10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained

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The Independent Online

Where Apple were once the leaders in innovation with their iPad - nowadays there’s hot competition for the crown.

So who are they? We've tried the latest and best tablets so you don't have to, from Samsung's 10.5" S Tab, to Panasonic's rugged windows offering. From Tesco's Hudl 2 - the best in the budget category - to the Cintiq Wacom Companion, one of the most expensive on the list and ideal for any professional illustrator. Whatever your reason, professional or leisure, we have the perfect selection for you.

1. Hudl 2, £129, tesco.com

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The best in the budget range, the Hudl comes in at only £129. But it’s not all cheap here, the tablet has an 8.3” screen, eight different choices of colours and a full HD screen. Ideal for catching up on TV and films, as well as doing all your everyday online admin.

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2. iPad mini, £319, store.apple.com

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For those with small hands, or anyone who doesn’t like wielding a full-sized tablet, the Mini could be for you. The 7.9’’ ‘Retina’ screen is a major upgrade for the little Mini, so your kids can watch Dora the Explorer in a whole new way. Comes with Touch ID, too.

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3. iPad Air, £399, store.apple.com

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Apple’s latest tablet might not be a huge upgrade compared to what we’re used to, but it’s still the fastest they’ve produced with their A8X chip. And it’s the thinnest, too, at a mere 6.1mm. They’ve also added Touch ID - their fingerprint recognition hardware - for added security.

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4. Sony Xperia z3, £329, sony.co.uk

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Eight inches wide, 270g and waterproof to up to 1.5m? Yes, this is a particularly brilliant piece of kit. The new device from Sony is also the only tablet that can remote-play PS4 games over Wi-Fi. Plus, the battery can last for more than 12 hours.

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5. Panasonic FZ-M1, £1946, uk.insight.com

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This is the world’s first fanless, 7”, Windows 8.1 Pro fully-rugged tablet. It’s drop-, water- and dust-resistant and can operate in temperatures ranging from -10 to +50°C. It weighs 540g, and is 18mm thin. It also comes with a business-class price tag, however, so definitely only one for the mobile adventurer.

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6. Nexus 9, £319, play.google.com

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Google’s latest is brand new and available now. It has an 8.9” screen, the new Lollipop operating system – Google’s fastest yet – as well as two front-facing speakers for great sound. The whopping battery means you can continuously play video for 9.5 hours.

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7. Cintiq Companion, £1499.99 uk.shop.wacom.eu

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At £1500, this definitely isn’t a tablet for everyone but if you are feeling flush, it features a full Windows 8 system as well as a HD 13.3” screen, customizable controls that makes it ideal for professional illustrators.

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8. Archos Helium 4G, £199, archos.com/gb

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At 430g the Helium, ironically, isn’t the lightest of the bunch. But it comes with 4G connectivity (though you will have to buy your own SIM) for under £200. This isn’t for everyone, but if you just want a barebones tablet for a family member then you won’t do badly with this.

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9. Samsung S Tab, £399, samsung.com

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Samsung’s latest borrows its design from the S5 phone, with a perforated back and a fingerprint sensor. The key boon here is performance, with 3GB of built-in RAM, a massive battery and only 6.6mm thin. Apple, watch out.

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10. Amazon Fire HDX 7, £199, amazon.co.uk

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Amazon’s tablet is still one of the best to watch TV on, especially if you have an Amazon Prime membership, which gets you access to hundreds of thousands of films and TV shows for free.

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Verdict:

The Samsung S Tab is high up there on the list, giving Apple a prod in the ribs. But for anyone who’s looking to count pennies this Christmas, the Hudl 2 is great for any entry-level user.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing

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