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Which is the best value tablet?

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I have a confession to make: I'm a real sucker for tablets. Ever since the first iPad landed in 2010, tablets just seemed to perfectly plug a gap. They're so much lighter and more couch-friendly than notebooks but their bigger size relative to smartphones makes all content - whether for work or play - preferable on a tablet screen than on a phone.

But something bizarre has been happening: the overall market is shrinking. Why? Because most people don't think of tablets as a must-have device, rather as a luxury in between more "crucial" smartphones and PCs. Apple has responded to this by marketing its iPad Pro line-up as just as effective as a PC for any task. The only problem is, this isn't altogether true. While standalone tablet apps work perfectly well (and sometimes better than their PC counterparts), very few of us could completely replace our PC with a tablet and not notice a drop in productivity or functionality, especially in the work arena.

Here's hoping continued innovation delivers a path forward - this gadget's too good to give up on!

tablet

What is it? Lenovo Tab 3 A7-10 How much? $99 Pros: Head into any supermarket and you're almost guaranteed to find a tablet for under $100. While you get what you pay for with this budget fare, they can be surprisingly capable sometimes, and are often a popular option for kids. You don't have to go for a no-name brand either, with Lenovo's 7-incher offering basic specs from a reputable vendor. Cons: Very cramped storage at 8GB but otherwise an acceptable entry-level model.

What is it? Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 How much? From $699 Pros: When it comes to premium Android tablets, Samsung effectively offers the safest and most experienced hands, attested to by its dizzying array of products, notably more than any other vendor. The S2 is one of the latest flagships, with a zippy octa-core CPU, vibrant 2048 x 1536 display, 3GB RAM and expandable storage. Cons: None but check Samsung's gamut of cheaper models too - you may not need to spend this much to satisfy your needs.

What is it? Apple iPad Pro (9.7-inch) How much? From $899 Pros: Apple introduced its iPad Pro concept last year with a massive
12.9-inch model, and 
now it's brought (most of) the same internals to a 
9.7-inch frame. There's a lot to love - it's unarguably the best regular-size iPad so far, with plenty of 
power, a revamped screen, better speakers and support for the new Smart 
Keyboard and Apple 
Pencil (which are sold 
separately). Cons: Unwisely skimps on RAM; costly; as great as it is, it's still no PC.

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Peter Dockrill is Money's tech expert.
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