From Apple's iPad Air to the Google Nexus 7: Which tablet is the right one for you?

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

With two new iPads announced this week the tablet market offers a dizzying array of products

David Phelan discovers the right one to suit your needs:

If you want power but not heft...

Apple  iPad Air

From £399 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, Apple iOS 7

What it is

A slimmed-down, restyled iPad that’s now the lightest full-size tablet from any manufacturer.

Good for

Having your cake and eating it: big enough for all uses, light enough to travel. The iPad Air is styled to match the iPad mini and has a much thinner bezel than rival companies’ tablets. The same super-fast processor as the new iPad mini means it’s amazingly responsive in use and the screen remains a joy. Of the million apps available almost half (475,000) are specific to the iPads.

Not so good for

Anyone who’s clumsy – imagine shattering this sleek beast. It’s also no good, obviously, for anyone needing to do anything requires Windows programs.

If you're a first time tablet user...

Tesco Hudl

£119, 16GB with memory-card slot, Android OS

What it is

Appealing, budget-priced 7in tablet from the supermarket giant.

Good for

Those who want an affordable way to find out what all the tablet fuss is about. Tesco dedicated apps make it easy to shop online, stream video from Blinkbox and more. It has a high-resolution screen, too, that looks good. Watching content on TV is easy, too, thanks to a mini HDMI out connector. There’s also expandable storage courtesy of the memory card slot.

Not so good for

Taking pictures: the 3MP rear camera and 2MP front snapper are both decidedly average. And this is a Wi-Fi only device so you can’t put a sim card in it. Those worried about Tesco getting its hands on more of their data.

If you're a gamer...

Sony Xperia Tablet Z

From £400,16GB or 32GB, Android OS

What it is

Classily designed 10.1in tablet that’s sleek, slim, lightweight and waterproof.

Good for

Texting in the bath – it really is waterproof. It also works as a sophisticated TV remote control and has a virtual version of the PlayStation Dualshock controller. The screen looks good thanks to input from Sony’s TV division. Sony’s take on Android is subtle and elegant.

Not so good for

Battery life isn’t outstanding, and although it has an 8MP camera, the results are underwhelming. The angular edges look great but can be uncomfortable after a while.

If you're a film fan...

Asus Google Nexus 7

£199 16GB wi-fi, £239 32GB wi-fi, £299 32GB wi-fi + LTE, Android OS

What it is

Google’s own Android tablet with exceptional screen and lightweight format.

Good for

Android lovers who want the pure Google experience. The Nexus 7 is now in its second manifestation and it’s slick, slim and very fast with a display that’s higher-resolution than its rivals (at 323 pixels per inch it’s exactly twice the resolution of the original iPad mini).

Not so good for

Photographers: the 5MP camera is pretty disappointing. Oh, and there’s no expandable memory here, so choose your storage capacity wisely.

If you're a bargain hunter...

Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 in

From £199 16GB, 32GB or 64GB, all Wi-Fi only, heavily customised Android OS

What it is

Hefty 7in tablet with wide bezel and hi-res display primarily designed to download Amazon content.

Good for

Anyone who finds Android too geeky. The Amazon interface is so highly optimised it’s barely recognisable as Android, making it exceptionally simple to use. Strong stereo speakers give the tablet good sound and the hi-res screen looks great. Also has a Mayday button to link you to a customer services expert who can talk you through stuff.

Not so good for

Those wanting everything Android has to offer: only Amazon-approved apps are available, and that’s a fraction of the total available elsewhere. The wide bezel is starting to look old – although it does make it easy to hold.

If you're an on-the-go design fan...

Apple iPad mini with Retina display

From £319, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, Apple iOS 7

What it is

Slick, light and slim – Apple’s smaller iPad (7.87 inches by 5.3 inches) now comes with a glorious, high-resolution Retina display.

Good for

Stylish customers for use on the go. The iPad mini isn’t cheap but it has the highest-resolution display of any small-screen tablet (just), a superbly fast processor and more than a million apps to choose from. Like its predeccessor, it fits in the hand – and the large pocket – beautifully.

Not so good for

The budget-conscious – rival small-screen tablets are significantly cheaper and some come close for processing power and styling.

If you want to do some work too...

Microsoft Surface Pro 2

From £719, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB or 512GB,

Windows 8.1OS

What it is

Microsoft’s second attempt at an own-brand tablet, it’s lighter, thinner and more powerful.

Good for

Working like a mini-laptop, especially with the thin, magnetically attached keyboard options, that now include some gesture controls. Using on your lap is easier thanks to a more versatile kickstand. The 10.6in display is Full HD resolution. Good battery life.

Not so good for

Apps – the backbone of any tablet. Though the Windows Store is growing fast, there’s still a lot missing. The storage is heavily reduced thanks to much space taken up with the operating software. Not cheap.

If you have a family...

Barnes and Noble Nook HD

From £79, 8GB or 16GB, customised Android OS

What it is

The bookshop giant’s own-label tablet with a simple interface and full Android capabilities.

Good for

The Nook HD has a slick interface that’s easy to use. The excellent screen is no longer of the highest-resolution but it looks great and the Nook HD is tremendously good value. There’s a wide range of books in its store and it has useful separate accounts for different family members. It’s lightweight and has expandable memory.

Not so good for

The design with its rubberised back and raised bezel won’t suit everyone.

If you're a bookworm...

Kobo Arc 7HD

From £159.99,16GB or 32GB,customised Android OS

What it is

Seven-inch screen tablet from ebook-focused company.

Good for

Kobo makes a series of excellent ebook readers and this is a colour tablet version. It’s still mainly aimed at readers – the home screen shows your recent reading activity, which may be a double-edged sword – but the high-resolution display makes it suitable for video and apps. Reading mode reduces some capabilities to provide a distraction-free environment for reading and enhance the battery life.

Not so good for

No rear camera, not as cheap as some rivals.

Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Life and Style
techYahoo Japan launches service to delete your files and email your relatives when you die
Life and Style
Child's play: letting young people roam outdoors directly contradicts the current climate
lifeHow much independence should children have?
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book
booksFind out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Arts and Entertainment
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>
filmRobert Downey Jr named Hollywood's highest paid actor for second year running
Life and Style
Dale Bolinger arranged to meet the girl via a fetish website
Sign here, please: Magna Carta Island
propertyYours for a cool £4m
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    C++ Software Developer / Image Processing / 3D Visualisation

    £45,000 to £55,000: IT Connections Ltd: C++ Software Developer / Image Process...

    Java / J2EE Developer / Agile / Linux

    £30,000 to £40,000: IT Connections Ltd: Java / J2EE Developer / Agile / Linux ...

    Software Development Manager / Java / J2EE

    £45,000 to £55,000: IT Connections Ltd: Software Development Manager / Java / ...

    SAP P2P Trainer

    competitive: Progressive Recruitment: I am currently seeking an SAP P2P traine...

    Day In a Page

    Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

    The 'scroungers’ fight back

    The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
    Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

    Fireballs in space

    Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
    A Bible for billionaires

    A Bible for billionaires

    Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
    Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

    Paranoid parenting is on the rise

    And our children are suffering because of it
    For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

    Magna Carta Island goes on sale

    Yours for a cool £4m
    Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
    Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

    Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

    Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
    Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

    Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

    They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
    The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

    20 best days out for the summer holidays

    From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
    Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

    All the wood’s a stage

    Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
    Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

    Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

    Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
    Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

    Self-preservation society

    Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
    Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

    Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

    We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor