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Holiday Guide 2013 – Best Tablets of Late 2013

tablets

In the past few years, tablets have evolved from unnecessary luxury items into essential digital appliances. No longer are they merely oversized smartphones. Rather, they have become an entirely new type of computing, thanks to fantastic apps that make use of their greater screen real estate.

Android Tablets

2013 will undoubtedly be remembered as the year of the Android tablet. This past year marked the first time in which Android-based tablets outsold Apple’s iPad. And now as the Android tablet app ecosystem is steadily growing, the platform has become a truly viable tablet OS.

71vsIgVGu9L._SL1500_Google Nexus 7 (2013)

$229 (16 GB) or $269 (32 GB). Also available starting at $160 on Swappa.

The Nexus 7 (2013) is the second iteration of the flagship tablet designed and developed by Google, in conjunction with Asus. With improvements across the board, the Nexus 7 (2013) features a 7-inch, 1200 x 1920 display, a quad-core 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, 2 GB of RAM, and 16 or 32 GB of internal storage.

XDA Breakdown:

  • Root? Yes.
  • Recovery? Yes.
  • Unlockable? fastboot oem unlock. Need I say more?
  • Widespread Aftermarket Developer Support? Yes!
  • Multiboot? Yes!

 

gpadLG G Pad 8.3

$349 Google Play edition. Standard model also available starting at $250 on Swappa.

The LG G Pad 8.3 is the company’s second foray into the Android tablet market. The LG G Pad 8.3 sports an 8.3″ display running at 1920×1200, and a pixel density of 273 ppi. The device is powered by a quad-core 1.7 GHz Qualcomm 600 processor and 2 GB of RAM. Other features include a 5MP camera and 4600mAh battery.

While the G Pad 8.3 isn’t terribly exciting on its own, it has an added trick up its sleeve: the recently launched Google Play edition. And thanks to the hardware similarities, there’s already a ported GPe ROM for the standard device!

XDA Breakdown:

 

91t1ghJz9nL._SL1500_

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014)

$549 (16 GB), $599 (32 GB). Also available starting at $480 on Swappa.

The Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014) is Samsung’s second full-size Note tablet. The device picks up where the original left off by delivering a better screen, a better processor, and a better chassis. The device features Samsung’s fantastic Wacom-based S Pen technology. When combined with Samsung’s multi-window support, the Note 10.1 (2014) is truly a tablet that can do more.

XDA Breakdown:

  • Root? Yes.
  • Recovery? Yes.
  • Widespread Aftermarket Developer Support? Not yet, but you’ll probably want a stock-based ROM in order to retain S Pen functionality anyway.
  • Multiboot? No.

Windows Tablets

It’s not just about Android, though. Windows 8.1 tablets finally took off in late 2013, thanks to Intel’s Haswell and Bay Trail processors. The former enables true ultrabook-class performance in a slim slate, while the latter allows for still decent performance on a tighter budget. While the Modern UI still suffers from a dearth of apps, this is becoming less of a problem with each passing day. And for those who want a productivity tablet capable of doing fundamentally more than what is possible with a mobile OS, Windows 8.1 tablets are the only real choice.

51q9mYGBBJLMicrosoft Surface Pro 2

$899 direct. Also available starting at $800 on Swappa.

Is it a computer? Is it a tablet? Both? Neither? The Surface Pro 2 is truly a device that can do it all. It packs a speedy Haswell processor, comes with a vibrant display, and it features a Wacom active stylus. It also supports quite a few useful accessories that allow the device to function as both a tablet and laptop replacement. The Surface Pro 2 is significantly pricier than mobile OS tablets, but it can also do a whole lot more. If you’re looking for a tablet that can replace your laptop—and perhaps even your desktop—look no further.

To learn more about the Surface Pro 2, be sure to check out our full review!

 

81DwiuWcmuL._SL1500_Dell Venue 8 Pro

$249 (32 GB), $344 (64 GB)

The Surface Pro 2 is a fantastic device, but not everyone wants to spend $900+ on a tablet. Furthermore, some prefer a smaller and lighter form factor. For these people, the Bay Trail-powered Dell Venue 8 Pro is a fantastic fit. Like the Surface Pro 2, the Venue 8 Pro runs full Windows 8.1. It features 2 GB of RAM, comes in either 16 or 32 GB flavors, and gets superb battery life. It features a micro SD card slot for expandable storage and Synaptics active digitizer technology ($35 stylus not included), which is now usable thanks to the latest touch panel firmware revision.

Keep your eyes peeled on the XDA Portal for our full review in the coming weeks!
 

51gxapUJEiLAsus Transformer Book T100

$382 Amazon.

Similar to the Dell Venue 8 Pro, the Asus T100 is also based on Intel’s Bay Trail, albeit a marginally faster variant. The T100 lacks the active digitizer support found on the Surface Pro 2 and Dell Venue 8 Pro, but it makes up for these faults with its low price and bundled laptop dock. The build quality is not stellar, falling short of what we’re used to with Asus’s Android tablets. However, those able to look past the device’s faults can have a device that can do it all, on the cheap.

 

Now that we’ve spelled out some of the basics, we’d like to hear from you what device is your pick for this Holiday season! Please vote and leave your comments below to tell us what you think is the best device for late 2013!

 

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