3 Best Tablets to Buy For 2016

Apple iPad ()

Apple iPad ()

Thanksgiving is next week and with the turkey and pumpkin pie comes Black Friday sales and the most important shopping season of the year. As tablets continue to get more powerful and the software improves, now may be the time to replace your dingy old computer with a new tablet.

The National Retail Federation said it expects $655.8 billion to be spent this holiday season, up 3.6% from 2015, a significant jump, as consumers are more confident about the economy. Consumer electronics have continued to eat up a significant portion of that budget, with the group accounting for 32% of sales last year.

Apple (AAPL) is the leader in the tablet space, owning 25.8% of the market in the second quarter, per research firm IDC (third-quarter stats aren't out yet). While everyone expected the tablet market to have a refresh rate similar to smartphones and be replaced every two years, that hasn't happened. That's okay, though, as it allows for longer growth, even if it's a slower growth rate.

In Apple's most recent quarter, it sold 9.27 million iPads, down 7% sequentially and 6% year over year. However, with continued improvements in both the hardware and software, there may be a tick up in the holiday shopping season, Apple's most important.

With strong spending forecasts, a completely refreshed tablet lineup and better software across the industry, Apple, as well as other tablet makers are likely to see a benefit this holiday season. Hence, it may make sense to get a tablet for someone as a gift, or purchase one for yourself to stay up on the latest trends.

Here are three of best tablets to buy this holiday season.

12.9-inch Apple iPad Pro

Cost: $799 (For 32 GB Wi-Fi version)

The iPad Pro is the best tablet Apple has ever made. At 1.57 pounds, the Wi-Fi model is light enough to be transported and thanks to the A9X chip and iOS 10, it's powerful enough to handle most, if not all tasks.

It has a 9.7-inch display and the screen packs more than 3 million pixels on it, making it one of the highest resolution screens out there. It also has the new A8 chip, providing 40% faster speeds than the A7, as well as new features, such as TouchID and Apple Pay, for online shopping.

The 12.9-inch iPad Pro has a Retina display and packs 264 pixels per inch into the screen for an incredibly clear and precise image, with a screen that could be described as a work of art. It also has four speakers for enhanced sound over previous iPads, effectively making this a PC replacement.

If you're a creative type, the stylus, as well as the keyboard, help make drawing, designing and building on the iPad a cinch. Touch ID and Apple Pay are the cherries on top for the best tablet out there, even if it is a little pricey.

9.7-inch Apple iPad Pro

Cost: $599 (For 32GB Wi-Fi version)

If you really want the iPad Pro, but can't afford the $799 price tag for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, don't worry -- Apple has you covered.

For $599, you can get the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, which has most of the same features as its bigger brother.

The primary differences are in the camera and photo technology. The 9.7-inch iPad Pro actually has a slightly bigger camera, at 12 megapixels, compared to 8 for the 12.9-inch version. It can record video in 4K, whereas its larger sibling can not. (For a full list of differences, click here.)

It's even smaller than the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, at 0.97 pounds, making this tablet as light as a feather.

Amazon (AMZN) Kindle Fire HDX 8.9

Cost: $469 (For 32GB Wi-Fi + 4G LTE version with special offers)

The Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 is a worthy competitor for the 9.7-inch iPad Pro and it starts at $130 less.

It has a 2.5 GHz Snapdragon processor, which allows it to run super fast, launch apps quickly and multi-tasking is a breeze. It's incredibly light, at just 13.2 ounces and it has a higher pixel per inch ratio than the iPad Pro, at 339 pixels per inch, with 4 million pixels in total.

The Kindle Fire HDX 8.9, which gets its name from its 8.9-inch screen, also has a 8 MP rear-facing camera and a front-facing 720p HD camera. It also has Dolby Atmos sound, which in my experience, gives it a slight edge over the iPad Pro.

For those who aren't tech geeks, it also comes with Mayday support, where you can tap a button and be connected to a customer service representative in 15 seconds who can help you with whatever question you have, for free.

One drawback for Amazon's tablets is that they don't offer nearly the same amount of apps that Apple or Google do, but with 240,000 apps and growing, Amazon is working hard to change that.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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