The 10 Best tablets

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The new iPad Mini is now on the shelves but the competition in the tablet market is fiercer than ever, as these devices prove.

1. Sony Xperia Tablet S

This Android tablet has some of the snazziest styling available. It's thicker on one side than on the other, to make it rest more easily in the hand when you're reading an ebook, say. It's fast and powerful, and even runs PlayStation games.

From £329, sony.co.uk

2. Apple iPad mini

The latest small-screen tablet is Apple's most beautifully designed gadget yet. The 7.9in display stretches almost to the edge of the iPad Mini's face – unlike the wide bezel on many rival models. It's superbly easy to use and has the biggest range of tablet apps.

From £269, apple.com/uk

3. BlackBerry PlayBook

This was one of the first 7in tablets to go on sale and it's exceptionally well-designed with a cool, inviting operating system. The number of apps is small, but this tablet will also work with BlackBerry's new OS phone, out next January. Astonishingly good value.

From £108.97, pcworld.co.uk

4. Microsoft Surface

This is Microsoft's first attempt at making computer hardware as well as software. It uses a version of the new Windows 8 operating system, with grids of tiles that update automatically to show you the latest weather, news, Facebook updates and so on. Solid and stylish.

From £399, microsoftstore.com

5. Amazon Kindle Fire HD

Amazon's 7in tablet uses a special version of Android. It is an effective ebook reader, but the colour screen is good for videos (a month's free LoveFilm subscription is included) and more. It has a curated selection of Android apps. This ensures they're reliable, but the range is limited.

£159, amazon.co.uk

6. Google Nexus 7

This Android tablet has a great design and is amazing value (this model has 32GB storage). It fits the hand well, has a processor powerful enough to make it smooth and fast, and has a high-resolution screen that's ideal for video playback.

£199, pcworld.co.uk

7. Apple iPad

This is still the best full-size tablet available, with keen design and stunning Retina Display (pixels so small you can't see them – it's as sharp as looking at a printed page). Add to that the unsurpassed intuitive operating system and 275,000 apps optimised for the iPad and you have a winning combination.

From £199 with contract, orange.co.uk

8. Google Nexus 10

This is Google's first own-brand full-size Android tablet and it's slim, slick and powerful. It's the first tablet to have a screen that has an even higher resolution than the iPad's Retina Display. It has a powerful processor and the latest software. It's out next week.

From £319, play.google.com

9. Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1

This tablet has a special stylus that means you can annotate images, scribble on documents and more. It's very fast, has clever split-screen capabilities and you can even use it as a television remote control.

From £399.95, johnlewis.com

10. Vodafone Smart Tab II

It's highly affordable, well built, and attractive. And unlike many tablets it comes with 3G connectivity as well as Wi-Fi. Vodafone's latest is made by Lenovo and although it has a low-resolution camera (2MP) on the back, it's fast and capable. Available from 14 November.

£150, vodafone.co.uk

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