Top tablets for 2019
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.
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.
In this article
- Why choose an iPad alternative?
- Best Android tablets
- Best Windows tablets
- Best Fire tablets
- How much should I pay for a tablet?
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.
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?.
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
Top Windows picks
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.
Top Fire picks
Pricing, recommendations, and test scores correct as of January 2019.
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.