We round-up the best tablets on the market in 2014, whether you want a 7in or 10in, an Android, Apple or Windows device, something cheap or the latest and greatest new iPad...

Whether you're after a cheap tablet or something a little more premium, we've done the necessary tablet reviews to help you make the right buying decision. Apple and Samsung may steal most of the headlines but do the iPad and Galaxy tablets justify the hype?

Thankfully 2014 has seen plenty of good alternatives to the big two, from impressive Windows tablets to super-cheap budget tablets and even viable supermarket special alternatives (we're looking at you, Tesco Hudl).

Read on to see our pick of the best tablets you can buy. We've split our choices by size - the best 10in tablet and the best 7in tablet (or thereabouts) - and given you a few others worthy of your consideration in to the bargain.

Click through to read the full reviews on each products, see pictures, tech specs and compare the latest live prices.

AWARDS: Best Tablets 2014

 

Best tablet of 2014

Apple iPad Air

Five Stars

Tested at £200

We may now have been treated to the arrival of the iPad Air 2, but the iPad Air was crowned our Product of the Year in the tablets category at the What Hi-Fi? Awards 2014, and no matter the outcome of the Air 2 review, this remains a great tablet and might still be the best option for many people.

It was the "best iPad yet" when we reviewed it, thanks to design tweaks, increased power, improvements to video performance and sound quality, a better battery and a better camera. It's just better all round.

It's not cheap but the sparsity of 10in tablets on the market means this is a fairly comfortable win for the iPad Air.

Read our full Apple iPad Air review

Hands on:  iPad Air 2 review

 

Best 10in tablet alternatives

Sony Xperia Tablet Z2

Four Stars

Tested at £400

The latest tablet offering from Sony is a vast improvement over the old  Sony Xperia Tablet Z. An incredibly thin frame that makes the iPad look chunky and a fantastic screen come together into one desirable package. 

It's waterproof, too, should you like getting wet and wild with your tablet.  Sound quality is good, though ultimately not quite as detailed as the iPad, while video is solid but bettered by the  Google Nexus 10’s crisp screen and great battery life. It's pricier, too.

Still, if you're a Sony fan, like the design, and value the waterproof design, then the Xperia Tablet Z2 might just be the best tablet for you.

Read our full  Sony Xperia Tablet Z2 review

 

Google Nexus 10 (32GB)

Five Stars

Tested at £390

Offering a good few quid saving on the new iPad, it’s hard not to be impressed with the Nexus 10. Video is superb and music isn’t far behind, while the interface, features and content offerings are thorough.

The build could have a little more sparkle and we await more tablet-specific app offerings but the Nexus 10 is undoutbtedly a serious alternative for a 10in tablet.

Read our full  Google Nexus 10 review

 

Dell XPS 10 (32GB)

Four Stars

Tested at £340

The laptop and tablet hybrid may have been made most famous by the Asus Transformer Pad Infinity but we rather like this Dell XPS 10 tablet, which can also be paired with an optional keyboard.

On its own, the Windows 8 Start interface is a colourful, customisable pleasure, using the Windows RT rather than Windows Pro OS to good effect but meaning you can't install full Windows programs but can use the Windows 8 app store.

A 1366 x 768 10.1in screen looks detailed, natural and realistic – though of course it's a shame it's not full HD – but the sound can be a little on the light side. Not perfect but an appealing alternative to the usual suspects.

Read our full  Dell XPS 10 review

 

More after the break

Best 7 inch tablet

Google Nexus 7

Five stars

Tested at £200

Two years on the trot the Google Nexus 7 (the latest, 2013 Nexus) has taken our Award for the best compact tablet. One of the first tablets to show you can combine great performance in a compact package with a price tag under £200.

It's slim and light but durable, has plenty of apps, and sports neat features such as multiple user profiles (something we've still yet to see on the iPad). Sound quality is impressive for a tablet, even (surpisingly) from the stereo speakers, while the screen delivers video with good detail and impressive colours, avoiding the over-saturated tendencies of cheaper tablets. It's all capped-off by a respectable nine-hour battery life. 

If you want an affordable 7in tablet, then we think the Nexus 7 is still the best option.

Read the full Google Nexus 7 review

MORE: Google launches Nexus 6 smartphone and Nexus 9 tablet

Best compact tablet alternatives

Apple iPad Mini 2 with Retina Display £320 (16GB)

Five Stars

Tested at £320

The iPad Mini 2 with Retina Display is the iPad Mini we always wanted. We really liked the original model, but it always felt like the underpowered, under-specced smaller sibling to the full iPad. Now all that separates the two is size, and that makes for quite the pint-sized proposition.

The big change for the second-generation Mini is right there in its name – the 7.9in display has been bumped from 1024 x 768 pixels to a 2,048 x 1,536 Retina display, the same resolution as the  iPad Air.

The result is nothing short of stunning. The screen is bright and sharp, with text and icons well etched and with not an identifiable pixel in sight.

Of course, as we know only too well with Apple products, there’s a price to pay for all of this. That said, with this screen and performance, not to mention the app advantage over Android rivals, it’s pretty hard to fault the iPad Mini. 

Read our full  Apple iPad Mini 2 with Retina Display review

 

Samsung Galaxy Tab S 

Four stars

Tested at £320

You'd be forgiven for thinking Samsung has a new tablet out every week and the Galaxy range certainly sees plenty of coming and going. The Tab S is now Samsung's flagship tablet, and it's available in 8.4in and 10.5in versions.

We reviewed the smaller model and were largely impressed with what we saw. The Galaxy Tab S 8.4 is certainly the best tablet we’ve seen from Samsung, and it’s up there as one of the best Android tablets we’ve tested - but it does fall short when compared to the iPad Mini 2 for pure audio and video performance.

Read our full  Samsung Galaxy Tab S review 

 

Amazon Kindle Fire HD (16GB)

Four Stars

Tested at £160

The Kindle Fire HD combines all of Amazon's content offerings in to one simple tablet. Using Amazon's rather than Google's app store, it's an easy to use offering that's ideal for regular Amazon shoppers.

A 7in, 1280 x 800 screen delivers lovely pictures with good contrast and detail, while sound quality – even from the speakers – is full-bodied and punchy.

It might not offer the full-fat Google Android experience, but for simplicity of use – and if you're a big Amazon ebook, MP3 or movie fan – it's a winner. It might just be the best tablet for kids for that reason.

Read our full  Amazon Kindle Fire HD review

 

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 (8GB)

Four Stars

Tested at £160

An ever-decreasing price tag (seemingly) means the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 remains one for the shortlist (even if the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 are around the corner).

The chassis is plastic but we still prefer the design to the likes of the  Kobo Arcand Kindle Fire HD, while the Android 4.0 experience is smoother and more complete here.

Video is good, while music is a little more run-of-the-mill, but for a price below £200, this Android tablet becomes far more competitive.

Read our full  Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 review

 

Tesco Hudl (16GB)

Four Stars

Tested at £120

The Tesco Hudl is an incredibly viable tablet option. Its 1.5GHz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM and 16GB of onboard storage, teamed with a 1440 x 900-pixel screen make its exceptionally good value for money.

It comes running Android 4.2.2, which Tesco has left predominantly as stock Android. However, a few widgets linking directly to its online store are on hand. 

Overall screen quality is good and, while it can't necessarily compete with its pricier rivals, the low price more than makes up for this.

Read our full  Tesco Hudl review

MORE: Tesco unveils Hudl 2 tablet

 

Upcoming tablets

Apple iPad Air 2

Apple's new flagship tablet promises to deliver "the best tablet display you've ever seen", while also claiming to be the thinnest tablet on the market. Faster, more powerful and with Touch ID, look out for our full iPad Air 2 review very soon.

Hands on: iPad Air 2 review

 

Apple iPad Mini 3

Small, perfectly formed, and exceedingly similar to the iPad Mini 2, we can't get too excited about the new iPad Mini. Touch ID and a new gold finish is all that's new but it does mean that prices on the other iPads have come down.

Hands on: iPad Mini 3 review

 

Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact

Sony has its work cut out in the tablet market but based on the performance of the Xperia Tablet Z2 and the excellent Xperia Z3 phone, we have high hopes for this 8in tablet. 

Hands on: Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact review

 

Tesco Hudl 2 

Sure to be another big-seller for the supermarket giant, the original Hudl surprised us by delivering solid all-round performance for the money, so the improved specs of the Hudl 2 should hopefully mean more of the same.

 

Best budget tablets 2014

See all 99 What Hi-Fi? Awards 2014 winners