Tablets Worth Buying This Holiday Season
Just like 2012, the tablet is going to be an extremely popular gift during the 2013 holiday season. While many people may still be getting their first tablet, others are looking to replace older tablet technology purchased last year or the previous year. This guide will help you cut through the noise and find exactly what you should buy for your family and/or friends (or yourself!) this year.
Buy This for Someone Who Won’t Shut Up About Android: Google Nexus 10
Definitely a gorgeous tablet due to the massive 10-inch, high resolution screen, the Nexus 10 line of tablets has been fairly successful for Google. Be aware that a refresh to the Nexus 10 in Q4 is a constant rumor at this point, so you may want to wait closer to Black Friday to purchase the tablet. You can also look into the Nexus 7, if you want to jump on the latest refresh to Google’s tablet line.
MSRP: $400 | Lowest Price on Ben’s: $315
Buy This for Someone Who Won’t Shut Up about Apple: iPad Air
While the iPad Mini with Retina Display is probably going to be a popular and hard-to-get tablet this year likely due to supply issues, the Apple Air is a better bet. There are no supply issues at launch and the device is getting rave reviews from the tech media.
MSRP (16GB model): $499 | Lowest Price on Ben’s: $479
- Pros: Performance/speed has improved significantly due to new A7 chip. Battery life has improved (13 hours). Front-facing camera has improved for Skype chats due to backside illumination.
- Cons: It’s expensive starting at $499 for the 16GB Wi-Fi model, ranging up to $929 for the 128GB LTE model. Storage capacity is still limited due to the lack of an SD card slot.
Buy This for an Amazon Prime Member: Kindle Fire HDX (7-inch or 8.9-inch)
Definitely a killer pick for anyone who’s invested in the Amazon ecosystem of books, movies and music, the recent refresh to the Amazon line of Kindle Fire tablets has been well-received by the press and community at large. Extra special for Amazon Prime members, users will be able to access Amazon Instant Video as well as free books from the Kindle Lending library.
MSRP (16GB model): $229 | Lowest Price on Ben’s: $195
- Pros: Awesome 1920×1200 screen on the 7-inch (2560×1600 on the 8.9-inch). Competitive price ($229 for 7-inch, $379 for 8.9-inch). Speedy 2.2GHz quad-core processor. 8MP rear camera. 24×7 video chat tech support with Mayday button.
- Cons: Content is limited to the Amazon ecosystem. App support isn’t as deep as Google Play or Apple. Ad removal still costs $15.
Buy This for an Office Drone Workaholic: ASUS Transformer Book T100
Easily one of the surprise hits of the 2013 tablet season, the Asus Transformer Book T100 is a peppy Windows 8.1 tablet that offers excellent performance for an inexpensive price point. ASUS is particularly good at creating tablets that transform into the traditional laptop design, perhaps more so than Microsoft with the Surface line.
MSRP (32GB model): $399 | Lowest Price on Ben’s: N/A
- Pros: Offers Intel’s snappy Bay Trail processor. Includes free version of Microsoft Office. Comes with included keyboard. Battery life is solid.
- Cons: Keyboard layout is cramped. Likely won’t run extremely intensive programs like Photoshop very well.
Buy This for a Little Whippersnapper: LeapFrog LeapPad2
Do you have a kid who loves to take your iPad away? Look into purchasing a tablet for them that’s designed to both entertain and help them learn. While LeapFrog is heavily pushing the LeapPad Ultra tablet right now, most parents are recommending the previous generation LeapFrog LeapPad2 instead.
MSRP: $100 | Lowest Price on Ben’s: $50
- Pros: Tons of awesome educational apps that are fun for kids. Ready to be tossed around due to rugged rubber case. Upgraded CPU is snappier than previous models.
- Cons: Doesn’t include access to popular streaming video apps like Netflix or Hulu Plus. No rechargeable battery (runs on four AA batteries).
Buy This for an MMORPG Addict: Microsoft Surface Pro 2
Definitely a solid balance between graphics performance and productivity, Microsoft’s Surface Pro 2 will do an admirable job of running slightly older games and will definitely handle MMORPGs. While a Razer Edge Pro may be a better choice for someone who only wants to play games, the Surface Pro 2 comes in at a much better price point.
MSRP (64GB model): $899 | Lowest Price on Ben’s: N/A
- Pros: Includes the Haswell processor. Battery life has improved (even better with recent software update). Keyboard cover includes backlit keys. Runs many games as long as you reduce graphics settings a bit.
- Cons: Very thick, heavy body style. Definitely on the expensive side, starting at $899.
Buy This if You are on a Budget: Hisense Sero 7 Pro
Easily one of the top performing 7-inch tablets that you’ve never heard of, the Hisense Sero 7 Pro is a killer gift for someone who needs a solid Android tablet. They can root it, if needed, and the build quality is a notch higher than the majority of off-brand tablets.
MSRP: $150 | Lowest Price on Ben’s: $129
- Pros: Cheap price (under $130). Excellent screen resolution (1,280-by-800-pixel display). Solid Tegra 3 quad-core processor. Long battery life (9 to 10 hours). Dual-band wireless connectivity. Mini HDMI port. MicroSD slot to expand the memory.
- Cons: Only 8GB of storage to start. Cameras are low resolution.
Buy This for Someone You Hate: Visual Land Prestige 7L
Have you been plotting revenge against someone all year? Looking for a great way to say “I’m thinking about you” in the most evil way possible? Purchase the Visual Land Prestige 7L for that family member who drives you absolutely bonkers. It won’t break the bank and it will frustrate the hell out of the new owner.
MSRP: $120 | Lowest Price on Ben’s: N/A
- Pros: It’s really cheap. Comes in more colors than Rainbow Brite’s outfit.
- Cons: It’s really CHEAP. Zero Google Play support. An ugly 800 by 480 resolution. The battery life stinks (5-ish hours). Performance is slow.