1: Apple iPad 2
The original tablet is still the best, and while rivals may be catching up with Apple in terms of specs nobody offers as many apps as you'll find available for the iPad. A new one's due next year, but the iPad 2 still makes the rest of the tablet pack look rather uninspiring - and at £399 it's not the priciest option either.
2: Sony S
Sony brings its impressive engineering experience to the world of tablets, and the S is a typically well-made effort. Some retailers are currently selling it for £349, comfortably undercutting the iPad, and its teardrop design makes it look like a princess in a market largely populated by frogs. PlayStation certification, decent cameras and Sony Bravia TV integration make it stand out from the Android crowd.
At £399 including the optional - and to our minds, essential - keyboard dock, the Transformer is one of the most interesting Android tablets. Specs-wise it's nothing special, but that dock turns it into a laptop and gives you six extra hours of battery life too. If you can't bear to lose laptop-style typing, you'll love this.
Another victim of aggressive discounting, the Xoom is now available for a respectable £329.99 instead of the RRP of £499.99. It's exceptionally well built, boasts impressive specs including a dual-core Tegra processor and is impressively nippy, and while it's been outgunned by more recent Android tablets it still offers an excellent combination of price and performance.
It looks like an iPad - Apple and Samsung have been locked in litigation over that issue for ages - and it costs the same as an iPad, but Samsung's Galaxy runs Android 3.1 Honeycomb instead of Apple's iOS. If you like everything about the iPad bar its operating system, the Galaxy is well worth a look.
At the recommended retail price of £399 and up the PlayBook is a terrible buy, but vicious discounting means you can pick a base model up for a much more reasonable £249. If you're looking for a well made, portable tablet for web, work and the odd app, at £249 PlayBook is excellent value.
7: Sony P (twin screen from image above*)
At £499 it's a big whack of money, but Sony's P is a really interesting bit of kit: twin screens make it look like a handheld games console, and to an extent it is: it's a PlayStation Certified tablet, so you can use it for gaming as well as for more serious pursuits. It's not sexist to point out that this is also one of the few tablets that fits in a handbag, which could make it more attractive to women.
8: HTC Flyer
At £379, the Flyer's an interesting one: on the one hand its operating system is the relatively old Android 2.3, but on the other it's got a nippy processor and HTC's unique stylus-based software for note-taking and photo retouching. It's no iPad killer, but it's worth considering if you plan to work on the move or need to take notes in an environment such as college or meetings.
If you're on a tight budget, the ten-inch Archos is one of the best budget buys: at around £270 it's much cheaper than similarly sized rivals, and its screen is particularly good for watching movies. It won't make your heart sing, but it won't make your bank manager cry either.
10: Vtech InnoTab
The InnoTab is one of this year's must-have Christmas gifts, we're told, and as parents we can vouch for VTech's kid-friendly credentials. Designed for four-year-olds and over, the InnoTab is an excellent device for small people, although ridiculously high demand means you'll have problems finding it at the £79.99 it was originally sold for. At the time of writing InnoTabs are going for £100-plus.
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