The Top Tablets of 2016

 

Introduction

Tablets are becoming more and more popular as the years progress, with the market for the product becoming incredibly huge. With latest models arguably being able to replace the home PC, who can deny that they are a high and mighty gadget to own? As prices can vary drastically from as little as £250 to a whopping £1000, everyone from small-time budgeters to those big spenders can find something perfect for them! Here at E-Reviews, we decided it would be great to find out what people thought were the best tablets this year, and review them for you. Not only that, but we included some information for you, too, about what you might want to look out for.

What to look for

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When it comes to finding a tablet to suit all your needs, looking at the brand of the product might not always be the best thing to do. While large brands like Apple and Sony may make you assume that the tablet has all the latest features (which, in fact, they probably do), a name itself is not a justifiable reason to purchase the product. Instead, think about what it is that you will be using the tablet for. Are you a graphical designer, do you prefer writing, or do you just want to use it to play videos and scroll through Facebook? All of these things play into the role of deciding on a tablet. Below, we have compiled a list of other factors that will play a large role of finding that perfect tablet, but you may not have thought of:

Which OS?

When it comes to the Operating System, tablets can vary greatly. While Apple products will stick to the typical ‘iOS’, other products, mainly Android, will have a bit more variation. Listed below are some of the most common Operating Systems that are used in tablets:

 Apple iOS

iOS is Apple’s ‘go to’ Operating System which is featured on most of their products. This ranges from the iPhone, iPod, Apple TV, Apple Watch and the iPad – the most popular tablet to date. This OS is simple to learn and use, and the most current version, iOS 9.1, is installed on 75% of all active iOS devices as of this writing. With the release of Microsoft Office for the iPad, a whole new audience of businesspeople was reached, making it easier to work from home, or on the go.

 However, while Apple’s iOS is very popular, it is not recommended for those that need specialised applications, as these will most likely not appear on the Operating System. It is also not as advanced as a desktop, either, making it somewhat limited. An example of this is the lack of a universal file browser. As opposed to having a central repository of files, each individual application will have its own application.

Google Android

Almost as popular as Apple’s iOS when it comes to tablets, Google’s Android is also an easy-to-use and learn Operating System. Quite a few companies, such as Samsung, Sony and Lenovo actually use Android, which will give their audience a wide array of devices to choose from (as opposed to Apple only having a selection of six different tablets with iOS). This Operating System is perfect for those that want to use the tablet for light business-style work, since the release of Microsoft Office was made available to those using the Android OS.

 One potential downside is that, while there is a very large amount of applications for Android, only a small amount of them are actually capable of working on larger, and more high-resolution, screens. If you are working with a smaller screen, however, this should not be a problem.

Microsoft Windows 8

Being the most powerful OS that is currently available for available tablets, Windows 8 is definitely the most up-to-date OS that you can get your hands on. It offers all the legacy software that was created for Windows 7, meaning the idea of upgrading isn’t too scary. However, much of this software is not actually touch-friendly, so a stylus or mouse is sometimes recommended, if not necessary.

Quite a few large companies offer Windows 8 as a choice of Operating Systems, which means that if you want to choose this Operating System, you will not be limited in choice of tablet.

We would recommend Windows 8 as an Operating System to those that wish to do some heavy-duty computing on their tablet, which would not be available on other tablets. However, if you are just looking to check your social media and do some writing, we believe that this choice of Operating System may be a little over the top and unnecessary.

Microsoft Windows RT

Windows RT is considered the alternative to that of Windows 8 as an Operating System. The Operating System uses ARM-based processors, as opposed to x86 ones. This processor is a lot less expensive than the x86 that Windows 8 uses, and actually use less power, which can mean a longer battery life. However, this does mean that the OS cannot run legacy Windows software. This is because devices that run WinRT are not able to run that software, therefore limiting the software that comes on the device, plus an even more limited selection of applications to choose from.

 This Operating System created by Microsoft does not have any evidence showing that it has actually been successful. This is due to the fact that no newer models of tablets have been released for a long time now. Although, earlier models can still be found in stores and online, and at low prices, too.

 The Windows RT Operating System is recommended for light use (meaning heavy-duty use is not particularly useful on this Operating System). However, considering the Operating System itself is quickly becoming obsolete, it is best to look for another alternative instead for long-term use.

Screen Size

Without a doubt, the screen size is one of the first thing that any customer will look out for when purchasing a tablet. Really, there is not really any ‘better’ screen size for a tablet. Instead, it is more about comfortability for each individual user. While one person may be comfortable with a larger screen, bordering on laptop-size, you may find that a more pocket-friendly tablet is worth looking into.

For example, with the iPad 2, the screen itself is actually the same size as the original iPad (9.7 inches) as it has been proved that the size is very popular within the market. However, many of the newer Android 3.0 tablets are going against this and are opting for a larger display with a 10.1 inch screen.

 It is not rare, however, for a product to be released in two sizes. This means that if you are excited about a certain tablet, but see that is is too big or small for comfort, there may be an alternative to suit you more. Be aware, though, that this option is usually only available for the more anticipated and popular tablets on the market.

Processor

The processor that your tablet has inside it can actually change how you use it greatly. Every tablet out there is based on ARM processor technology, which is also what mobile phones are based on too. However, as tablets become more popular, companies decide to alter the design of the ARM processor and even produce their own versions. Now, many ARM processors are actually dual-core, which is actually just like a lot of processors that you can find within a PC.

Wi-Fi or 3G?

All tablets are able to support Wi-Fi, so before you get worried about having to play solitaire for the rest of your life…Don’t. Nowadays, however, many tablets actually enable you to insert a mobile internet-enabled SIM card into it and use the internet out and about.

However, tablets that have a 3G function are generally more expensive and usually make you sign up to a data contract before buying it. The good thing, on the other hand, is that many shops will actuallt offer these tablets at reduced rates, similar to how they operate with mobile phones.

Does It Have a Camera?

Having a camera can be a vital thing to most people. Whether it is for taking photos and videos, using Skype or even Google Talk, many tablets, such as the iPad 2 and many Android 3.0 products, have two cameras (one front-facing camera and one rear-facing camera). The front one is often used for taking photos and video calls, and the rear-facing camera can also be used for photos and videos.

App Compatibility

With 300,000 available as of this writing, the Apple App Store actually has most of the available applications. Out of these 300,000, roughly 65,000 are specifically designed for the iPad, which can be limiting to other tablets out there. For Android, there are only a few thousand applications, but there are still plenty to choose from.

 Other Operating Systems have App Stores, too, but they are very small in comparison to the Apple App Store. However, for most of the operations you are trying to run (social media, financing etc), you should find what you are looking for.

Storage Space

Depending on what you will be using your tablet for, storage space can either play a large, or small role. If you are wanting to store a large amount of photos and music, 16GB of storage should be more than enough. However, large applications and HD videos will need a lot more space.

 If you are not going to be using the tablet for things such as those, then a smaller storage space might suit you more (and save you a bit of money). While the iPad does not have a memory card slot, many other tablets out there have a microSD / microSDHC slot, meaning that if you run out of storage space, you can get yourself some more without having to worry about deleting any important photos or documents.

Connecting To Other Devices

If you are planning on sitting down and binge-watching a new series on Netflix or NowTV, being able to connect your tablet to your TV may be a little more than helpful. Most tablets on the market allow you to connect to monitor displays and televisions with help from an HDMI cable to share screens.

 If this seems like a great idea to you, look for a tablet which has a full-size or mini-HDMI output on it. With most tablets, you will have to purchase the HDMI cable seperately, but this should not cost too much. However, when purchasing an iPad, you may want to connect to another device, which could be a lot more difficult. Instead of just having an HDMI output and needing a cable, you will have to purchase a special kit that will allow you to do so. This wouldn’t be so bad, but it will set you back another £35 on top of the tablet itself.

 Our Top Picks

After quite a while of picking through the vast market that there is in the tablet industry, we have come up with the following tablets as what we believe trump them all! The available tablets that are listed below have been specifically chosen as to not be completely identical. You will find a vast range in pricing and Operating System, as well as more of the high-tech specifications. Not everyone’s perfect tablet is the same, so we added some variety to help you find your specific product:

iPad Pro 9.7 (£499)

Weight: 437 grams

Dimensions: 240 x 169.5 x 6.1 mm

Screen Size: 9.7 inch

Resolution: 1536 x 2048 pixels

CPU: A9X

RAM: 2GB

Storage: 32GB / 128GB / 256GB

microSD slot: No

Battery: TBC

Rear Camera: 12MP

Front Camera: 5MP

OS: iOS 9.3


PROS:

  • Great speakers.
  • Pencil and keyboard support.

CONS:

  • With accessories included, it can become quite pricey.
  • Not as much RAM as the iPad Pro.


Description:

A smaller screen, but with all the powerful insides that you are looking for! This combination for a tablet is the reason that it is one of the best on today’s market. With its brilliant four speakers, you get all the quality of the larger iPad Pro, but at just a portion of the size. A wonderful palm-friendly size.

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Google Pixel C (£479.95)

Weight: 517 grams

Dimensions: 242 x 179 x 7mm

Screen Size: 10.2 inches

Resolution: 2560 x 1800

CPU: Tegra X1

RAM: 3GB

Storage: 32GB / 64GB

microSD slot: No

Battery: Up to 10 hours

Rear Camera: 8MP

Front Camera: 2MP

OS: Android Marshmallow

 


PROS:

  • Has plenty of power.
  • Premium design.

CONS:


Description:

Seen as the best tablet on the Android market, the Pixel C seems to have it all and a little bit more. With an impressive display, a high quality design and heaps of power, this is surely the best of the best. If you are willing to spend a little more, the attachable keyboard is also worth looking into.

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 (£263.95)

Weight: 256 grams / 389 grams

Dimensions: 198.6 x 134.8 x 5.6mm / 237.3 x 169 x 56mm

Screen Size: 8.0 inches / 9.7 inches

Resolution: 1536 x 2048

CPU: Octa-Core

RAM: 3GB

Storage: 32GB / 64GB

microSD slot: No

Battery: 4000mAh / 5870mAh

Rear Camera: 8MP

Front Camera: 2.1MP

OS: Android 5.1

 


PROS:

  • A lighter and more thin design than previous models.
  • An improved interface for easier navigation.
  • Rare expandable memory.

CONS:


Description:

Being both a reading and web-friendly, this is perfect for those that are looking for a multi-purpose tablet. With its almost impossibly thin design, and available in both 8 inch and 9.7 inch variants, this is surely a tablet worth looking into.

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iPad Mini 4 (£319)

Weight: 299 grams

Dimensions: 203.2 x 134.8 x 6.1mm

Screen Size: 7.9 inches

Resolution: 1536 x 2048

CPU: Dual-Core 1.5GHz

RAM: 2GB

Storage: 16GB / 64GB / 128GB

microSD slot: No

Battery: 5124mAh

Rear Camera: 8MP

Front Camera: 1.2MP

OS: iOS 9.1

 


PROS:

  • Has a very sleek design.
  • Uses a Touch ID finger scanner.

CONS:


Description:

If you are looking for an attractive and smaller version of the iPad Air 2 and the iPad Pro, then this is the tablet that is perfect for you! The iPad Mini 4 gives you the best of Apple in a highly portable design.

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Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet (£499)

Weight: 389 grams

Dimensions: 254 x 167 x 6.1mm

Screen Size: 10.1 inches

Resolution: 2560 x 1600

CPU: Octa-Core

RAM: 3GB

Storage: 32GB

microSD slot: No

Battery: 6000mAh

Rear Camera: 8.1MP

Front Camera: 5.1MP

OS: Android 5.0

 


PROS:

  • Has an improved and lightweight design.
  • Attractive display.
  • Keyboard dock is included.

CONS:


Description:

Are you a PS4 player? Well, good news! The Xperia Z4 allows for you to stream games straight to your tablet. If you link up your controller to the tablet, you can be gaming in any room of the house – be it the bedroom, bathroom or kitchen.

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Nexus 9 (£255)

Weight: 425 grams

Dimensions: 228.2 x 153.7 x 8mm

Screen Size: 8.9 inches

Resolution: 1536 x 2048

CPU: Dual-Core 2.3GHz

RAM: 2GB

Storage: 16GB / 32GB

microSD slot: No

Battery: 6700mAh

Rear Camera: 8MP

Front Camera: 1.6MP

OS: Android 5.1

 


PROS:

  • Is great value for the price.
  • Has a solid performance rate.
  • Stock Android Experience.

CONS:


Description:

While it use to be one of the most expensive tablets out there, making it too much for what it is, the Nexus 9 has dropped price considerably, making it of great value. Giving it a high resolution screen and a whole lot of power makes this tablet a great all-round product, and very affordable.

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Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact (£330)

Weight: 270 grams

Dimensions: 213.4 x 123.6 x 6.4mm

Screen Size: 8.0 inches

Resolution: 1200 x 1920

CPU: Quad-Core 2.5GHz

RAM: 3GB

Storage: 16GB

microSD slot: No

Battery: 4500mAh

Rear Camera: 8.1MP

Front Camera: 2.2MP

OS: Android 5.0.2


PROS:

  • Has a great battery life.
  • Very thin, light and portable.
  • Is waterproof.

CONS:


Description:

With a super thin profile, bright display and a long line of great specifications, this tablet is great at what it does. As well as this, with its waterproof body, it can sit in your pocket and won’t break at the first drop of rain.

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Microsoft Surface Pro 4 (£959)

Weight: 766 grams / 786 grams

Dimensions: 292.10 x 201.42 x 8.45mm

Screen Size: 12.3 inches

Resolution: 2736 x 1824

CPU: Various

RAM: 4GB / 8GB / 16GB

Storage: 128GB

microSD slot: No

Battery: Up to 9 hours

Rear Camera: 8MP

Front Camera: 5MP

OS: Windows 10 Pro


PROS:

  • A larger, sharper screen than previous models.
  • Great Type Cover.
  • Built-in stand.

CONS:


Description:

The big question at the minute is ‘can a tablet really replace a computer?’ Well, can it? The tablet putting that question to the test is the Microsoft Surface Pro 4. With Windows 10 Pro as its OS, an option for an attachable keyboard and an integrated kickstand, students and workers are throwing their arms up in support of this tablet!

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iPad Air 2 (£325)

Weight: 437 grams

Dimensions: 240 x 169.5 x 6.1mm

Screen Size: 9.7 inches

Resolution: 1536 x 2048

CPU: Triple-Core 1.5GHz

RAM: 2GB

Storage: 16GB / 64GB / 128GB

microSD slot: No

Battery: 7340mAh

Rear Camera: 8MP

Front Camera: 1.2MP

OS: iOS 9.1

 


PROS:

  • Sleek design.
  • Very powerful.
  • Unbeatable app selection.

CONS:


Description:

Now cheaper thanks to the release of the iPad Pro 9.7, this tablet is extremely versatile to use, while also being very simple to navigate and enjoyable to use. With such a high quality build, this tablet offers great performance and features that make the price oh so worth it!

Conclusion

Picking a tablet can be difficult, especially when the market for them is so wide. What seems like a simple task can actually result in a long process of research and stress. However, our top ten list and research on the subject should at least help a little bit.

When you are deciding to pick a tablet, always think of these top tips: pick something that will be comfortable for you to carry, pick something that will allow you to do the tasks that you want to do, think about your processor and storage space and, the most important thing of all, make sure you pay attention to the Operating System!

If you stick to these simple tips, picking out your perfect tablet should be a breeze!

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