Top Tablets for the Holiday Shopping Season

by Reads (22,301)

Yes, we told you to reconsider buying a tablet this holiday season, but only because the next generation of devices are slated to ship in mere months – or weeks, in the case of the ASUS Transformer Prime. But that doesn’t mean the current crop are obsolete, or not worth considering. In fact, unlike last year when consumer options were limited to the original iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab (and not much else), there are now excellent tablet options in all sizes, prices, and operating environments. As such, TabletPCReview presents the top tablets by type.

Apple iPad 2

Apple iPad 2
$499.99 (16 GB, Wi-Fi only)

The Apple iPad 2 is far and away the best-selling tablet for a reason. The hardware is great, the performance smooth, and the App Store has more than 160,000 apps designed specifically for the big screen. True, the iPad 3 is probably mere months away, which is why TabletPCReview recommends waiting on any iPad purchases, but for those that must have a tablet for the holidays, the iPad 2 is the one to get.

Read the iPad 2 Review

Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9

Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9
$469.99 (16 GB)

For our money, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 has the best hardware and display of this generation. It’s razor thin like its larger counterpart, the Galaxy Tab 10.1, and is more stable than the earlier Honeycomb tablets. While screen size is ultimately a matter of preference, we found the 8.9-inch display to be more manageable than the 10.1-inch alternative. And at $450 (16GB), the Tab 8.9 is also less expensive than the Tab 10.1 and Apple iPad 2.

Read the Galaxy Tab 8.9 Review


Samsung Series 7 SlateSamsung Series 7 Slate
$1,099 (64 GB Base Unit, Windows Home Premium 64-bit)

The Samsung Series 7 Slate shows the potential of Windows on a tablet. It has laptop-, not netbook-, quality components and a slick design. It’s also the reference hardware for Windows 8, so it will be ready for an upgrade when Windows 8 finally ships in 2012.

Read the Series 7 Slate First Look

T-Mobile SpringBoard

T-Mobile SpringBoard
$179.99 (with two-year T-Mobile contract and $50 rebate), $430 unsubsidized

This 7-inch Honeycomb tablet is simply solid all around, in both hardware and software performance. It especially has an excellent display with one of the highest PPI counts available for a large-screen device. Unfortunately, it is only available through T-Mobile, and it is $430 off contract ($179 with a two-year agreement and $50 mail-in rebate), making it more expensive than the $400 Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus (which is also a capable tablet). The SpringBoard only gets the edge for sporting an aluminum body to the Tab 7.0’s all-plastic build.

Read the SpringBoard Review

Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet

Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet
$499.99 (16 GB w/o pen)

The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet edges out the Toshiba Thrive simply because you can do more with the ThinkPad. It sports a full-sized USB slot, supports active pen input, and ships with an excellent handwriting-to-text app. It’s also built well and one of the tougher Honeycomb tablets TabletPCReview has tested.

Read the ThinkPad Tablet Review


Amazon Kindle FireAmazon Kindle Fire

The Kindle Fire specs may be underwhelming, but Amazon’s movie, music, TV show, eBook, and app offerings can’t be beat. This is the ultimate “consumption device,” complete with a very attractive $200 price tag. The fact that it will also support Netflix, LogMeIn Ignition and other major third-party apps only adds to its appeal.

Read the Kindle Fire Review



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Holiday Buyer’s Guide





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