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Top 10 tablets available right now

 What's the top tab in town? The sexiest slate in the city? The....we'll stop now. Click through the gallery images

 Sony Xperia Tablet Z
 Sony’s biggest announcement was the worldwide launch of the Sony Xperia Tablet Z. The most notable thing about Sony’s new flagship Android tablet is its super- slim chassis. Measuring just 6.9mm thin, the Sony Xperia Tablet Z takes the ‘world’s thinnest tablet’ title – for the time being at least. This is also a tablet that’s incredibly light – weighing in at just 495g. In comparison, the latest iPad is 9.4mm thick and weighs around 650g. The screen on the Sony Xperia Tablet Z isn’t quite on a par with the iPad’s Retina display (in terms of pixel density at least), but it still has a super HD resolution of 1920 x 1200. And it’s a display that’s powered by Sony’s Mobile Bravia Engine 2 technology, meaning that the blacks are super black, the contrast is fantastic and the colours are extremely vibrant. Like its cousin, the Sony Xperia Z smartphone, the Tablet Z is both water and dust resistant, making it a perfect tablet for the beach. Or the bath. Or the swimming pool. Or the….you get the point. As well as the impressive 10.1-inch HD display the Z also packs in Sony’s S-Force Front Surround 3D, alongside Sony’s Clear Audio+ tech and there are two speakers with four ‘speaker halls’ on the left and right corners. Could this be the best Android tablet in the world right now? And can it take on the iPad 4 for the title of overall tablet champion?

Apple iPad with Retina display (4th generation)
Apple-Our verdict: If you bought a third-generation iPad, don’t feel bad. There’s no real urgency to upgrade unless you found the speed at which apps launched just too slow for comfort. True, the front-facing camera has been improved, but it doesn’t change FaceTime Out of all recognition. The biggest reason to upgrade from version 3 to version 4 is the 4G connectivity, assuming you’re on EE. The biggest reason not to is if you have lots of stuff that uses the old 30-pin connector. The iPad remains the benchmark setter in the tablet world and by far the best-seller. But while this is Apple's flagship tab for now - there may be a new model coming soon. Still, there’s little point in playing the waiting game with technology. The brutal truth is that whenever you buy any Apple product, there’s going to be a better one along in a year, maybe a bit more or less. If you buy now, you get to enjoy now. And enjoy you will because, despite the complaints about the quick upgrade, the latest iPad is arguably still the most desirable and, dare we say it, best tablet in town

Google Nexus 7

 Google-Our verdict: The Nexus 7 feels good in the hand, and works well as an ebook reader - it's obviously designed to take on the Amazon Kindle rather than the iPad. The display is no match for the iPad's Retina display, but is far higher resolution than many machines out there, and it shows. Note, though, that the backlit colour screen is not as easily readable as the Kindle Touch's E Ink screen. If you want to read an ebook in sunshine and through sunglasses, the Nexus 7 really isn't much good. And neither is the iPad. The Nexus 7 is one of the best Android tablets around, and is certainly the best small-screen model. The software is outstanding, though this is slowly arriving on other tablets, too. The reason to buy this is that it combines a very effective design with superb light weight, a speedy processor with decent battery life and, best of all, a hugely affordable price tag.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0
  One of the biggest launches of MWC was the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 – and we mean that literally, at least if you’re counting Sammy’s latest Android device as a smartphone. And why wouldn’t you? After all, it does pack in telephone call features. However, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 is an 8-inch tablet at heart, and one that impressed us during our hands-on testing over in Barcelona. The dimensions of the Note 8.0 are 211 x 136 x 8mm and it weighs in at just under 340g. It’s actually a very comfortable tablet to use, whether that be with the stylus (S Pen) or good old fashioned finger-based fun. It’s a shame that Samsung has, for a change, decided not to use an AMOLED display in one of its devices – the Note 8.0’s screen is a TFT one – but it still shines pretty brightly and the viewing angles and reflections were positive, even under the strain of the neon trade show lights. The hardware setup is impressive – a 1.6GHz quad- core A9 CPU runs the show, backed up by 2GB of RAM. Storage is 16 or 32GB and you can expand this up to 64GB further using microSD. The Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 is a great little tablet (rather than a great massive smartphone) that goes head-to-head with the iPad mini in a new tablet arena of ‘slightly bigger than a 7-inch tablet but not quite a 10-inch tablet’. Its design is tried and trusted and works well at this size, and the impressive hardware packed in means that Samsung’s tweaked-Android interface is slick and without issue.

Microsoft Surface with Windows RT
 Microsoft-Our Verdict: Until the Pro arrives in the UK (which should be in May) - the RT version of Microsoft's tab is your best bet for native Windows 8 touch-tablet action. Microsoft’s first hardware and the first outing for Windows RT. As such it takes some getting used to. The tablet effect with Modern UI tiles are striking and enjoyable, the full-blown computer element of Office 13 is useful and recognisable. The two halves don’t always fit together seamlessly but this is a well-built, slick machine with an operating system that’s largely successful and will grow as it becomes more familiar. Solid, well-built and attractive in its black glass and metal finishes, the Surface has a screen bigger than most other tablets at 10.6 inches. It’s an HD display, at least its 1366 x 768 resolution will be familiar to anyone who had an HD-ready, rather than a Full HD TV. That means it has 148 pixels per inch, proportionally lower than the new iPad mini, and a bit more than the iPad 2. That may not sound that impressive, but when it comes to playing back video, say, it’s more than reasonable. And the built-in kickstand means it’s easy to prop the screen up perfectly.

Apple iPad mini
The smaller tablet from Apple is pretty irresistible, if you don’t mind the price. But the convenience and the gadget’s beauty beats all other small-screened tablets easily. The iPad mini is a gorgeous, highly desirable mini tablet. Its screen size is bigger than its overall dimensions would suggest and it’s amazingly light and manageable. The screen, though no Retina Display, is good enough for everything except iPhone-only apps. And it’s expensive. But Apple has never tried to create a budget gadget and this one is worth the money.

Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9
 Amazon-Our verdict: The Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9, the bigger brother to the original Kindle Fire HD is a competent, good-looking tablet. The frame is a little wide – though this serves the purpose of preventing accidental screen touches. The display is high- definition and richly colourful, so video playback looks particularly good, though the lack of a zoom in feature is a shame when watching widescreen stuff. The skill of Amazon’s reworking of Android is the simple accessibility it gives to the music, books and apps you buy from it. The decidedly uneven Google Play store has been curated, so only a small fraction of the apps available elsewhere can be found, but at least you know they’ll work. The strength of Amazon's digital media offering is growing as well, with Lovefilm now offering original programming - a la Netflix

Asus VivoTab Smart
There's a lot to like about the Asus VivoTab Smart and very little that should put off any would-be buyers. It's one of the best bits of Windows 8 tablet hardware around and, if the software itself was a little smoother, the graphics processor inside more powerful and the battery longer lasting, then we'd be picking one up ourselves. As it stands, we'd be hard pushed to say that this device is a better tablet experience than Android and iOS can offer. It's a different experience. It's a Windows 8 experience, and if you forked out the extra cash for the TranSleeve keyboard/cover, you might find that the hard type interface gives the VivoTab Smart the edge in terms of a gadget that you can truly use for both productivity and pleasure. If, for you, a tablet is all about fun, though, you might want to try something with a better screen, better games and more graphical grunt. 

Google Nexus 10
This is a great tablet with a lot going for it, from its slim and pleasant profile to the amazing display which has to be seen to be believed. The specs for this gadget are strong and in practice it works well and never seems over-taxed, however much you’re doing. Mind you, some will mourn the absence of a microSD card slot, so there’s no expandable memory. Google has made strides to creating an accessible, appealing operating system in Android and this latest edition is the smoothest, least intimidating one yet. The sound is strong, and the camera as good as it can be on a machine this shape. For all that, winning over doubters from the Apple corner may still be an uphill struggle for Google. People love that aluminium casing, the simple, accessible interface and unbeaten number of tablet-specific apps that Apple has on offer. But the Nexus may definitely be the tablet that began to turn the tide away from the iPad

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1

The biggest member of Samsung's ever expanding Galaxy Note family, the Note 10.1 boasts a more- than-reasonable​ 1.4GHz quad-core Exynos processor at its heart - making it a much slicker tablet than the first Samsung 10.1-incher. The Samsung Galaxy 10.1 tablet comes loaded with Adobe Photoshop Touch in a version specially optimised for the unique stylus - the S Pen - along with a raft of other stylus friendly apps such as S Note and S Planner. The result is a tablet experience not quite like any other and, if you like the operation of the Note smartphones but feel like a bit of an idiot holding one up to your ear, this could be the mobile device for you

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