With approximately two weeks left from this year, Christmas shopping fever has hit all major retailers, so I thought of putting together a small guide for tablets, eReaders and accessories, in case you wish to make someone happy by gifting them such gadgets.
I’ll be linking to my previous posts a lot, but don’t worry, as almost all of these articles are updated to reflect the changes that have taken place during the year. So let’s not keep you waiting too much and check out what your gift options are for the end of 2011.
The best tablet
This title undoubtedly goes to the Apple iPad 2. It’s the best tablet, period, but if you’re on a budget maybe you’re better off with a cheaper model (see here my 7 inch and 10 inch favorites). The iPad 2 features the fastest OS, the best apps and lots of multimedia content delivered via iTunes, but you’ll have to pay for most of this content, so expect to invest more after the original $500 (if you buy the base 16GB WiFi model).
Most powerful tablet
If you’re seeking the most powerful tablet the title goes to the Asus EEE Pad Transformer Prime, the first quad-core Tegra 3 tablet that will soon get the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich software update. The only problem is that you can’t get it just yet. It can be pre-ordered, but I’m somewhat unsure Asus will be able to deliver it on December 19th. If you don’t mind getting your gift after the holidays this is one hell of a tablet.
Best cheap tablet
The title goes to the Amazon Kindle Fire, a $199 7 inch slate with access to Amazon’s ecosystem of apps, ebooks, movies, music and TV shows. You must pay for most titles, just like with the iPad 2, but monthly subscriptions can alleviate the pain by offering access to a huge library of title without having to pay extra for them. At 200 bucks you can’t go wrong, even if the tablet is not perfect.
If the gift of reading is what interests you then the options are: Amazon Kindle (see all models compared here), the Kobo eReader Touch, Nook Simple Touch, or in case you want something more versatile the Kindle Fire again, Kobo Vox or Nook Color & Nook Tablet. The least expensive starts at $80 and goes all the way up to $250, for which you get a fully fledged 7″ tablet. I would go for something made by Amazon if reading is the main purpose. They feature a huge amount of eBooks and magazines you can subscribe to, plus if you get the 3G version Kindles you can buy books from anywhere in the world without having to pay for the 3G data. You can even lend a limited number of books with the Kindle.
There are so many accessories you can buy that listing them here won’t be of much help to you, so I advise you just read our tablet accessories guides based on the device you’re planning to accessorize: