Best tablet: iPad Air 2 vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S vs Google Pixel C
We pitch Apple's mid-range offering against two of the best Android devices on the market
With hundreds of tablets to choose from, with different sizes, different purposes and different performance levels, there's plenty of options for would-be buyers.
However, for many, the decision will boil down to the exact same one they go through when choosing a smartphone: Android or iOS?
Here are three of the most popular mid-range tablets – two running Android and a third from Apple – that the critics pick out.
iPad Air 2
Apple's middle-of-the-road device sits between the iPad Mini 4 and the company's latest offering, the iPad Pro. The Air 2 is getting on for two years old, but it's still a favourite with the reviewers.
Priced from £349, this was, until last September, the most powerful iPad you could buy. It's powered by Apple's A8X chipset mated to 2GB RAM, and is fronted by a 9.7ins Retina HD display with an anti-glare coating. It's an LCD screen with a pixel density of 264ppi. On paper, this lags behind the Super AMOLED panels used by many non-Apple tablets, but the text is still "incredibly sharp and there’s plenty of resolution to make the most out of images, too", says Expert Reviews. There's also one distinct advantage to using an LCD screen – the wide viewing angle.
Owners of the iPhone 6 will be familiar with the Air 2's camera hardware – it's got the same 8MP iSight camera capable of 1080p video recording attached to the back, as well as a 1.2MP selfie camera sitting above the screen.
Design wise, it's one of the prettiest tablets on the market. The iPad's recognisable face is placed onto a device that's just 0.24ins (6mm) thick, weighs 15oz (437g) and is wrapped up in an anodised aluminium and glass casing.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S
One of the Apple's biggest challengers is available in a number of different sizes, inclusing an iPad Air 2-rivalling 9.7ins format. Samsung lists it as £349 on its website, but you can pick one up for £289 at many retailers.
It runs Android 6.0.1 Lollipop and PC Mag says it's "one of the nicest Android tablets we've seen".
It's certainly one of the sveltest too, packing its 9.7ins display into a body that, at 0.22ins (5.5mm) thick, is smaller and thinner than the iPad Air 2 and also lighter.
Power is supplied by an octa-core Exynos 5433 processor, tied to 3GB RAM. It's a powerful device, but "not quite a category leader", says PC Mag. Video playback is smooth – and incredibly detailed thanks to the Super AMOLED display - but battery life on the thin Tab S isn't quite up to par.
Still, it's one of the top choices if you want a tablet running Android.
Google Pixel C
The Pixel C is our second Android-powered tablet and the the most expensive of the trio, with prices starting from £399.
While the Samsung will be the go-to device for many, due to the company's reputation, TechRadar advises you splash out as this is the best Android tablet around in their view.
The Pixel C is the first tablet both designed and built by Google alone and the internet giant has put together a pretty compelling device.
The screen is slightly larger than the ones you'll find on the Galaxy Tab S2 and iPad Air 2. At 10.2ins, the tablet is noticeably bigger and the extra size makes this the heaviest, too.
On paper, the large screen should be the best of the bunch. With a pixel density of 308ppi, it comfortably outperforms both the Air 2 and Tab S2 – "it's called the Pixel for a reason", says Tech Radar - and it's significantly brighter.
The big screen is let down a little by the overall performance, though. Trusted Reviews says the Pixel C isn't as snappy or as fluid to operate as you'd hope. However, the website's overall verdict is very positive, and there's not a lot to dislike.