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Top tablets for 2018

By Michael Passingham

You don't need to splash out on a pricey iPad to find a great tablet. We show you some of the best alternatives to Apple's iconic design.

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Such is the dominance of Apple’s iPad you’d be forgiven for thinking this is the safest choice in the tablets market.  

However, there are plenty of competitors, and with them come a wider range of prices, sizes and styles than Apple has to offer, and no shortage of quality. In this guide we take you through the best iPad alternatives that run Windows, Android and Amazon Fire OS.

While the iPad range is limited to just four current-generation devices, two of which cost over £500, in the world of tablets as a whole there are dozens of choices.

Still want an iPad? There's a guide for that: See Which iPad should I buy?

One of the biggest reasons you’ll want to pick something that isn’t an iPad is simply price, so we’ve made sure to include plenty of budget options. We’ve also looked at Windows tablets that can double up as laptops, so you only need one device for all your work and play needs.

Only the very best models make it into our list of Best Buy tablets.

Why choose an iPad alternative?

There are three main alternatives to iPads, which run different operating systems:

  • Android: This has the biggest variety of devices, but they vary wildly in quality.
  • Windows: Runs on most of the world’s laptops, and feels very similar on a tablet. Works best with a keyboard.
  • FireOS: A special version of Android made by Amazon for its own-brand tablets. Simple to use and best if you’re just looking to consume content and not much else.

For more on the different tablet buying choices, read our guide on How to buy the best tablet.

Only logged-in Which? members can view our recommendations in the table below. If you’re not yet a member, you can get instant access by joining Which?.

Best Android tablets

Below we round up some of the best Android tablets we’ve tested - and you don’t need to spend the earth for a high-scoring model, they cost from around £100.

Top Android picks

Lowest price (in stock) £467.65
Which? score 82%
Reviewed Sep 2018
Ease of use:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Screen quality:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Sound quality:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Battery:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Operating system:
Member exclusive
Actual internal storage capacity (GB):
Member exclusive
Screen size (inches):
Member exclusive
Screen resolution:
Member exclusive
Weight (kg):
Member exclusive

Watch out, iPad Pro, this Android model is hot on your heels. We're really impressed with this premium Android tablet.

Typical price £220.00
Which? score 75%
Reviewed Dec 2017
Ease of use:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Screen quality:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Sound quality:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Battery:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Operating system:
Member exclusive
Actual internal storage capacity (GB):
Member exclusive
Screen size (inches):
Member exclusive
Screen resolution:
Member exclusive
Weight (kg):
Member exclusive

This 10-inch tablet should be a key rival to the cheapest Apple iPad on the market. Our review finds out whether this low-cost model is worth a look.

Lowest price (in stock) £114.97
Which? score 74%
Reviewed Jul 2016
Ease of use:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Screen quality:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Sound quality:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Battery:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Operating system:
Member exclusive
Actual internal storage capacity (GB):
Member exclusive
Screen size (inches):
Member exclusive
Screen resolution:
Member exclusive
Weight (kg):
Member exclusive

This is a very cheap 7-inch Android tablet that will meet the needs of anybody who wants a basic slate for watching video and reading books. It’s the highest-scoring 7-inch tablet we’ve tested by quite some margin that costs around £100.

Typical price £100.00
Which? score 69%
Reviewed Sep 2017
Ease of use:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Screen quality:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Sound quality:
2 out of 52 out of 5
Battery:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Operating system:
Member exclusive
Actual internal storage capacity (GB):
Member exclusive
Screen size (inches):
Member exclusive
Screen resolution:
Member exclusive
Weight (kg):
Member exclusive

This is a top-drawer 8-inch tablet, and while its specs and  performance aren’t up there with the best Android has to offer, you won’t do much better for £100.

Best Windows tablets 

Windows tablets tend to be more expensive than Android, because they typically perform more like laptops than tablets. Indeed, almost all Windows 10 tablets are designed to slot into a keyboard dock.

Top Windows picks

Typical price £999.00
Which? score 77%
Reviewed Jul 2018
Ease of use:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Screen quality:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Sound quality:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Battery:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Operating system:
Member exclusive
Actual internal storage capacity (GB):
Member exclusive
Screen size (inches):
Member exclusive
Screen resolution:
Member exclusive
Weight (kg):
Member exclusive

Spending the best part of a grand on a tablet might not sound wise, but when you consider you get what’s being marketed as a laptop replacement with a keyboard and stylus, it becomes easier to justify. This is a quality tablet that easily rivals the 12.5-inch iPad Pro.

Typical price £1,180.00
Which? score 75%
Reviewed Sep 2017
Ease of use:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Screen quality:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Sound quality:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Battery:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Operating system:
Member exclusive
Actual internal storage capacity (GB):
Member exclusive
Screen size (inches):
Member exclusive
Screen resolution:
Member exclusive
Weight (kg):
Member exclusive

This large Windows tablet can also double up as a laptop, and a very effective one at that. With an Intel Core processor and oodles of Ram and storage, it’s the best of both worlds if you buy it with a keyboard and stylus.

Lowest price (in stock) £649.00
Which? score 70%
Reviewed Jul 2017
Ease of use:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Screen quality:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Sound quality:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Battery:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Operating system:
Member exclusive
Actual internal storage capacity (GB):
Member exclusive
Screen size (inches):
Member exclusive
Screen resolution:
Member exclusive
Weight (kg):
Member exclusive

This Windows-powered machine takes on the 10.5-inch  iPad Pro at its own game for a much more compelling price and makes a decent crack at it. It doesn’t excel in every area but for the price it’s very hard to complain.

Best Fire tablets

Amazon Fire tablets come in at a much lower price than most of their rivals. They’re cheap and sometimes cheerful, and while they’re never offer the pinnacle in speed, they’re designed for consuming content and not for doing work.

Top Fire picks

Typical price £80.00
Which? score 70%
Reviewed Dec 2017
Ease of use:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Screen quality:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Sound quality:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Battery:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Operating system:
Member exclusive
Actual internal storage capacity (GB):
Member exclusive
Screen size (inches):
Member exclusive
Screen resolution:
Member exclusive
Weight (kg):
Member exclusive

You might be surprised to note that this is the best tablet in Amazon’s range of tablets. It’s fast, convenient and has a long-lasting battery, plus it’s available at a tempting price.

Typical price £150.00
Which? score 67%
Reviewed Dec 2017
Ease of use:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Screen quality:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Sound quality:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Battery:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Operating system:
Member exclusive
Actual internal storage capacity (GB):
Member exclusive
Screen size (inches):
Member exclusive
Screen resolution:
Member exclusive
Weight (kg):
Member exclusive

This tablet is an ideal multimedia device for watching TV and films at home. There’s plenty of space to get things done, and the large, clear screen makes it very comfortable to use.

Pricing, recommendations, and test scores correct as of September 2018.

How much should I pay for a tablet?

As the chart below suggests, the very best tablets cost £400 or more. But if you look at the cheaper end of the scale, you’ll see a dense grouping of models that cost less than £200 that all score somewhere in the 60s and 70s, making them perfectly reasonable buys. WIndows tablets have lots of other features and it costs a lot more to find one that does well in every area.



So if you have a tight budget, it’s worth considering that not all cheap tablets are created equal. Our lab test experts look at every detail of each tablet they test to find out which stand out from the crowd, plus we don’t take price into account, so it’s not uncommon to find a tablet that performs equally as well as one that’s half the cost or less.

Still weighing up your choices against Apple’s ubiquitous iPad? Don’t forget to check out our guide on Which iPad to buy.

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