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Best Windows 8.1 tablet - #1: ASUS Transformer Book T100
The ASUS Transformer Book T100 is a hidden gem when it comes to Windows tablet. This is a 10.1-inch 2-in-1 convertible that switches from being a tablet to a notebook. This tablet beats the Surface 2 offering on almost every metric you care to use.
- Price: You can pick up the T100 for $379 from online retailers such as Amazon, which is a full $70 less than an entry-level Surface 2 tablet.
- OS: The T100 runs the full x86 version of Windows 8.1, not the ARM-powered Windows RT that the Surface 2 runs. If you want a Surface Pro 2 that runs the full version of Windows 8.1 then you're looking at a starting price of $899.
- Microsoft Office: Full version of Microsoft Office (Home and Student 2013) versus the cut-down version for Windows RT.
- Faster CPU: Intel Atom versus Nvidia Tegra 4.
- Better battery life: 11 hours versus 10 hours.
- Lighter: 1.2lbs versus 1.49lbs
Best iOS tablet - #1: iPad Air
You might be wondering why this category exists, but since Apple has three different iPads on offer – the iPad Air, the iPad mini with Retina display, and the iPad 2 – then there's still a contest.
So, which one wins? Well, since the iPad 2 is so long in the tooth, this is really a competition between the iPad Air and the iPad mini with Retina display. And for me, the winner is the iPad Air.
Essentially, there are only two differences between the iPad Air and the iPad mini. The primary one is the display. The iPad Air features a 9.7‑inch multi-touch IPS 2048-by-1536 resolution display with 264 pixels per inch, while the iPad mini has a 7.9-inch multi-touch IPS 2048-by-1536 resolution display with 326 pixels per inch.
The other difference is price. The smaller screen of the iPad mini translates into a device that is $100 cheaper than a comparable iPad Air.
Everything else is essentially the same.
Therefore, unless price or screen size is your primary concern, I say go for the bigger iPad Air and get a full-sized iOS experience.