We reveal the winner of the Recombu Award for best tablet of 2016, as well as the full shortlist of celebrated nominees.
2016 has been a year of evolution for the humble tablet, with Apple doubling-down on its Pro strategy, a bigger focus on multimedia from a number of manufacturers and an element of experimentation appearing in offerings from others.
Here’s our pick for the best tablet of 2016, as well as all of the excellent nominees that also come highly recommended.
To see the rest of the Recombu Awards 2016 nominees and winners, in categories such as Best Luxury Car and Best On-Demand TV Service, check out our Recombu Awards hub.
Best tablet of the year – winner: Apple iPad Pro 9.7
2015’s super-sized 12.9-inch iPad Pro made a statement as to where Apple intends to point its tablet line going forward, but the arrival of this year’s smaller 9.7-inch model made an already great device more approachable and portable. As with its larger sibling, you can supplement the powerful underlying hardware with a dedicated keyboard cover and the company’s stylus, the Apple Pencil, but even without these extras, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro excels at media and productivity in equal measure.
Best tablet of the year: Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8 (2016)
Apple may have laid claim to the premium tablet market, but Amazon is one of the biggest players in the affordable space and its latest Kindle Fire HD 8 retains a low price tag, whilst bumping up performance over its predecessor. For Prime users it’s a no-brainer putting all your favourite content all in once place and at under £100 it’s easy for anyone to love.
Best tablet of the year: Asus ZenPad 3S 10
If multimedia prowess is at the top of your list, Asus’ ZenPad 3S 10 is an excellent choice. It’s got a suitably premium build, powerful internals, 10-hour battery life and microSD expandability. Its display and audio chops are really what shine, however, with a beautiful QXGA IPS display, powerful stereo speakers and hi-res audio support.
Best tablet of the year: Huawei MediaPad M3
Hot on Asus’ heels, Huawei’s MediaPad M3 feels like a notable improvement on its predecessor, packing a metal unibody, a razor-sharp 2560×1600 display and Harman Kardon audio. Huawei’s even throws in a pair of AKG H300 earphones and it’s one of the few slates with a fingerprint sensor too.
Best tablet of the year: Lenovo Yoga Book
This year’s IFA showcase gave us one of the most outlandish 2-in-1s of the year, the Lenovo Yoga Book, which is closer to a tablet than any other product in its category. This premium wafer-thin laptop lookalike features a 10.1-inch touchscreen on its top half and a backlit halo keyboard on the lower half that doubles as a dynamic touch surface that accommodates haptic feedback and stylus input. The Yoga Book comes in both Windows and Android flavours, both powered by an Intel Atom chipset.
Best tablet of the year: Venturer BravoWin 10KT
Another surprise entrant at the affordable end of the spectrum was the Venturer BravoWin 10KT. It might not be the prettiest piece of technology here, but it offers an incredibly flexible design with its detachable keyboard and full Windows 10 under £150. It even impresses on a performance front considering that tiny price tag.