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Fall Tech Preview: Tablets

A look at the most exciting tablets and e-book readers coming in 2012.

Eric Franklin
Eric Franklin led the CNET Tech team as Editorial Director. A 20-plus-year industry veteran, Eric began his tech journey testing computers in the CNET Labs. When not at work he can usually be found at the gym, chauffeuring his kids around town, or absorbing every motivational book he can get his hands on.
Eric Franklin
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1 of 7 Josh Lowensohn/CNET

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.

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2 of 7 Eric Franklin/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.

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3 of 7 James Martin/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.

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4 of 7 Josh Miller/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.

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5 of 7 James Martin/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.

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6 of 7 Eric Franklin/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.

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7 of 7

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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