Black Friday may have already come and gone, and if you’re not taking advantage of the Cyber Monday deals today, you can still be assured that there will be quite a few great deals on tablets as December moves forward.
Tablets are now more affordable than ever, and come in many sizes for anyone’s preference. That said, there are so many different tablets available on the market today, it can be hard to choose the one that’s right for you. That’s why we’re going to break down the top tablets in our book, from big to small!
The lists below will be broken into two groups: Full sized tablets (8.9 – 10.1 inches) and smaller tablets (7 – 8.3 inches), so if you know the size range you’re looking for, you can find the best of the best in its respective category! Let’s get started!
*Note: We’re not limiting our tablet selections to 2013-only announcements. If the tablet has carried its weight through 2013, then it deserves its chance here.
Top Full-Sized Tablets
Tried and true, the iPad is the most popular tablet in the world. Apple’s latest offering, the iPad Air, offers up a much thinner and sleeker design, all while boasting a handsome set of specs and more applications available then you’ll know what to do with.
The 9.7 inch Retina display on the iPad Air is really something to behold, and the new look and feel of iOS 7 makes the visual experience even better. Of course, the iPad Air also offers up Apple’s new A7 processor with 64 bit architecture and the new M7 co-processor to handle the motion sensors on the tablet and save power in the process. The combination of the two processors provide an ultra fast and smooth experience across the board.
While there are a ton of options available in the tablet world, the iPad just may be the best tablet around.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014)
If you’re looking for a high-end Android tablet that’s packed with features and power, then the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Editon may be what you’re looking for. Samsung’s Galaxy Note line allows users to (almost) fully control their tablet via a stylus, or S-Pen. Whether you’re interesting in drawing or jotting down notes, the S-Pen has you covered.
Of course, the Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition doesn’t stop there. The tablet rocks a 1.9GHz quad-core processor, 3GB RAM, 16/32/64GB storage options, microSD card slot, IR Blaster, whopping 8,200 mAh battery, and Android 4.3, making it a very appealing device that can take on just about any task you throw at it.
Kindle Fire HDX 8.9
Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet line has proved to be one of the most popular family when it comes to Android tablets. The easy to use software covers up almost every bit of the normal Android experience with Amazon’s own software experience, offering up a more streamlined user interface for media consumption. Amazon also has it’s very own application store so you won’t feel left in the dark when some of the best new applications become available on the OS.
The Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 packs a punch that will have owners of the previous generation tablet salivating. This tablet ships with a 8.9 inch display with a resolution of 2560×1600, offering up a PPI of 339. If the screen isn’t enough to impress you, you’ll also be treated to a 2.2GHz quad-core processor, 2GB RAM, and 8 megapixel camera.
The Nexus 10 has been on the market for a while now, but it still deserves to be on this list. The Nexus 10 offers up a stock Android experience like the Nexus smartphone lineup, ensuring timely updates, no bloatware or custom user interfaces. Fans of the Nexus smartphones will enjoy the clean Android experience, but the Nexus 10 is more than just software.
The Nexus 10 offers up a 10.055 inch display with a resolution of 2560 x 1600, besting even the iPad Air’s 264 PPI (pixels per inch) with a PPI of 300. The display on this tablet is gorgeous, but you’ll also get a Exynos 5 dual processor, 2GB RAM, 16 or 32GB storage options, along with a huge 9,000 mAh battery, Android 4.4 KitKat, and much more!
Surface Pro 2
If you’re looking for a tablet to be an extension of your Windows computer or Windows Phone handset, the Surface Pro 2 just might be your best option. There are quite a few Windows 8.1 tablets available today, but the Surface Pro 2 is a deadly combination of powerful, functional, and ultra sleek.
The Surface Pro 2 ships with a 10.6 inch 1080p HD display, 4th generation Intel Core i5 processor, 64/128/256/512GB storage options, 4 or 8GB RAM, two 720p HD cameras, full-size Micro USB 3.0 port, micro SD card slot, and a battery that promises up to 2 weeks in standby time. The Surface Pro 2 packs the punch of some PCs today, so if you need a lot of power to get you where you need to go, then this is a Windows tablet that you shouldn’t miss!
Sony Xperia Tablet Z
The Sony Xperia Tablet Z is as sleek as it is powerful. The water and dust resistant tablet offers up a ton of features, along with a beautiful custom interface running on top of Android.
The design alone will have some people wanting the Xperia Tablet Z, but rest of the specifications are definitely noteworthy as well. Packing a 10.1 display (1920×1200 resolution), 2GB RAM, 1.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro, 2GB RAM, and more, this is a tablet that has it all. Other specs include a micro SD card slot, 8.1 megapixel rear camera, front-facing camera, NFC, IR Blaster, and more.
Coming in at 495 grams and 6.9mm thin, the Xperia Tablet Z outclasses many tablets available today.
Top Small Tablets
iPad Mini w/ Retina display
You shouldn’t be surprised to see the iPad Mini here. The latest entry in Apple’s smaller iPad offerings boosts the specs across the board, which now fall in line with that of the iPad Air. All you need to decide is what size you want.
The iPad Mini with Retina display has improved significantly from the previous generation. The screen itself will have many users happy, but the latest generation of the Mini offers a set of specs that won’t have people wanting more power and that’s pretty much all there is to it.
Nexus 7 (2013)
The Nexus 7 became one of the most popular 7 inch tablets when it originally debuted, and the 2013 model of the Nexus 7 is even more appealing.
Featuring a 7 inch IPS display (1920 x 1200), the latest Nexus 7 has come a long way from the previous generation, but also now features a 1.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, 2GB RAM, 16 or 32GB storage options, 5 megapixel rear camera, 1.2 megapixel front-facing camera, NFC, 3,950 mAh battery, wireless charging support, Android 4.4 KitKat and more.
In a nutshell, grab the Nexus 7 if you’re looking for a stock Android experience and aren’t looking for something as large as the Nexus 10.
LG G Pad 8.3
It took a while for LG to make another tablet after the Optimus Pad, but when it did, it hit hard. The LG G Pad 8.3 is one of the best Android tablets around and would be a great addition for anyone looking for a powerful tablet that’s a bit bigger than a 7 inch tablet but still fits in the hand nicely.
The LG G Pad features a 8.3 inch 1920 x 1600 HD IPS display, along with the super fast 1.7GHz Quad-core Snapdragon 600 processor. If that’s not enough to get your interest, features like Knock On, Slide Aside, and QPair just might. The G Pad 8.3 is cut from the same digital cloth as LG’s latest flagship smartphone, the G2, and it shows.
Other specs for the G Pad 8.3 include 2GB RAM, 16GB storage, 5 megapixel rear camera, 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera, and micro SD card slot.
Since it debuted, the LG G Pad 8.3 has had a permanent place on my desk for when I don’t want to pull out my smartphone.
Kindle Fire HDX 7
Like the HDX 8.9, the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 brings with it powerful hardware and a unique software experience you just won’t find on any other Android tablet outside of this lineup.
The Kindle Fire HDX 7 features a 7 inch 1920 x 1200 display, 2.2 GHz Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB RAM, front-facing camera, 16/32/64GB storage options, and more.
With the exception of a few features like rear camera, the HDX 7 shares a majority of the specs as the HDX 8.9, so take your pick.
Galaxy Note 8
The Galaxy Note 8 isn’t a brand new tablet, but it’s still one of the most solid options when it comes to smaller Android tablets today. The 8 inch Galaxy Note feels great in the hand, allowing you to use the S-Pen to navigate through the software without any trouble.
While the Galaxy Note 8 is a bit dated, it still falls in line with a spec sheet that still performs on par with other tablets of its size. Outside of the 8 inch 1280 x 800 display, specs include the 1.6GHz quad-core Exynos processor, 2GB RAM, 5 megapixel rear camera, 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera, microSD card slot, 4,600 mAh battery and more.
The only thing holding this decent tablet back, given its age, is its price point. Normally priced at $399, the Galaxy Note 8 is a bit pricey, especially with tablets like the Tegra Note come in at $199. If you’re in the market for a serviceable Android tablet from Samsung, don’t need a stlyus, and aren’t sold on the Galaxy Note 8, be sure to check out the Galaxy Tab 3 8″.
EVGA Tegra Note 7
The EVGA NVIDIA Tegra Note 7 is a solid tablet that comes in at an amazing price. At $199, the Tegra 4-toting tablet offers up a ton of power, along with stylus support, and more.
The Tegra Note 7 ships with a 7 inch 1280×800 display, blazing fast 1.8GHz Tegra 4 processor, 5 megapixel camera with always-on HDR, front-facing camera, 16GB storage, and micro SD card slot.
The Tegra Note may lack a few features found on other 7 inch tablets, like wireless charging, but makes up for it in value. The Tegra Note 7 is one of the most affordable tablets on this list, all while having one of the fastest processors to boot.
As you can see there are a lot of tablets to choose from if you’re in the market and this list could have been much longer. Still, we’re pretty sure that someone can find a tablet that’s right for them within these twelve great options.