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Microsoft Surface

Price: $300 to $800

Availability: October (RT version), January 2013 (Windows 8 version)

The outlook: Microsoft's foray into the tablet space looks to be a well-engineered, practical device with plenty of useful features and interesting accessories. Price may be the determining factor to its success, however.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Lowensohn/CNET

HP Envy x2

Price: TBD

Availability: 2012

The outlook: HP's latest Envy blurs the between tablet and PC with full Windows 8 support and a full keyboard with touch pad that comes with the device. Its body is completely aluminium-made and feels and looks like a durable and slick piece of tech.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Eric Franklin/CNET

Sony Xperia Tablet S

Price: $399 (16GB), $499 (32GB), $599 (64GB)

Availability: Now

The outlook: Sony's followup to the previous Tablet S gets some universal remote control abilities, a quad-core Tegra 3 processor, a slimmer design, and tons of accessory support like the optional keyboard/cover/stand pictured here.

Updated:Caption:Photo:James Martin/CNET

Amazon Kindle Fire HD

Price: $199 (16GB), $249 (32GB)

Availability: Now

The outlook: If you liked the original Kindle Fire, you'll love the HD's much-improved screen, faster performance, and streamlined interface. Even if you didn't like the original Fire, the HD is worth checking out thanks to its improvements.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET

Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9

Price: $299 (16GB, Wi-Fi), $499 (32GB, 4G LTE)

Availability: November 20, 2012

The outlook: Everything great about the Kindle Fire HD in a larger package, with a higher resolution, and a faster processor for only $299. Add another $200 for 4G LTE and stream movies from almost anywhere.

Updated:Caption:Photo:James Martin/CNET

Barnes & Noble Nook HD and HD+

Price: $199 (7-inch, HD), $269 (9-inch, HD+)

Availability: Both tablets will launch in early November.

The outlook: Barnes & Noble gets back in the game with followups to its Nook Tablet. The Nook HD will sport the highest resolution 7-inch tablet screen yet and the 9-inch Nook HD+brings a new level of affordability thanks to its $269 price tag.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Eric Franklin/CNET

Wikipad tablet

Price: $499

Availability: October 31

The outlook: The Wikipad is a new 10-inch Android tablet designed from the ground up to work with a proprietary game pad dock. The Wikipad's physical game controller add-on is something long overdue, and it works very well in hands-on testing, but the system has a big job in convincing gamers to spend $499 -- more than many high-end Android tablets.

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