I’ve had a tablet for a couple years now and I have to say, they’re pretty nifty devices. But with new technology coming out at such a frenetic pace, it can be hard to keep up with all of the tablets being released by companies these days. Below I’ve compiled a list of tablets you should probably become familiar with, if only because you might want to buy one as a gift for yourself or someone you know this holiday season! Just as a disclaimer, these tablets aren’t in any ranked order as each serves a different need.
10. iPad Air ($399)
Although it’s been replaced by the iPad Air 2, last year’s version will still serve all of your needs well enough. It’s equipped with an A7 processor that, while slightly dated, is still packed with more than enough power to run everything you could possibly want to run.
The Nexus 7 was released in 2012 as Google’s answer to the iPad. I own that version, but since then they’ve released two new iterations. The one linked here is the 2013 Nexus 7, which is equipped with a 1080p screen and a processor that will easily power Android L and any app you could ever want to run, all for an insanely low price.
Last year’s iPad Mini, much like its larger counterpart, can be had for a steal now if you can find one. It is comparable to the Nexus 7, but comes equipped with Apple’s operating system and build quality. If you have an iPhone 5S then you know exactly how the Mini 2 performs, as they have the exact same electronic innards.
At nearly a thousand dollars, the Surface Pro 3 is priced more like a laptop than a tablet, and perhaps for good reason. Its main appeal is that it basically transforms into a laptop when you need to do your work, and reverts back into a tablet when you’re looking to consume content. If you want something that is both a jack of all trades and a master of some, this is the device for you.
If you’ve got some extra cash burning a hole in your pocket, you might be interested in the iPad Mini 3 over the iPad Mini 2. The only real difference between the two models is the addition of Touch ID and the ubiquitous gold color option, so only buy it if these are features you are really into.
You read that right. For a little under one hundred dollars, a brand-spanking-new Amazon tablet can be yours this holiday season. I’m not sure if I would suggest getting this if you already have a large-screened smartphone, but if you have a child or need a separate device for e-reading, this might be the tablet for you.
Google ended its Nexus 7 line this year and instead chose to release the Nexus 9 as a direct competitor to the iPad Air 2. The 9 is still a great tablet by any measure, and I can vouch for Android L as its been performing pretty well on my old Nexus 7. Just know that it’s not quite as powerful as the competition (the flip side being that the Nexus 9 is cheaper).
With the iPad Air 2, you’re basically getting everything you could want in a tablet. Unlike the Mini 3, which was basically the Mini 2 with a fresh coat of gold paint, the Air 2 is an entirely different beast compared to its predecessor. This is mainly due to its new processor, the A8X, which uses three cores and is about as future proof as a mobile processing unit can get. Indeed, if you are an Apple fan and are wondering about how the iPhone 6S might perform next year, the Air 2 might just give you some hints as to what you can expect.
Priced to compete directly with the iPad Air 2 and Nexus 9, the Tab S is a beast of a device. While its build quality isn’t quite up to the standards of its competitors, and its software is a bit clunkier to use, its got a magical screen (at least if you believe all of the reviews). Plus, you have options, as this tablet comes in both 9- and 11-inch varieties.
Nearly two and a half years after its release, the original Nexus 7 is still a great device if you’re not a power user. I use mine all the time as an e-reader and gaming device, and it even runs the newest Android operating system fairly well. The price listed is a bit misleading; you can get a 32gb model for far less (usually around $80) if you buy a used one. That’s a lot of tablet for a tiny amount of cash! It’s sort of a reminder of how quickly technology improves, as it feels like just yesterday.
At the end of the day, most tablets accomplish the same tasks, and if you can find a great deal on any of these I’d snap them up. Happy hunting!
Featured photo credit: Tablets/ Martin Votrl via flickr.com