The top 10 iPad alternatives

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When you’re in the market for a new tablet it might be easier to go out and pick the iPad because it’s well known, but it’s not the only tablet out there. In fact, the tablet market is so vast and varied there are an awful lot of excellent tablets out there for you to choose from. So if you’re not going to go out and buy an iPad, what are your alternatives?



1. Best on a budget: Tesco Hudl, £99

At the low price of £99 you might expect the Hudl to be awful and not worthy of your time, especially since it’s made by Tesco. That’s not the case, and the Hudl is possibly the best sub-£100 tablet that you can get your hands on right now. It’s not got amazing life changing specs, but for £99 it’s definitely value for money.

The Hudl comes with a 7-inch HD display, a 1.5GHz quad-core processor, 16GB of internal storage, 1GB of RAM, microSD expansion, Micro HDMI output, and runs on a stock version of Android Jelly Bean. It’s also available in a number of different colours, and the fact that you can pick one up during your weekly shop is an added bonus.

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2. Best for work: Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2, £419

Samsung’s larger sized tablet is the same size as some laptops, which makes it an ideal choice for serious work. Why work on a 7-inch tablet when you can work on a 12.2-inch tablet?

The Note Pro 12.2 comes with a QHD display, a stylus in case you want something a little more accurate than your finger, a 9,500 mAh battery with a 12 hour battery life, microSD expansion, 32 or 64GB or internal storage, 3GB of RAM, an Octa-core processor, TV output to display your work on a big screen, and runs on Android KitKat. In fact this is a tablet that’s almost comparable to a laptop, get yourself a keyboard and a mouse and you’d hardly notice the difference.

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3. Best 7-inch model: Google Nexus 7, £191

There’s not much about any Nexus device that you can really hate. They’re reasonably priced, but still include high-end hardware. If you’re looking for a 7-inch tablet and you’re not restricted by a very limited budget then the Nexus 7 is probably your best bet.

The tablet itself is 4G compatible, has a 7-inch HD display, 16 or 32GB of internal storage, 2GB of RAM, a quad-core 1.5GHz processor, wireless charging, NFC and Google Wallet, a 3,950 mAh battery with a nine hour battery life, and runs on Android KitKat. It doesn’t have microSD expansion, which is possibly the device’s biggest loss, but it’s still one of the best available.

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4. Best mid-range: Asus MeMO Pad 7, £119

So you have a bit more money to spend and you don’t want to be stuck with a budget tablet, but you still don’t have enough for a flashy flagship model either. Mid-range is where you need to look. While the tablets here aren’t as common or from well known brands as the budgets or the flagships, you can still find a decent selection — the MeMO Pad 7 is one of them.

Coming with a 720p 7-inch display with 216ppi, 16GB of internal storage, 1GB of RAM, microSD expansion, a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, a 10 hour battery life, all running on Android Jelly Bean. It also comes with 16GB of  webstorage space from Asus that’s free for a year.

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5. Best for portability: Asus Padfone 2, £329

The Padfone is a line of tablets unlike any other. A lot of tablets prefer to try and mimic the functionality of a smartphone rather than just throwing one into the mix. The Padfone 2 is more a smartphone than anything, but it comes with a tablet adaptor that will turn that phone into your own 10.1-inch tablet. You don’t get any extra spec boosts from the tablet case, just a nice big screen to work on and a bit of extra battery life. The fact is that this means you can effectively carry your tablet around anywhere you want, because the tablet is also your phone that fits in your pocket.

The Padfone 2 itself has a 4.7-inch 720p display, and the tablet has roughly the same resolution in a 10.1-inch screen. You have a choice of 16, 32, or 64GB of internal storage, 2GB of RAM, 4G capabilities, a 13MP camera, a 1.5GHz quad-core processor, a 2,1400 mAh battery on the phone that becomes 5,000 mAh when plugged into the tablet stand, all running on Android KitKat.

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6. Best for reading: Amazon Fire HDX 8.9″, from £329

Don’t let the name fool you, this is a Kindle in everything but name. For some reason Amazon’s latest line of tablets have ditched the Kindle name, but they still retain the same Kindle functionalities that the old Fire tablets have — including access to the Kindle and Amazon app stores.

The HDX 8.9″comes with an 8.9-inch QHD display, 16, 32, or 64GB of internal storage, 2GB of RAM, a 12 hour battery life, 4G, and a 2.5GHz quad-core processor all running on Amazon’s Fire OS which is a customised version of Android KitKat. It’s officially not out until the 4th of November, but you can go ahead and pre-order one for yourself right now.

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7. Best for watching videos: Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4, £238

One of the things tablets are great for is watching videos. Whether it’s a film you loaded on there yourself, or a streaming service like Netflix you want a decent device with a nice screen that isn’t such a pain to hold while you watch it. The Galaxy Tab Pro is a great way for you to get all of that in a tablet that’s not enormously overpriced.

Coming with an 8.4-inch QHD Super AMOLED display with 351ppi means you have a fantastic, clear, and colourful screen to watch your videos on. It also comes with 2GB of RAM, a  quad-core 2.3 GHz Snapdragon 800 processor, 16 or 32GB of internal storage, microSD expansion, a 4,800 mAh battery with an 11 hour battery life, and running Android KitKat. It also has TV output so you can send video from your device onto the TV.

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8. Best when money is no option: Microsoft Surface Pro 3, £830

Try as they might, tablets will never be able to replace the laptop. That being said it hasn’t stopped a number of companies releasing the tablet/laptop hybrid. Essentially it’s a machine that functions in the same way as a laptop, but comes with a number of tablet-specific features such as the touch screen or added portability. The Surface 3 Pro is probably one of the best ones you can get hold of that is more like a laptop than a tablet.

The Surface Pro 3 has a 12-inch QHD display, and Intel i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, 128GB of SSD storage, 15GB of free OneDrive Storage, a nine hour battery life, and runs on Windows 8.1 RT. It also comes with a stylus and a keyboard/case to give you that full laptop experience. It’s rather expensive, but it’s still got some pretty impressive specs that may well justify the costs for you.

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9. Best battery life: Sony Xperia Tablet Z2, £370

Regardless of what device you’re looking for, battery life is one of the most important things to consider. What good is a tablet that’s going to run out of charge after an hour? None, that’s what. If you’re looking for something that gives you that little bit of an extra boost then the Xperia Tablet Z2 is a good option for you.

The Z2 comes with a 10.1-inch HD display with 229ppi, 4G capabilities, 16GB of internal storage, 3GB of RAM, microSD expansion, a 2.3GHZ quad-core processor, all running on Android KitKat. It’s also water and dustproof, and comes with a 6,000 mAh battery that lasts for 13 hours of heavy use, and 1,200 hours in standby mode.

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10. Best phablet: Samsung Galaxy Note 4, £629

Sometimes you want something that’s larger than a regular phone without having to lose the functionality that smartphones have to offer. In those cases you want to get yourselves a phablet, a device halfway between the phone and the tablet in terms of size and functionality. Phablets offer the best of both, giving you the larger screen size that make tablets what they are, without having to have a second device to stay in touch with people.

Samsung’s latest is one of the best you can get your hands on right now, coming with a 5.7-inch Super AMOLED QHD display with 551 ppi, 32GB of internal storage, 3GB of RAM, microSD expansion, a fingerprint sensor, a 16MP rear camera with optical image stabilisation, a choice of a 2.7GHz quad-core processor or an octa-core processor, a 3,220 mAh battery, calling and texting capabilities, all running on Android KitKat with an upgrade to Android L expected in November.

Tom Pritchard