Apple iPad Air Tops an Impressive Slate of Tablets in 2013

1 - Apple iPad Air Tops an Impressive Slate of Tablets in 2013
2 - Apple's iPad Is Still the Best of the Bunch
3 -  Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 Sports Innovative Interface
4 - Microsoft Surface Pro 2 Attracts Attention
5 - Sony Xperia Tablet Z Improves Greatly
6 - Google Nexus 7 Is a Bargain Buy
7 - Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 Is Killer for Media Consumption
8 - Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ Is a Steal
9 - iPad Mini With Retina Is Pricey, but Many Say Worth It
10 - Panasonic Toughpad 4K Can Take a Licking
11 - Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 Is a Flexible Machine
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Apple iPad Air Tops an Impressive Slate of Tablets in 2013

by Nathan Eddy

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Apple's iPad Is Still the Best of the Bunch

Apple's iPad Air, the thin, lightweight update to the company's flagship tablet, comes with a 9.7-inch screen and the A7 processor that's in the iPhone 5S. The device's main point of appeal, however, might just be its footprint: The device weighs just 1 pound and is 7.5 millimeters thick, making it 20 percent thinner than its predecessor. Apple says that its iPad Air is the most advanced tablet it has ever released. We're inclined to agree.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 Sports Innovative Interface

The Notes come with an updated S Pen and software that makes the pen more useful; the ability to interact with multiple applications at once; and enterprise-grade security via Samsung's Knox. The new tablet features four times the pixel density of the original Note 10.1, a 1.9GHz Octa Core processor, three connectivity options and 3GB of RAM.

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Microsoft Surface Pro 2 Attracts Attention

While it costs a bundle—$900 to start—the tablet boasts a next-gen Intel Core i5 processor; an included Surface Pro Pen that lets you write, mark up presentations and e-sign documents; and a full-size USB 3.0 port, a mini DisplayPort and microSD card reader.

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Sony Xperia Tablet Z Improves Greatly

The Tablet Z runs Android 4.2, has a 1.5GHz Qualcomm quad-core processor, and includes Bluetooth and near-field communications (NFC) connectivity technology. It also has an 8.1-megapixel rear-facing camera—with an Exmor R sensor that Sony says takes "exceptional photographs" even by candlelight—and a 2.2-megapixel camera up front. Like its companion Xperia Z smartphone, it's a looker.

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Google Nexus 7 Is a Bargain Buy

This summer, Google unveiled its latest-generation Nexus 7. The device is a follow-up to a previously offered tablet by the same name and comes with about the same hardware design as that device. However, Google boosted the speed and mobility of this tablet model, thanks to a new, streamlined footprint and a higher-end Snapdragron processor. With a starting price of $229, the Nexus 7 is well-positioned in the marketplace to become a winner for consumers and Google faithful, alike.

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Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 Is Killer for Media Consumption

Amazon sells both a Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Fire HDX. While the HDX is a higher-powered model, it gets its name from its display. The 8.9-inch screen has a resolution of 2,560 by 1,600 pixels and features 339 pixels per inch. The 7-inch model has 323 pixels per inch. The operating system has been improved to load applications more quickly and fully integrate cloud services. There's even an archiving feature that sends unneeded files to the cloud.

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Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ Is a Steal

Priced at just $149, this is ideal for the book lover who just wants a bare-bones machine for casual use. Through the development of a design that integrates the display into the device itself, Barnes & Noble eliminated several components to keep the Nook HD weighing in at only 11.1 ounces (315 grams) and just 5 inches wide. The company claims it is more than 20 percent lighter and nearly a half-inch narrower than rival Amazon's Kindle Fire HD.

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iPad Mini With Retina Is Pricey, but Many Say Worth It

Apple packed a uniformly lit, 2,048-by-1,536-resolution display into 7.9 inches. At 326 pixels per inch, it delivers a level of visual fidelity beyond that of the full-sized 9.7-inch iPad Air at the same resolution. In practical terms, expect responsive app performance, buttery-smooth video and fewer progress indicators with the new 64-bit processor.

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Panasonic Toughpad 4K Can Take a Licking

When you need the ultimate clarity for detailed images and video, look no further than the Toughpad 4K Tablet. It offers an impressive screen—four times the resolution of a 1080p display. And with Windows 8.1 Pro, it can harness the processing power of a desktop. Add to that an impressive level of precision with an optical natural handwriting pen option that offers 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity and accuracy to the pixel level.

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Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 Is a Flexible Machine

The Lenovo Yoga is a new form factor for the tablet market—a thin display attached to a cylinder, for a silhouette like a spiral notebook. More than storage for the battery, the cylinder offers an obvious way to hold the device. But it also has a kickstand that twists out, enabling the tablet to stand on its own and, when flipped over, tilt forward on a table, for easy viewing.

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