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War of the Tablets

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War of the Tablets

GRAPHIC: ALEX HAWKER

GRAPHIC: ALEX HAWKER

GRAPHIC: ALEX HAWKER

GRAPHIC: ALEX HAWKER

GRAPHIC: ALEX HAWKER

   
The holiday season is almost upon us, and some of the most popular gift items are tablets. Whether it is for work, for play, for watching movies or reading books, tablets have become extremely popular. However, as a result of this popularity, a whole variety of tablets have emerged on the market, often resulting in confusion over which one is best for you. But fear not, for I have compiled a list of the pros and cons of some of the top tablets.

Best 10-inch Tablets

Nexus 10 and iPad 4

The iPad 4 and the Nexus 10 are both contenders for being the best 10-inch tablet.

Despite the iPad having Apple’s high-resolution retina display, its screen is not widescreen, causing videos to be letterboxed or cropped.

Additionally, while the iPad’s screen is an impressive 2048 by 1536, the Nexus 10 has an even better screen, not only being widescreen, but also having an amazing resolution of 2560 by 1600 and a density of 300 pixels per inch – the same amount as print. App-wise, the iPad has a bit of a lead over the Nexus 10 due to the 275,000 apps it has optimized for tablets.

Furthermore, the iPad can be expanded to a hard drive of 64 GB and has the option of 4g connectivity. In contrast, the Nexus 10 is $100 cheaper.

So the question is, is a better screen and $100 worth more to you than the options of a larger hard drive, 4g, and Apple’s selection of apps?

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For Work

Surface RT (& Pro)

Microsoft’s Surface Tablet excels in the workplace.

Featuring a keyboard cover and integrated kickstand, the Surface can transform from a tablet for entertainment to laptop for typing and work. It also comes with fully featured Microsoft Office. Work takes up space, but the Surface’s micro-SD port also allows one to get hard drive on the cheap ($70 for an extra 64 GB). Additionally, the USB port allows one to use any USB device, from external hard drives to mice.

However, the screen is quite poor, even if it is widescreen. Speaking of apps, the app selection is very limited, although it does have the popular ones and will expand over time.

If this is a problem, however, Surface Pro is coming out in the future, which will work with all Windows applications: this means Photoshop, Skyrim, and more all on a tablet. The catch? It will likely cost around $1000.

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For Fun

Kindle Fire HD

The Kindle Fire HD was made for entertainment, featuring the best speakers (Stereo with Dolby audio), the best Wi-Fi (dual antennas) to allow for streaming videos and downloading media faster, and a nice widescreen display to view entertainment on.

For when a 7-inch screen isn’t big enough, it also has a micro-HDMI port to connect it to a TV. Additionally, with Amazon Prime, a $79 per year service that also gives free two-day shipping, one also receives a free Kindle Book every month and free movies.

There are some problems though: unless you pay $15, the lock screen is an ad; however, there are sometimes coupons, so it can be good too. A more major problem is that Kindles can only get Amazon apps, not those published on Google Play, without significant work.

In the end though, for those who like entertainment, the Kindle Fire HD is a great buy.

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Best 7-inch

Nexus 7

While it may not have the best speakers, Wi-Fi, or a micro-HDMI port that the Kindle Fire HD has, the Nexus 7 makes up for this and more with its other features.

For starters, it features a quad-core Tegra 3 processor, which is much faster than the Kindle’s dual core processor, making it faster and allowing it to play apps smoother and with better graphics. On the topic of apps, the Nexus 7 doesn’t only have access to Amazon’s apps with only a slight bit of work, but it also has access to the much larger selection of Google Play apps, giving it a lot access to a lot more apps. It is also much more customizable, featuring widgets and live wallpapers. The display matches that of the Kindle Fire HD. Finally, it also features NFC, so it can send things to nearby devices with NFC.

Overall, the Nexus 7’s speed, app selection, and customizability make it the best 7-inch tablet.

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It’s a Trap!

iPad Mini

While it is the only main 7-inch tablet to have the option of 4g, a back-facing camera, and the option of 64 GB of hard drive, the iPad Mini is sunk by its significant, ironic problems.

While Apple has been creating retina displays for its iPads and Macs, the iPad Mini has the worst screen of the 7-inch tablets, and it isn’t even widescreen, resulting in letterboxing or cropping of widescreen movies.

While Apple has dominated the music industry with its iPod, the iPad Mini only has one speaker, while other tablets have stereo speakers.

But its biggest problem is the price. While other 7-inch tablets are $200, the iPad Mini starts at $329, costs double for every hard drive expansion, and if one wants 4g, it will cost an additional $130, without which there is no GPS.

For the price, you might as well get the full-sized iPad 4.

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