The 17 best tablet of 2015: what’s the best tablet to buy right now?

23 Apr 2015
Tiled tablets

Complete buyer's guide and chart of the best tablets 2015

Ask yourself the question "what's the best tablet?" and you're most likely to think of Apple's iPads first. It's understandable: Apple effectively created the tablet market with its original iPad back in 2010 and it hasn't looked back since.

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Coming soon - Microsoft Surface 3

Price: £419 inc VAT, 64GB Wi-Fi

best tablet Surface 3

Coming in May and priced from £419, Microsoft’s Surface 3 looks like the first version of the product genuinely capable of competing with the iPad and high-end Android tablets. Unlike the previous versions of the Surface, which used ARM processors and were based on Windows RT, Surface 3 runs Windows 8.1 (and will run Windows 10) and uses Intel’s low-power Atom.

Unlike the more expensive Surface Pro 3 the Surface will be available with built in LTE for connectivity when you’re out of Wi-Fi range, something which we have really appreciated on tablets like the iPad Air. This, coupled with the detachable keyboard, full Windows app support and expected build quality will make the Surface an option worth considering – as long as the Atom processor can handle the needs of Windows 8.1/10 while also delivering enough battery life to compete with more traditional low-power tablets.

17 best tablets of 2015

1. Apple iPad Air 2

Price when reviewed: £399 inc VAT, 16GB Wi-Fi

Apple iPad Air 2 review

Apple shaves a little off the thickness of its iPad Air 2, adds Touch ID and a new triple-core A8X processor, setting a new standard in the tablet market.

2. Nexus 7 (2013)

Price when reviewed: £199 inc VAT

Nexus 7 (2013)

An extraordinary compact tablet that improves on the original in almost every way, once again showing rivals how it's done.

3. iPad Air

Price: from £319 inc VAT

iPad Air

The iPad Air is now cheaper than ever, yet it's still a highly competent tablet. The 32GB version is an absolute bargain at £359.

4. Nexus 9

Price: from £319 inc VAT

Nexus 9 front view

The much-hyped Nexus 9 is a fast, featuring Google's latest Anroid update, and it has a bright, super-high resolution display, but it just falls short of greatness.

5. Apple iPad mini 2

Price: £239 inc VAT, 16GB Wi-Fi

Apple iPad Mini 2 with Retina Display

A major upgrade to the original iPad mini, with a top-notch Retina display and fast processor. The result is a superb compact tablet, that's even better value now that the barely different iPad mini 3 has pushed the price down to £239.

6. Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet

Price when reviewed: £399 inc VAT

Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet

An excellent display and superb battery life make Sony's tablet the best of the Android bunch.

7. Bush MyTablet 8

Price when reviewed: £100 inc VAT

The age of low-cost Windows tablets is upon us. A potent quad-core Atom processor, 32GB of storage and a good quality 8in IPS screen make for one of the most affordable and competent budget Windows tablets yet.

8. Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5

Price when reviewed: £329 inc VAT

Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5

Stupendously good hardware, but lags narrowly behind the Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet as our Android tablet of choice.

9. Sony Xperia Tablet Compact

Price when reviewed: £329

Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact - an incredibly slim and light tablet

Sony's super-skinny Z3 Tablet Compact is so thin and light we mistook it for a 7in tablet at first. In fact, it has an 8in display, and a top-quality 1,200 x 1,920 resolotion one at that. All-round, this is the best compact Android tablet on the market right now - but it's a a little on the pricey side.

10. Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4

Price when reviewed: £319 inc VAT

best compact tablets

A great, if pricey, compact tablet, with a top-quality screen, fast performance and superb battery life. There’s no doubt that the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 is an excellent Android tablet, but there are too many little niggles to secure a place on the podium.

11. Microsoft Surface Pro 3

Price: from £639 inc VAT

Microsoft Surface Pro 3

The Surface Pro 3 represents a confident step towards the best-possible hybrid device. It still isn’t brilliant in every scenario, but it feels considerably less compromised than the previous generations.

12. Toshiba Encore

Price when reviewed: £200 inc VAT

Toshiba Encore

The first compact Windows 8 tablet we'd seriously consider buying, packing in usable performance and a generous software bundle for a very tempting price.

13. Kindle Fire HDX 7in

Price when reviewed: £199 inc VAT

Amazon Kindle Fire HDX

A lovely piece of hardware, but the Nexus 7 is almost as good, boasts more features and is more flexible.

14. Kindle Fire HDX 8.9in

Price when reviewed: £329 inc VAT

Amazon Kindle Fire HDX

The Amazon Kindle Fire started life as a smaller cheaper alternative to the iPad, but with the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9in, it's now a serious rival.

15. Asus Transformer Book T100

Price when reviewed: £349 inc VAT

Asus Transformer Book T100

Thanks to Intel's new Atom CPU, the Transformer Book T100 delivers full Windows 8.1 in a tiny, affordable package. As a tablet or laptop, this hybrid remains a real bargain.

16. Tesco Hudl2

Price when reviewed: £129 inc VAT

Tesco hudl2 review

Tesco’s budget wonder takes a huge step forward from last year's model, with an attractive new design and a larger, brighter, higher-resolution 8.3in screen. Pound for pound, it's among the best tablet deals around, particularly since Tesco dropped the price to £99.

17. Asus MemoPad 7 ME572C

Price when reviewed: £150 inc VAT

Asus MemoPad 7 ME572C from the front

Asus' budget compact is a little more expensive than the Tesco Hudl 2, and the screen is an inch smaller, but in some ways it makes a more sensible choice. It's faster, for a start, but the big advantage is superior battery life. A good alternative as long as you don't mind spending a touch extra.

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