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Sunday December 4th 2016
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Which Tablet to Buy – Confused?

imagesYou got a friend returning from US. Then now is the time to think about buying a tablet.
Fall is the season of change, and tablet makers are embracing this concept with gusto — Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and others have all refreshed their lineups. In many cases, , even, these refreshes are actually giant upgrades.

The iPad mini finally has a Retina display, for example, while the Surface Pro 2 has the battery life we’ve wanted since day one. And prices are coming down quickly: Who’d have thought that we could buy a quad-core ASUS Windows 8 tablet for just $349? That’s a lot of change to keep track of, but never fear. Whether you’re doing some gift shopping or planning to treat yourself on Black Friday, we have recommendations for tablets in virtually every category.

So we can divide tablets to 2 categories Large (10 or 11 inch) and small (8 or 7 inch)

 

Tablet

Bottom Line

Key Specification

Price in US

iPad Mini A large tablet that doesn’t sacrifice performance or portability. Dual-core A7 processor, 1GB of RAM, 16GB to 128GB of storage, 1.2-megapixel front and 5-megapixel rear cameras, 9.7-inch (2,048 x 1,536) display. $499 and up  without 3G/4G,$629 with 3G/4G/LTE. Ships November 1st
Google Nexus 10 The Nexus 10 is no longer cutting-edge, but it remains a good value for the money. 1.7GHz dual-core Exynos 5 Dual processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB or 32GB of storage, 1.9-megapixel front and 5-megapixel rear cameras, 10.1-inch (2,560 x 1,600) display. $399 and up
SONY XPERIA TABLET Z 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB or 32GB of storage, 2.2-megapixel front and 8.1-megapixel rear cameras, 10.1-inch (1,920 x 1,200) display. $499 and up
APPLE IPAD MINI One of the priciest small tablets, but potentially one of the best. Dual-core A7 processor, 1GB of RAM, 16GB to 128GB of storage, 1.2-megapixel front and 5-megapixel rear cameras, 7.9-inch (2,048 x 1,536) display. $399 and up  without 3G/4G, $529 and up  with 3G/4G/LTE. Ships in November
GOOGLE NEXUS 7 (2013) Exceptional value for the money, and the definitive Android tablet. 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB or 32GB of storage, 1.2-megapixel front and 5-megapixel rear cameras, 7-inch (1,920 x 1,200) display. $230 and up without 3G/4G. $350 with 3G/4G
AMAZON KINDLE FIRE HDX (7-INCH) In terms of sheer value for the money, the best tablet here; just make sure you really like Amazon’s media services. 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB to 64GB of storage, HD front camera, 7-inch (1,920 x 1,200) display. $229 and up
AMAZON KINDLE FIRE HD (2013) The Kindle Fire HD takes on new life as a budget tablet. 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB or 16GB of storage, 7-inch (1,280 x 800) display. $139 and up
MICROSOFT SURFACE PRO 2 The definitive Windows 8.1 tablet, and one of the most powerful, too. 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB or 8GB of RAM, 64GB to 512GB of storage, 720p front and rear cameras, 10.6-inch (1,920 x 1,080) display. $899 and up
ASUS TRANSFORMER BOOK T100 One of the cheapest Windows tablets, with the best bang for your buck to boot. 1.86GHz quad-core Atom processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB or 64GB of storage, 1.2-megapixel front camera, 10.1-inch (1,366 x 768) display. $349 and up (at Amazon)
LENOVO THINKPAD TABLET 2 While a bit long in the tooth, the ThinkPad Tablet 2 remains one the better-designed Windows tablets we’ve seen. 1.8GHz dual-core Atom processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB or 64GB of storage, 2-megapixel front and 8-megapixel rear cameras, 10.1-inch (1,366 x 768) display. $629 and up without LTE, $749 with LTE
GALAXY NOTE 8.0 (LTE) The Galaxy Note 8.0 is expensive in cellular form, but it’s also extremely flexible. 1.6GHz quad-core Exynos 4 Quad processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, 1.3-megapixel front and 5-megapixel rear cameras, 8-inch (1,280 x 800) display, LTE and HSPA+ data $500 and up
GALAXY NOTE 8.0 (LTE) The Galaxy Note 8.0 is expensive in cellular form, but it’s also extremely flexible. 1.6GHz quad-core Exynos 4 Quad processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, 1.3-megapixel front and 5-megapixel rear cameras, 8-inch (1,280 x 800) display, LTE and HSPA+ data $500 and up
ASUS MEMO PAD HD 7 Quad-core 1.2GHz ARM Cortex-A7 processor, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, 1.2-megapixel front and 5-megapixel rear cameras, 7-inch (1,280 x 800) display. $150

10 inch Tablets

APPLE IPAD AIR

Apple played it safe with iPad designs in 2012, but it’s clearly pulling out all the stops with its 2013 model. The iPad Air is one of the lightest full-size tablets on the market, weighing in at just one pound. It’s also one of the fastest: Its dual-core A7 chip frequently outperforms quad-core rivals. Additionally, it ships with a full suite of productivity apps. On the downside, buyers may not like the proprietary Lightning connector or lack of expansion. Still, the new iPad should be ideal for gamers and anyone else who wants a big, fast device without the usual bulk.

GOOGLE NEXUS 10

The Nexus 10 no longer has a display advantage, even among Samsung tablets. However, it arguably remains a better value than many other 10-inch Android tabs, including the Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 edition). It’s still inexpensive almost a year later, and its stock version of Android is more responsive than some of the custom interfaces we’ve seen lately. The software is also relatively future-proof: This tablet is one of the few running Android 4.3, and it’s likely to get even more updates. While Google may refresh the Nexus 10 at any moment, we still wouldn’t object to buying one today.

SONY XPERIA TABLET Z

The Xperia Tablet Z is expensive relative to the performance you’re getting. Its Snapdragon S4 Pro is old hat, and there are higher-resolution tablets available at similar prices. However, it still has one of the more appealing designs on the market. Between its extra-slim body, water resistance and infrared blaster, Sony’s design simply has more party tricks than many of its rivals. If your tablet has to double as a TV remote, poolside computer or kitchen assistant, this may be your best choice.

7 & 8 inch Tablets

APPLE IPAD MINI

While the original iPad mini trailed some competitors in performance, the iPad mini with Retina display comes out ahead — sometimes by a significant margin. It has the highest-resolution display of any tablet with a screen measuring eight inches or smaller, and the A7 processor should help it outperform many larger competitors. It even has a 128GB storage option that’s still extremely rare for tablets this size. Just be prepared to pay a premium: the new mini is one of the most expensive devices in its class, and it doesn’t include extras like a keyboard dock or stylus.

GOOGLE NEXUS 7 (2013)

From a pure technology standpoint, no small tablet comes close to the new Nexus 7. It has the same display resolution as high-end 10-inch tablets, one of the fastest processors in its category and luxuries like wireless charging. More importantly, it’s the standard-bearer for stock Android. As of this writing, the Nexus 7 is the only small tablet running Android 4.3, and it should get future updates quickly. While it’s more expensive than last year’s model, it’s actually an even better bargain.

AMAZON KINDLE FIRE HDX (7-INCH)

If you value a tablet’s price-to-performance ratio above all else, you can’t ignore the 7-inch Kindle Fire HDX. For $229, you’re getting a small tablet with performance that humbles the Nexus 7 — and, for that matter, many larger rivals. Features like Mayday live support and Second Screen media streaming are nice to have, too. The only catch, as is usually the case with the Kindle Fire line, is the heavy emphasis on Amazon’s content ecosystem. If you regularly use competing services (even Google Play), you’re better off getting a tablet running regular Android.

 

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