Keep taking the tablets
The best tablets for everybody and every budget
Tablets are among our very favourite devices. They’re fantastic all-rounders, capable of turning into glossy magazines or movie screens, children’s games or serious workhorses. And there’s never been a better time to buy one, whether you want a budget bargain or a high-end tablet for work.
Amazon’s Fire HD range offers exceptional value for money, with models starting at just £49 for the Fire 7 to £149 for the Fire HD 10. That’s less than half the price of Apple’s iPad, and Amazon offers big discounts on Fire tablets every time it has a big sales event. You can’t access the Apple or Google app stores but Amazon’s own App Store is very good, and there are models specifically for children, with features including tough protective cases and excellent parental controls, as well as a year’s free subscription to Amazon Kids books, games and TV shows.
The 500lb gorilla of the tablet world is Apple, whose iPads are arguably the best tablets around. The pick of the range for most people is the standard iPad at £319, but if you need more power the iPad Air (£579) and its smaller sibling the iPad mini (£479) are better still. And if you need the ultimate iPad, the iPad Pro starts at £749 for the 11-inch and £999 for the 12.9-inch.
If you’d rather have a Windows tablet, Microsoft’s Surface Pro (£995) is a real rival to the iPad Pro, while the more affordable Surface Go (£369) is an excellent alternative to the iPad and iPad Air. There are also lots of nice tablets and 2-in-1 laptop/tablet hybrids from the usual PC names.
Android tablets don’t have a great reputation – the cheap ones are usually awful – but Samsung’s tablets are up there with Apple in terms of quality. Our pick is the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite (£298), which is the best value Android tablet if you want to run apps from the Google Play store.
Amazon Fire HD 8
An ideal simple tablet for surfing on the sofa, its’s easy to use, has a good selection of apps including the big names, and doesn’t cost much.
Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids
Like the normal Fire HD, don’t pay full price for this kids’ tablet: Amazon discounts them when it has sales. The Kids edition includes a year’s free subscription to apps, e-books and TV shows.
Apple’s control of the hardware and software delivers an unparalleled user experience, making them the best tablets made right now. The basic iPad is fine for most.
Microsoft Surface Go 3
Prefer Windows to iPadOS? Microsoft’s excellent tablet running Windows 10/Windows 11 is fast, good-looking and very flexible.
Galaxy Tab S6 Lite
It’s not quite up to Apple standards in terms of software, but the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite is a good option if you’ve already invested in Android apps or just prefer Google’s way of doing things.