 9.

If you haven't invested at all with Android, you're still in a good place to start. You could check out the iPad mini 2, which is advisable for those who have racked up a lot of App Store purchases, but it's still not as affordable as the Nexus 7.

7. Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2

best tablet 2014 in the US

From small to really, really big, the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 maximizes the display size spectrum among tablets, and too big for some people is just right for others.

The specs don't compromise either. A 2.3GHz quadcore processor, 3GB of RAM and S Pen make it productive for business as well as digital artists who values bright screens.

As the biggest tablet we've reviewed, the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 comes up short on build quality due to the larger chassis. But that's offset by the 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.

6. iPad mini 2

best tablet 2014 in the US

There's hardly a gap between the iPad mini 2 and iPad mini 3 features, and that's reflected in our best tablets of 2014 list, as both Apple two smaller slates are right next to each other.

What's the difference? Aside from the Touch ID, gold color and the lack of a 32GB model, the iPad mini 2 with a Retina display is identical, all the way down to iOS 8.

There's actually one other major "feature" increase: mini 2 is $100 cheaper than the mini 3. Most people can live without Apple's handy, but luxury fingerprint sensor on a tablet for that price.

Plus, you're more likely to find an iPad mini 2 $20 discount below the new $400 price. That's not going to happen for the iPad mini 3 until the iPad mini 4.

Quick verdict

The iPad mini 2 is almost flawless in so many ways. The rich App catalog mean it's a device that will grow with you, and the 64-bit A7 chip and Retina display are certainly future-proofing users from an outdated device.

Yes, it's older, but it's still a very usable device and offers access to a brilliant ecosystem for a lot less cash than before.