The big three operating systems – Android, iOS and Windows Mobile – all have their pros and cons, and each has its dedicated fans – but what if you’re not sure which one to go for? We’ve chosen the best tablet of each to give you an idea of what to expect. Which side are you rooting for?
Team Android: Google Nexus 10
Google’s Nexus series already includes a phone and a 7-inch tablet, so this mammoth 10-inch incarnation was always going to be a heavy contender. Released in October 2012 to instant critical acclaim, it was the first device the boast the new Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean), which came with its own collection of features including panoramic photo-taking, an updated version of the Google Now app, and even the option to add multiple user accounts. Availability is still patchy due to high demand, but you can find 16GB models far easier than 32GB – and as a device made by Google itself, you know you’re getting Android at its very best, without the bloat-ware that comes with so many manufacturers.
Team iOS: iPad 4
Apple’s popular iPad 4 hit shelves in September, featuring the new iOS 6 operating system and a whole host of features to excite fans of the manufacturer the world over. Available with up to 128GB storage and a processor that operates up to twice as fast as that of the iPad 3, it’s a serious bit of kit for media consumption, although strangely the model hasn’t been selling as well as its predecessor or even the iPad Mini. If you’re already an Apple user, this is a great option, as the iOS synchronisation is as smooth as ever – and even if you’re used to Windows or Linux, the interface is simple and clean, making it a great option for those new to tablets. However, as with all Apple products, you’ll only be able to install Apple-approved apps, making its usability somewhat limited to more advanced tech-heads.
Team Windows: Microsoft Surface
Microsoft finally takes a turn as the underdog in the tablet marketplace, having always struggled to make as much of an impact as its counterparts and Google and Apple. Available with Windows RT (the mobile version of Windows 8) or Windows 8 Pro, the Surface boasts an impressive set of features including its famous ten-point touch detection and the scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass, as well as a magnetic attachment for a keyboard cover. The device has received positive reviews, but failed to sell as well as expected upon release – indicating that Microsoft are still very much learning about the portable marketplace.
During our research we’ve found some great companies to purchase from – both in the US and in the UK. The pages you’ll want to check for the latest reviews and prices are listed below: