Over the next week or so we will be publishing some in-depth guides to help give you an idea on what to buy your loved ones this holiday season. To start off with we will be talking about tablets with a round-up of the best tablets on the market to suit your budget and requirements. Also don’t forget our awesome competition where you can win yourself an iPad Air or $100 Amazon Giftcard.
iPad Mini (With Retina Display)
The iPad Mini with Retina display is basically just a smaller iPad Air that comes in much cheaper that it’s elder brother but that doesn’t mean it’s not as capable. Thanks to it’s smaller screen size it packs some of the highest pixel density of any tablet currently available. This is not only the best version of the iPad so far but, thanks to its incredible apps options and robust media ecosystem, it’s the best small tablet, period.
PROS: The iPad mini with Retina display adds a brilliant high-resolution display that rivals the iPad Air’s, a much faster A7 processor, and tops it off with greatly improved Wi-Fi and LTE connectivity, with a battery life that’s as good if not better than last years model.
CONS: With a starting price of $399 the device places itself well above the small-tablet competition, and adding more storage or LTE can make it even more expensive. It also lacks the innovative Touch ID fingerprint sensor that we saw with the launch of the iPhone 5S.
SUMMARY: The new iPad Mini shrinks down the iPad Air into an even more compact package, sacrificing almost nothing. It is more expensive than before, but it’s also the perfect smaller tablet.
Thanks to the vast ecosystem of apps, awesome performance, and a fantastic screen, the iPad Air retains Apple’s title for the best tablet your money can buy. Though other rivals from Google and Amazon are starting to mount stronger competition, the iPad Air remains on top.
PROS: The iPad Air delivers more performance and tantamount battery life in a beautifully and impossibly thin, light package. A much improved front-facing camera makes using Facetime even better, and the Retina Display still looks great too.
CONS: The Touch ID fingerprint scanner, introduced on the iPhone 5S, is sadly again absent here, meaning you’ll still have to type in your passcode with every unlock and your password with every purchase. Starting at $499 for 16GB, it’s still quite expensive compared with the competition.
SUMMARY: Functionally, the iPad Air is almost identical to last year’s model, offering just faster performance and better video chatting. But factor in the iPad mini style re-design and aesthetics, and the iPad Air is on another planet. It’s definitely the best full-size consumer tablet on the market.
Google Nexus 7
The LG manufactured Google Nexus 7 is still the best small tablet you can buy in this price range. It has a beautifully bright screen, the latest and greatest version of Android (KitKat 4.4), and fast performance. Best of all, it starts at only $229.
PROS: The Nexus 7’s razor-sharp full-HD screen, sleek smooth performance, extensive battery life, light weight, and budget friendly price make it the best value tablet on the market this holiday season.
CONS: The back is missing the soft non ‘slippy’ texture of the original, screen colors sometimes lack accuracy, and sadly there’s no microSD support. Android 4.4 has few useful interface improvements.
SUMMARY: Thanks to its amazing performance and affordable price, the Nexus 7 is the Android tablet to put a smile on the face of your loved ones.
Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7
This is certainly by far Amazon’s best tablet yet, the Kindle Fire HDX has the right price, blazing performance, and a plethora of features. It’s also packed with a more extensive media-based ecosystem than any other tablet, including Apple’s and Google’s best.
PROS: Amazon’s Kindle Fire HDX 7 is a performance behemoth that speeds through Web sites and UI pages at a rapid pace. The screen is very impressive and sharp, and the small light design is comfy for kicking back and reading books. Mayday is personal and almost-instant customer service at your fingertips. Some small but great UI changes lead to an overall more pleasurable experience.
CONS: The remote video viewing feature wasn’t ready at launch and removing advertisements still costs an extra $15. We also feel that 16GB is too small for 1080p movies and there’s no option to add more storage via MicroSD cards either. The screen is slightly tarnished by a yellowish tint and the buttons on the back are often hard to find. No Google Play access means many apps still aren’t available.
SUMMARY: Equipped with a powerful processor and Amazon’s massive content library, the Kindle Fire HDX definitely delivers incredible value for its price, particularly for Amazon Prime members.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 edition)
An improvement in almost every way to the previous 2012 version, the new Galaxy Note 10.1 by Samsung has a extensively bright and sharp screen, great performance, and a brand-new stylus interface. If the high price doesn’t put you off, this is definitely the stylus tablet to get.
PROS: Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014) comes with Android 4.3, impressive processing power, two fully loaded cameras, and a light, portable build. The Improved S Pen features boost the tablet’s productivity potential and is the perfect tablet for getting things done.
CONS: The faux leather back cover looks a bit cheap to us, and handwriting recognition is still not the best.
SUMMARY: The improved S Pen goes a long way to making this top-end tablet well worth the extra cost, but if you’re not keen on the idea of a stylus, it’s easy to find a better deal.