Apple launches its new iPad on Tuesday. But since it first appeared in 2010, the market for tablet computers has been flooded with rivals of different sizes, brands and specifications. Which one should you choose?
Full-sized tablets (typically about 10in wide)
Best for reading
The fourth-generation iPad (£399) dominates the market for bigger tablets and boasts the famed “retina” display – a super high-quality screen. Huge choice of apps and magazines in the Apple app store.
Best for travel
The Sony Xperia Tablet Z (£380) is super-thin and even claims to be waterproof. It has a high-quality screen and a fast processor running on Google’s Android software. An impressive piece of kit.
Best for techies
The Nexus 10 (£319) is made by Google, and therefore well integrated with the Android operating system – updates are immediate. It is fast and well built.
Best for beginners
Amazon’s Kindle Fire HDX (£329) has a high-resolution screen and fast processor, but runs a custom version of Android that locks the user into Amazon’s music and books services. It does have “Mayday” support – a real person on video to assist you.
Smaller tablets (typically about 7in wide)
Best for apps
Apple’s iPad Mini (£269) is still the one to beat: small and beautifully formed. And like its larger brother it has full access to Apple’s apps and services. It is little surprise this one has sold 7m units.
Best for gaming
Google Nexus 7 (£199), one of many cheaper Android options, wins on power: it has a fast processor, high-resolution screen and solid build.
Best for books
The 7in version of Amazon’s Kindle Fire HDX (£199) has the same high-resolution screen and plenty of processing power, but similarly lacks access to Google’s Play Store and the full range of apps.
Best for kids
Tesco’s 7in Hudl tablet (£119 – or as little as £60, if you can pay in Tesco Clubcard points) has a decent screen, good build quality and access to all the normal Android apps and services. Tesco cut a few corners (the camera quality is terrible) but the Hudl is an ideal first tablet.
And one to avoid …
Argos’s MyTablet (£99) might be the cheapest, but it feels it – creaky, a poor-quality screen and a very slow processor. – By Samuel Gibbs © Guardian News and Media 2013
Image – AFP