Small tablets are cheaper and more portable than their larger cousins, and now -- if the Kindle Fire HDX is any indication -- no longer sacrifice performance for price.
Apple iPad Mini with Retina Display
The iPad Mini with Retina Display has swooped in to claim the small-tablet throne from the Nexus 7. The Retina version of the Mini is simply a smaller iPad Air with the same A7 processor and an even sharper screen, thanks to its higher pixel density. Also, did I mention that it has the most and best apps of any tablet? I hadn't mentioned that, but now I have and now you know.
The 2013 Nexus 7 improves on the original in nearly every way. Its 1,920x1,200-pixel-resolution screen is much sharper, gaming performance and overall navigation zippiness is way higher, and it's always running the very latest version of Android -- in this case, 4.3. Starting at $229, the Nexus 7 cements its place as the best small tablet around.
The Kindle Fire HDX 7 is Amazon's best tablet yet. It's fast, light, and comfortable, with one of the sharpest screens around. Starting at only $229 -- although I recommend going with the 32GB version at $269 -- it has one of the best price-to-value ratios of any tablet.
Samsung took the Note 8 design, slimmed it down a bit, and did away with the stylus. The result is Samsung's best nonstylus tablet and one of the best small tablets around. Also, TouchWiz -- Samsung's Android interface overlay -- finally comes into its own, offering useful features that in some ways trump what's available in stock Android 4.3.
At $199, the EVGA Tegra Note 7 is one of the cheapest tablets on this list, which isn't enough of a qualifying factor. At least not by itself. It's actually the low price, the inclusion of a stylus, and top-notch gaming performance which truly earn it a spot.
With a price drop to $129, the Nook HD instantly became one of the best tablet deals around. Sure, the price includes only 8GB of storage and its performance is nothing to write home about at this point, but with a built-in storage expansion slot and the recent addition of the Google Play store, the Nook HD goes a long way toward making up for its deficiencies.