10 best new tablets coming in 2016

If you're looking to buy a tablet, you might want to put away your money and check out our list of the most exciting new tablets coming later this year. We cover all the best new tablets for 2016, including the best new Windows tablets, best new Android tablets and best new iPads.

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  • New Amazon Fire HD tablet(s)
  • New iPad Air 3
  • New iPad mini 5/iPad Pro 7.9
  • New Nexus 7 (2016)
  • New Microsoft Surface 4
  • New Microsoft Surface Pro 5
  • New Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.0 & 9.7
  • New Sony Xperia Z6 Tablet & Z6 Tablet Compact
  • More stories
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If you're looking to buy a tablet, you might want to put away your money and check out our list of the most exciting new tablets coming later this year. We cover all the best new tablets for 2016, including the best new Windows tablets, best new Android tablets and best new iPadsAlso see: Best new phones coming in 2016.

If you would rather buy a tablet today, check out our group tests of the best tablets, best Android tablets, best Windows tablets, best budget tablets and best kids tablets. Otherwise, read on >>

Best new tablets coming in 2016: New Amazon Fire HD tablet(s)

Amazon recently announced updates to its Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire Kids Edition, with new colours and an upgraded 16GB of internal storage, but we’re more interested in forthcoming updates to its Fire HD tablet line-up.

The Fire HD 8 and HD 10 were announced in September 2015, so it’s likely we’ll be waiting until September 2016 for any new models. These are likely to be wallet-friendly budget tablets that will appeal to customers primarily for their value.

We might see slightly faster performance and higher-resolution screens, but we don’t suppose you’ll feel the need to rush out to upgrade.

We’ll keep you posted with new Fire HD rumours as we hear them.

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If you're looking to buy a tablet, you might want to put away your money and check out our list of the most exciting new tablets coming later this year. We cover all the best new tablets for 2016, including the best new Windows tablets, best new Android tablets and best new iPadsAlso see: Best new phones coming in 2016.

If you would rather buy a tablet today, check out our group tests of the best tablets, best Android tablets, best Windows tablets, best budget tablets and best kids tablets. Otherwise, read on >>

Best new tablets coming in 2016: New Amazon Fire HD tablet(s)

Amazon recently announced updates to its Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire Kids Edition, with new colours and an upgraded 16GB of internal storage, but we’re more interested in forthcoming updates to its Fire HD tablet line-up.

The Fire HD 8 and HD 10 were announced in September 2015, so it’s likely we’ll be waiting until September 2016 for any new models. These are likely to be wallet-friendly budget tablets that will appeal to customers primarily for their value.

We might see slightly faster performance and higher-resolution screens, but we don’t suppose you’ll feel the need to rush out to upgrade.

We’ll keep you posted with new Fire HD rumours as we hear them.

Best new tablets coming in 2016: Apple iPad Air 3

Having abandoned its traditional iPad launch event in October 2015, when we heard there would be an iPad announcement in March 2016 we were hoping to see a new iPad Air 3. In fact we got the smaller iPad Pro 9.7. But that doesn’t rule out the possibility of an iPad Air 3 coming our way soon, and Apple has not confirmed the death of the Air line.

Our sister site Macworld UK predicts that we won’t see the new iPad Air 3 until September 2016 or potentially March 2017, with the tablet going on sale around 10 days later, with an estimated RRP of £399-plus.

Some rumours circulating on a new iPad Air 3 suggest it will feature a Smart Connector on the left edge for connecting a Smart Keyboard, as well as Apple Pencil compatibility. Other changes might include a thinner 7000-series aluminium body (without reduced battery life) and more than likely faster performance from an Apple A9 or A9X chip. Expect it to come in silver, gold, space grey and rose gold, potentially with a new LED flash for the rear camera. Could we also finally see an increase to screen resolution, perhaps matching the 401ppi of the iPhone 6s Plus?

Read more iPad Air 3 rumours here.

Best new tablets coming in 2016: Apple iPad mini 5 (iPad Pro 7.9)

The iPad mini 3 was a pretty poor update, but we saw great things from the iPad mini 4 that make us excited for the new iPad mini 5. That’s if we get one, of course: with Apple surprising us with a 9.7in iPad Pro when we were expecting a 9.7in iPad Air 3, could we also see it announce a 7.9in iPad Pro?

The last refresh came in September 2015, which would make September 2016 a likely launch date for the new mini iPad. Apple products usually go on sale within 10 days of their announcement, so we’d expect this one to be available well in advance of Christmas 2016.

The iPad mini’s design has stayed fairly constant throughout the generations, so we aren’t expecting any big changes here. We could see a new 7000-series aluminium chassis that is thinner but doesn’t adversely affect battery life - and probably with a new Rose Gold colour option. We’d be most impressed to see Apple make its mini iPad waterproof. The most likely change in the iPad mini 5 is a bump up in performance.

Read more iPad mini 5 rumours here.

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Best new tablets coming in 2016: New Google Nexus 7 (2016)

We’ve seen various Android tablets from Google over the years, including the Nexus 9, Nexus 10 and Pixel C, but none has proved so popular with consumers as the Nexus 7. Offering unparalleled value and a decent specification, you can still buy the Nexus 7 today.

So it’s about time Google updated its best ever tablet, and if rumours are to be believed this year it will do exactly that with the new Nexus 7 (2016).

The word on the street was that it would be announced at Google I/O (fuelled by news that the Nexus 9 had been removed from Google’s store) - and, of course, we now know that didn't happen.

But we never thought a developer’s conference would be a likely place for its outing: it’s much more likely to come alongside new Nexus phones in late summer (probably September).

Huawei is thought to be the manufacturer of the new Nexus budget tablet, taking over from Asus which made the first- and second-gen Nexus 7 tablets. Inspiration is expected to come from the Pixel C, though, and it’s possible that as with that tablet Google will handle the manufacturing.

Rumoured specifications include a 7in Quad-HD display, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 or Nvidia Tegra X1 processor, 4GB of RAM, 4G support and a 3,000mAh battery. The new Nexus 7 could even feature a Force Touch similar to that found in Apple’s iPhones. It has to be said though, that’s an awesome - and slightly unbelieveable - spec for what is expected to remain a budget tablet.

Click here for more Nexus 7 (2016) rumours.

Best new tablets coming in 2016: Microsoft Surface 4

We’re now nearly a year from the launch of the Surface 3, Microsoft’s cheaper alternative to the Surface Pro line-up, which most likely means we’ll see a Surface 4 tablet announcement within the next few months.

Leaks are very thin on the ground, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see the Surface 4 come with a slightly larger screen and smaller bezels, the removal of the physical Start button, a more easily adjustable kickstand and a magnet for storing the Surface Pen. USB-C will more than likely feature, as well as Windows Hello support.

Click here for more Surface 4 rumours and what we expect.

Best new tablets coming in 2016: Microsoft Surface Pro 5

We’re not expecting to see a new Surface Pro Windows tablet until October 2016, but when we do it will be one of the best Windows tablets money can buy (and it will cost a fair amount of money, most likely starting at around £749 - for a cheaper option see the Surface Pro on the previous slide).

One of the changes we’re certain we’ll see is an upgraded Surface Pen, since Microsoft recently filed a patent for a stylus with a rechargeable battery that charges over a magnetic dock. The Surface Pro 5 is also likely to be fitted with a Kaby Lake processor for performance and battery life improvements, a USB-C connection, and a higher-resolution 4K display. The design will otherwise stay mostly the same when compared to the Surface Pro 4.

We’ll bring you more Surface Pro 5 rumours as we hear them. 

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Best new tablets coming in 2016: Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 8in & 9.7in

Samsung’s premium Tab S line is among the very best tablets you can buy, and better than anything else we’ve seen in the Android world. We’re expecting great things from the 2016 update to the line-up, with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3.

We’ll more than likely see two Tab S3 models, with a compact model measuring around 8in, and a larger-screened tablet around 9.7in. Rumours abound that we could see a Samsung Galaxy Tab S Edge, borrowing from the curved-edge design of the Galaxy S7 edge. However, while a glass-rear tablet would be interesting, sketches of the Tab S3 found at the FCC suggest the design will be remarkably similar to that of the Tab S2.

Whatever the Tab S3 is called, you can bet your last pound on the fact it will have a high-resolution display and way more power than anyone really needs. The Tab S3 is expected to feature a 1536x2048-pixel screen and Qualcomm’s octa-core Snapdragon 652 processor with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. Cameras are likely to be 8Mp at the back and 2Mp at the front. Following on from the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, we’d expect it to stick with a Micro-USB port for charging the internal battery, which is alleged to be 4,000mAh in the Tab S3 8in and 5870mAh in the Tab S3 9.7in.

Expect the Tab S3 8in and 9.7in to be announced around July 2016.

We’ll bring you more Tab S3 rumours as we hear them.

Best new tablets coming in 2016: Sony Xperia Z6 Tablet & Sony Xperia Z6 Tablet Compact (Sony Xperia X Tablet?)

There might be rumours flying around that Sony has killed off its Z-series family of phones and tablets with the introduction of the Xperia X and XA at MWC 2016, but Sony has never officially confirmed this is the case, instead taking the line “never say never”. And its tablet series is long overdue an update, having not been refreshed since the Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet - and the compact version is even older, having not been updated since the Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact.

Sony’s tablet, when it arrives (which could be at September’s IFA tradeshow), will be a premium model with a circa-£500 price tag if history is anything to go by. This being Sony, you can expect an IP68 waterproof build and a sleek design. Other features might include a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, a Quad-HD display, 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage with microSD support.

Read more Sony Xperia Z6 Tablet rumours here.

Also see: Best new phones coming in 2016.

Follow Marie Brewis on Twitter.

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