Stuff Gadget Awards 2014: The Apple iPad Air 2 is the Tablet of the Year

Apple's second SkinnyTab does what the first one did, and triumphs over the tablet competition
The 6 best tablets of 2014 - Stuff Gadget Awards

Tablets have been around for long enough now that the market has matured and fragmented.

No longer are they all just 9.7in rectangles running iOS - they're 12in rectangles running Windows 8 and 8.3in rectangles running Android for less than RM500 and 10.5in rectangles with ridiculously sharp screens and 8in rectangles which can play proper PC games and... well, you get the idea.

But despite all this choice, our favourite tablet still ended up being... a 9.7in rectangle running iOS. Namely, the Apple iPad Air 2. Oh well, maybe next year something will truly step up to challenge it. Until then, it's still the one to beat.

READ MORE: Click here to see all of the Stuff Gadget Award 2014 winners

Winner: Apple iPad Air 2

The 6 best tablets of 2014 - Stuff Gadget Awards

Having been left behind in the race 
for smartphone superiority, Apple 
is determined not to let its tablet 
crown topple – and the iPad Air 2 is a pretty good way of holding it up.

The adjectives are the same: slimmer, lighter and, er, screenier, but as usual, the Air 2 is greater than the sum of its extremely lightweight parts.

New screen tech means it’s less reflective and easier to eyeball, making it better for everything from reading to movie-watching and editing, plus the addition of TouchID saves you seconds, which can be 
saved up over time and used to 
reply to Android fanboys on the 
internet. Here’s a sample response: 
the best has just got better.

READ MORE: Apple iPad Air 2 review 

Runner up: Asus Transformer Book T100

The 6 best tablets of 2014 - Stuff Gadget Awards

Asus had already nailed the Android-hybrid-tablet thing with its various Transformer devices - now it's done the same for Windows 8. The 10.1in Transformer Book T100 comes with an excellent keyboard and more than enough power to run proper Windows software - all of which makes the dream of running full Photoshop on a tablet a reality.

READ MORE: Asus Transformer Book T100 review

Runner up: Microsoft Surface Pro 3

The 6 best tablets of 2014 - Stuff Gadget Awards

Is it a tablet or is it a laptop? Truth is, the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is both. But incredibly - and thankfully - it makes no compromise on either front. As a tablet, it's supremely powerful, with a choice of Intel Core i3, i5 or i7 processor, up to 12GB of RAM and as much as 512GB of SSD storage. It runs full-fat Windows 8 software, has a big, attractive 12in screen and comes with a truly useful pen accessory. Oh, and it's a great laptop too.

READ MORE: Microsoft Surface Pro 3 review

Runner up: Nvidia Shield Tablet

The 6 best tablets of 2014 - Stuff Gadget Awards

The Shield is the ultimate gaming tablet - an 8in monster that runs on Nvidia's own super-powerful Tegra K1 processor. Frankly, it destroys any Android game currently available, but that's hardly a problem as you'll be too busy streaming the latest titles to it straight from your gaming PC. With no lag. Very impressive.

READ MORE: Nvidia Shield Tablet review 

 

Runner up: Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5

The 6 best tablets of 2014 - Stuff Gadget Awards

One of the very best Android tablets yet, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 is a real all-rounder. A stunning 2560x1600 screen that demands to be stared at is the headline feature, but the fact that it also has a slim, attractive build, great battery life, bags of software tricks and an excellent camera means the iPad's finally got a true rival.

READ MORE: Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 review 

Runner up: Tesco Hudl 2

The 6 best tablets of 2014 - Stuff Gadget Awards

The Hudl 2 could be subtitled 'The cheap tablet that's actually really good'. Because it is. It has a full HD screen with pin-sharp 273ppi display, fast quad-core processor, plenty of RAM and even that rarity in tablets, a microHDMI socket. And it's available for £130. £130! That's less than a cinema ticket these days. Incredible.

READ MORE: The best cheap tablets - reviewed

READ MORE: Click here to see all of the Stuff Gadget Award 2014 winners