We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message

Best tablet for games

We compared iPad, Android and Playbook for gaming

Mobile gaming is big business, and there are plenty of games available for tablets in all the app stores. Certain types of game work better with touch-sensitive tablet displays, usually those that demand simpler interaction.

Puzzle and strategy games such as Angry Birds, plus educational titles are ever popular. There are also countless board games, sports games and racing games too, as well as full 3D action games that push a tablet’s capability to its limit.

See also: Which is the best tablet: iPad, Android or BlackBerry?

iPad

As is the case with apps in general, the iPad has the lion’s share of new game releases. The latest iPad is capable of stunning graphical effects, which are really shown off in Mass Effect Infiltrator (£2.99), Real Racing 2 HD (£4.99) and Infinity Blade 2 (£4.99). Not that many games have been updated yet for the new iPad's retina screen, but these are appearing steadily via updates. 

Infinity Blade II

The third-generation iPad has an accelerometer and gyroscope which games can take advantage of. In Real Racing 2 HD, for example, you can choose from a variety of control methods, including tilting the iPad to steer your car.

Real Racing 2 HD

You can even play games on your HD TV if you buy the optional HDMI adaptor for the iPad. Some games really make use of this capability: Real Racing is a good example again, as it displays the game on your TV, but uses the iPad's screen to display a map of the track and other information.Even the Xbox 360 and PS3 can't do that.

Android

Although there are high-quality games for Android tablets, there aren't as many. This has nothing to do with the performance of Android tablets, though. Rockstar’s faithful port of Grand Theft Auto 3 (£3.15) runs as well and looks as good on high-end Android tablets as on the iPad.

GTA 3

The iPad’s attraction to games developers comes from both its greater market share and the limited variation in iPad hardware. Developers know the strengths and weaknesses of the device they are building for better than they do for the range of Android tablets, which vary in graphical capability. A £99 Android tablet, for example, can't run complex 3D games whereas the £400 Asus Transformer Prime can.

It's difficult to know exactly how well an Android tablet will run games unless you read reviews. However, the tablet's graphics chip is a good indicator - look for an nVidia Tegra 3 if you're serious about playing games. Some games which you have to pay for on the iPad are free in the Google Play store, but they tend to be ad-supported. For example, you can play Angry Birds Space for free, or pay £1.89 to buy the ad-free HD version.

 BlackBerry PlayBook

The Blackberry PlayBook has the smallest games library. However, Tetris, SimCity Deluxe and Need For Speed Undercover are good demonstrations of the PlayBook’s capabilities, as they all perform well, play well and have detailed visuals too.

Angry Birds

The main disadvantage is that games cost a little more for PlayBook owners.Tetris and Need For Speed are bundled with the PlayBook, but SimCity costs £7. The Angry Birds games all cost £5, and the latest Space incarnation is yet to be released on the PlayBook. The popular Draw Something isn't in the App World, either.

Click the following links to jump to the task you're interested in:

Best tablet for email

Best tablet for photos, video and music 

Best tablet for web browsing   

Best tablet for office productivity 

Best tablet for printing  

Best tablet for typing 

What's the best app store? 

IDG UK Sites

Where to buy iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in the UK: Launch day price, deals and contracts

IDG UK Sites

Is Apple losing confidence in itself?

IDG UK Sites

Professional photo and video techniques for perfect colours

IDG UK Sites

How (and where) to buy an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus in the UK. Plus: What to do if you pre-ordered...