It’s been another stellar year for tablets, but which one is best suited to your needs?
Tesco canned its hugely popular budget Android range, the Hudl. Apple decided not to refresh its best-selling 9.7inch iPad Air, but instead released a large-screen productivity tablet, the iPad Pro. Meanwhile, Microsoft has doubled-down on its effort to convince consumers to swap their traditional laptops for a convertible two-in-one tablet device.
But which of these 2015 tablets should you pickup? Express.co.uk has rounded up the Top 5 Tablets of 2015 –
Best 2015 Tablet For Productivity – Microsoft Surface Pro 4
After four iterations of the Surface Pro formula, Microsoft has finally cracked it.
The Surface Pro 3 proved that you could replace your laptop with a two-in-one tablet, but theSurface Pro 4 is the device you want to replace your tablet.
It’s svelte and lightweight but packs powerful laptop-like internals and a vibrant, pixel-packed touchscreen display.
The full Windows 10 desktop operating system, USB 3.0 port, microSD card reader and Mini DisplayPort mean this device is endlessly flexible and productive, even with the most memory-intensive professional apps.
Microsoft has kept the same industrial design as last year, but simply refined the formula
A lack of compelling tablet apps and the 3:2 aspect ratio mean the device stumbles in portrait
The Surface Pen is slick and accurate – and now has a universal in-app eraser on the tip
Its also worth noting that the Surface Pro 4 isn’t a great tablet. The Windows App Store still lacks the blockbuster indie titles that populate the Google Play and Apple App Store.
But no other 2015 tablet can match the Surface Pro’s flexibility and raw power.
Without a doubt, the Surface Pro 4 is the best hardware ever shipped by Microsoft.
Best 2015 Tablet For Android – Google Pixel C
The Google Pixel C is easily the best Android tablet you can buy, right now.
Svelte and stylish, the Pixel C is a meagre 7mm thick but feels solid in the hand, thanks to the anodised aluminium frame.
Google has packed a pair of stereo speakers into the thin chasis, alongside a new USB Type C port for data transfers and fast-charging and a standard 3.5mm headphone port.
But the star of the show is the eye-watering 10.2inch display.
The Pixel C magnetically attaches to the hinge on the £119 keyboard
The anodised aluminium frame is lightweight but feels solid in the hand
It’s not a workhorse, but the Pixel C is still a phenomenal tablet
The playful and colourful visuals in Android 6.0 Marshmallow shine on this bright, vibrant and pin-sharp display.
And because the Pixel C is built by Google, it will get the latest updates and security patches as soon as they ares available – unlike products from manufacturers like Samsung or HTC.
Powering the Pixel C is a 64-bit Nvidia Tegra X1 coupled with 3GB of RAM. Predictably, this keeps the tablet smooth and responsive – even when it’s required to do some heavy lifting.
At £399 for 32GB of internal storage, the Pixel C is not the cheapest Android tablet available. Google also sells an optional £119 keyboard, which attaches to the tablet via a solid hinge and some strong magnets.
The Pixel team has built a staggeringly good chiclet QWERTY keyboard that’s fast and enjoyable to use.
Unfortunately it’s not quite full size, although Google has slimmed down many of the symbol and function keys – like @ and TAB – to keep the letter keys as close to full-size as possible for this 10.2inch tablet.
This takes a little getting used to – but this is unmistakably a brilliant keyboard. Unfortunately the keyboard does not transform the Pixel C into a laptop replacement, like the Surface Pro.
Android OS still doesn’t support split-screen which immediately limits your productivity when compared to the its main rivals.
The Pixel C is a flawless writing machine, thanks to the brilliant Google Docs app and accurate and enjoyably clicky keyboard.
But attempt to do anything more involved and the frustrations of Android Marshmallow will have you reaching for your laptop once again.
The Pixel C is a brilliant tablet – and the solid keyboard is a great bonus.
But this killer accessory does not transform the Pixel C into a post-PC laptop replacement. It simply makes typing on the Pixel C much more enjoyable.
Best Small Screen 2015 Tablet – Samsung Galaxy Tab S2
Samsung has pulled it out of the bag with this svelte, eight-inch beauty.
The tablet – which is just small enough to use one-handed – is lightning fast, powerful and packs a bonkers battery life.
Samsung has fitted a gorgeous 2048 x 1536 eight-inch Super AMOLED display to the device that shines, whether you’re working in Microsoft Word or watching the latest blockbuster from Google Play Movies.
If you can handle the price tag and TouchWiz interface, the Gear S2 is an awesome device
The protruding rear camera makes the device wobble, when placed on a flat surface
The eight-inch Super AMOLED screen is one of the best money can buy
The protruding camera module – which makes the device rock when its on its back – is a glaring flaw in the otherwise sleek industrial design.
And at £319, the pricey eight-inch Galaxy Tab S2 might turn some people off.
But if you can swallow the price tag and the Samsung TouchWiz OS, this is a stunning little tablet for work and play.
Best 2015 Tablet For People On A Budget – Amazon Fire Tablet
Tesco this summer confirmed it had “no plans” to continue its hugely popular budget tablet – the Hudl.
The hugely popular Android tablet is now sold-out in the majority of Tesco stores – but what can fill its place as the best budget tablet?
Enter the Amazon Fire.
The Amazon Fire has a stellar build quality – especially for its £49 asking price
The budget tablet packs an impressive seven-inch IPS display
Amazon Fire runs on FireOS which is clean and simple to use – if a little undeveloped
The tablet runs on Amazon’s own Android-based operating system, FireOS. It’s clean and simple to use, but honestly, FireOS isn’t anywhere near as attractive or feature-packed as alternatives from Google and Apple.
And whilst the Amazon Fire has a jaw-droppingly low £49 price tag, tablet owners will have to put up with a slew of adverts from the online retailer filling up your lockscreen.
That means every time you hit the power button, your screensaver will be replaced by a bumper advert for the latest app, game or Amazon online service.
Granted, these advertisements are a small price to pay for such a well-built budget tablet – and for £49, you really won’t find anything else as well-built or functional as the Amazon Fire.
Best Overall 2015 Tablet – Apple iPad Air 2
Apple is credited with popularising tablets – and the Cupertino company still dominates the category.
Over the years Apple has slowly refined and tweaked its award-winning tablet formula – and the result of all that work is the iPad Air 2.
In fact, the technology firm is so chuffed with its 9.7inch tablet that it chose not to update it this year.
Apple has refined and honed its award-winning iPad formula – and the iPad Air 2 is the result
Apple has packed an eye-watering 264 pixels-per-inch display fitted into a lightweight 6.1mm frame
And if you want to indulge in some tablet photography, Apple has packed an eight-megapixel iSight camera capable of shooting 1080p video, slow-motion footage at 120 fps and sweeping 43MP panoramas.
Touch ID brings biometric security to your tablet and in-app purchases, too. And iOS 9 has some clever multi-tasking features which allows you to run two apps side-by-side, or watch a video within another app.
Apple has also bundled its M8 Motion Coprocesser in the tablet, which continuously measures data from the accelerometer, compass, gyroscope and barometer to keep you informed about your activity throughout the day.
Coupled with an App Store brimming with the best dedicated tablet apps available (Microsoft released a touch-based version of Office 365 on iPad before its own Surface range!) and the support security blanket of the Genius Bar, the iPad range is still miles ahead of the competition. Even if it is a year older!