The jury is out on quite what makes the best tablet computers for personal use and to a large extent the whole business comes down to a matter of personal taste and choice. But there are a few familiar faces that are always likely to make it on to any list of this nature and with good reason.

Apple iPad mini

The iPad mini was launched recently by Apple after a maelstrom of anticipation around the world and the smaller version of the all conquering iPad looks to have lived up to even the loftiest of expectations. There are still some good reasons for buying the larger alternative but with a retina display, ten hours of battery life with every charge and plenty fast connectivity options, the iPad mini now looks like the tablet that all other contenders need to tussle with.

Asus Transformer Pad Infinity

If there are areas in which the larger or smaller iPads might be deemed to be lacking it is as a device on which one can work effectively in the something like the same way as you would on a traditional laptop device. A number of hardware makers have aimed to exploit this potential opportunity by bringing out hybrid devices of various kinds but none have done it so well as Asus with its Transformer Pad Infinity. With a detachable 1920 x 1200 full HD tablet screen and Nvidia Tegra 3 quad core CPUs, the 1.6 GHz machines offer plenty of full-on tablet wielding, internet surfing mobility, along with quality audio and a sturdily worthwhile keypad as well.

Amazon Kindle Fire HD

If your personal use though is focussed purely on the basic media consumption elements of mobile functionality then you could do far worse than to pick up one of the new Amazon Kindle Fire HDs. A solid hit with consumers in the US in the early months of its availability, the Fire is a well made low-cost suitably connected Android-using seven inch tablet that is handy without being breath-taking. You can pick up 16 GB versions in the UK for £158 a piece, while the 32 GB alternatives will cost a further £40.

All of which puts the Amazon offering squarely in competition with the Google Asus Nexus 7, another compact, low-cost Android operated seven inch tablet whose processing punch is limited but which is plenty usable and will keep you more than ticking over if you’re keen just to get started in the realms of tablet computers. The Nexus 7 is always liable to be equipped with the very latest version of Android and benefit from being under the ever-expanding Google umbrella.