Buying an Android tablet for someone is a gift that keeps on giving. Tablets are arguably the computer of the future, and there’s really very little that limits the capabilities of one running Android. Gaming, browsing the Web, taking notes, watching video, and even editing photos are possible on virtually any Android tablet. There are, however, some that lead the pack and stand out for being particularly useful and feature-packed.
If you’re shopping for an Android tablet for a student or professional in your life this holiday season, here are some options that you might want to keep in mind.
Nexus 7 — $199
It’s hard to argue with a tablet that’s fully supported by the same people who created the operating system. Any Android device carrying the Nexus name is almost guaranteed to receive the latest versions of Android first and often.
The Nexus 7 provides excellent value at just under $200. The 7″ 1280×800 HD display provides a crisp image at 216 ppi. 1 GB of RAM and 8-16 GB of storage space makes it an excellent all-purpose tablet for anyone wanting a device that travels well and can handle a wide variety of applications.
Watching Netflix on the Nexus 7 is a dream, and you would be hard-pressed to find a better Android tablet in terms of performance and support at seven inches in size.
Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700T — $488
It’s a tablet! No, it’s a laptop! No, it’s an Asus Transformer Pad Infinity!
The Transformer line from Asus has long been the powerhouse of the Android tablet world. Its keyboard dock (sold separately) enables the tablet to convert itself into an Android laptop with a quick connection. A recent update to Jelly Bean has made the Transformer Pad Infinity a tough competitor in the tablet space, despite being priced at almost $500.
32 GB of storage is plenty of space to keep your day-to-day files, and an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera adds to its value as a quick point-and-shoot in the absence of a dedicated camera. It’s basically a feature powerhouse, and that makes it a great addition to this list.
Galaxy Note II — ???
It’s hard to choose between calling this a tablet and a phone, but I do believe it deserves a place in this short “best of” list. The Galaxy Note II is small enough to fit in your pocket and yet large enough for very easy reading of websites and even some productivity applications such as note taking and photo editing.
This phablet (as the media has dubbed it) is expected to be available in the US sometime very soon and would undoubtedly make any Android fan very happy.
One cool thing about it is its integration of an extremely precise stylus for writing applications and other professional-looking things. It won’t exactly improve your Angry Birds score, but there are times when a stylus comes in handy. Samsung appears to have found that perfect combination of style and utility.
As of this moment, the price for US carriers is still being determined, though you can pick up an unlocked (international) version of the phone for under $700.
Amazon Kindle Fire HD — $199 and Up
The 7-inch version of the Amazon Kindle Fire HD is a great tablet choice for folks who just want to enjoy content on the device. It’s a budget tablet equipped with some of Amazon’s own tweaks to the Android platform, which makes it a fairly big competitor in the market.
While it might not be every Android lover’s dream, it is the most popular Android tablet on the market. This alone makes it a welcome addition to this particular list.
The 7″ Kindle Fire HD has a 1280×800 display for HD video content viewing, a dual-band Wi-Fi antenna for faster and more reliable connectivity, Dolby audio on board, and 16-32 GB of storage space for all your media.