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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
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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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