The touchscreen tablet is the latest big thing in the consumer tech world, sometimes credited with reviving the IT market or with creating a new and revolutionary form of portable device. As an extension of typical smartphone territory, the tablet is today heading towards maturity with dozens of new models arriving every few months.In 2010, the Apple iPad breathed new life into a concept that French tech firm Archos had already tried reviving back in 2009—the tablet—a lightweight touchscreen device with an internal operating system. The tablet was primarily considered and designed as an extension of the smartphone. Tablets were seen as giant and more comfortable-to-use screens on which to do smartphone-type activities like sending and receiving e-mails, surfing the web, playing games, listening to music or watching movies.
After Apple's original iPad burst onto the media scene and kick-started the tablet market, decent alternatives were thin on the ground in the sector's first year of life. As you can see from the number of product reviews on our site these days, that's clearly no longer the case. There are now loads of models to choose from, with new devices arriving each month. These range in size from 7” to 10.1” with 11” and 12” models in the pipeline. And the arrival of Windows 8—an OS designed specifically for touchscreen devices and tablets—will no doubt bring a whole new wave of products.
We try to review a wide range of tablets, from well-known best-sellers to models from smaller brands. Not all of them are perfect, but a three- or four-star model could still be a perfectly suitable device for many users. It's therefore a good idea to use our filters to sort and compare reviews and to look for the features that interest you the most.