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Five best tablets available in 2018

While there are nowhere near as many tablets to choose from as smartphones, there is still a large number, and a lot of factors to consider.

Do you want iOS, Android or Windows? Do you want it more for productivity or entertainment? Do you want a big screen or small? And how much are you prepared to spend?

Whatever your answers to those questions there’ll be a tablet for you, and your best option is likely one of the five in this list, which covers every major category.

Among the best tablets you’ll find the flagship iPad Pro 10.5, the classy Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 and the powerful Microsoft Surface Pro. Read on to find out where they rank, and whether they’re right for you.

5. iPad mini 4

iPad Mini 4

The iPad Mini 4 is Apple’s latest compact slate, and it’s also the company’s best. In fact, it’s arguably the best small tablet from any company.

It’s got all the core features you’d expect from an iPad Mini, including a crisp 7.9-inch screen and a premium metal build, but it’s also powerful, thanks to its Apple A8 processor, and it has flagship features like a Touch ID fingerprint scanner.

Plus, of course, it runs iOS 12, giving you access to the best selection of tablet apps and games around. It is getting on a bit now, but that just means it’s the cheapest it has ever been.

4. Samsung Galaxy Tab S4

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4

As with phones, Samsung is one of the few companies that can compete with Apple when it comes to tablets, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 is its best attempt yet.

It S Pen stylus, optional keyboard and 10.5-inch screen make the Galaxy Tab S4 a very similar prospect to the iPad Pro 10.5, found further down this list.

But Samsung’s slate is arguably even more versatile, thanks to a DeX mode that turns your interface into one like you’d find on a PC.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 also has a 1,600 x 2,560 Super AMOLED screen, for bright, vibrant visuals, plus stereo speakers, a premium metal and glass build and even an iris scanner. It’s not quite as good as the iPad Pro 10.5 overall, thanks to being less powerful and having access to fewer tablet-optimised apps, but it’s still a great choice if you’re not into Apple.

3. Microsoft Surface Pro

Microsoft Surface Pro

The Microsoft Surface Pro is actually the fifth generation of Microsoft’s Surface Pro range, but confusingly skips out on the number.

Confusing name aside, there’s a lot to like here, from a long-lasting battery and PC-level power, to its big 12.3-inch screen, masses of storage, decent keyboard and optional Surface Pen, for the artistically inclined and those who prefer to write notes by hand.

Given the specs, the keyboard and the fact that this runs Windows 10, the Microsoft Surface Pro is as much a laptop as a tablet, which means that unlike most slates this is a genuinely good device for getting work done on. But it’s also good – if slightly overkill - for media and web browsing.

2. iPad 9.7 (2018)

Apple iPad 9.7

The iPad 9.7 (2018) is a cheaper alternative to the iPad Pro range, offering plenty of power, a stylish metal build and a decent 9.7-inch 1536 x 2048 screen.

It also supports the Apple Pencil if you feel like getting creative, but for real productivity an iPad Pro is still the better option.

Still, if you most just want a slate for apps and media then the iPad 9.7 is a great choice and far more affordable than Apple’s flagship offering.

1. iPad Pro 10.5

Apple iPad Pro 10

The iPad Pro 10.5 is arguably both Apple’s best tablet and the best tablet money can buy from any company.

There are a number of reasons for that, as basically this excels in every area. It’s got a beautifully slim metal build, lots of power thanks to its A10X Fusion chipset, and a sharp 1668 x 2224 screen, in a new 10.5-inch size. It’s a bright screen too, and has a refresh rate of up to 120Hz, making transitions and other motion look smoother than on other tablet screens.

The iPad Pro 10.5 also has brilliant speakers, optional keyboard and stylus accessories, and with iOS 12 the interface gives you almost as much power as a desktop OS.

So whether you want to watch, play, web browse, draw or work, the iPad Pro 10.5 is a top option and if you choose a 4G version you can stay just as productive on the move.

There’s also an iPad Pro 12.9 if you want an even bigger screen, but for most people the 10.5-inch model should strike the perfect balance.

Conclusion

So there you have it, the five best tablets money can buy. There’s the affordable and compact iPad Mini 4, then the iPad-challenging Samsung Galaxy Tab S4, followed by the laptop-like Microsoft Surface Pro and then the great balance between price and power that is the iPad 9.7 (2018).

In first place though, of course, it’s the iPad Pro 10.5. An all-round excellent slate that should suit you well for almost any use.

But although the iPad Pro 10.5 tops this list, if you’re in the market for a new tablet any one of these could serve you well – just choose the one with the specs and features that most appeal.

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