Holiday Gift Guide: Tablets / eReaders
Do you have a friend or family member who likes to surf the Web on their laptop while doing other things like watching TV? Are you looking for a gift that will help someone get some work done while out of the office? We've compiled a list of great tablets and eReaders that may be exactly what you are looking for this year.
Google Nexus 10
One of the more recent tablets from Google, the Nexus 10 tablet sports a stunning 10-inch WQXGA display at 2560x1600 resolution. The Android tablet currently runs on version 4.2 (Jelly Bean) of the Android operating system.
Google powers this display with a 1.7GHz Samsung dual-core ARM Cortex A15 processor and 2GB of RAM. The tablet also features 5GHz, MIMO Wi-Fi 802.11n connectivity which helps the consumer surf the Web faster. However, there's no 4G LTE model for surfing outside of Wi-Fi. The tablet also comes with a 5MP rear-facing camera as well as a 1.9MP front-facing camera for video chat.
Google has two models of the Nexus 10. The 16GB model is currently priced at $399 and the 32GB model is positioned at $499. Since the tablet was only recently released, deals on the tablet will likely be scarce for the next few weeks.
Apple iPad (4th generation)
Definitely the fastest tablet that's currently sold by Apple, the recent refresh on the iPad effectively doubles the speed from the older version released during early 2012. The brand new, dual-core, 1.4GHz A6X with quad-core graphics chip within the new iPad has been independently tested at twice the speed of the older 1.0GHz A5X chip in the 3rd generation iPad.
This latest iPad also sees the addition of the Lightning connector, which debuted on the iPhone 5 and replaces the venerable 30-pin dock connector that Apple used for years. You'll have to pony up an extra $29 to $39 for an adapter which will let you use the Lightning connector with accessories that have the old 30-pin connector.
The main features of the 4th generation iPad include the 9.7-inch LED-backlit Retina display at 2048x1536 resolution, 5MP rear-facing camera for 1080p video, 1.2MP front-facing camera for Facetime and internal storage options of 16GB, 32GB and 64GB.
Regarding price, the 16GB Wi-Fi only model of the iPad starts at $499 and goes up to $829 for the 64GB model that includes 4G LTE connectivity. When it comes to deals, look for a small discount on Black Friday from Apple.
ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity
While Microsoft may be getting lots of press recently for the release of the first generation Surface tablet, ASUS has been perfecting the design of the Transformer Pad line for the past couple years. The Infinity offers a significantly better user experience than the Surface due to faster performance, superior battery life and a more polished user interface.
The core features of this tablet include a full HD, 10.1-inch 1920 x 1200 Super IPS+ display, the latest version of the Android OS (4.2, Jelly Bean), 1.6GHz quad-core processor, 8MP rear-facing camera, 2MP front-facing camera and 32GB of internal storage space.
In addition, the optional docking station with full-QWERTY keyboard gives the user an additional 4.5 hours of battery life bringing up the total to 14 hours of battery life. The keyboard also includes an SD card reader as well as a USB port.
The retail price point of the ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity is $499 for the 32GB model and $599 for the 64GB model. In addition, the keyboard MSRP is around $150. However, deals on the 32GB tablet / keyboard combo can be found the $540 to $580 price range.
|ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity|
Amazon Kindle Fire HD
One of the easiest 7-inch tablets to recommend, the Kindle Fire HD is ideal for someone who loves to watch movies or television shows, read books or consume other forms of content. While it's not the fastest tablet on the market, it's definitely more user-friendly when it comes to jumping right into content.
The core features on the Amazon Kindle Fire HD include a 1.2 Ghz dual-core processor, 1280x800 HD display, a front-facing HD camera and an option of 16GB or 32GB of internal storage.
The Kindle Fire HD steps away from other tablets with the dual-driver stereo speakers as well as a dual-antenna design that Amazon claims increases the speed of Wi-Fi compared to other tablets. In addition, if a friend or family member has an Amazon Prime subscription, they will be able to take advantage of the Amazon Instant Video library (similar to Netflix).
The price point on the Amazon Kindle Fire HD is $199 for the ad-supported 16GB version and $214 for the model without ads. There's also a 32GB model that's $249 for the ad-supported version and $264 for the model without ads. Look for deals on Black Friday since the Kindle Fire HD is still a relatively new tablet. Also, look for deals on the updated, 2nd generation Kindle Fire around the $130 price point.
|Amazon Kindle Fire HD|
Google Nexus 7
Definitely a great choice for someone who's looking for an inexpensive Android tablet, the Google Nexus 7 is a solid pick in the 7-inch tablet category. The speedy performance, sharp display and excellent battery life are a few reasons why consumers are checking out the refresh on this Google tablet.
The Google Nexus 7 features include a 7-inch HD IPS 1280x800 resolution display, 16GB or 32GB of internal storage, a 1.3ghz quad core NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor, 1GB of internal RAM and a 1.2MP front facing camera for video chat
Regarding price point, the Google Nexus 7 starts at $199 for the 16GB Wi-Fi only model. The 32GB Wi-Fi only model is $249 and the 32GB model with AT&T 4G connectivity is $299. Regarding deals, look for deals on the 16GB in the $190 price range and check for discounts at major retailers during Black Friday.
|Google Nexus 7|
Apple iPad Mini
Ideal for a consumer who's already invested in Apple devices like the iPhone, the iPad Mini is Apple's first 7-inch tablet. However, Apple did not include a Retina quality display with this model. The 1024x768 resolution on the 7.9-inch display of the iPad Mini is more in line with the original iPad.
The iPad mini does address the concerns of those who think the original iPad is too heavy: the mini is a svelte 11 ounces, half the weight of its bigger sibling. Plus, it's a very thin 7.2mm, which is flatter than both the similarly sized Kindle Fire HD and Nexus 7.
Sold in both Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi / LTE models, consumers also have a choice between 16GB, 32GB or 64GB of internal storage. The small tablet includes a 5MP rear-facing camera that's capable of capturing 1080p video in addition to a 1.2MP front-facing camera for using Facetime between various Apple devices.
According to Apple, the battery life should last about ten hours when using the tablet for surfing the Web, watching video or listening to music. Unfortunately, the price point on the Apple iPad Mini is significantly higher than other 7-inch tablets. Prices on the tablet range from $329 to $659 depending on the storage and connectivity options. Look for a small discount from Apple on Black Friday.
|Apple iPad Mini|
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite
Assuming your family or friend is already invested in the Amazon ecosystem with a previous Kindle, the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite is a nice upgrade for anyone with a standard Kindle eReader.
Unlike a backlit tablet display, Kindle Paperwhite guides light towards the surface of the e-ink display from above so that the light never shines directly towards your eyes, allowing you to read comfortably without eye strain. The built-in light illuminates the screen more evenly than a book light or lighted cover.
When reading for 30-minutes at a time each day, Amazon estimates that the battery life on a full charge will last for eight weeks.
The Kindle Paperwhite is positioned at a variety of price points. The Wi-Fi only model starts at $119 for the ad-supported version and $139 for the model without ads. The 3G version of the eReader (for downloading books outside of Wi-Fi) starts at $179 for the ad-supported version and $199 for the ad free version.
|Amazon Kindle Paperwhite|
Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight
Completely absent of any form of advertisements, the Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight is definitely the best bargain when it comes to glowing eReaders.
NOOK's GlowLight illuminates your screen with a soft light that is perfect for bedtime reading and turns on instantly with just a touch. To adjust the brightness level, users can simply adjust a slider on the screen.
The Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight wieghs less than 7 ounces and the battery life is projected to last over one month on a single charge. The package from Barnes & Noble also includes the charging adapter as well as an anti-glare screen protector that's already installed. This NOOK can connect over Wi-Fi for free at all Barnes & Noble Stores in addition to over 24,000 AT&T hotspots around the nation.
The price point on the Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight is positioned at $119, however deals on the eReader can be found in the $110 range. Look for discounts around Black Friday.
|Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight|
Amazon Kindle (2012)
If your friends or family aren't interested in reading at night, then the less expensive Kindle is definitely a solid pick.
The basic Kindle uses an electronic ink screen that looks and reads like real paper. The matte screen reflects light like ordinary paper and uses no backlighting, so you can read as easily in bright sunlight as in your living room.
It's actually smaller than the 7-inch tablets and can easily fit in a jacket pocket. In addition, it weighs less than 6 ounces. Using the built-in Wi-Fi, books can be downloaded in less than 10 seconds and the basic Kindle has the capacity to hold approximately 1,000 books.
The Kindle has a great battery life as well and can last up to a month when reading approximately 30 minutes a day. Anyone that's also an Amazon Prime member will be able to check out books from the Amazon lending library for free each month. In addition, many local libraries are offering Kindle versions of books through their digital, online portal.
The price point of the Amazon Kindle is currently $69 (with special offers) and the ad-free version is $89. Look for deals in the $50 range when on sale and check Amazon for gold-box deals during the holidays for extended discounts.