When you choose to compete with giants like Amazon, you've definitely got your work cut out for you — but Barnes & Noble's new Nook GlowLight ($120) may have just what it takes to make a go at it. While it may never be able to boast the kind of ecosystem available with Amazon, its feature set and competitive price point make it an option worth considering. They've stuck with e-ink, and made the reading experience better than ever, with 60 percent more pixels, no glare, and a higher 1024 by 768 resolution. They've also put it on a diet, reducing overall weight by nearly a fifth, while the four gigs of storage will hold up to 2,000 books, and the battery will last up to eight weeks on a single charge.
Today, amid rampant consumer and media speculation (as well as some half-hearted industry competition) Apple announced their most powerful, lightest, and thinnest full-sized tablet to date, the iPad Air ($500 and up). At just one pound and 7.5 millimeters thick, it's 28 percent lighter and 20 percent thinner than the previous full-sized iPad — and it's still packed with massive performance improvements. It features an A7 chip built on 64-bit architecture, giving it two times better computing and graphics performance, on top of a battery that lasts up to ten hours. Couple all that with a front-facing HD camera, dual antennas for better wireless performance, a retina display, and an M7 motion coprocessor, and you get a tablet that will have the competition scrambling just to keep up. Available next month.
It looks like Nokia, Microsoft's recent gift-to-itself, is trying to steal a little thunder from Apple's forthcoming new iPads. Aiming to let you work hard and hardly work at the same time, the Nokia Lumia 2520 ($500) is a 10-inch tablet (Nokia's first ever) that comes loaded with Windows 8 and all the boxiness the operating system has to offer. It features 4G LTE connectivity, a full HD screen that's made to look great, even in direct sunlight, while a snap-on keyboard with five hours of battery life lets you type, or touch, giving it the usability of a full-sized machine, with the portability of a tablet. A range of color options are available for you to pick from.
Continuing its transition away from simple e-reader to fully-functioning tablet, the Kindle Fire HDX ($380) packs more power, an improved display, and productivity apps that make it a serious competitor. It features a 2.2GHz quad-core processor that is three times more powerful than its predecessor, with two gigs of RAM and a dedicated graphics card. The display features incredible pixel density (339 PPI), on a nearly nine-inch screen for a better reading and viewing experience. Additional features include a "Mayday" button that lets you call Amazon for help any time, an eight megapixel rear camera, and the ability to connect to 4G LTE.
We knew it was coming, but that doesn't make it any less of a
small big deal. The iPad mini ($330-$660) is the long-awaited smaller sibling to Apple's blockbuster tablet. Sporting an aluminum body that's just 7.2mm thin and weighs just 0.68 pounds, it still manages to pack in a 7.9-inch display, an A5 processor, a 5MP iSight camera, a front-facing FaceTime HD camera, and Apple's new Lightning connector. Available in black or white.
We ordered one too many iPad Mini's. So this one has your name on it. To win, just click one of the buttons below to follow us on Facebook or Twitter. We'll choose one of you handsome gentlemen at random.
iPads and the like can be incredibly handy... when you're around things like Wi-Fi, cellular towers, and electricity. For those times when you're not, there's the Earl Backcountry Survival Tablet ($250). Designed specifically for use in the wilderness, it offers features like a 1024 x 768 6" flexible E-Ink screen with the ability to double as an emergency lantern, a built-in AM/FM/SW/LW radio tuner, an IP67 rated water/dust/shock/mud-proof design, an integrated solar panel, internal weather sensors, a FRS, GMRS and MURS transceiver for use as a two-way radio, and a glove-friendly infrared touchscreen. Combined with the robust GPS hardware, Bluetooth 4.0, and Android 4.1, it's a uniquely qualified piece of kit that could quickly become indispensable on your next outdoor adventure.
The name is a little confusing — it has absolutely nothing to do with Wikipedia, Wikilinks, or any other traditional Wiki, as far as we can tell — but that doesn't mean the Wikipad ($250) isn't worth a look. Built with gaming in mind, the Wikipad features a 7-inch HD screen, a Nvidia Tegra 3 processor with quad-core GPU, a built-in gyroscope, compass, and accelerometer, a 2-megapixel front-facing camera, 16GB of internal storage with a MicroSD slot for expansion, GPS, and built-in stereo speakers. The biggest feature, however, is the detachable game controller that gives you a proper D-pad, dual analog sticks, and Playstation Mobile certification.
As anyone with an iPad and a stand can tell you, having a tablet in the kitchen can be mighty handy. The Qooq Tablet ($400) is designed specifically for kitchen use, as it is splash proof, heat and humidity resistant, sports a retractable support that serves as a stand, and can be used with greased up hands — just clean it with a damp cloth when you're done. Other features include a 10.1-inch screen, an ARM Cortex A9 processor, 8 GB of memory, built-in Wi-Fi, and a customized interface that's tailored to kitchen use, with a meal planner, browser for accessing cooking websites, and a built-in virtual cookbook.
Step aside, iPad. Built by Samsung, the Google Nexus 10 ($400) is the new tablet resolution king with an insane 2560 x 1600 10.055*-inch screen. Other features include long-haul battery life — up to nine hours of video playback and over 500 of standby time — front-facing stereo speakers, Android 4.2, NFC support, a 5 MP rear camera and 1.9 MP webcam, a dual-core A15 processor, 16GB of storage, and all the other extras you'd expect. *Really guys? Let's just round that down to 10 and call it a day.
In its never ending fight to gain control of the world, Google, with the help of Asus, has announced the Google Nexus 7 ($200-$250). Powered by Android 4.1, this less-than-a-pound tablet features a 7-inch 1280x800 HD display, front-facing camera, the Tegra-3 chipset with a quad-core CPU and 12-core GPU (good for gaming), and comes in 8GB and 16GB flavors. It packs in all of the standard Google apps and works seamlessly with all of the Google Play content. And it is said to get over 8 hours of HD video playback, 10 hours of web browsing, or 10 hours of e-reading. Hey Apple, where's our iPad mini?
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2010 was supposed to be the year of the tablet. Then 2011. But it looks like 2012 might just live up to the billing. The Nook HD & HD+ ($200-$300) are the latest slates to be announced this fall, offering 7- and 9-inch HD displays, 1.3- and 1.5-GHz dual-core processors, 1GB of RAM, and between 8GB and 32GB of onboard storage. Of course, they also offer full access to Barnes & Noble's catalog of books, magazines, apps, and videos, and as a bonus, they offer a new Nook Profiles feature that lets you easily share your tablet with others without fear of them accessing personal content.
You didn't think Amazon was going to update its old-school Kindles and leave its tablets alone, did you? The Kindle Fire HD ($200-$600) offers a range of sizes and features for Prime-oriented slate shoppers. At the low end, we have an upgraded version of last year's 7-incher, with a new non-Playbook-y design, 1280x800 display, Dolby audio with stereo speakers, dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi, a dual-core processor, 16GB of storage, and an upgraded software experience. Moving up the line, you'll find a new 8.9-inch version, packing the same features along with a 1920x1200 screen, and at the high end, you'll find that same, larger model with 64GB of storage and LTE networking. Something tells us there's going to be a lot of tablet unwrapping going on this holiday season.