The best tablets of 2016 have maximized the mobile experience with larger displays, from Apple’s large-and-in-charge iPad Pro and to Android’s-powered Google Nexus and Samsung slates.
All of our top picks posses even more versatility. Tablets for work by day, then have to be able to turn into primary sources of entertainment 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 the first half of 2016 than years past.
We’ve made it easy for you and pulled together the best tablets of the moment available right now.
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Price plays a part, as does age: a tablet that’s been replaced by a sequel will tumble down the rankings as you can get all the great features on a better slate.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.
Let us know your thoughts on the top 10 (and whether you think we’ve got the order wrong) in the comment box below.
1. iPad Pro 9.7
A brilliant tablet that brings power to portability
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
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 four 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
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
3. Samsung Galaxy Tab S2
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
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.
Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy Tab S2
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
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 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
Improved lightweight design
Keyboard dock included
The Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet is the best option for PS4 owners as 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.
Read the full review: Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
6. iPad Pro
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
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 pro’s, this is the best tablet out there and for some it’s more than capable of replacing a laptop.
Read the full review: iPad Pro
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
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.
Read the full review: Nexus 9
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
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
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.
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
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. The best part is this is now cheaper thanks to the release of the iPad Pro 9.7. 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
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 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.
Best tablets upcoming in 2016
If you’re not quite ready to part with your cash, then take a look at the slates which will be coming out this year. A few have launched but we’re waiting for them to come in for review before seeing if they make it into the top 10, while others are based on rumours but we feel confident they will arrive in 2016.
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
Good use of Windows 10
The Samsung Galaxy TabPro S was unvieled at the very start of 2016 and boasts a great screen, solid build and Windows 10 – but you can’t buy it just yet. It’s an odd device, but one that works better than we expected it to. The keyboard dock isn’t great, with a cramped mouse and keys which aren’t the easiest to type on – but over all Samsung’s made a solid Windows slate.
Read our hands on review: Samsung Galaxy TabPro S
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
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.
Read the full review: Huawei MateBook
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 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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