Christmas Tablet Guide
Holiday season is fast approaching and tablet computers are high on many people’s Christmas wish lists this year. With a number of excellent quality and reasonably priced offerings to choose from, which model tablet is right for you or your family? Our Christmas tablet guide provides the lowdown on this seasons most popular tablets – the Apple iPad Mini, Google Nexus 7, Amazon Kindle Fire HD and the Nook HD.
Besides the iPad Mini, which is priced from $329, all of the other tablets come in at just $199. The Nexus 7, Kindle Fire HD and the Nook HD are all loss-leaders, acting as a portal to paid apps, games, movies, music and other content for each of the respective company’s online stores. This means you’re able to pick up a great tablet, for an extremely affordable price. Read on for our complete 2012 Christmas tablet guide.
The iPad Mini is Apple’s answer to the popular 7-inch tablet space. With a 7.9-inch display, the iPad Mini is slightly larger than the Nexus 7, Kindle Fire HD and the Nook HD. The iPad Mini features a lightning fast A5 processor, front and rear-facing cameras for HD 1080p video recording and FaceTime video chat. The iPad Mini takes advantage of Apple’s class-leading content ecosystem, with over 275,000 compatible apps. All current iPad apps are cross-compatible with the iPad mini, including the iPad Kindle app which makes all of your digital Amazon purchases available for use. The iPad Mini comes in a Wi-Fi only model as well as a Wi-Fi + Cellular version, with prices starting at $329.
Google Nexus 7
The Google Nexus 7 is Android’s flagship 7-inch tablet, and runs a pure and unadulterated version of the Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean) operating system. The Nexus 7 is built by ASUS and packs a higher resolution display than the iPad Mini, and is lighter than the Kindle Fire HD. The Google Nexus 7 features exceptional application and graphics performance, courtesy of the NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor. It has a single front-facing 1.2 MP camera, is Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC enabled. The Google Nexus 7 comes in both 16GB and 32GB models with pricing in the U.S. starting at $199. With a huge array of apps and other content available on the Google Play store, the Nexus 7 is a very attractive tablet for this Christmas season.
Kindle Fire HD
The Kindle Fire HD is a big step up from Amazon’s earlier range of Kindles, and offers outstanding specs and value for money ($199), with access to a huge range of quality content via the Amazon store. The Kindle Fire HD weighs in at nearly 400g, which is substantially more than the iPad Mini, Nexus 7 and the Nook. Despite this, for many users the rich feature set of the Kindle Fire HD tablet outweigh the portability issues. The Kindle Fire HD sports a super fast 1.2GHz processor, sharp HD display, Dolby audio and front-facing camera. Amazon are also providing free and unlimited cloud storage for all of your Amazon content, which may include any one of the 22 million ebooks, movies, songs, TV shoes and apps available for download.
The Nook HD is a new contender in the 7-inch tablet space, and is produced by US book chain Barnes & Noble. The Nook HD features a high-resolution display and excellent battery life. While the Nook HD doesn’t have the same brand power as tablets like the iPad, Nexus or Kindle, it is a solid contender none-the-less, offering a unique profile system for sharing the device amongst different family members. At the moment, the range of apps available on the Nook store is considerably less than what you will find on iTunes, Google Play or the Amazon store but the Nook does have a reasonable range of books, magazines and newspapers currently available for download. The Nook HD comes in two flavors, 8GB and 16GB and also offers expandable memory with microSD. Prices start at $199.
If you’re looking for a sub-$200 7-inch tablet this Christmas, you can’t go past the Google Nexus 7. From the perspective of both the depth of hardware and software features as well as the extensive content library available on Google Play, the Nexus 7 is hard to beat. If reading ebooks on your tablet is your primary concern, and you’ve already got a large number of Amazon purchases, then the Kindle Fire HD is a solid choice.
For those users with price ranges of $300+, the Apple iPad Mini is our 2012 Christmas Tablet Guide 7-inch tablet of choice. From the design and build quality, to the outstanding operating system and huge number of apps available, the iPad Mini is an all-round winner.
Are you looking for a 7-inch tablet this Christmas? What’s your pick for the best tablet of 2012? Let us know in the comments below.