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The 28 best tablets of 2014: What's the best tablet in the UK right now?

Here are the 28 best tablets available to buy in the UK right now

Everyone wants a tablet these days but in a busy market, choosing one can be difficult. So, here we've reviewed and ranked the best tablets available to buy in 2014 in the UK right now. Also see: Best SIM-only deals: Best SIM-only and Data SIM deals for smartphone and tablet users.

New entry: Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 - see where it ranks below. 

When buying a tablet there are a few things you need to keep in mind. First of all you need to consider the operating system. The current options are Apple's iOS, Google's Android OS and Microsoft's Windows 8 OS. (Amazon's Kindle Fire range and Barnes & Noble's Nook tablets run a highly customised version of Android.)  If you're unsure about which operating system is right for you, read our iPad, Android, Windows 8, BlackBerry tablets buying advice article. Once you've bought your tablet, you can't change your mind about these fundamental things.

If you're not familiar with all the tech jargon, a tablet's specifications can be very confusing. However, rather than ignore them, it's worth bearing these key areas in mind. In general, higher is always better.

Look out for a tablet's screen resolution and pixel density (quoted in ppi); the internal storage (GBs); expandable storage (typically via a microSD card slot); and other features you might want such as cellular (3G or 4G) connectivity, GPS, Bluetooth, video outputs (such as HDMI) and more.

If you plan to use the tablet for taking photos and videos, how many megapixels do the camera(s) have? Anything below around 5Mp should be avoided, but check the sample photos and videos in our reviews to find out what the quality is really like.

Finally, there's battery life. You don't want your tablet to last less than around six hours, and the recharge time is worth knowing, too. Some tablets take almost as long to charge as they do to discharge.

To find out more about what to look out for take a look at this feature: which tablet should I buy?

The 28 best tablets of 2014:

28. Asus Fonepad 7 LTE

Asus Fonepad 7 LTE
  • Reviewed on: 21 July 14
  • RRP: £199
  • Rating: Rated 6 out of 10

It's tricky to give the Asus Fonepad 7 LTE a solid verdict, because it's a device we think will appeal to only a few. For anyone looking for a 7in tablet that can make phone calls, the Asus Fonepad 7 LTE is certainly worth a look, though we're not completely sure why you'd want to make phone calls on a 7in tablet.

If you're just looking for a 7in tablet, you'll find better elsewhere. We really liked Asus's £120 Memo Pad 7, and we also love the Nexus 7. Pair the Memo Pad 7 with the £135 Motorola Moto G (which we gave a Recommended award and named 'the best budget smartphone ever) and you're looking at £255 for a brilliant 7in tablet and a brilliant smartphone.

27. Asus Padfone 2

Asus Padfone 2
  • Reviewed on: 21 March 13
  • RRP: £599 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 8 out of 10

The Asus Padfone 2 is an interesting and unique offering. For £599 you get both a phone and a tablet in one although this has its limitations. Good hardware and excellent battery life are the standout features while build quality is a bit of a let-down. We really like the Padfone 2 but if you're looking to a smartphone and a tablet on the cheap then we suggest Google's Nexus devices.

26. Acer Iconia A1

Acer Iconia A1
  • Reviewed on: 19 June 13
  • RRP: £149 (Wi-Fi), £209 (3G)
  • Rating: Rated 8 out of 10

The budget Android tablet market is a brilliant arms race. The Acer Iconia A1 is right in the mix as one of the best tablets in terms of value for money. If you're looking for something to surf the web, use social networks and watch videos on the A1 merits consideration. The fact that it has a microSD card slot makes it a really attractive tablet for £149.

25. Archos 80 Titanium

Archos 80 Titanium
  • Reviewed on: 20 March 13
  • RRP: £130 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 8 out of 10

The Archos 80 Titanium proves that you can get a decent tablet without breaking the bank. Its screen isn't high resolution, but it's a good IPS panel which matches the iPad mini for half as much. Performance is also good, as is build quality; only the cameras let the side down. If you're on a tight budget or want a tablet for your kids, this is a great choice.

24. Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1
  • Reviewed on: 29 August 12
  • RRP: £299 inc VAT (£419 inc VAT for 3G version)
  • Rating: Rated 7 out of 10

A year ago we liked the Tab 10.1, and for the second generation the hardware specs remain broadly the same, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 has a much better operating system. All for £100 cheaper than it was. We love the bright screen, and adding SD support and 1080p video capture are both improvements. The problem is the competition: the Nexus 7 in particular has changed the game for Android tablets, and is a little more than half the price of the Tab (albeit with a smaller screen, half the storage and no front-facing camera). Meanwhile the iPad remains a cut above for £100 more than the Tab 2 10.1. If you absolutely require a 10in Android tablet, you could do a lot worse than the Tab - especially at this price. But also consider the Asus Transformer series of devices, and the Toshiba AT300 which at only £30 more than the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 offers a quad-core processor.

23. Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0

Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0
  • Reviewed on: 16 July 13
  • RRP: £339 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 7 out of 10

The Galaxy Note 8.0 is one of Samsung's better tablets but it's hampered by its extravagant price tag. Unless you really want the S Pen stylus there are better and cheaper 8in-screen tablet alternatives on the market.

22. Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2

Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2
  • Reviewed on: 4 April 14
  • RRP: TBC
  • Rating: Rated 7 out of 10

The Samsung Galaxy NotePro 12.2 is a seriously impressive tablet that blows away the vast majority of Android tablets and leaves them eating its dust in terms of power. If you've got £600 to blow and want a tablet that's bigger than 10-inches then this powerhouse won't disappoint in terms of performance and looks, and to be frank it's your only option as it's the only device out there like this.

21. Microsoft Surface Pro 2

Microsoft Surface Pro 2
  • Reviewed on: 2 June 14
  • RRP: £719 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 7 out of 10

The Surface Pro 2 crams a serious amount of power into a compact frame. However, now that Microsoft has launched the bigger, better Surface Pro 3, the Pro 2 makes sense only if you're on a tight budget. Even then, its value is questionable - many people would be better off with a separate laptop and tablet, and might even save money going down that road. Those less bothered about the tablet side of things should consider a convertible device such as the Lenovo Yoga.

20. Nokia Lumia 2520

Nokia Lumia 2520
  • Reviewed on: 3 December 13
  • RRP: £399 inc. VAT
  • Rating: Rated 8 out of 10

Some caveats still apply to Windows RT devices, but if you want an alternative to iPad and Android for a consumption device, the Lumia 2520 is that. It's well built, a great performer and - in red at least - it offers a stylish difference to the usual black slates.

19. Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700

Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700
  • Reviewed on: 26 June 12
  • RRP: Around £400 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 9 out of 10

The Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700 takes over from its predecessor as the top Android tablet available. You get high performance mixed with high style, and you don't have to make a lot of sacrifices to get both. Other tablets - including the Prime, which is expected to drop in price once this model gets into the market - may provide better value, but no other Android tablet will give you the full package that the Infinity does.

18. Amazon Kindle Fire HD (2013)

Amazon Kindle Fire HD (2013)
  • Reviewed on: 20 December 13
  • RRP: £119 inc VAT (8GB), £139 inc VAT (16GB)
  • Rating: Rated 8 out of 10

Since we initially reviewed the Fire HD, Amazon released an update which adds a new feature: FreeTime. this turns the Kindle into a great tablet for kids, allowing you to create separate user profiles and limit screen time. Usefully, you can set different limits for reading and everything else, so kids can't sit there playing games all day long.

If you can live with the limited amount of storage in the 8GB model, the £119 price makes this a great choice over virtually all other dedicated children's tablets.

17. Kobo Arc 10HD

Kobo Arc 10HD
  • Reviewed on: 29 November 13
  • RRP: £299 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 7 out of 10

The Kobo Arc 10HD is a sexy tablet that offers a lot for its price tag. Kobo's bloatware is unobtrusive and the fact it gives you full access to the Google Play store is a massive plus. The only real downside to the Kobo Arc 10HD is the weight of the thing, which makes using this device as a eReader while on the move a bit of a no go.

16. Barnes & Noble Nook HD

Barnes & Noble Nook HD
  • Reviewed on: 6 June 13
  • RRP: £159 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 8 out of 10

We can hardly find fault with the hardware, and at this price it's hard to find fault with anything. Since the Nook was set free from the confines of the Barnes & Noble content store it has been an amazing deal. An easy-to-use and well-built tablet at a great price.

15. Asus Memo Pad 7 (ME176CX)

Asus Memo Pad 7 (ME176CX)
  • Reviewed on: 3 July 14
  • RRP: £120
  • Rating: Rated 8 out of 10

For just £120, we're really impressed with the Asus Memo Pad 7. In addition to a good-looking design and sturdy build, it also boasts hardware that rivals tablets with much higher price tags. A higher-resolution screen and front-facing speakers would add even more appeal, but if you're looking for a budget tablet and have been considering the Tesco Hudl, Kindle Fire HD or even the Nexus 7, it's worth investigating the Asus Memo Pad 7, too.

14. Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014)

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014)
  • Reviewed on: 12 February 14
  • RRP: £450 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 8 out of 10

Touchwiz and fake stitching aside the Note 10.1 is a very good tablet with the added S-Pen feature for those who want it.

13. Apple iPad 4 with Retina display

Apple iPad 4 with Retina display
  • Reviewed on: 18 June 13
  • RRP: WiFi only: £329 (16GB); not available in other storage capacities
  • Rating: Rated 9 out of 10

The iPad 4 is the quickest iPad yet and a solid choice for a tablet in which we can barely find fault. However, if you're not in a hurry to buy, it's worth waiting for the rumoured iPad 5, which could launch within months.

12. Tesco Hudl

Tesco Hudl
  • Reviewed on: 10 February 14
  • RRP: £119 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 8 out of 10

The Tesco Hudl is a budget tablet with a nice design and good build quality. Key specifications are better than the price tag suggests such as the processor and good quality 7 in screen. A microSD card slot and Micro-HDMI port are two reasons to opt for the Hudl over Google and Amazon alternatives.

11. Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10
  • Reviewed on: 20 November 13
  • RRP: £249 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 8 out of 10

The Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 is one of the cheaper 10in tablets around and it has an excellent design. Hardware and task performance are both lacking somewhat but battery life is a strong point. A great Android tablet for those less bothered about top-end specs.

10. Advent Vega Tegra Note 7

Advent Vega Tegra Note 7
  • Reviewed on: 11 January 14
  • RRP: £130 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 8 out of 10

For the price, the Advent Vega offers an awful lot and is better than the Tesco Hudl in almost every way. Google’s new Nexus 7 is better overall, mainly because of its excellent screen and battery life, but it costs £70 more and has no microSD card slot for adding storage. If you’re after a budget Android tablet, the Tegra Note 7 is a great choice.

9. LG G Pad 8.3

LG G Pad 8.3
  • Reviewed on: 13 February 14
  • RRP: £199 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 8 out of 10

The G Pad 8.3 is undoubtedly LG's best tablet to date and at £199 it's a bit of a steal. A nice selection of hardware and software make this a great choice for a small tablet. However, occasionally laggy performance means the Nexus 7 might be a better choice.

8. Sony Xperia Tablet Z

Sony Xperia Tablet Z
  • Reviewed on: 14 June 13
  • RRP: £399 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 8 out of 10

Sony has made a very desirable tablet in the Xperia Tablet Z. We particularly like its striking svelte design and features that you don't get with rivals such as NFC, its waterproof casing and infrared. However, its slightly lacking performance means the Nexus 10 will save you some money or the iPad 4 will give you a smooth experience for the same price.

7. Google Nexus 10

Google Nexus 10
  • Reviewed on: 2 July 13
  • RRP: £319 for 16GB; £389 for 32GB
  • Rating: Rated 9 out of 10

The Nexus 10 is easily the best 10in Android tablet we've seen to date. It has a fantastic screen, decent cameras and software features all for a more than reasonable price. Those looking for an alternative to the full-sized iPad needn't look any further.

6. Apple iPad mini

Apple iPad mini
  • Reviewed on: 24 June 13
  • RRP: Wi-Fi: £269 (16GB), £349 (32GB), £429 (64GB)
  • Rating: Rated 8 out of 10

The iPad mini is a premium small tablet, with a price to match. It's a shame Apple couldn't have included a Retina screen and newer processor - expect the iPad mini 2 to get those updates when it launches later this year. This Wi-Fi only model also lacks GPS. It's not cheap by any stretch, especially if you want more storage spare or the 3G/4G cellular version, but it's great value compared to a full-size iPad. You can save a chunk by buying a Nexus 7, Nook HD or Kindle Fire HD, but if you must have an iDevice, it won't disappoint.

5. Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet

Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet
  • Reviewed on: 17 April 14
  • RRP: From £399 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 9 out of 10

The Xperia Z2 is a great looking and well built Android tablet. It is staggeringly thin and light for a 10in device, has a great screen, expandable storage and good performance. We like the OS and the camera. Indeed, our only issues with the Xperia Z2 Tablet is occasionally laggy web browsing, and the fact that the screen is poor under natural light. But priced in line with the iPad Air this is right at the top of the shop.

4. Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5

Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
  • Reviewed on: 1 August 14
  • RRP: £399 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 9 out of 10

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 is one of the firm's best ever tablets with a thin and light design, although there is still too much plastic. Hardware is decent, namely that impressive display and great battery life making this a consumption machine. It's got pretty much everything you could want on a tablet, and it is priced competitively against its key rivals earning it a recommended award.

3. Apple iPad Air

Apple iPad Air
  • Reviewed on: 12 February 14
  • RRP: Wi-Fi: £399 (16GB), £479 (32GB), £559 (64GB) and £639 (128GB). Cellular: £499 (16GB), £579 (32GB), £659 (64GB) and £739 (128GB)
  • Rating: Rated 8 out of 10

In many respects a triumph, the iPad Air also introduces compromises to hit the low-weight/thin-case targets. Sound quality through the new stereo speaker has deteriorated, and although a matter of taste we found the iPad mini-style case loses the premium feel of preceding generations of iPad. The iOS 7 interface, not popular with every user, cannot be avoided on this device and it suffers some stickiness in app zooming. Ultimately though the iPad Air will suceed by simple nature of its new weight – the lose of almost 200g is so significant to its handling, and means it could encroach on E Ink ebook readers; only with the power and versatility, not to mention gorgeous colour screen, of a real iPad.

2. Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4

Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4
  • Reviewed on: 20 August 14
  • RRP: £319 inc VAT
  • Rating: Rated 9 out of 10

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 is one of the best Android tablets we've ever reviewed. In terms of hardware it's the best you can buy right now and has a superbly thin and light design. There's very little to dislike here aside from some elements of the TouchWiz software and the higher price compared to Android rivals (the iPad mini 2 is the obvious alternative if you're not set on Android). If you would rather save money and aren't so bothered about top-notch spec and additional features like the fingerprint scanner and IR blaster, check out the Nexus 7 and LG G Pad 8.3.

1. Nexus 7 (2013)

Nexus 7 (2013)
  • Reviewed on: 22 July 14
  • RRP: £199 (32 GB)/£239 (1 32GB)
  • Rating: Rated 9 out of 10

The 2013 Google Nexus 7 is more expensive than the original and sees only a small change in the design, while its exceptional screen and added rear camera help justify this price hike. It's still lacking a microSD card slot but for many people with be the best 7in tablet around.

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