Notebookcheck

Notebookcheck's Top 10 Tablets

Patrick Afschar, 01/01/2016

January 2016 update. Here you will find the current best tablets reviewed by Notebookcheck in the last few months. Our list of top models is regularly updated, maintained and commented on and should assist in purchasing decisions.

For the original German article, see here.

Most notebook or smartphone manufacturers now offer at least one or more tablets. This development is not surprising as mobile browsing, mail, and gaming companions have taken a good chunk out of notebook sales. It is not only the premium manufacturers that are trying to take advantage of this trend, but also the cheaper brands. Most of these use inexpensive components manufactured in China, tend to emulate successful designs, and compete predominantly on price. So far, none of the bargain-basement tablets have managed to earn a spot in our exclusive Top 10 list, which is still dominated by the stalwarts and led by the big players of the industry.

The following table shows an overview of the Top 10 tablets as reviewed by Notebookcheck in the past 12 months and are still available in store shelves. If ratings are equal, the latest review is listed first. The table can be sorted and filtered.

Tablet Charts as of January 2016

Pos.DateRatingimageModelHeightWeightSizeResolutionOS
112/2015
NEU
90%Apple iPad ProApple iPad Pro
Apple A9X
Apple A9X / PowerVR Series 7XT
4 GB Memory, 128 GB eMMC
6.9 mm723 g12.9"2732x2048Apple iOS 9.0
209/201590%Apple iPad Mini 4Apple iPad Mini 4
Apple A8
PowerVR GX6450
2 GB Memory, 64 GB SSD
6.1 mm304 g7.9"2048x1536Apple iOS 9.0
311/201490%Apple iPad Air 2Apple iPad Air 2
Apple A8X
PowerVR GXA6850
2 GB Memory, 128 GB eMMC
6.1 mm444 g9.7"2048x1536Apple iOS 8
411/201390%Apple iPad AirApple iPad Air
Apple A7
PowerVR G6430
1 GB Memory, 16 GB eMMC
7.5 mm464 g9.7"2048x1536Apple iOS 7
510/201589%Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 LTESamsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 LTE
Samsung Exynos 5433 Octa
ARM Mali-T760 MP6
3 GB Memory, 32 GB eMMC
5.6 mm272 g8.0"2048x1536Android 5.0 Lollipop
610/201489%NVIDIA Shield Tablet LTE P1761NVIDIA Shield Tablet LTE P1761
Nvidia Tegra K1
NVIDIA Tegra K1 Kepler GPU
2 GB Memory, 32 GB eMMC
9.2 mm371 g8.0"1920x1200Android 4.4 KitKat
704/201489%Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974
Qualcomm Adreno 330
2 GB Memory, 16 GB eMMC
7.2 mm331 g8.4"2560x1600Android 4.4 KitKat
812/201389%Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, 2014 EditionSamsung Galaxy Note 10.1, 2014 Edition
Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974
Qualcomm Adreno 330
3 GB Memory, 16 GB eMMC
7.9 mm535 g10.1"2560x1600Android 4.3
912/201389%Apple iPad mini RetinaApple iPad mini Retina
Apple A7
PowerVR G6430
1 GB Memory, 16 GB eMMC
7.5 mm328 g7.9"2048x1536Apple iOS 7
1010/201588%Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTESamsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
Samsung Exynos 5433 Octa
ARM Mali-T760 MP6
3 GB Memory, 32 GB eMMC
5.6 mm387 g9.7"2048x1536Android 5.0 Lollipop

 

Top 10 of the previous months at the time of writing; most recent reviews are listed first

Editors' Comments

At the end of the year, we had a real highlight in our editorial office once again. It is not only the Apple iPad Pro, which took the lead in our charts. No, the stylus, which has been exclusively developed for the big iPad, has been the actual star in our lab. The Apple Pencil almost feels like a pencil or brush, sits comfortably in the hand and simply works well. Those who choose the iPad Pro should first of all do so because of its great pen - even despite its additional costs. With the G Pad II 10.1, LG competes with a less elitist, yet not less interesting device. You'll get decent multimedia capabilities for a fair price here.

1st

Apple iPad Pro
Apple iPad Pro

From 0 to 1 – the Apple iPad Pro takes the lead as it continues the Apple tradition of delivering uncompromising high performance that exceeds other tablets by far. Build quality and materials set high standards once again and the handling is absolutely intuitive and smooth. It is questionable, however, whether or not such a big tablet is truly needed. If so, then the Apple iPad Pro is second to none in its limited category. Unfortunately, the surcharge for its Pencil accessory remains steep.

2nd

Apple iPad Mini 4
Apple iPad Mini 4
Editor's Choice Award
Editor's Choice Award

Previous to its presentation, the Apple iPad Mini 4 was almost considered a dying species. At the Keynote, Phil Schneider only mentioned the small iPad in two sentences. Wrongly, as our review shows. Although the iPad Mini 4 can not fully reach the promised performance level of the Air 2, it brings more than sufficient performance for all current tasks. Even demanding 3D games are not too much for the Mini 4. Compared to the its predecessor, which Apple has already removed from its portfolio, it shines with the right improvements. These include a slimmer and lighter case, faster WLAN modules and especially the display, which is now fully laminated and sets standards in outdoor usage. In addition, the GPS sensor works excellently.

Discussion

3rd

Apple iPad Air 2
Apple iPad Air 2

Performance, size, and weight are even better in the Apple iPad Air 2 compared to its predecessor. The performance of the Apple A8X-SoC is particularly impressive. Meanwhile, the problems of iOS 8 are largely resolved, and we have refrained from decreasing the rating. Nevertheless, the Air 2 does not perform well enough for the first place in our top list. Its stability suffers from the even lower height. In addition, Apple has missed a chance to further improve the display. As a result, it cannot get the crown.

4th

Apple iPad Air
Apple iPad Air

Even though the Retina display is not a unique feature anymore, and was adopted from the predecessor in the case of the iPad Air, Apple has once again managed to offer an almost perfectly balanced package of hardware, software and operating system. The iPad Air is still the reference point in terms of build quality. However, this does not apply if you are looking for good maintainability or comprehensive connectivity (no SD-card reader). The dimensions and the weight, however, are still among the best you can currently buy. However, some competitors are now on the same level. The first Air can indeed keep its successor, the Apple iPad 2 in check. Our test revealed that this is primarily due to weaknesses in iOS 8, which should be largely resolved by now. In this regard, we reviewed the iPad Air 2 again, in January.

5th

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0

The hunt for superlatives continues. After Samsung has already increased the resolution of its high-end tablets to WQHD, the Galaxy Tab S2 8 comes with "normal" one again. In addition, the manufacturer uses the 4:3 aspect ratio, which is comfortable for reading. In return, the new tablets are now ultra slim and extremely light. Nevertheless, Samsung neglected neither build quality nor stability. In addition, the new S2 series almost completely convinces when it comes to performance and features. Furthermore, the cameras have been improved. However, the highlight is and has been the ingenious S-AMOLED display with its vivid colors and unique deep black.

Those you want to save some money without much compromises, can consider the still available Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 predecessor.

6th

With the Nvidia Shield, Nvidia has achieved a place on the podium. Nvidia is not known for many devices. On the contrary, they occasionally release reference models just to adequately present their semi-conductor products. For example, the Shield, the first tablet with their in-house Tegra K1 chip, is very impressive, particularly with its gaming performance. Apart from that, the Shield is one of the best tablets. In any case, it is the first choice for gamers. In addition to the Nvidia Shield Tablet LTE, the graphics-card giant even has two other tablets on the podium of our top list.

7th

Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4

Amongst the numerous tablets from Samsung, the Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 manages to stand out with a convenient balance between the case and display quality, performance as well as battery runtimes. High-resolution display meets compact 8.4-inch format, equipped with quality components.

8th

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1

The term "Note" refers to Samsung devices whose operation is particularly focused on the use of a digitizer pen, extending the usage scenarios to organizational and creative tasks. The Note 10.1 aims to attract creative customers with its high-resolution display, powerful components and USB 3.0 port (plus micro-SD slot). Another advantage is the battery runtime of more than 18 hours during web browsing. Gamers also will like the powerful tablet with its great display.

9th

Apple iPad Mini Retina
Apple iPad Mini Retina

After the launch of the smaller sibling of the familiar iPad, we got the first update last year, which, amongst others, has equipped the iPad Mini with the acclaimed high-resolution Retina display and a 64-bit CPU. Good things were improved even further. The 4:3 aspect ratio, which is still being used for the larger iPad as well, is still creating discussions. While movie enthusiasts prefer 16:10 or 16:9 screens, web browsing and productivity tasks benefit from the additional height – and the high Internet performance. The low weight is another advantage of the Apple iPad Mini Retina.

10th

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7

The bigger model of the new Tab S2 series from Samsung made it into our Top 10, too. Basically, the same can be said for the Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 as for its smaller sibling, only the weight is higher and the pixel density is lower. Quote from above: "The manufacturer uses the 4:3 aspect ratio, which is comfortable for reading. In return, the new tablets are now ultra slim and extremely light. Nevertheless, Samsung neglected neither build quality nor stability. In addition, the new S2 series almost completely convinces when it comes to performance and features. Furthermore, the cameras have been improved. However, the highlight is and was the ingenious S-AMOLED display with its vivid colors and unique deep black.

In the meanwhile, the predecessor got significantly cheaper. It is still available and performs hardly worse than the current generation.

Recent Tablet Awards

Editor's Choice im Oktober 2015: Apple iPad Mini 4
Editor's Choice im Oktober 2015: Apple iPad Mini 4
Editor's Choice im Oktober 2014: Nvidia Shield Tablet
Editor's Choice im Oktober 2014: Nvidia Shield Tablet
Editor's Choice im Oktober 2014: Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4
Editor's Choice im Oktober 2014: Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4
Best Value im September 2014: Huawei MediaPad X1 7.0
Best Value im September 2014: Huawei MediaPad X1 7.0
Editor's Choice im September 2014: Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
Editor's Choice im September 2014: Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
Editor's Choice im Juni 2014: Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet
Editor's Choice im Juni 2014: Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet
Editor's Choice im April 2014: Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
Editor's Choice im April 2014: Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
 

Size Comparion

Measurement Results

Apple iPad Pro
Apple iPad Mini 4
Apple iPad Air 2
Apple iPad Air
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 LTE
NVIDIA Shield Tablet P1761W
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, 2014 Edition
Apple iPad mini Retina
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
Screen
Brightness Center399411423473347455406414411358
Black Level *0.220.580.610.410.680.470.840.54
Contrast18147096931154669864493761
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *2.962.152.862.821.673.883.434.113.321.78
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *32.722.371.451.753.381.512.531.111.38
Gamma *2.212.292.432.472.272.742.512.42.472.24
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)71.158895.498
Heat
Maximum Upper Side *40.13836.239.442.63638.535.63740.8
Maximum Bottom *39.34242.842.140.63839.334.138.435.7
Idle Upper Side *33.833.33131.429.93230.833.333.131.2
Idle Bottom *32.931.5323029.93130.532.330.929.1
Battery Runtime
Reader / Idle19331488136414251399856125014581179918
Load195242212257265128201279221291
WiFi v1.3695539442393
H.264630643562644780442601651
WiFi6305533477021105543
Power Consumption
Idle Minimum *2.690.81.21.821.10.71.71.12.3
Idle Average *10.953.65.15.93.62.62.65.73.94.5
Idle Maximum *11.143.95.47.142.73.46.54.15
Load Average *11.546.17.97.58.24.28.77.969.4
Load Maximum *12.8811.110.49.95.510.410.78.310.4

* ... smaller is better

Benchmarks

GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Apple iPad Pro
163.2 fps ∼18%
Apple iPad Mini 4
47.8 fps ∼5%
Apple iPad Air 2
70.4 fps ∼8%
Apple iPad Air
27 fps ∼3%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 LTE
24 fps ∼3%
NVIDIA Shield Tablet P1761W
66 fps ∼7%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
25.9 fps ∼3%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
25.9 fps ∼3%
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, 2014 Edition
24 fps ∼3%
Apple iPad mini Retina
27 fps ∼3%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
38 fps ∼4%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Apple iPad Pro
59.3 fps ∼56%
Apple iPad Mini 4
37 fps ∼35%
Apple iPad Air 2
52.1 fps ∼49%
Apple iPad Air
21 fps ∼20%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 LTE
29 fps ∼27%
NVIDIA Shield Tablet P1761W
57 fps ∼54%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
17.1 fps ∼16%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
17.1 fps ∼16%
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, 2014 Edition
15 fps ∼14%
Apple iPad mini Retina
21 fps ∼20%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
29 fps ∼27%
AnTuTu Benchmark v4 - Total Score (sort by value)
NVIDIA Shield Tablet P1761W
42997 Points ∼100%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
34160 Points ∼79%
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, 2014 Edition
35455 Points ∼82%
Linpack Android / IOS
Single Thread (sort by value)
Apple iPad Mini 4
935 MFLOPS ∼92%
Apple iPad Air 2
1021.11 MFLOPS ∼100%
Apple iPad Air
557.99 MFLOPS ∼55%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 LTE
344.09 MFLOPS ∼34%
NVIDIA Shield Tablet P1761W
673 MFLOPS ∼66%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
379.336 MFLOPS ∼37%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
379.336 MFLOPS ∼37%
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, 2014 Edition
455.616 MFLOPS ∼45%
Apple iPad mini Retina
536.03 MFLOPS ∼52%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
333.96 MFLOPS ∼33%
Multi Thread (sort by value)
Apple iPad Pro
1569 MFLOPS ∼53%
Apple iPad Mini 4
1645 MFLOPS ∼56%
Apple iPad Air 2
2428.68 MFLOPS ∼82%
Apple iPad Air
977.31 MFLOPS ∼33%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 LTE
612.61 MFLOPS ∼21%
NVIDIA Shield Tablet P1761W
726 MFLOPS ∼25%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
664.042 MFLOPS ∼22%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
664.042 MFLOPS ∼22%
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, 2014 Edition
916.667 MFLOPS ∼31%
Apple iPad mini Retina
998.18 MFLOPS ∼34%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
588.01 MFLOPS ∼20%
Geekbench 3
32 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
Apple iPad Air
1479 Points ∼32%
NVIDIA Shield Tablet P1761W
1127 Points ∼24%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
915 Points ∼20%
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, 2014 Edition
956 Points ∼21%
Apple iPad mini Retina
1393 Points ∼30%
32 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
Apple iPad Air
2687 Points ∼16%
NVIDIA Shield Tablet P1761W
3495 Points ∼21%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
2782 Points ∼17%
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, 2014 Edition
2995 Points ∼18%
Apple iPad mini Retina
2512 Points ∼15%
Peacekeeper - --- (sort by value)
Apple iPad Pro (Safari Mobile 9.0)
5417 Points ∼87%
Apple iPad Mini 4 (Safari iOS 9)
3048 Points ∼49%
Apple iPad Air 2 (Safari 8.0 Mobile)
2750 Points ∼44%
Apple iPad Air
1855 Points ∼30%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
876 Points ∼14%
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, 2014 Edition
909 Points ∼15%
Apple iPad mini Retina
1724 Points ∼28%
Octane V2 - Total Score (sort by value)
Apple iPad Pro (Safari Mobile 9.0)
19852 Points ∼44%
Apple iPad Mini 4 (Safari iOS 9)
9962 Points ∼22%
Apple iPad Air 2 (Safari 9.0 Mobile)
10512 Points ∼23%
Apple iPad Air
5113 Points ∼11%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 LTE (Chrome 45)
7097 Points ∼16%
NVIDIA Shield Tablet P1761W
6777 Points ∼15%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
4065 Points ∼9%
Apple iPad mini Retina
5180 Points ∼11%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE (Chrome 45)
6885 Points ∼15%
Sunspider - 1.0 Total Score (sort by value)
Apple iPad Pro (Safari Mobile 9.0)
181 ms * ∼4%
Apple iPad Mini 4 (Safari iOS 9)
329 ms * ∼8%
Apple iPad Air 2 (Safari 8.0 Mobile)
291.1 ms * ∼7%
Apple iPad Air
385.5 ms * ∼10%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 LTE (Chrome 45)
1030.7 ms * ∼26%
NVIDIA Shield Tablet P1761W (Android 4.4)
458 ms * ∼11%
NVIDIA Shield Tablet P1761W (Chrome 36)
525 ms * ∼13%
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, 2014 Edition
632.6 ms * ∼16%
Apple iPad mini Retina
271.8 ms * ∼7%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE (Chrome 45)
1016.2 ms * ∼25%
WebXPRT 2013 - Overall Score (sort by value)
Apple iPad Mini 4 (Safari iOS 9)
706 Points ∼31%
Apple iPad Air 2 (Safari 8.0 Mobile)
764 Points ∼34%
Apple iPad Air
563 Points ∼25%
NVIDIA Shield Tablet P1761W
530 Points ∼23%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
360 Points ∼16%
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, 2014 Edition
233 Points ∼10%
Apple iPad mini Retina
519 Points ∼23%

Legend

 
Apple iPad Pro Apple A9X, Apple A9X / PowerVR Series 7XT, 128 GB eMMC Flash
 
Apple iPad Mini 4 Apple A8, PowerVR GX6450, 64 GB SSD
 
Apple iPad Air 2 Apple A8X, PowerVR GXA6850, 128 GB eMMC Flash
 
Apple iPad Air Apple A7, PowerVR G6430, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 LTE Samsung Exynos 5433 Octa, ARM Mali-T760 MP6, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
NVIDIA Shield Tablet P1761W Nvidia Tegra K1, NVIDIA Tegra K1 Kepler GPU, 16 GB iNAND Flash
 
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974, Qualcomm Adreno 330, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, 2014 Edition Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974, Qualcomm Adreno 330, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Apple iPad mini Retina Apple A7, PowerVR G6430, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE Samsung Exynos 5433 Octa, ARM Mali-T760 MP6, 32 GB eMMC Flash

* ... smaller is better

Automated top 10 list updated daily


of the last 9 months
1
90% v4
Apple iPad Pro Tablet Review
Apple iPad Pro
Apple iPad Pro Tablet Review
Apple A9X, Imagination A9X / PowerVR GT7xxx, 12/25/2015
2
90% v4
Apple iPad Mini 4 First Impressions
Apple iPad Mini 4
Apple iPad Mini 4 First Impressions
Apple A8, Imagination PowerVR GX6450, 09/19/2015
3
90% v4
Panasonic ToughPad FZ-E1 Handheld Review
Panasonic ToughPad FZ-E1
Panasonic ToughPad FZ-E1 Handheld Review
Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 MSM8974AB, Qualcomm Adreno 330, 06/07/2015
4
89% v4
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 LTE Tablet Review
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 LTE
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 LTE Tablet Review
Samsung Exynos 5433 Octa, ARM Mali-T760 MP6, 10/10/2015
5
88% v4
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE Tablet Review
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE Tablet Review
Samsung Exynos 5433 Octa, ARM Mali-T760 MP6, 10/07/2015
6
87% v4
HP Pro Slate 8 Tablet Review
HP Pro Slate 8
HP Pro Slate 8 Tablet Review
Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974, Qualcomm Adreno 330, 07/10/2015
7
87% v4
Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 (2014) Tablet Review
Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 inch 2014
Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 (2014) Tablet Review
Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 APQ8084, Qualcomm Adreno 420, 06/14/2015
8
86% v4
LG G Pad II 10.1 Tablet Review
LG G Pad II 10.1
LG G Pad II 10.1 Tablet Review
Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974, Qualcomm Adreno 330, 12/22/2015
9
86% v4
Huawei MediaPad M2 Tablet Review
Huawei MediaPad M2
Huawei MediaPad M2 Tablet Review
Kirin 930, ARM Mali-T628 MP4, 11/04/2015
10
86% v4
Asus ZenPad S 8.0 Z580CA First Impressions
Asus ZenPad S 8.0 Z580CA
Asus ZenPad S 8.0 Z580CA First Impressions
Intel Atom Z3580, Imagination PowerVR G6430, 09/04/2015
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Notebookcheck's Top 10 Tablets
Author: Patrick Afschar, 2016-01- 1 (Update: 2016-01- 1)