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1 October 2020

Top tablets for 2020

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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MP
Michael Passingham

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.

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79%
Best Buy
£240.00
Reviewed

This large Android tablet is amazing value. With a beautiful screen, great sound and very fast performance along with plenty of accessories, it's well worth the price.

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78%
Best Buy
£601.00
Reviewed

This tablet is the closest rival to the top-end iPad Pros as you'll find. And it's a lot cheaper, too. It comes with a stylus in the box, but you'll have to shell out for a keyboard if you want to use it as a proper laptop replacement.

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76%
Best Buy
£329.99
Reviewed

This 10-inch tablet is terrific value. It has a large, bright screen, good performance and the built-in speakers are impressive. It's one of the best mid-range 10-inch tablets you can buy.

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73%
£189.97
Reviewed

This sub-£200 tablet is excellent value. You get a great-quality screen and decent performance all around; if you don't want to break the bank but do want a large tablet, this is the one to choose.

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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.

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79%
Best Buy
£529.00
Reviewed

This Windows tablet certainly isn't the cheapest slate around, but it offers an excellent experience, particularly if you pair it with a keyboard case. With various specs available, there's an ideal model for most budgets.

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79%
Best Buy
£779.00
Reviewed

This tablet ticks pretty much every box, and is even better if you add a keyboard and stylus into the mix, although this increases its price somewhat. It's fast with a great screen, good speakers and an attractive design. Well worth the cash.

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79%
Best Buy
£999.00
Reviewed

This high-end Windows tablet is what the future of slates might look like. It's on sale now and undeniably technically superb, but a limited array of apps might limit its appeal.

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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.

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68%
£159.99
Reviewed

This is the biggest tablet Amazon sells, meaning it isn’t quite as convenient to carry around, especially if you commute or travel a lot. Still, if you don’t mind the size, you get a large screen for a better web browsing experience and the ability to see TV and films in more detail.

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63%
£80.00
Reviewed

A great choice for those on a budget, this 8-inch tablet isn't a power house, but does more than enough for the average user. The battery stamina means you can use it for long stretches away from the plug socket.

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Pricing, recommendations, and test scores correct as of November 2019.

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.

Tablet review score vs price

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 Apple iPad to buy.

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