Apple iPad mini ($329)
Apple iPad mini ($329)
The iPad mini's 7.9-inch display has 35 percent more screen real estate than other 7-inch-range tablets, and Apple's world-class fit and finish, not to mention a voluminous apps store. But shelling out $329 for a WiFi-only tablet may be a stretch.
Google Nexus 7 ($199)
The Nexus 7, running Google Android 4.1 or Jelly Bean, offers an HD screen and near field communication (NFC) technology, two things the iPad mini lacks, but maxes out at 16GB of storage and lacks the mini's casing polish.
Amazon Kindle Fire HD ($199)
It's dual-band, dual-antenna WiFi helps to boost download speeds and the tablet offers up to 32GB of storage, but the device is focused much more on providing a consumption experience than being a mobile workforce essential.
Microsoft Surface ($499)
Moving into the 10-inch tablet market, the Surface, running Windows RT, sports a unique integrated kickstand and Touch Cover, which offers a spill-resistant keypad. Other features include a full-size USB port, microSD card slot and HD video out port.
Apple iPad 4 ($499)
A more powerful chip, the A6X, doubles the performance of CPU tasks on the latest-generation iPad. An updated FaceTime camera could be beneficial to businesses where mobile conferencing is critical, not to mention the gorgeous 9.7-inch Retina display, still the best on the market.
Motion F5t ($2,236)
Sure, the price is steep, but for businesses finding themselves on construction sites or other rough-and-tumble environments, this 10-inch tablet, built around a magnesium-alloy internal frame for rugged protection, is tough to beat. The device runs Intel Ivy Bridge processors, has a hot-swap battery feature and View Anywhere technology for display visibility in direct sunlight.
Samsung Galaxy Note II ($369.99 with contract)
The 5.5-inch device, running Android 4.1, is Samsung's latest “phablet," essentially a large smartphone that comes with the S pen stylus, which could be good for design-oriented firms that need a compact device with healthy storage (up to 64GB) capacity and a range of connectivity options, including NFC and Bluetooth.
HP ElitePad 900 (TBA)
Planned for a January 2013 release, HP is touting the 10-inch device as the ultimate business tablet and is optimized for Microsoft Windows 8. A display with scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass and meeting the military's MIL-spec 810G durability requirements, this tablet can take the knocks road warriors may need, and with a style factor the F5t can't touch.
Dell XPS 10 ($499)
Matching the price of the Surface and also running Windows RT, the tablet features a 10.1-inch touch display, up to 64GB of storage, optional keyboard and an extra battery to boost productivity—but you'll have to wait until December to get one.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 ($499)
The price point and feature set put this Android tablet in direct competition with the Surface and the iPad 4, and boasts the S Pen stylus. It offers up to 64GB of storage, which is expandable to 128GB with an additional 64GB micro SD card, and business friendly features such as Exchange ActiveSync, on-device encryption and Cisco VPN.