Best tablet 2016: they're bigger than your phone but smaller than your laptop!

We look at your iOS and Android options (because there are alternatives to the iPad, apparently)

Let's face it, tablets aren't the most exciting devices in the world of tech right now.

There's not that much innovation going on, and they're not exactly flying off the shelves. But most households in the UK still own one (or more), and buying a tab should be a big decision, because, unlike smartphones, which you'll likely replace after two years when the contract ends, your tablet will stick around for a lot longer.

Buying a tablet should be easy, but like everything there's a few key decisions that have to be made.

With companies such as Apple, Google, Samsung, Microsoft all taking different design directions. That's good, because it means there are some nice low prices, and there's no shortage of features and options. It is bad if you struggle to make a decision however.

That's where T3 comes in.

1. Apple iPad Air 2

Simply the best tablet around, don't even bother looking at the rest

Weight: 437g | Dimensions: 240x170x6.1mm | OS: iOS 8.2 | Screen size: 9.7 | Resolution: 2048x1536 | CPU: Apple A8X | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 16/64/128GB | Battery: 6470mAh | Rear camera: 5mp | Front camera: 1.2mp

Slimmer design
Super speedy processor
16GB is a little low on space
Not massive upgrade over iPad Air

No prizes for guessing the top spot. The iPad Air 2 is the best tablet ever created - and that's not us getting excited over an Apple product for the sake of it (before you accuse us of being paid by Apple). It's priced competitively, right in line with similar options from Samsung or Sony.

The battery life is more than acceptable, the camera has been upgraded (although, obviously we don't recommend you use it), and the screen upgrades genuinely make viewing web pages or videos on the go a joy. The best thing about it, however, has to be the design, it's premium build quality, and the 4x3 size ratio makes it just feel 'right' in the hand.

Read the full review: Apple iPad Air 2

2. Apple iPad Pro

We're gonna need a bigger boat...

Weight: 713g | Dimensions: 306x220x6.9mm | OS: iOS 9 | Screen size: 12.9 | Resolution: 2048x2732 | CPU: Apple A9X | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 32/128GB | Battery: 10307mAh | Rear camera: 8mp | Front camera: 1.2mp

Huge, beautiful screen
Apple Pencil support
Too big for some
Pricey compared to everything else

This may seem like a blown up iPad Air 2, and that's what it essentially is. The iPad Pro is largest tablet we've ever seen from Apple and it really is a monster. It has a 12.9-inch display that makes it a difficult to handle. So don't expect any one-handed action here (is anyone else hearing these innuendos?).

It does mean there's a big beautiful screen you can draw on with the Apple Pencil, and there's a huge 10,307mAh battery under the hood to keep this thing powered on for ages. Inside is an Apple A9X chip and 4GB of RAM. You can also get a huge 128GB of storage, but be warned it's going to cost you.

Read the full review: Apple iPad Pro

3. Google Pixel C

The best Android tablet right now, but that's not saying much

Weight: 517g | Dimensions: 242 x 179 x 7mm | OS: Android 6.0 Marshmallow | Screen size: 10.2-inch | Resolution: 2560 x 1800| CPU: Nvidia Tegra X1| RAM: 3GB | Storage: 64GB | Battery: N/A | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 2MP

Brilliant display
Premium design
Not optimised for keyboard
Battery could be better

Don't mistake the Google Pixel C for just another Nexus product. This is Google's chance to prove it can make incredible hardware without the help of another manufacturer. And it has done exactly that.

This is the best Android tablet you can buy right now. It's not exactly cheap at £399 and the keyboard costs an extra £119, but the whole experience is surprisingly great. It's got a very understated design that looks professional and stylish at the same time.

Read the full review: Google Pixel C

4. Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet

You can take Sony's amazing tablet into the bath with you

Weight: 389g | Dimensions: 254x167x6.1mm | OS: Android 5.0| Screen size: 10.1 | Resolution: 2560x1600 | CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 32GB | Battery: 6000mAh | Rear camera: 8.1mp | Front camera: 5.1mp

Gorgeous display
Strong battery life
Problematic UI
Only 32GB option

Sony's Z4 is easily the company's best tablet to date. Like a lot of Sony's phones and tablets it can take a splash in water too, in fact it can survive full submersion. Handy for tablets that are left around kids, or you want to use in wet places.

Even more impressive is the fact that you can connect it to your PS4 and play games over your home network. That's a pretty impressive feat, and while it needs a really good quality network, it's an amazing feature you just don't get on other devices that makes the Sony stand out. Oh, and the screen is beautiful too.

Read the full review: Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet

5. Apple iPad Mini 4

Once the king of tablets, but no longer the only choice

Weight: 299g | Dimensions: 203x134x6.1mm | OS: iOS 9 | Screen size: 7.9 | Resolution: 1536x2048 | CPU: Apple A8 | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 16/64/128GB | Battery: 5124mAh | Rear camera: 8mp | Front camera: 1.2mp

Thinner chassis
Great screen
Old chipset
Camera issues

It's not a huge surprise that Apple's smaller tablet is still one of the best on the market. Interestingly though, its high-end build quality causes it some problems, making it heavier than a lot of the plastic-bodied Android tablets out there.

It's ideal travel companion as it's easy to hold and just the right size for a decent gaming experience. Some people knocked the iPad Mini for not adding many features with the last iteration, but we'd say it's difficult to improve upon perfection. If you're after a small tablet, this is your choice.

Read the full review: iPad Mini 4

6. Samsung Galaxy Tab S2

A superb screen and lovely body - this is a brill Google tablet

Weight: 766g | Dimensions: 292 x 201 x 8.5mm | OS: Windows 10 | Screen size: 12.3-inch | Resolution: 2736 x 1824 | CPU: Intel Core M3 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 128GB | Battery: N/A | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 5MP

Thin and light
Strong performance
Average battery
Erratic fingerprint scanner

Samsung's latest attempt at a tablet is much better than we've ever seen the company do before. Even though the design isn't all that inspiring (but really, how can you make a tablet inspiring?), it offers a lot of high-end spec under the hood, and a gorgeous 9.7-inch screen up front.

This is the closest Android manufacturers have got to looking like the iPad Air 2 - which in our eyes is a massive compliment.

Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy Tab S2

7. Microsoft Surface Pro 4

Want Windows 10 instead? Well, if you must...

Weight: 766g | Dimensions: 292 x 201 x 8.5mm | OS: Windows 10 | Screen size: 12.3-inch | Resolution: 2736 x 1824 | CPU: Intel Core M3 | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 128GB | Battery: N/A | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 5MP

Size and weight
Large display
Type cover sold separately
Scuffs easily

Microsoft's Surface Pro 4 may look like the Surface Pro 3, but it's quite a different beast all together. Once again it can transform between laptop and tablet with ease (there's a simple detachable keyboard), but this time there are a lot of refinements to make the whole experience easier and more enjoyable.

The Surface Pro 4 won't come cheap and the type cover is sold separately - but this is more than a tablet. It's a laptop as well, so it's worth splashing out on it. It's two devices in one!

Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Pro 4

8. Google Nexus 9

Built by HTC and one of the nicest Nexus devices ever made

Weight: 425g | Dimensions: 228.2x153.7x8mm | OS: Android 5 | Screen size: 8.9 | Resolution: 2048x1536 | CPU: nVidia Tegra K1| RAM: 2GB | Storage: 16GB| Battery: 6700mAh | Rear camera: 8mp | Front camera: 1.2

Great speakers
4:3 aspect ratio
Below par display quality
Boring design

HTC brings its considerable expertise to the table with the Nexus 9. This tablet is solidly built and offers all of the niceties of a "Nexus" branded product. Put simply, this is a pure Android experience. There is no extra customisation here, this tablet survives on the Google Android experience. It's therefore ideal for enthusiasts who don't want, or need, to be guided through the OS.

The Nexus devices are also the first to get updated to the new versions of Android too, so there's none of that painful waiting to get new features.

Read the full review: Google Nexus 9