With the holidays approaching, it's time for our annual recommendations for devices in various product categories. Today we're taking a look at what tablets provide the best value and experience for different users. There's obviously a lot of decisions to be made when buying a tablet, and we'll assume that by the time a user has concluded that they want a tablet they have already determined that it is a more suitable choice for them than a more traditional computer like a desktop PC or a laptop.

The first question the buyer will have to ask themselves is what price they are comfortable paying. Tablet prices can range anywhere from $100 to $1000, depending on exactly what tablet it is, and the buyer's price target will be a constraint on the different tablets they have to choose from. Once a price target has been established, the user must decide what they want to do with their tablet. Some tablets may not have the selection of applications that the buyer needs, and others may not have a suitable form factor or size for performing these tasks. Tablets come in many shapes and sizes, with displays ranging from 7" to 13" with aspect ratios that vary from 3:2 on the Surface Pro 3, to 4:3 on the iPad and Nexus 9, to 16:10 on the Nexus 7. Certain display shapes and sizes will be better suited to watching videos, while others will be better suited to reading PDFs and books.

These decisions about size, utility, and price will ultimately drive the decision of what operating system the tablet should be running. Currently this is a choice between three platforms, with the market being dominated by tablets running iOS and Android, Windows coming in third, and other operating systems like WebOS having been eliminated in previous years due to lack of consumer interest. There are also other factors, like accessories and keyboard attachments, but it's very difficult to evaluate these as their usefulness will ultimately depend on the user's needs. Instead of trying to look at every single tablet that fills every niche, we've looked at what we think are the best overall devices within each of the three major operating systems that are available on tablets.

iOS Tablets
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  • gailthesnail - Sunday, November 30, 2014 - link

    I have a vivotab note 8 that I've been looking to get rid of actually.
  • TT master - Friday, November 28, 2014 - link

    I am a really big fan of Anand Tech but I really wonder if these articles are required on Anand Tech because obviously Anand Tech is not for the average Joe or so I believe. Most guys over here are really tech savvy to know which tablet or laptop fits them the best and at which price. Plus I really thought people over here claiming that AT was biased to Apple was false but after comparing the reviews of Iphone 6 and One Plus One. I really think you guys give a lot more attention to Apple and just do away with smartphones from Chinese companies. Tom's hardware review of One Plus One was actually much more detailed and I kind of found it better.
  • stlc8tr - Friday, November 28, 2014 - link

    The Samsung Tab Pro 8.4 for $200 is easily the best deal available today for Android tablets, IMO.

    2560x1600 8.4" screen with a microSD card slot.
  • Brandon Chester - Friday, November 28, 2014 - link

    The SoC isn't there, and that coupled with the high res display is just not a good experience.
  • stlc8tr - Saturday, November 29, 2014 - link

    Perhaps not for gaming but for comic reading and text-based apps, the high res display is fantastic. Also, with a uSD slot, you can easily take along 64GB of videos.

    I purchased mine earlier this year for a lot more and use it every day instead of the Nexus 7. Of course, YMMV if you are into gaming.
  • PC Perv - Sunday, November 30, 2014 - link

    Hello? It runs on S800. The Nexus 7 runs on S400. Tap Pro is cheaper than the Nexus 7.

    You'd have to be an idiot to pick the Nexus 7 for $230 over the Tab Pro 8.4 for $200.
  • PC Perv - Sunday, November 30, 2014 - link

    Correction: Nexus 7 runs on S4 Pro (Quad Krait 200)
  • Brandon Chester - Sunday, November 30, 2014 - link

    Adreno 330 and S800's memory bandwidth is completely and utterly insufficient to drive WQXGA at high frame rates. Also, the "S4 Pro" APQ8064–1AA in the Nexus 7 is a Krait 300 part.
  • Brandon Chester - Sunday, November 30, 2014 - link

    Also it's an RGBW panel, and it's normally $300 so I still don't see the appeal at all.
  • PC Perv - Sunday, November 30, 2014 - link

    Ignorant hogwash. The Tab Pro 8.4 uses RGB stripes. Not that there is anything wrong with RGBW used on Tab Pro 10.1. But your mind is made up anyway. Do not let the facts get in your way.

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