The best tablets to buy in 2017
Tablets have become a handy companion if you want something larger than your phone for watching video, reading news or eBooks, or even keeping the children occupied with games and learning apps. They have become increasingly powerful, and we have seen a blurring of the line between tablets, smartphones and laptops. Tablets are becoming better than ever, but choosing something works for you is time consuming, so here is The Telegraph’s breakdown of what to look for in a tablet. What do I want my tablet for? There is plenty of versatility in tablets, whether you want a rugged device you can let your kids loose on or a powerful model for advanced photo and video editing. All tablets offer a touch screen where you can run applications similar to those on a laptop or mobile phone, downloaded from an app store. Several tablet brands now cater for younger children, with safe apps and features built-in to limit inappropriate content. Tablet deals | Check list Many tablets are just used to binge-watching Netflix or YouTube videos and you can pick up some basic models for under £100. Apple’s iPads remain a staple mid-range model, and if you need to use your tablet for more advanced tasks, or want the added flexibility of a keyboard, many tablets are now equipped as two-in-one devices. Do I want an Apple, Amazon, Windows or Android tablet? There are four main operating systems for the four main varieties of tablet, all of which offer slightly different levels of complexity and different apps, so this can be a key choice to make when picking up a new tablet. Here is a rundown of the main tablet operating systems and what you should expect from each: Apple: iPads were the trendsetters for tablet design and are still the benchmark for many features. They are expensive for the more advanced models, but run on the smooth iOS operating system. Amazon: FireOS is the operating system developed for Amazon's Fire tablets. It is based on Google's Android so most popular Android apps are available. A popular choice on a budget, it is perfectly capable of running entertainment apps such as Netflix, Spotify and Amazon Prime Video, but has inbuilt adverts and pushes Amazon's own services. Recent updates have seen Amazon add its Alexa voice control system to its tablets. Android: Google’s Android operating system offers access to the PlayStore and a wide range of apps and Google features. Most are less expensive than Windows tablets and iPads, but users often feel Android apps are not as well developed as those for the iPad. Windows: Most Windows tablets are a hybrid between tablet and laptop and run a version of Windows 10 that offers access to some Windows tablet only apps. These tablets often come with keyboards you can clip on to use them more like laptops. Black Friday products disclaimer How much should I pay? The best cheap tablets you can buy will only set you back around £50 to provide basic functionality if you just want a Netflix machine. However, over time you may find them slow for advanced tasks and storage is limited. More powerful tablets with storage of 16GB and up will cost you anywhere from £70 to £150, depending on screen size and operating system. Expensive tablets of £300 or more should have similar power to mini laptops, with larger screens, at least 4GB of RAM and a large amount of hard drive storage. The best cheap tablets under £100 Amazon Fire £49.99, Amazon Amazon's Fire Tablet Credit: Amazon Amazon’s Fire tablets are some of the best cheap tablets you can buy, with the basic model coming with 8GB of storage. You can add a microSD card for up to 200GB of extra storage. The screen is not full HD, but will provide a clear enough picture with its IPS display. Amazon tablets are mainly designed to make use of Amazon's app ecosystem. It includes a 7-inch screen, not much larger than some smartphones, and a eight hours of battery life. Recent updates have seen Amazon add its Alexa voice technology to the slate, which will be available on new models or through a software update. Look out for discounts on the tablet as Amazon often cuts the price on deals days like Black Friday or Amazon Prime Day, while for a little more you can also buy Amazon's Fire 10 tablet, which has an HD screen for £149. Lenovo Tab3 7 £99.95, John Lewis Lenovo Tab3 7 Credit: Lenovo This Lenovo tablet is one of the cheapest Android tablets on the market since Tesco discontinued its ultra low cost Hudl range. Many of its specs are entry level, with a screen resolution and processor broadly comparable to the Amazon Fire, with nine hours of battery life. It does also come with an Android operating system, which means you can access plenty of apps from Google's PlayStore. It has a 7-inch screen and a nine hours battery life and 16GB of internal storage. It is certainly a budget model, but if you just need an Android tablet for Netflix then it's one of the cheapest. Mid-range tablets iPad (2017) £319, John Lewis iPad (2017) Credit: Apple Apple has reigned in the prices on its main tablet range, with this year's newly released iPad coming in significantly below the more powerful iPad Pro and at a lower entry price than the iPad Air which it replaces. It comes with Apple's iOS 11 operating system and a 10-hour battery life. The new iPad has more powerful hardware than its predecessor, with its A9 processor providing all the power you will need for multiple tasks and 32GB of storage. For security it features Apple’s Touch ID and for added connectivity you can upgrade to include a 4G SIM card to use the internet without Wi-Fi, which will add a fixed fee of £130 to the asking price, as well as a monthly charge. Amazon Fire Kids £129.99, Amazon Amazon Fire Kids Credit: Amazon Amazon’s Fire Kids allows you to keep the children's hands off your iPad Pro and allow them to watch films and read stories all in a drop-proof case. It has a twelve hours battery life and an 8-inch screen, with 16GB of storage. You can also add a 256GB MicroSD card to bump up the storage capacity. The Fire Kids also offers you one year of access to Amazon’s Kids Unlimited, which offers age appropriate educational games, books and videos with no ads or in-app purchases, and a two-year warranty, so if your child does manage to break it you can get a new one from Amazon. Asus ZenPad 3S 10 £269.95, John Lewis Asus ZenPad 3S 10 Credit: Asus Among the mid-range Android tablets is the Asus Zenpad 3S 10. Considered by some as a viable alternative to the iPad, it features a quality 9.7-inch 2K display, with 4GB of RAM under the hood. It comes with a ten hour battery life and weighs around 466 grams. The tablet comes with 32GB built-in storage, enough for daily use, although for additional files such as HD movies you may want to use the added space offered by the 128GB SD card slot. It includes a quick charging USB-C port. £500 and above iPad Pro 10.5 inch £619, Currys The new iPad Pro 10.5 Credit: Apple Apple's new iPad Pro comes in a handy 10.5-inch size, making it portable while still retaining a wide and bright screen. This latest model has a new "ProMotion" display which makes it even faster to refresh, and it is even faster with our reviewer calling the new iPad Pro "turbocharged". As a laptop replacement device, the iPad 10.5 can be bought with Apple's folding Smart Keyboard, although this does significantly add to price at £159, while adding the Apple Pencil to use on the touchscreen sets you back a further £99. Microsoft Surface Pro £799, Currys Microsoft Surface Pro Credit: Microsoft Microsoft's flagship tablet range received an upgrade this year, gearing its two-in-one range squarely as a laptop replacement, with a significant power and battery boost. It is one of the best hybrids out there with a price to match, running on Windows 10 so you can access all the apps and programmes you need. Microsoft have massively improved the battery life for this 2017 iteration, which now lasts up to 13.5 hours. It's more expensive than the old Surface Pro 4 and aimed at professionals. It can be bought with Microsoft's unique Alcantara fabric keyboard, which provides a soft touch typing experience, although this adds £149 to the price. Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 £599, John Lewis Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Credit: Samsung The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 has one of the best displays in current tablet ranges, offering its 2048 x 1536 screen which is ready for high dynamic range (HDR) content, a first for a tablet. It has a 9.7-inch screen and a 12 hour battery life and charges by USB-C. The Galaxy Tab S3 also comes with an S-Pen stylus thrown in, which is not offered in the box with Apple models. While it does have the market leading screen technology for tablets, some people prefer Apple's iOS 11 operating system over that of Android. Additionally, with its price reaching that of the 9.7 inch iPad Pro, the Tab S3 is a significant investment. Verdict While you can get models with a lot more power, our favourite tablet tested this year has been the new iPad. Firmly in the mid-range of prices at just over £300, you get plenty of power, all day battery life, a brighter screen, and Apple's excellent iOS 11 operating system built-in. It works best used alongside an iPhone, but even Android users will look to this as a Netflix watching device, and our review called it "the ideal tablet, if you need an upgrade". It's available from £319 from John Lewis.