6. Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1

What's better than a tablet with a big screen? A tablet with a big screen, a quad core processor and the might of the S Pen, known as a stylus to me and you.

Well, not just a stylus - with many levels of pressure sensitivity and the ability to easily sketch and annotate on a wide range of items, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 offers so much more than your average tablet.

We're huge fans of the alternative choice here, and it even comes with a microSD slot to boot. Android 4.1 is landing on it at the moment, and comes with a Premium Suite update, designed to make multi-tasking and general use that much easier.

The Note is $499 and $549 for its 16GB and 32GB versions.

Quick verdict

Sure, it's a bit expensive, the screen quality is lower than we've seen from Samsung in the past and the build quality somewhat lower than the competition, but this is still a fabulous tablet that many workers constantly forced to use a paper and pen will love to try out.

7. Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0

Galaxy Note 8.0

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 has some great things going for it. For example, it's light. Very light. So while it's a bit big to hold in one hand with your fingers wrapped around the sides (you end up holding it like a book), it's a pleasure to not have to keep swapping paws like with some other devices.

At 338g, it's two grams lighter than the Nexus 7 and about 30 heavier than the iPad Mini. Size-wise, it measures 210.8 x 135.9 x 8mm. At 800 x 1,280 pixels spread over 8 inches, you get a density of 189ppi which is higher than the 163ppi given by the iPad mini over a fractionally smaller screen.

This makes it pretty good for looking at most things - especially because Samsung devices often offer vivid color representation. However, it pales into insignificance compared to the 216ppi we get on Google's Nexus 7.

Quick verdict

It's ideal for anyone who thinks 10.1 inches is just slightly too big for a tablet, but also finds 7-inch options a tad too small. A great screen and premium features across the board make it a superb option.

However, we're a bit disappointed that Samsung doesn't seem as concerned with this device as other tablets in its stable, as it's only just getting Android 4.0: Ice Cream Sandwich, while the next level of Android is landing on other devices.

8. Asus Transformer Pad 300

Asus Transformer Pad 300

The Transformer Pad 300 offers up the power of a quad-core Tegra 3 processor, a 10.1-inch display and 12 hour battery life in a device that's cheaper than the Transformer Prime.

Running Android Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box, it's a bit behind the times, but Asus is keeping up with its reputation for being one of the best to support its older devices.

However, the price difference is noticeable when it comes to the materials used to build the 300, with its plastic body not feeling as premium or solid as the more expensive Prime – that said, the Transformer Pad 300 is still a great tablet.

Quick verdict

Individual needs and budget will determine if the Asus Transformer Pad TF300 is right for you, but we applaud Asus for marrying value and performance, and the TF300 comes highly recommended.

9. Asus Transformer Prime

Asus Transformer Prime

Asus wowed us when it launched its Eee Pad Transformer TF101, and with the Transformer Prime it managed to go one better.

The Transformer Prime packs a mighty 1.3GHz quad-core processor into a super-slim chassis and although it shipped with Android 3.2, the Prime was the first Android tab to receive the upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich, and it's now been confirmed to be getting an update to Android 4.2 in the near future.

That huge processor means using the Transformer Prime is a breeze, able to process Full HD movies and multiple apps with ease.

You also get a super-crisp 10.1-inch IPS display (1280 x 800), a surprisingly good 8MP camera capable of recording 1080p video, and 32GB of internal storage, with a microSD card slot available if you need more space.

Quick verdict

It's a close run battle, but the Transformer Prime just edges out the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 with its super fast Tegra 3 quad-core processor, slender style and additional keyboard dock.

It's starting to age compared to the newer versions, especially the Transformer Prime Infinity, but it's still one of our favorite tablets around... and the price has been dropping to reflect that.

10. Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

Back in the day the Galaxy Tab 10.1 offered a direct alternative to Apple's iPad 2 - however times have moved on since then and this Samsung slate can no longer compete at the top.

Sporting the Tegra 2 dual-core CPU, it's both marginally thinner and lighter than the iPad. This was some achievement, especially when you consider the fuss Apple made about how thin and light the iPad 2 was on launch.

It's also had a tasty price drop to less than $400 in most stores, which means that while it might not have the specs of the top-table lot, it's still got a decent amount of grunt and a quality screen, making a strong proposition as a present for someone who 'just wants a tablet'.

Quick verdict

As an out-and-out tablet, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is still a great device with decent performance and good portability. This tablet is lighter and thinner than the iPad 2, so unless that keyboard dock of Asus' Transformers is a serious draw for you, this is one to consider.