In our Best Tablets 2013 article, we take a look at the best tablets on the market.

Apple iPad 4, £479, (32GB)

Now in its fourth generation, the iPad is by far the most popular tablet on the market. The iPad 4’s core strengths are its pin-sharp “Retina” screen – so-called because the pixel count is so dense the human eye is unable to distinguish individual pixels – and Apple’s App store, which offers the largest selection of apps of all the mobile platforms.

While there are no additional connectivity options beyond the proprietary 8-pin port, an optional iPad Camera Connection Kit (£30) plugs directly into this. Only image files stored in the DCIM folder can be moved though – for anything else (music, films) you’ll have to use iTunes.

Summary

OS: iOS 6.1
Screen Size/Aspect: 9.7in, 4:3
Resolution: 2048 x 1536 pixels (264ppi)
Pros: Retina screen, Lots of apps, Stability
Cons: Poor connectivity, UI is looking a bit dated

apple.com/uk


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Microsoft Surface RT, £399, (32GB)

 

Microsoft may be late to the party, but at least it’s turned up with something a bit different. Constructed from “VaporMg” magnesium alloy the Surface is a solid looking tablet that comes with a retractable kickstand and optional protective covers (£65-£99) that double up as keyboards.

Running Windows RT – the mobile-specific version of Windows 8 – the Surface is unable to run regular Windows desktop software, though you do get the Microsoft Office suite pre-installed. Connectivity extends to Micro USB and Micro HDMI inputs, although sadly there’s no direct SD card input. Screen resolution is a rather low 148ppi too.

Summary

OS: Windows RT
Screen Size/Aspect: 10.6in, 16:9
Resolution: 1366 x 768 pixels (148ppi)
Pros: Good for productivity
Cons: Screen resolution is not the highest

microsoft.com/surface


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Google Nexus 10, £319, (16GB)

Long aware that third-party manufacturers were dragging Android’s reputation down with poor quality hardware, Google has teamed up with several leading manufacturers to produce a series of flagship Nexus tablets.

The Samsung-made Nexus 10 is the largest of the range and comes with the latest Jelly Bean 4.2 firmware, a dual-core ARM processor and 2GB of RAM. More importantly for photographers, its 10.1in screen currently offers the highest resolution of any tablet, with a 2560 x 1600 pixel (300ppi) display. Connectivity options include a Micro USB input and a Micro HDMI output, however there’s no SD card slot.

Summary

OS: Android 4.2
Screen Size/Aspect: 10.1in, 16:10
Resolution: 2560 x 1600 pixels (300ppi)
Pros: Has a class-leading resolution
Cons: Its connectivity options could be better

play.google.com/store


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Asus Transformer Pad Infinity, £599, (64GB, with dock)

Thanks to its click-in keyboard dock the Transformer Pad Infinity is part tablet and part netbook. In addition to typing duties the dock doubles as an additional battery, extending overall battery life to around 15 hours.

With the dock attached the TF700T also offers class-leading connectivity with the full complement of SD, Micro SD, USB and HDMI inputs. And, at 1920 x 1200 pixels, screen resolution equates to Full HD. If the slightly eye-watering price of the TF700T puts you off, then Asus also makes a cheaper TF300T Infinity Pad. This comes with a 1280 x 800 pixel (149ppi) display and costs around £350, dock included.

Summary

OS: Android 4.1
Screen Size/Aspect: 10.1in, 16:10
Resolution: 1920 x 1200 pixels (224ppi)
Pros: Class-leading connectivity, Full HD display
Cons: Expensive

www.asus.com

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Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, £320, (16GB)

The big selling point of the Galaxy 10.1 is that it comes with an “S Pen” stylus that uses Wacom technology and can sense a claimed 1,024 pressure levels. The S Pen can be used with photo editing apps such as Adobe’s Photoshop Touch and slots neatly into the back of the tablet when not required.

Elsewhere the Note 10.1 sports a 1280 x 800 display, that while not quite class-leading, is still pretty good for viewing images and text on. Connectivity does suffer a bit though, with the only external connection offered being the proprietary docking port at the bottom. Thankfully you can buy USB, HDMI and SD card adaptors though.

Summary

OS: Android 4.0
Screen Size/Aspect: 10.1in, 16:10
Resolution: 1280 x 800 pixels (149ppi)
Pros: The S Pen stylus functionality
Cons: Screen resolution is not the highest

samsung.com/uk


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Asus Padfone 2, £650, (32GB)

For those looking for something different, the Padfone 2 comes in two distinct parts: a 4.7in Android smartphone (complete with a 13MP Sony-made camera), and a 10.1in display that the phone slots directly into the back of, effectively turning the two separate elements into a single tablet.

While the phone itself gets a 720p HD display, the resolution of the tablet screen is pegged at 1280 x 800. Connectivity is also limited to the dock’s proprietary 13-pin connector, and while it’s possible to attach a standard Micro-USB cable to this in order to charge the tablet and manage data, the connection is reportedly a bit loose.

Summary

OS: Android 4.0
Screen Size/Aspect: 10.1in, 16:10
Resolution: 1280 x 800 pixels (149ppi)
Pros: Innovative, Good quality cameraphone
Cons: Connectivity isn’t great, tablet display

www.asus.com


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