A solid, powerful slice of Android whose 3G smarts and expandable storage are tagged with a price that’s hard to resist
Small and light enough to take everywhere but big and clever enough to be considered a full-blooded tablet, the iPad Mini provides a near-perfect balance – for a price
A full HD display scores the Infinity the title of best Android slate from the Transformer Prime
A hi-res screen and Jelly Bean at a nice price but pixels aren't everything. The Nexus 10 hasn't done quite enough to knock out the iPad
Leaner and meaner than the Galaxy Note 10.1, this Samsung tab is asking for a little too much money for its multi-tasking smarts
Beautiful hardware, a good screen and useful extras give this the (w)edge over other Androids
Cool but compromised, novel but niche, the Surface is perhaps just a little too different to find a place in your life
We have ignition. Amazon has sparked up the budget tablet market with the scorchingly media-friendly Kindle Fire HD
If you put work before play, this tablet hybrid makes a practical alternative to a netbook
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
1. Operating system The OS determines how good a tablet’s interface is, what it’s compatible with and how many apps are available for it. iOS 6 is reliable and app-stuffed, but it's aging; Android 3.x and 4.x are solid; and the arrival of Windows 8 provides the full PC experience. Windows 8 RT slates only run Windows Store apps, while the standard Win 8 tabs are more like full-on PCs.
2. Processor Dual-core ARM processors such as Apple’s A5X and Nvidia's Tegra 2 are OK, but quad-core chips such as Tegra 3 are the future.
3. Size Screen dimensions and aspect ratios differ between devices, affecting how they crop video and how they are to hold – so try before you buy. Bigger is better for productivity, 7in is perfect for media.
4. Connectivity Wi-Fi and Bluetooth usually come as standard; SD card readers, USB ports and HDMI-out may not. 3G can prove pricey.