Christmas is coming and many people will be looking to buy tablet PCs for friends and relatives. However, the tablet market is more diverse than ever at the moment, so to help you decide here are 10 of the best.
The scaled-down iPad Mini offers the same power as the iPad 2, but with a 7.9-inch display and a super-slim light design that makes it much more portable.
Onboard HD cameras, Siri compatibility and the latest iOS platform make it a very well specified device.
The 9.7-inch Retina Display made this the best big-screen tablet available in terms of visual clarity and pure resolution, at least until the Google Nexus 10 arrived.
The iPad remains the definitive tablet range, with this latest iteration featuring all of the excellent software and stylish hardware you would expect from an Apple product.
Google Nexus 7
The low asking price masks a highly capable, powerful tablet, with a quad-core processor and HD seven-inch display giving it an edge over other budget-priced competitors.
The Nexus 7 has been a big seller and will become even more popular once its 3G iteration arrives in 2013.
Google Nexus 10
The 10.1-inch display of the Nexus 10 has more pixels per inch than any other tablet and although it only has a dual-core processor, it is also a very slick device.
It offers great value for money, just like the Nexus 7, so it should give you a viable alternative to the iPad 4 at a much lower asking price.
If Android and iOS are not able to meet your needs when it comes to tablet software then the Windows RT-based Surface, officially branded by Microsoft, might be a good choice.
A quad-core processor, 10.6-inch display and compatible screen cover and physical keypad help to enhance the appeal of this tablet.
Meanwhile the Pro version, planned for a 2013 launch, will fully support Windows 8 and feature a full HD display, making it more akin to a laptop than a tablet.
Amazon Kindle Fire HD
The cheap rival to the Nexus 7 is the Kindle Fire HD, which features a seven-inch display, Android and a custom interface that makes it tailored towards movie streaming and general media consumption.
The cheapest model has 16GB of storage and Wi-Fi connectivity, but with so much content accessible without requiring any kind of download, its limitations should not be a problem.
Asus Transformer Pad Infinity
This is a premium tablet with a high asking price, but if you can afford it then you will be happy with its quality.
It matches the iPad in terms of the quality of the materials used in its construction and, as with the other tablets in the Transformer range, it is compatible with a separate keyboard dock, which adds all the physical buttons of a laptop and boosts its battery life.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
The Galaxy Note smartphone range is known for its inclusion of an intelligent stylus called the S-Pen and this technology has been brought over to the full tablet market with this 10.1 inch device.
The S-Pen is very useful if you want to be creative, since it allows for precise inputs that are not possible using your fingers. The tablet itself is a powerful Android-based device with Samsung’s own interface on top, with everything working well together.
Asus Eee Pad Slider
If you like the idea of a tablet with a physical keyboard but do not want it as part of a separate dock, the slide-out set-up offered by this Asus model will be worth investigating.
As well as a solid Android experience, this could be one of the most practical and portable devices around, with its hinge mechanism allowing the display to disguise a full QWERTY keypad beneath.
Sony Tablet S
Sony’s quirky design makes the Tablet S easy to hold and simple to prop on a flat surface, with a large display and high-powered hardware giving it equal footing with the other Android devices in the list.
PlayStation certification also helps it enhance its gaming credentials, giving you access to titles you will not find on other tablets.