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
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
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

    SThree: Recruitment Resourcer

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: Do you want to learn ...

    Recruitment Genius: Marketing Lead

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the North West's leading providers of w...

    Ashdown Group: Senior .Net Developer - Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey

    £65000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A long-established, tech...

    Ashdown Group: Software Development Project Manager - Kingston Upon Thames

    £55000 - £60000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Experienced Software Dev...

    Day In a Page

    Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

    Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

    His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
    'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

    Open letter to David Cameron

    Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
    Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

    You don't say!

    Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
    Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

    So what is Mubi?

    Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
    The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

    The hardest job in theatre?

    How to follow Kevin Spacey
    Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

    Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

    To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
    Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

    'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

    The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
    Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

    This human tragedy has been brewing for years

    EU states can't say they were not warned
    Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

    Women's sportswear

    From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
    Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

    Clinton's clothes

    Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders