Gadgets

Choosing the Best Tablet 2014: Fire HDX, iPad Air 2, Surface 3 or Nexus 9

With another year behind us all of the major players have released their new lines of tablets; including Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Google. Choosing the best tablet depends on a lot of different factors, but in just a few minutes you can easily find the tablet that is perfect for you, or one that will make the perfect gift.

Kindle-Fire-HDX-InsertThe Fire HD 7, or the Fire HD 8.9 (Starting at $109 at Amazon)

This year Amazon added a ton of great features for customers to enjoy with the new HD 7 and HD 8.9 tablets. Features and extras are the backing of Amazon’s tablets, along with a lower-price point, and over the years the tablet-line has been growing in popularity.

Amazon tablets are one of the best options for entertainment, and that’s because they offer terrific screens to enjoy HD movies with apps like Netflix, Hulu and Showtime to watch all of your favorite content, but they also work perfectly with Amazon Prime, which adds thousands more movies and shows for customers to enjoy with the service.

Built with a quad-core processor, the HD display and simple design of the Kindle Fire line has become a favorite, it also includes a front and rear camera, stereo speakers, and five color choices. Simple features like unlimited cloud storage for all Amazon content and photos taken with your Fire devices is a terrific perk as well. If you think the tablet user will most likely use social media apps, check email, surf the internet, and watch a TON of video, then the Kindle Fire HDX line could be the absolute perfect choice for them.

Ipad-Air-2iPad Air (Starting at $499 at Apple)

On the iOS front this year Apple introduced the iPad Air 2, and it’s the best tablet that Apple has released to date. People that have iPhones and Macs will often times prefer to stick with Apple’s operating system, and if synching your phone or Mac is important to you, then you will want to stay within the Apple brand.

The new Air offers a 64-bit architecture, with more than double the speed when it comes to rendering graphics and a 40% faster CPU. The TouchID offers a new layer of security to your device, and a cleaner and simpler UI makes using the new iOS operating system easier than before.

The iPad is still the leader in the tablet wars, every major app wants to include iOS on its list, and the exclusives and features offered on the device seem endless at times. The iPad also costs a lot more than many Android tablets, and many people buy one without really thinking about whether they need all of that power under the glass. That being said, it’s still one of the best tablets on the market to buy, and if you don’t mind paying a little extra, then it’s easily worth it in performance.

Google-Nexus-9Google Nexus 9 (Starting at $349 at Amazon)

Just as iPhone users may love to stick with iOS in the iPad Air, Android users may prefer to stick with their favorite operating system when buying a tablet. One of the best Android tablets on the market is the Google Nexus 9, and it has a ton of great features for users to be excited about.

With an 8.9″ screen featuring a 1536 x 2048 resolution, your movies will look fantastic. The tablet is also a work-horse, offering a 2.3 GHz Tegra processor running on 2GB RAM. The tablet also features battery life of up to 7 hours with normal use, so whether you are in school, at work, or on the couch, you should be ready to go.

This isn’t the first Nexus from Google, and just like the iPad Air, the latest offering is the best. If you are looking for an Android powered device that offers terrific apps, a wonderful screen and a great battery, then this device could be perfect for you.

Surface-2-InsertThe Windows Surface 3 (Starting at $899 from Microsoft)

Just like the commercials say, the Surface 3 is a tablet that can replace your laptop. It’s an amazingly powerful device, that runs apps and operates just like a laptop would, but with all of the convenience of a tablet. The main problem is, it costs just as much as a laptop.

Running Windows 8.1 Pro the tablet can be the perfect pairing to your desktop, laptop or Windows phone if you have one, and synching them and sharing files between the devices is an absolute breeze thanks to OneDrive and apps like Dropbox.

The device is also very light, coming in at just 1.76 lbs and packed with SSD ranging from 64GB to 512GB. You can pick up a 64GB or 128GB version with 4GB RAM, or a 256GB or 512GB version with 8GB RAM.

All of that speed will help when you watch beautiful HD videos on the 12″ ClearType Full HD Display, outfitted with a resolution of 2160 x 1440. We said that it runs like a laptop, and that’s because it has the same hardware as one; including the option to have a 64GB/Intel i3 version, or a 128GB and 256GB/Intel i5 version. You can even go as far as the 256GB and 512GB/Intel i7 version.

A 5MP and 1080p HD front- and rear-facing camera offer some incredible perks, but some of the best are the built-in front- and rear-facing microphones, the stereo speakers with Dolby Audio-enhanced sound, the full-size USB 3.0 slot and the microSD card reader.

The downside to the Surface 3 is the price, it has amazing hardware and it costs as much as a laptop because of it. You can pick one up on sale this weekend starting at $899, but expect to pay closer to $2,000 for an upgraded model.