This holiday shopping season has one particular item sizzling in sales -- the tablet computer. From the Apple iPad to the all-new Kindle Fire and Barnes and Noble Nook Tablet, the choices are diversified and options plenty.
But what tablet should you buy?
That depends on what you want to use it for and how much you want to pay, of course.
For the hyper-value conscious, one option is skipping this Christmas by investing in a lower-priced ereader like the Amazon Kindle, with prices for a Wi-Fi, 6-inch ink display starting at $79 with special offers. The Kindle is the world's most popular ereader good reason -- it's lightweight and easy-to-use. If reading if your primary aim with a tight budget, buying an ereader now while waiting for tablet prices to further decline is your best bet.
Tablet computers are already dropping in price. The Internet was buzzing this week over the anticipated arrival of the $99 Novo7 tablet set to arrive soon for sale in the U.S. There are also $99 HP TouchPads that can be purchased from eBay. But if money is an issue and you want a tablet now, than either the Kindle Fire or the Barnes and Noble Nook Tablet are excellent buys.
Sure, the Apple iPad is the world's most popular tablet. It has many bells and whistles that the Kindle Fire doesn't have, including cameras, more memory, and more. But the iPad is larger and it weighs more, an advantage for the Kindle Fire, which is easier to carry around. I have an iPad and I barely use it. Yet everybody I know that has a Kindle Fire since the product was released last month uses it regularly -- in part because they say the smaller size is an advantage.
At the end of the day, most tablet owners use their device for email, social media, and surfing the Internet -- so the Kindle Fire is a best bet if price is an option at all. At $199, it's more than two times as cheap as the entry-level Apple iPad.
The iPad is the world's most popular tablet for good reason, though, so if price is not an issue nor is size -- then there's only one way to go. Get an iPad, especially if you already use Apple products like the popular iPhone. Then, everything you have will tie nicely together via the iCould and more.
Also, those who want an Apple iPad tablet but don't want to pay top prices are in luck -- a cheaper iPad 2 is available from Apple in a 16GB, Wi-Fi model for $419 with shipping. It comes with FaceTime, 10-hour battery life, and HD video recording, just like a new iPad. But the models Apple is selling at the cheaper price are refurbished.
Still, you can get one here. It's not as cheap as the $99 Novo7, or the discontinued $99 TouchPad, or even the $199 Amazon Kindle Fire, but it is the world's bestselling tablet at a lower price.
Apple has been reluctant to drop pricing on its new iPads, with availability starting at $499. But as the lower-priced competition heats up against Apple, most notably from the new Kindle Fire, most think the company won't cut prices on its new models until January, at the earliest. Reports suggest Apple will release a new tablet, the iPad 3, in February.
Apple is likely to cut iPad prices then, as it has done when releasing a new iPhone model -- dropping prices on existing models.
But that's not expected to happen before the end of the holiday shopping season.
There is the issue, too, that Apple is expected to release the all-new iPad 3 as early as February, which means you might want to just wait, anyway. Or start with a less expensive device and trade up later, re-selling the tablet you bought at a lower price on eBay once the iPad 3 comes out.