With its high-def screen (2048 x 1536 pixels), excellent product finish, harmonious hardware/software (iOS 6.0.1), monster processing power and choice of over 270,000 apps, the iPad is a must-have. Although Apple's lead over its competitors keeps on shrinking, the Retina displays seen in the iPad 3 and now here in the iPad 4 can be credited with bringing very high definition screens to the touchscreen tablet market.
Best of the rest
Google Nexus 7
The Google Nexus 7 is certainly a convincing 7" tablet. It's a shame there's no micro SD slot for boosting the memory, but there's lots on offer in Google's ecosystem (a bit like Apple's "iWorld"), including cloud-based storage in Google Drive and a good choice of apps in the Google Play Store. Above all, the Nexus 7 offers incredibly good value for money and comes loaded with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.
Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700T
This is a robust 10.1" Android tablet with a display that pushes up over Full HD (1920 x 1200 pixels). The build and finish are excellent and the aluminium casing is sleek. But the TF700 is also a hybrid device, as it's available with a separate dock that brings a physical keyboard, an additional battery and extra connectors. This tablet can therefore be instantly transformed into a compact touchscreen netbook. And with more and more apps and utilities available in the Google Play Store, it's a genuine all-rounder.
Pocket iPad 2
Apple iPad Mini
There's no sign of a Retina screen here, but the iPad Mini has all the other qualities of an iPad in a compact 7.9" format. The iPad Mini is essentially a pint-sized iPad 2 (which is still a powerful product, even at the end of 2012) and its ultra-slim design (7.2 mm) is surprising and impressive. While the Google Nexus 7 is easier to hold in one hand, the iPad Mini is smart enough to know when you're resting a thumb on the outer edges of the screen so you won't interact with the tablet by accident.