These are the top tablets we’re expecting in 2016
New tablet 2016 – what to look forward to
You’re thinking that 2016 is the year you’re going to finally buy a tablet / upgrade the first version of the iPad you queued all night for then realised didn’t do a lot.
The good news is that tablets are now getting to the point of being really, really useful things, with accessories and add-ons that turn it into a viable laptop replacement for some.
But which should you opt for? Even if you’re a stalwart in the iPad camp / Android army, you’re stuck with loads and loads of choices in 2016 – we’re almost certain all the below will be coming out over the next 12 months.
Sony Xperia Z6 Tablet
Release date: May/Jun 2016
There may not be many rumors circulating about the Xperia Z6 Tablet, but Sony’s release cycle tends to be an easy one to predict and this is likely to be the firm’s major slate offering of 2016.
Sony loves making its devices waterproof, so we fully expect it to continue that trend with the Z6 Tablet, while we’re keeping our fingers crossed for a slightly more premium design and an interface whi ch is closer to stock Android.
The inclusion of a keyboard dock in the box of the Z4 Tablet was a handy addition, but it could do with behind more balanced – another area of improvement for 2016 then.
Sony usually launches its flagship tablet at MWC in Barcelona at the end of February, but we may have to wait a few months for it to actually hit shelves. We’ll be reporting live from MWC 2016, so we’ll bring you all the latest on what Sony (and everyone else) has to offer.
In short, expect the Xperia Z6 Tablet to have plenty of power, a great display and the ability to take a dip in the bath with you.
iPad Air 3
Release date: March 2016
We’re wondering where this tablet is – it was supposed to land at the tail end of 2015, but it never turned up.
The reasons are myriad: not wanting to distract from the iPad Pro, not being enough of an upgrade on the iPad Air 2, lack of interest in a new 9.7-inch tablet. Whatever it was, it’s a shame the best tablet of 2014 wasn’t improved upon.
What will we see next time? Well, very likely the same size screen, but a boost in the resolution to 4K isn’t out of the cards. 3D Touch is rumoured to be on the way at some point, but not in 2016 as Apple looks to perfect the technology at a larger size.
So it’ll probably be thinner, faster and have a nicer screen – and maybe even its own keyboard? Or that could take the shine off the iPad Pro 2…
iPad Pro 2
Release date: September 2016
Expected price: At least US$799 / £679 / AU$1249
Oh, look, it’s the iPad Pro 2 – the next generation of Apple’s most interesting product of 2015. It’s hard to say whether it’s innovative or not, as on the one hand it’s just a big iPad. On the other hand, it’s a big iPad and that means you can do so much more iPad stuff on the iPad screen.
It’s also got a stylus (Apple Pencil) and keyboard (Smart Keyboard) but these are hardly new things to add into the tablet experience.
Our guess would be that if Force Touch could be added into the mix, it would appear here first – there’s not much more power that could be added in to improve things as the A9X chip is rather smart.
Read our iPad Pro review
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3
Release date: Jul/Aug 2016
Samsung came close to equaling Apple’s iPad Air 2 in 2015 with the Galaxy Tab S2, but it still didn’t manage to provide the same level of class both on and off screen.
Apple’s been top dog in the tablet world for several years now, but the pack is gaining and none more so than Samsung. The hope is then that 2016 could be the year it finally matches its Cupertino rival with an stellar Android slate.
There’s been talk of a Samsung Galaxy Tab Edge which could sport a similar curved display to the Galaxy S6 Edge which would certainly give the firm’s next flagship a futuristic look.
Whatever the tablet is finally named, a high resolution display is guaranteed, as is a decent slug of power. If Samsung can address the design while retaining the microSD port then the Tab S3 will be something to get very excited about.
iPad Mini 5
Release date: Maybe October, but it might not even be next year.
Apple’s miniature range of tablets came back with a bang this year. After the lacklustre iPad Mini 3, the iPad Mini 4 brought the range back up to date with some significant updates.
It wasn’t clear why Apple decided to briefly mention it and then not give us a full look at the tablet though. For that reason we’re not sure if Apple will even decide to update to the iPad Mini 5 next year.
If it does, we’d expect some big updates to the processor on the iPad Mini 5. The iPad Mini 4 having an A8 chipset was a bit of a letdown so we’d expect at least the A9X chipset if not the latest.
Then it’ll also likely come with iOS 10 as well that we expect to see launch in July this year at WWDC. We’ll have to wait and see if Apple sees fit to launch a new smaller slate in 2016 though.
Microsoft Surface Pro 5
Release date: October 2016, maybe.
Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4 turned out to be one of the better tablets we saw in 2015 and took one step closer to becoming the laptop replacement it has always wanted to be.
With the Microsoft Surface Pro 5 though there’s a lot of work to do still. The biggest issue is selling the Type Cover separately, we want Microsoft to bundle that in the box with it so when you get it out it’s all ready and raring to go.
Battery also needs to be improved on the Surface Pro 5. When you’re using this as a tablet and productivity is a focus, you need to have a stronger battery life than it currently offers.
But there’s a lot right now and we think Microsoft may be able to make it perfect on the Surface Pro 5 with a little bit of work.