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The tablets of spring 2013 are thin, light, small (mostly), and evolutionary

If 2013 is the year of the tablet, then don't expect the excitement to start until spring. Here's a peek at what's coming.

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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 5 Sarah Tew/CNET

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Price: TBD

Availability: Spring

The outlook: Samsung's iPad Mini-size Galaxy Note 8 is the company's latest attempt to get users to eschew fingers in favor of pens. Preceded by two smartphones and one 10-inch tablet before it, the latest Note is an elegant-looking 8-inch tablet that feels comfortable in the hands, and thanks to the included S Pen stylus, boasts a level of functionality unmatched by any other small tablet.

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2 of 5 Eric Franklin/CNET

Sony Xperia Tablet Z

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

Availability: May

The outlook: Sony’s latest Android tablet may indeed be its finest. Once released, the Xperia Tablet Z will be the thinnest and lightest tablet yet, with a 1,920x1,200-pixel display, and a waterproof body capable of withstanding up to 3 feet of submersion.

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3 of 5 Sarah Tew/CNET

HP Slate 7

Price: $169

Availability: April

The outlook: After an understandably long two-year hiatus from the pure tablet game, HP’s back with the Slate 7, a 7-inch Android 4.1 tablet. While its specs are quite modest, HP no doubt hopes the $169 price will help carve it out a few pieces of tablet market share.

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4 of 5 Eric Franklin/CNET

Polaroid M7

Price: $129

Availability: Spring

The outlook: Another cheap 7-inch tablet. This one is even cheaper than the last one and from an unproven (at least in the non-kids tablet market) tablet maker. The $129 price will surely get it through the door of the tablet consciousness, while the impressive-looking 1,280x800-pixel-resolution screen assures that it sticks around for at least a minute or two.

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5 of 5 Eric Franklin/CNET

Archos 80 Titanium

Price: $169

Availability: Spring

The outlook: "Mini iPad Mini" would probably be a better name for the Archos 80 Titanium. The 8-inch Android 4.1 tablet features an identically sharp 1,024x768-pixel IPS screen, but one ups Apple's little guy with Micro-HDMI and a microSD storage expansion slot. The real kicker: while the Mini starts at $329, the 80 Titanium will ship with 8GB of storage for only $169.

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