There are more tablets hitting store shelves this year than
ever before. From Apple's (NASDAQ:
) long-awaited iPad Mini to Google's (NASDAQ:
) first 10-inch tablet, these powerful touch screen devices are
overtake the laptop market
Surely there will be
released next year. Many consumers will still be tempted to
purchase one in 2012. Is that a smart move or would it be wiser
To find out, Benzinga takes a look at the hottest new tablets
Smaller, lighter and weaker than its fourth-generation
sibling, the iPad Mini is an attractive device. The $329 price
tag is extremely high when compared to its seven-inch competitors
from Google, Amazon (NASDAQ:
) and Barnes & Noble (NASDAQ:
). Compared to the $299 iPod Touch, however, the iPad Mini seems
like a steal. After playing one game on the iPad Mini, it may be
difficult for iPod Touch users to return to their pocket-sized
The fourth-generation iPad will forever be known as the
upgrade that came too soon. As Benzinga noted
24 hours before the device was unveiled
to release an upgrade to avoid pricing issues and other
difficulties next spring. Now that the device has been upgraded,
consumers will not expect to see another iPad for a while. This
will give Apple the chance to properly and simultaneously upgrade
both devices next fall.
Unfortunately, that means consumers are currently left with a
paperweight upgrade. It might be slightly faster than the
third-generation model, but it is essentially the same device all
With a clickable keyboard cover, a reduced version of the new
Windows operating system, a specific app store and a cornucopia
of tantalizing features, Surface was one of the most anticipated
tablets of the year. Sales are
beginning to take off
, but without any kiosks at Best Buy (NYSE:
) and other big box retailers, it is very difficult for consumers
to test the new tablet.
Consumers who are interested in buying one must go to a
Microsoft Store or
. There are a few other sellers throughout the country, including
third-party retailers that work with Amazon.com. But consumers
will not find Surface at their nearest Wal-Mart (NYSE:
), Target (NYSE:
) or Best Buy.
Nook HD and Nook HD+
Barnes & Noble proved that it was
ready to compete
when it unveiled the seven-inch Nook HD and the nine-inch Nook
HD+. Both appear to be solid devices, particularly the nine-inch
model, which sells for $30 less than the 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD.
However, both Nooks are currently limited to roughly 10,000 apps.
The Kindle Fire reportedly has more than 35,000, with more coming
Four Kindle Fires
Starting at $169 for the standard seven-inch model, the Kindle
Fire is easily the cheapest of the bunch. But that price comes
with a catch: the tablet does not ship with a power cord (users
will have to buy one separately for $10 to $20). And unless
consumers want to pay an additional $15 fee, the Kindle Fire will
also contain ads that appear when the device is in standby.
This is true for all of the new Kindle Fires, including the
$499 model that comes with 4G LTE. Even so, Amazon's tablets are
still much cheaper than the iPad and the iPad Mini.
Starting at $399, the Nexus 10 is Google's first high-end
tablet. The device's 2560x1600 (300ppi) display and dual-core ARM
Cortex A15 processor are considerably more impressive than the
specs of the Nexus 7, which features a 1280x800 (216ppi) display
and a quad-core Tegra 3 processor from NVIDIA (NASDAQ:
referred to it as "Android's most promising iPad
Some users do not want a hefty device to lug around. They
would prefer to pick up a small, handheld unit that they can
stick in their pocket at any time.
In essence, they want an iPod Touch.
Apple has them covered with the all-new four-inch model. There
is one catch, however: the MSRP starts at $299. At that price,
consumers might as well get an iPad Mini.
Aside from the iPod Touch, consumers have not had many mobile
gaming options. There are dedicated high-end game machines from
) and Nintendo (OTC:
), but if consumers want to play cheap downloadable games without
a smartphone, they were once out of luck.
That changed when
released MG, the first Android-based handheld gaming device.
Retailing for $149.99, MG features a four-inch screen, Android
4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), a TCC8925 Cortex A5 processor and a
microSD slot for memory expansion. Internal memory tops out at
just 2GB, but the device ships with an 8GB microSD card. MG also
comes pre-loaded with NBA Jam and Need for Speed Hot Pursuit from
Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:
), as well as several games from Com2uS -- including the
ridiculously addictive Tower Defense.
Like the Kindle Fire, MG does not ship with a charger. It uses
micro USB 2.0, so most consumers
already have a working charger in their home.
(c) 2012 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment
advice. All rights reserved.