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11/23/2013
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10 Best Tablets Of 2013

Whether you're tablet shopping now or looking ahead, check out this year's standouts.
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The basic design of tablets -- a nondescript black slab -- hasn't changed much since the debut of the Apple iPad in 2010. But tablet technology is rapidly evolving, and there's been market segmentation. Several categories have emerged over the past four years: mini tablets with screens that measure from 7 inches to 8 inches diagonally; larger tablets with 9- to 11-inch screens; and hybrid devices that function as both tablet and laptop. One might also include phablets -- cellphone/tablet hybrids with 5- to 6-inch screens -- as a fourth category, although these devices qualify more as oversized smartphones than true tablets.

However you slice it, the tablet has emerged as a unique genre of mobile device, one that has become hugely popular with consumers and businesses alike. In fact, tablets are expected to outsell laptop computers by a three- to-one margin by 2017, predicts NPD DisplaySearch. According to IDC, Apple and Samsung were the top two tablet vendors in the third quarter of 2013, with 29.6% and 20.4% of the global market share, respectively. Those numbers are expected to change quickly, however, as so-called "white box tablets," typically low-cost slates running variants of Android, gain popularity worldwide.

White-box tablets probably won't make anyone's Best Of list, however. "These low-cost Android-based products make tablets available to a wider market of consumers, which is good. However, many use cheap parts and non-Google-approved versions of Android that can result in an unsatisfactory customer experience, limited usage, and very little engagement with the ecosystem," said IDC research director Tom Mainelli in a statement.

So what makes a great tablet? Light weight and long battery life are two key characteristics, obviously, as well as processing power and a well-stocked app store. Affordability matters too, but super-cheap slates aren't worth it, particularly in the workplace where tablets and tablet/laptop hybrids are increasingly replacing laptops.

It looks as if no single operating system will dominate tablets, with Android, iOS, and Windows operating systems all finding their niche. For instance, the 7-inch Amazon Kindle Fire HDX and the 10.6-inch Microsoft Surface Pro 2, both technically tablets, appeal to different types of user.

Our Best Tablets of 2013 slideshow takes a variety of factors into consideration, including size, usability, price, availability of applications, and compatibility with existing enterprise systems. If you think we slighted a tablet you like, or if you disagree with some of our picks, let us know in the comments section.

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Alex Kane Rudansky
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Alex Kane Rudansky,
User Rank: Author
11/23/2013 | 4:44:52 PM
Mini
I'm still satisfied with my original iPad Mini. I'm all about size and convenience, and I think the Mini's dimensions master both of those. Retina is nice, but I wouldn't upgrade at this point.
anon7605528520
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anon7605528520,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/23/2013 | 2:55:48 PM
Another Tablet Worth Considering is the Pipo M7 Pro
The new Pipo M7 Pro for $255 packs in features that compare to & is priced about the same as the Nexus 7, but offers a much larger 8.9-inch screen with the same high resolution 1900x1200 display (uses a Samsung Brand screen) along with quad core performance & much bigger battery capacity (6300 mAh), and the Pipo M7 Pro offers an ideal size between a compact and full size tablet that's still easy to carry in one hand --

A 3G HSPA+ edition is also availble for $279 and is one of the first tablets to offer Internet plus Voice Calling function - that makes voice calls like a standard Android smartphone and works great with Bluetooth headsets (Nexus, iPad and other 3G/4G tablet chips don't offer voice calling ability - only Data Internet).  It works with any GSM carrier, and has been tested on AT&T, T-Mobile and Straight Talk and only requires a SIM card, which can be used interchangeably between a Smartphone and a tablet. Plus it works with Straight Talk's new $45 Unlimited Data and Calling Plan that provides a SIM card with service on the AT&T Network at 4G speeds. 

 

Both the standard and 3G models feature a Quad-Core processor - 1.6 GHz / 2GB Ram - 16GB memory, built-in GPS navigation, Android 4.2.2, Bluetooth 4.0, premium dual speakers, MicroSD, two MicroUSB ports, and dual cameras with a 5 megapixel rear camera with AF and flash.

There's also the Pipo M9 edition that features the same specs along with a 10.1-inch screen.

 

One of the first U.S. sites to carry this model is -- TabletSprint -
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
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11/23/2013 | 9:30:00 AM
Most wanted tablet
Which tablet do you want most right now, and why, InformationWeek readers? Did we leave your favorite out of this list?
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