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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Apple iPad Mini with Retina Display

Nexus 7 (2013)

Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8-inch

EVGA Tegra Note 7

Barnes & Noble Nook HD

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.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
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.
Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
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.
Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
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.
Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
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.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
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.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
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