Best tablet 2018: from slim and sexy media tablets to productivity powerhouses

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

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If you're looking for the very best tablet to buy, get Apple's 10.5-inch iPad Pro. It's the ultimate combination of premium design, specifications, paired with powerful software and an unrivalled ecosystem of accessories and apps.

The best thing about it, has to be the design but there's a lot more going for it including the powerful specs, decent battery life and versatility. The breadth of accessories (including the awesome Apple Pencil) is quite something, too.

If you don't want the iPad Pro, but don't worry - has you covered with a number of other brilliant tabs to suit your needs.

How to choose the best tablet for you

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 bear with us, because most households in the UK still own one (or more), and buying a tab should be a big decision, because, unlike smartphones, your tablet will stick around for longer than two years. So what should you look out for in a tablet?

A great screen is a start, as that's what you'll be staring at most of the time, great speakers are also important, as these are devices primarily used for consuming media.

Key features to look out for include water resistance (so you can watch Netflix in the bath), and a MicroSD slot to fill up with plenty of media. If you're planning on using the tab for work a physical keyboard or stylus could be useful.

Now, you may notice that our three top tablets are iPads, that's because we think iOS is much better suited to larger screens than Android, and the app ecosystem is much better. Of course, we have the best choices for Android users as well.

Here are 7 of the best tablets you can buy today

Best tablet 2018

1. Apple iPad Pro 10.5

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

Weight: 469g
Dimensions: 250.6x174.1x6.1mm
OS: iOS 10
Screen size: 10.5
Resolution: 1668x2224
CPU: Apple A10X Fusion
Storage: 64/256/512GB
Battery: approx 8,800mAh
Rear camera: 12MP
Front camera: 7MP
Reasons to buy
+Premium design+Super speedy processor
Reasons to avoid
-Pricey-Over-specced for some

No prizes for guessing the top spot. The iPad Pro 10.5 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). Yes, it's expensive, but for that money you're getting one of the most versatile tablets available.

Read the full review: Apple iPad Pro 10.5

The battery life is more than acceptable, the camera has been massively 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. 

2. Apple iPad 9.7 (2018)

The new iPad got better and cheaper

Weight: 469g
Dimensions: 240x169.5x7.5mm
OS: iOS 11
Screen size: 9.7
Resolution: 2048x1536
CPU: Apple A10 Fusion
RAM: Unknown
Storage: 32/128GB
Battery: Unknown
Rear camera: 8MP
Front camera: 1.2MP
Reasons to buy
+Great value+Sufficiently powerful
Reasons to avoid
-Weak speakers-Camera not amazing

If the iPad Pro 10.5 is a little too pricey and over-specced for your needs, you can always go with the brilliant non-Pro iPad.

For its price, we think the iPad 9.7 is an excellent buy. It’s the VW Golf of tablets: you can go cheaper and get something that works great, but miss out on the level of quality, reliability and finish; you can get something flashier and more powerful, but for a lot more money.

Adding an Apple Pencil for note-taking does increase the price significantly (it costs £89), but even then it’s still about £100 cheaper than the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3, which is the same size, and comes with a stylus. The Tab S3 has an HDR display and strong quad speakers, but we’d still take the iPad at that price difference.

Read the full review: New Apple iPad (2018)

Adding a TrueTone screen and stereo speakers would make it more of a killer product but as it is, Apple still makes the mid-range tablet to beat. It’s sure to continue to dominate its market, even if owners of iPads from the last few years have little reason to upgrade. Why buy anything else?

Best tablet 2018

3. Apple iPad Pro 12.9

The best large tablet

Weight: 677g
Dimensions: 305.7x220.6x6.9mm
OS: iOS 10
Screen size: 12.9
Resolution: 2732x2048
CPU: Apple A10X Fusion
Storage: 64/256/512GB
Battery: 10307mAh
Rear camera: 12MP
Front camera: 7MP
Reasons to buy
+Huge, beautiful screen+Apple Pencil support
Reasons to avoid
-Too big for some-Again, could be over-specced

This may seem like a blown up iPad, and, well, that's what it essentially is. The iPad Pro is the 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?)

Read the full review: Apple iPad Pro

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 A10X Fusion chip and 4GB of RAM. You can also get a huge 512GB of storage, but be warned it's going to cost you.

Best tablet 2018

4. Apple iPad Mini 4

The best small tablet

Weight: 299g
Dimensions: 203x134x6.1mm
OS: iOS 9
Screen size: 7.9
Resolution: 1536x2048
CPU: Apple A8
Storage: 16/64/128GB
Battery: 5124mAh
Rear camera: 8MP
Front camera: 1.2MP
Reasons to buy
+Thinner chassis+Great screen
Reasons to avoid
-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.

Read the full review: iPad Mini 4

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.

Best tablet 2018

5. Samsung Galaxy Tab S3

The best Android tablet you can get

Weight: 429g
Dimensions: 237.3 x 169 x 6mm
OS: Android 7.0 (Nougat)
Screen size: 9.7-inches
Resolution: 1536 x 2048 pixels
CPU: Snapdragon 820
Storage: 32GB
Battery: 6000mAh
Rear camera: 13MP
Front camera: 5MP
Reasons to buy
+Thin and light+Strong performance
Reasons to avoid
-Average battery-Erratic fingerprint scanner

Samsung's latest attempt at a tablet is much better than any Android attempt we've ever seen 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, and the brilliant S Pen for precise note-taking.

Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy Tab S3

This is the closest Android manufacturers have got to an iPad Pro competitor - which in our eyes is a massive compliment.


Who said a tablet can't replace your laptop?

Weight: 768g
Dimensions: 292x201x8.5mm
OS: Windows 10 Pro
Screen size: 12.3-inches
Resolution: 2736x1824
CPU: Intel Core m3, i5 or i7
RAM: 4/8/16GB
Storage: 128/256/512GB or 1TB
Battery: up to 13.5 hours video playback
Rear camera: 8MP
Front camera: 5MP
Reasons to buy
+Built-in kickstand+Full Windows experience+Surface Pen support
Reasons to avoid

After years in the doldrums, Microsoft's versatile tablet is finally being taken seriously, The Surface Pro (2017) is the company's best tablet yet, partly thanks to its bright and clear display, slim dimensions and Intel Core-series processors under the hood. 

Microsoft has finally paired it with a decent keyboard cover that helps, rather than hinders typing, and the Surface Pen feels smoother and more accurate to use than ever before. 

If you're after a lightweight tablet that converts into a laptop, the Surface Pro is the best-designed device out there.

Best tablet 2018

7. Google Pixel C

A pretty decent tablet form Google

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
Storage: 64GB
Battery: N/A
Rear camera: 8MP
Front camera: 2MP
Reasons to buy
+Brilliant display+Premium design
Reasons to avoid
-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.

Read the full review: Google Pixel C

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.