The best tablets for your money: five best models worth buying
Published 06/11/2015 | 02:30
Apple iPad Mini 2
(€310 from Harvey Norman)
This is Apple's entry-level iPad, which still makes it one of the best tablets on the market. The iPad mini 2 was one of the first 'retina' screen devices that Apple put out, meaning that its display is really crisp and clear. An 8-inch machine is big enough to watch movies on but (just about) small enough to hold in one hand. The iPad also retains the best selection of tablet-specific apps (for pleasure and work) you can get. This model starts at 16GB storage: a 32GB model is available for an additional €50. An extra €100 will get you the very latest iPad mini (4), which is slightly more powerful, has a fingerprint reader and has more storage options. But for the money, this may still be the best value option.
Best Kids' tablet
Samsung Galaxy TAb 4
(€150 from Power City)
You'll see all sorts of tablets marketed as 'ideal for kids' just because they have a rubber frame fitted onto the bezel. As often as not, these tablets are rubbish, with awful screens, poor battery life and dreadful spammy apps clogging up the system. So you're probably better off getting Samsung's entry level 7-inch tablet, which has a good screen, two cameras (2MP rear and 1.2MP selfie) and a reasonably decent speaker. The 8GB (expandable to 32GB with a memory card) device has enough power to handle videos and game adequately and there are plenty of accessories available, such as protective rubber cases.
Best Skinny tablet
Sony Z3 Compact 8
(€380 from Argos)
Sony's 8-inch waterproof tablet, the Xperia Z3, is still the most impressive skinny tablet you can get. It has plenty of power, a superb full HD screen and is light enough to easily hold in one hand (it is approximately the same weight as an iPhone 6 Plus despite being almost twice the size). The extreme slimness means that it's really easy to slip into any kind of bag. And in case anyone at home has a Playstation 4, it also has the knacky ability to stream games from the console. It has two excellent cameras (the rear one an 8-megapixel lens) and comes with 16GB of storage with a memory card slot for more.
Best Budget work tablet
Bush Eluma B1 Tablet
(€190 from Argos)
This 10-inch device is neither super-slim not super-light compared to rivals. But it's well built, handles nicely and delivers an experience that is much better than you would expect for the money. There's a decent 32GB of storage and an additional memory card slot if you want more. Where the tablet comes into its own is in being sold with a usable keyboard case. The keyboard is fairly basic but its casing has a nice little folding design trick that turns it into a stand for the tablet. It also has HDMI and headphone ports. It has two cameras, a 5-megapixel rear lens and a 2-megapixel webcam. The screen is reasonably bright and smooth. Although it comes with Windows 8, a free upgrade to Windows 10 is available.
Best Work Tablet
Surface Pro 3
(€875 with keyboard from PC World)
When it comes to work-oriented tablets, this is the absolute gold standard. Indeed, the Surface Pro works so well as a work machine that it's probably considered just as much to be a functioning laptop as a tablet. Although it's purchased as a standalone touchscreen tablet, the 12-inch machine's Windows 10 operating system and beefy power (it starts at an Intel i3 processor, 4GB of Ram and 64GB of storage) make it stand apart from almost all other rivals. It also has things like proper USB ports that can be used to load software or store things externally without special adapters or over-reliance on 'the cloud'. The quality of its HD screen and speaker are superb, too. This is as much a rival to the MacBook Air as it is to the iPad.