When Apple revolutionised the tablet category with the iPad, it was criticised for being a device designed for consumption rather than creation, despite it clearly being the best tablet around.
From Apple's larger iPad Pro to Android's Google Nexus and Samsung tablets, there's a lot of choice out there. And it's more than just iOS 10 and Android Marshmallow devices (with Android Nougat updates coming soon too), unlike the best smartphones – Windows makes an appearance too.
And with the arrival of even more powerful devices like the iPad Pro and Microsoft Surface Pro 4, that trend towards creation is only going to grow.
But it creates a new problem. With so many quality devices to choose from, how do you select which device is best for your needs?
It's only the beginning of 2017, so we can expect a number of tablet announcements in the near future. For now, we've tried to make it easy for you to pick the right slate for you with our round up of the best tablets of the moment available in Australia.
Until the iPad Pro 9.7, this was the best tablet in the world. Even though it has been replaced by Apple, it’s still a brilliant tablet that has further raised the bar for the rest of the competition in terms of build quality, features and performance.
The best part is this is now cheaper thanks to the release of the iPad Pro 9.7. Apple’s range of tablet-optimised apps and a slick user interface makes the iPad Air 2 extremely versatile while also being incredibly easy, and enjoyable, to use.
Read the full review: iPad Air 2
Smart iteration is exactly what the Surface Pro 4 needed to finally make good on Microsoft’s mission that tablets can be laptops, and it’s delivered just that in spades.
Though it suffered a rough start in 2016 due to faulty power management, a recent firmware update has apparently revolved that problem entirely, making it one of the finest 2-in-1s on the market.
It can work for creative professionals, students and everyday folks alike, but is this finally the tablet to replace your laptop? That’s still debatable, though the Pro 4 has surmounted more of what’s running against it than ever before.
Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Pro 4
Sony’s gone a bit crackers in the naming department, but the Z3 Tablet Compact is still a decent device despite the obvious attempts to shoehorn the word ‘tablet’ into the title to align it with the smartphone.
Let’s get the main issue out of the way: the screen isn’t as high res as the competition, and the price isn’t as palatable as some of the other options here.
But that looks past the fact Sony is pretty darn good at making these here tablets. Using its Bravia technology it makes the screen still look sharp and colourful, and the thin design makes the Z3 Tablet Compact easier to hold than you’d expect. Oh, and it’s also waterproof.
Read the full review: Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
Most tablets are very similar to one another, but not the Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro. It sits in its own sub-category of Android tablets that try and succeed at being weird, yet awesome.
This tablet has all of the usual amenities that one desires in a 2017 tablet, such as 2,560 x 1600 display and a huge 10,200mAh battery. But this tablet also houses a hidden projector that can splash the screen onto a wall for night-time viewing. Cool, right? It's novel, but actually useful.
Read the full review: Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro
The iPad Pro is Apple’s biggest and most powerful tablet yet, with a 12.9-inch screen, an A9X processor and 4GB of RAM.
That big screen combined with four great speakers make it a media powerhouse and if you splash out for the Apple Pencil or Smart Keyboard you can get serious work done on it too.
The size and weight won’t be for everyone and the price certainly won’t be, but the iPad Pro is an accomplished slate for everything from gaming and movies, to drawing and typing. It’s not quite a laptop replacement, but it’s the closest you’ll to that this side of a Surface Pro.
Read the full review: iPad Pro
Sony’s Xperia Z4 Tablet is one of the best Android tablets available on the market and it’s one of the few capable of putting up a fight against the iPad Air 2.
It’s got a lovely screen, lightweight design, all the Sony elements you’d look for and the right power combination to keep it on the front foot.
The waterproof design makes it a more attractive proposition over the less robust slates on the market, although the UI isn’t the slickest and the price tag is one of the highest.
Read the full review: Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
The iPad mini 3 might have been a disappointment but Apple more than made up for it with the iPad mini 4. With its sleek design, fairly powerful processor and stunning screen it’s everything the mini 3 should have been.
It’s still slightly less powerful than the iPad Air 2 and a lot less powerful than the iPad Pro, but it’s also cheaper than them and it’s one of the highest-spec compact slates around.
So if you want an Apple tablet in a smaller package than is offered by the Air 2 then this is the best in the business and with Touch ID and iOS 9 it’s slick and feature-packed too.
There are plenty of reasons to invest in the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 – especially if you’re after the best Android tablet on the market.
It’s reading and web surfing-friendly, while the new 4:3 screen and general size and shape is better suited for most things. Videos work better on its predecessor thanks to the more elongated aspect ratio – but they don’t exactly look bad here.
You can pick the Tab S2 up in 8-inch and 9.7-inch variants, to challenge Apple’s iPad and iPad Mini ranges, with the smaller option being more portable and cheaper.
Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy Tab S2
Google’s done it – it’s made the best Android tablet around. The Pixel C has it all: a fantastic display, heaps of power and a premium design.
Okay, it’s not quite got it all – it’s a little on the heavy side and the pricey (yet rather clever) keyboard dock isn’t fully utilised by the Android interface which is made very much for touch and not physical keys and productivity.
The Pixel C just misses out on top spot to the iPad Air 2, which has an even more desirable design and a fleet of tablet optimised applications for a more complete experience.
Read the full review: Google Pixel C
The best tablet you can buy right now is the iPad Pro 9.7 – the smaller screen with powerful innards is the best combination on the market.
While there are plenty of brilliant Android tablets around at the moment, the new iPad offers a lot of the power of the larger iPad Pro, along with the Smart Keyboard and Pencil support, but brings it in a much more bag-and-palm friendly size. The price could be a real obstacle for many, but for anyone needing a touchscreen device that can do some pretty intense computing, this is hard to go past.
Read the full review: iPad Pro 9.7
As with today’s best phones, applications play a big role on tablets – once you’ve decided which of these tablets is right for you, check out our top app lists so you can get your fill of Temple Run, update your friends on Facebook and read the latest news, all on a bigger screen.