The last few months have seen a complete refresh of the Apple range - still the market leader - and some really strong contenders from Samsung (the Galaxy 10.1 2014 edition now ranks with the best from Apple) as well as Acer, Amazon, Google and Microsoft. Tablet sales are eclipsing laptops, but if you're not sure a tablet is for you, see our reports on laptops and netbooks and computers and accessories.
Video: Mini tablets comparison
CHOICE takes a look at 3 new tablets to hit the market, the iPad mini, Google Nexus 7 and the Microsoft Surface.
- Acer: the Iconia A1, W3 and W5 (with kbd)
- Amazon: the Kindle Fire HD and HDX (2 models)
- Apple: the iPad Air, Mini with Retina display, iPad 2 and Mini
- Asus: FonePad, Google Nexus 7, MeMo Pad HD 7, Padfone, Transformer Pad, Transformer Prime and Vivo Tab Smart
- Google: the Nexus 7 (Asus) and Nexus 10 (Samsung)
- HP: the Slatebook 10 X2
- Lenovo: the IdeaTab A1000l and S6000
- Microsoft: the Surface, Surface 2, Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2
- Samsung: the Galaxy Note 8 and 10, the Galaxy Tab2 10, the Galaxy Tab3 7, 8 and 10 and the Google Nexus 10
- Sony: the Xperia Z
- Toshiba: the Excite Pro, Excite Pure and Excite Write
How we test
To help with the high cost of testing a wide range of models we employ specialised labs in Europe to test the tablets with the results shared among a range of consumer organisations around the world. The testing has a wide scope, including:
- Device overview This includes physical characteristics such as connections (USB, HDMI etc), memory, build quality and weight
- Internet and emails covers how easy it is to set up and use email, browse the internet and use internet services including social networking.
- Multimedia covers all media - photos, sound and video - and how easy it is to transfer files, make video calls, and find the apps you want in the app store.
- Ease of use focuses on buttons, the keyboard and how easy it is to handle and use the device.
- Screen quality includes all aspects of the screen from performance to useability.
- Battery The lifetime of the battery is an important feature in its own right.
- Backup and security increasingly important in the use of tablets is the security of your data, whether it's secure, access to the tablet, backing up of data and recovery from failures.
For more detail, see "How we score"