Top 5 tablets to buy this summer

What are the hottest tablets this summer? Read on.

Despite a slowdown from the heady growth of a few years ago, consumers are still snapping up lots of tablets. Market researcher IDC expects well over 100 million “slates”-- standard tablets that aren’t designed to use optional keyboards— to ship annually through 2020. And there is good growth in detachables, which are tablets like the Microsoft Surface and iPad Pro that offer a detachable keyboard.

“The biggest new growth trend is detachables like the iPad Pro and Surface devices,” Jitesh Ubrani, an IDC analyst, told

Related: Is Samsung's rumored bendable phone the future of smartphones?

Here’s a top-five list of the best tablets out there (a few of them detachables), starting with the priciest first and working down to the best bang-for-the-buck.

Note that I’m not listing the excellent Surface Book— the product that most successfully bridges the gap between a tablet and a laptop— because it’s just too expensive (starting at $1,500) for the vast majority of consumers.

iPad Pro 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch: Apple still makes the best tablets due to the quality of the build, the design, and of course the widely-supported iOS operating system. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro isn’t cheap, but it’s the closest an iPad comes to replacing a laptop. It has a gorgeous 13-inch-glass Retina display (rivaling a 13-inch MacBook), it’s laptop-fast, has a good Smart Keyboard from Apple as an option, supports Apple Pencil for sketching, and has goodies like an amazing 4-speaker system.

Related: What awesome tech will Apple's new MacBook Pro feature?

Watch a movie on the bigger iPad Pro and you’ll never go back. The smaller 9.7-inch version comes with pretty much the same internal hardware, and is $200 cheaper, but you’ll won’t get the big-screen experience of the larger model.

The 12.9-inch iPad Pro starts at $799 for a Wi-Fi-only version with 32GB of storage; the $169 Smart Keyboard is sold separately. The smaller 9.7-inch iPad Pro starts at $599; the $149 Smart Keyboard is sold separately.

Microsoft Surface: You could say that Microsoft invented the modern detachable. The Surface design is one of the best at combining a tablet with a keyboard. And of course all Surface tablets run Windows. The Surface Pro 4 improves on the Surface Pro 3 in various ways, including a larger display (12.3 inches vs. 12 inches) with higher resolution, a better stylus, the newest Intel processor, and an improved optional keyboard with a bigger trackpad. But the Surface Pro 3 may be a better deal for some consumers since it now starts at $599, while the Surface Pro 4’s entry model is $899. The excellent Surface Pro Type Cover keyboard starts at $129.99.

Related: Should a Chromebook be your next laptop?

The 10.8-inch Surface 3 (sans the “Pro” moniker) is also a good deal. Though the internal hardware and display are a step down from the Pro series, it still delivers the Surface experience and starts at $499. And it is the only Surface to come with an option for 4G LTE ($599).

Google Pixel C: The Pixel C is the best Android tablet going, despite issues that Google had initially when the tablet debuted in December. The Pixel C has awesome hardware, including a fast Nvidia Tegra X1 processor, a very-high-resolution 10.2-inch display, an anodized aluminum frame that rivals the good looks of the iPad, and a decent keyboard option. And of course it runs Android giving it access to all those Android apps. The Pixel C starts at $499.

iPad Mini 2: This is a great deal for those looking for an iPad that's cheap but still does most of the things well that most people use a tablet for: Web browsing, entertainment, email, and social apps. The 7.9-inch tablet starts at $269 for the 16GB version and $319 for the 32GB model.

Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0: Go too low in price (below $150) and a tablet has too many flaws. But the Samsung Galaxy Tab A strikes the right balance between low-cost and delivering what’s essential. The best part of the Android tablet is the price: $169 for a 16GB model.