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We recently brought you a few holiday gift guides, including one dedicated to headphones, another for smartphones, and one for in-home gadgets. Now we're back, but this time with a holiday gift guide designed to provide information on some of our favorite tablets that are currently available.
We're including the latest and greatest from several companies, and have added options for Android fans, iOS lovers and anyone who favors Windows above all. Some of these tablets are more affordable than others, so you'll want to keep the price in consideration, but we really think you'll find something for everyone on this list.
The iPad Air is Apple's latest and greatest flagship iPad, though if you're looking for a smaller option check out our next choice in this list. It's amazingly thin while still providing some of the most powerful specs of any tablet today. That includes a stellar 9.7-inch display with a 2,048 x 1,536-pixel resolution, the latest Apple A7 64-bit processor, an M7 motion-based co-processor a 5-megapixel camera, a huge battery and more all in a thin 7.5mm body. Add in the insane number of applications available for the iPad, and there's an argument that the iPad Air is one of the best tablets on the market today. All of that power comes at a cost, though: you'll pay $499 for the 16GB model, which isn't a whole lot of storage all things considered.
iPad Mini with Retina Display
The standard iPad mini may seem compelling at its price point, but we won't recommend it over the new and much more powerful iPad mini with Retina display. It starts at $399 for the 16GB model, but you're getting all of Apple's latest hardware, including an A7 processor, an M7 co-processor and a jaw-dropping 7.9-inch Retina display. The iPad mini with Retina has won praise over the iPad Air in a lot of cases, too, mainly because it doesn't sacrifice speed and usability at its more portable size. If we had to choose any iPad this holiday season, this would be our go-to option, but if you want a larger screen the iPad Air is a great choice, too. Just keep an eye on the delivery times, since Apple has had some supply constraints moving into the holiday season.
Amazon Kindle Fire HDX
If you're looking for a portable tablet that doesn't break the bank but still provides a stellar ecosystem of movies, TV shows, books, music and apps, check out Amazon's Kindle Fire HDX. It runs Amazon's Android-based Kindle operating system and includes a 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB of RAM, up to 64GB of storage and a front-facing 720p HD camera. It's a great choice for anyone who simply wants quick access to multimedia and a web browser, and it does a killer job of executing on those tasks. Better yet, if you're giving one as a gift, you'll never have to worry about providing support: the tablet comes with access to Amazon's Mayday feature, for live video conferences with Amazon's support team.
Nexus 7 (2013)
The Nexus 7 (2013) is still a crowd favorite here in the TechnoBuffalo offices, primarily because it comes with a really affordable $269 price tag for 32GB of storage, but also because it gives a bare-bones version of Android. Google took a little while getting us Android 4.4 KitKat, but it's out now and is the only tablet on this page with the latest version. Additionally, you'll find a Snapdragon S4 Pro processor that's powerful enough for everything we throw at it, a comfortable soft-rubber back, decent speakers and solid battery life. The display is the real gem here, and is rivaled only by iPads and the Kindle Fire HDX. For $269, the Nexus 7 is a no-brainer for Android purists.
The ASUS T100TA is one of the first Windows 8.1 tablets that can easily double as a laptop computer with the included keyboard accessory. At its heart, though, you'll find a 1.3GHz Intel Atom processor, a 10.1-inch display with a 1,366 x 768-pixel resolution, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of expandable storage, a 1.2-megapixel camera, microHDMI-out, 1 USB 3.0 port, 1 USB 2.0 port and stereo speakers. Its full version of Windows 8.1 enables you to run some of your favorite x86-based applications and, with a keyboard attached you'll not only have an easier job getting work done, you'll also get additional battery life. Work, play, tablet, laptop, this thing can do it all.
Lenovo IdeaTab Miix 8
The Lenovo IdeaTab Miix 8 is quite a compelling little tablet. It offers an 8-inch 1280 x 800-pixel display, but make no mistake: this thing runs a full version of Windows, which means access to a gamut of apps designed for full blown x86 computers. It features a dual-core 1.8GHz Intel processor, Windows 8.1, 32GB of storage and a microSD card slot for adding more, an 8-megapixel camera, a microUSB port, microHDMI out and more, all in a body that's just 0.3-inches thick. Microsoft's tablet-friendly "Metro-based" user experience is great for interacting with on-the-go, but add a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard, boot into the desktop, and you'll have a full-blown Windows 8.1 desktop experience to get real work done.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition
If you love Android and need a bit more screen real-estate, look no further than the Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 edition. It's the only Android tablet on this list that lets you run two applications side-by-side, plus you'll get an S Pen with more capabilities than ever, including the ability to jot down notes, like an address, and then open them up in Google Maps for navigation. At $599, it's certainly not cheap for only 32GB of storage, but you can add more using a microSD card slot. Other features including a super sharp 2,560 x 1,600-pixel dsiplay, 3GB of RAM, a quad-core processor clocked at 1.9GHz, 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi and an IR blaster for controlling your TV.
We hope that this guide helps you find the perfect tablet for yourself or a loved one this holiday season. We know that we all have different tastes, from screen size to operating system and even the manufacturer of tablets, and we hope to have covered a large spectrum of high-quality tablets.
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