The best gaming tablets to get your hands on

The future, today!

When we were kids, we always imagined that the future would grant us flying cars and powerful computers the size of a pad of paper. Well, we got halfway there, as tablet computers have not only gone mainstream, but they're so ubiquitous and competition is so fierce that they have to practically give them away. Which, of course, is awesome for the discerning gamer.

Now, you're probably thinking: "Aren't those things just good for crushing candies?" Au contraire, tablets are actually amazing gaming devices if you know what you're looking for. And from the incredible selection found in Apple's App Store, to tablets that are basically PCs without the giant desk attached to them, there's a tablet out there for every kind of person. What are you looking for?

Update: Looking for more deals in the UK? Check out TechRadar's list of Boxing Day sales.

iPad Air 2

iOS may still be a walled garden, but the iPad continues to prove that it's the prettiest garden around. The iPad Air 2 introduces even faster processors, further bridging the gap between tablet and console - all weighing in at under a pound. And the selection of great original games and mobile adaptations of your favorite console titles justifies the high price tag.

-Up to 128 GB
-Retina display provides stunning image quality
-Weighs under a pound
-App Store is second to none

iPad Mini 3

While not as powerful as its larger cousin, the iPad Mini 3 packs one hell of a punch for a tablet about the same size as a DVD case. And you still have access to virtually every single game you can find on the App Store. If you're looking for a small, versatile tablet, and don't mind sacrificing a little bit of speed, the Mini is a great choice.

-Up to 128 GB
-Retina display provides stunning image quality
-Weighs under a pound
-Access to almost every app on the App Store

Nvidia Shield Tablet

I don't know how Nvidia did it, but it packed a ton of game in such a small space. Sure, the included storage on the Nvidia Shield Tablet is a bit lacking, but you can expand it to whatever you need with MicroSD cards. Choose from a library of Android games, or stream games from your Nvidia-powered PC. You can even use a specially designed controller to play your favorite games. You get a hell of a lot of gear for as low as $200

-Up to 32 GB, with expandable memory via MicroSD
-Stream games from your Nvidia-powered PC
-Game with the official Nvidia Shield controller (sold separately)
-Only $200 for the least expensive model

Nvidia Shield Portable

If you want some high-powered gaming on the go, but you also want a more conventional portable heft to your mobile device, pick up the Nvidia Shield Portable. While not as powerful as the tablet model, you get a dedicated, built-in controller and all of the same streaming, expandable storage, and HDTV output options that the tablet has.

-16 GB, with expandable memory via MicroSD
-Stream games from your Nvidia-powered PC
-Play games with the built-in controller
-Only $200

Microsoft Surface Pro 3

The priciest of the bunch is also the most PC-like - because it is a PC, complete with Intel i5 or i7 processor. The Surface Pro 3 will play pretty much anything that will run on an Intel Integrated graphics chip, and because you can hook up pretty much any USB peripheral you want, you can play almost everything from Civilization 5 to League of Legends.

-Up to 512 GB, with expandable memory via MicroSD
-It's basically a Windows 8 PC in tablet form
-Use PC devices with the built-in USB port
-Tablet cover doubles as built-in keyboard

EVGA Tegra Note 7

Many tablets (like the iPad) gate you off in their own specific ecosystem, limiting you to their pre-approved experiences. Not so with the Tegra Note 7, which gives you the full Android OS to mess around with and tweak. You also get the incredibly powerful Nvidia Tegra processor, which makes for some gaming PC-quality graphics.

-16 GB, with expandable memory via MicroSD
-Nvidia Tegra processor provides silky smooth gaming
-Full Android OS gives you access to wide range of games and apps
-Sub-$200 price is nice

Razer Edge Pro

Cheaper than a Surface Pro, but pricier than the Nvidia Shield, the Razer Edge Pro gives you many of the features of Nvidia's tablet while letting you have the freedom and versatility of a Windows 8 tablet. Play Civilization 5 on your tablet's screen, or beam it onto on your HDTV for full-size gaming. The choice is yours.

-Up to 128 GB
-i5 processor and Windows 8 give you PC features on a tablet
-Game on the tablet screen or an HDTV
-Controllers provide more precise gaming

Nexus 7 (2013)

You'd think the older Nexus 7 couldn't hang with the bigger, badder tablets out there. But Open GL 3.0 integration gives developers an opportunity to plug in many of the graphical tricks console gamers have enjoyed for years now. Plus, with full Android support, you'll get a wide range of games and apps to choose from.

-Up to 32 GB
-Open GL 3.0 support
-Gorgeous 7'' screen
-Immensely affordable

Kindle Fire HDX 8.9

Amazon's foray into the tablet space has been a massive success, mainly because its Kindle Fire has become the tablet for the masses. Incredibly light, powerful, and affordable, the Kindle Fire HDX provides tons of great Android apps, as well as a full array of Amazon features, like cloud services and links to pretty much anything on the store. You'll also get access to a free app every day, courtesy of Amazon.

-Up to 64 GB
-Tons of integrated Amazon features
-Up to 12 hours of battery life
-Light and affordable

Tap, tap, tap away

There are way too many excellent mobile games out there to simply ignore, so make sure you grab at least one of these (for you and a friend), and get to gaming. And no, no one here will judge you for honing your Candy Crush skills. Do you have a gaming tablet you're dying to tell the world about? Let us know in the comments below!

Looking for some awesome games to fill up your brand new tablet devices? Check out our 50 best iPhone (and iPad!) games or 50 best Android games lists.