Tablet or Phone: Which should you choose?

Are tablets taking your fancy? Well there certainly is plenty of choice available these days, from affordable, small size slates to larger tablets which offer you everything under the sun - for a cost.

One of the biggest differences between tablets is the OS, with Android and Windows gracing numerous slates and iOS 8 featuring on iPads.

iOS 8 is the easiest to grasp for first time users with its system built around quickly accessing apps, and everything being on screen.

Android is far more open, with manufacturers putting on their own user interfaces, although these can be changed with third party apps on the Play Store.

Windows 8 is more of a compromise between tablet and laptop, being able to cover those that need something for work, and apps for those that want to sit on the sofa and mess around.

The iPads

If you're looking for the complete package look no further than the iPad Air 2. It certainly has a lot to shout about, from a superb design to a fluid, intuitive operating system, powerful innards and a stunning 9.7-inch display.

Building upon the work done by last year's iPad Air, the Air 2 is perhaps the best tablet available right now. However issues still remain with its price. With the basic 16GB Wi-Fi model costing £399, skyrocketing all the way up to £659 for the full spec version (128GB of internal storage and 4G connectivity) you'll certainly need deeps pockets.

The impressive iPad Air

For those of you who have their heart set on a full size iPad, but simply can't afford the Air 2, Apple still sells the original iPad Air, with the 16GB Wi-Fi only version rocking a slightly more palatable £319 price tag.

iPad Air 2

Apple also sells three different iPad minis, the latest iPad mini 3 also starts at £319 and comes complete with proprietary TouchID technology. Both the iPad mini 2 and iPad mini are available from £239 and £199 respectively.

Sub £200

At the complete opposite end of the scale to Apple's premium offerings are a range of super cheap slates looking to give you the core tablet experience without the cost.

It's worth being cautious at this end as low price can sometimes mean low quality - we advise you steer clear of the Argos MyTablet, for example, but the £129 Tesco Hudl 2 is excellent value for money with its decent 8.3-inch display and powerful components.

If you can stretch your budget a little further you'll be even more pleased with the basic Amazon Kindle Fire HDX (from £149) or the Windows toting Linx 7 (from under £80).

Hudl 2

The moral of the story at the very low end of the tablet market is; do your homework. There are some great deals to be had, just make sure you're not buying something you'll regret almost immediately.

You can sometimes pick up older tablets at relatively low prices, as the technology powering them is a year or two old, like last year's Nexus 7 (from £169). These tablets can provide a good return for your money, although you may have to trade off on an older operating system and the possibility of no support or future updates.

Screen increase

Larger screens tend to cost a little more, but there is generally an added bonus of higher all rounds specs, including faster processors and longer battery life.

If you're planning on doing a lot of web browsing or watching a lot of movies, the added screen real estate can prove invaluable. Screen resolution also becomes increasingly important as screen sizes grow.

Another area that will need a look at is the processor, as there are varying single, dual and quad-core processors, each with different RAM and GPU sizes. We should also mention caution over internal storage, as many tablets don't offer microSD support and cloud storage will require a data connection.

A greater number of cores means a faster speed, perfect if you do a lot of multi-tasking, gaming or movie watching, while the GPU helps with all the graphical processing, which is most prominent in games.

Xperia Z3 Compact

Tablets are generally media consumption devices; their large screens make them ideal for reading and watching movies. That doesn't mean they can't be used for content creation, though.

If you fancy a slightly larger screen, but still want your tablet to be relatively portable, take a look at the 9-inch Nexus 9, 8.4-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab S or 8-inch Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact - all offering direct competition to the iPad mini 3 at slightly lower price points.

Full size

Are there any tablets which can take on the iPad Air 2 at the top of market, or are you just stuck with Apple's expensive, yet stunning slate? The good news is that there are, and one of the best examples is the Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet.

Its full HD, 10.1-inch Triluminos display is fantastic and at just 6.4mm thick it's the slimmest 10-inch tablet on the market, as well as being rather lightweight too (only 439g). It also has a microSD slot to expand your storage options by a further 64GB - a rare option

This makes the Xperia Z2 Tablet very easy to hold for long periods of time - perfect for a movie marathon - while also making it surprisingly portable for such a larger tablet - it does, however, cost upwards of £359.

Xperia Z2 Tablet

Let's not forget the South Korean giant too, with Samsung's Galaxy Tab S providing both Sony and Apple with some stiff competition. It comes with a 10.5-inch Super AMOLED screen and superb battery life and still comes in cheaper than the iPad.

Microsoft Surface Pro 3

Tablets are slowly replacing laptops, but there are some activities that demand a keyboard, which is where the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 or the cheaper Asus Transformer Pad TF103 come into play.

Both come with detachable keyboards to allow for easier text input, ideal if you're likely to be tapping away a lot of emails, with the Surface Pro 3 sporting the added benefit of full Windows 8.1 - the same version in laptops and desktop pcs.