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7 reasons not to wait for Apple's iPad mini

While fanboys and tech pundits are hyperventilating over Apple's expected iPad mini announcement, there are already plenty of tablet options out there to suit most people's needs. Here are seven of the best out there.

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Topic: Tablets
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1 of 8 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

On Tuesday, Apple is holding a media event where it is expected to unveil the long-awaited iPad mini, a 7.x-inch tablet -- we don't know how big the display will be yet -- to tempt the medium-sized tablet buyer. While there is little doubt that whatever Apple unveils will sell by the millions, I'm still not convinced of the need for a petite version of the highly successful iPad.

Depending on what you're looking for, there are already plenty of tablet options out there to suit most people's needs, meaning that there's no need to wait for whatever Apple has planned.

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Amazon Kindle Fire HD

One of the best Android tablets running an operating system that looks almost nothing like Android.

There's a lot to like about the Kindle Fire HD -- the impressive screen, the easy to use interface, the sleek design, and the incredibly low $199 price tag.

About the only downside to the Kindle Fire HD is that in order to shave $15 off the price Amazon decided to use it to push ads to users. If you'd rather not see the ads, you can pay the extra $15 to get rid of them.

For people who like the Amazon content ecosystem, the Kindle Fire HD is the perfect choice.

Price: Starting at $199 for 16GB.

Image source: Amazon.

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Google Nexus 7

Google has showed other tablet makers how to build a decent Android tablet.

The Nexus 7 is powered by the latest Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean" operating system, and brings a number of neat features to the tablet -- such as an Nvidia Tegra 3 processor and an amazing screen.

A couple of downsides are the lack of an HDMI port, no rear camera, and no way to augment storage capacity by adding a memory card.

The Nexus 7 offers the 'purest' Android tablet experience around.

Price: Starting at $199 for 8GB.

Image source: Google.

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Barnes & Noble Nook HD

If you're more of a Barnes & Noble person than an Amazon customer, then maybe the Nook HD is the tablet for you?

Not only is the Nook HD a very capable platform for books and magazines, it is also ideal for video consumption, optimized for both Netflix and Hulu Plus.

Another compelling feature of the Nook HD is that you can add more storage by adding a micro-SD card to the device. Neither the Amazon Kindle Fire HD nor the Google Nexus 7 offers this feature.

One of the biggest drawbacks of the Nook HD is that it doesn't offer access to Google Play, which means that the range of apps for it might not be as broad as that of a traditional Android tablet.

Price: Starting at $199 for 8GB.

Image source: Barnes & Noble.

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Apple iPad

The king of tablets. What's left to say about the iPad that's not already been said?

The reason that I'm including the full-sized iPad in this list is that in all the hype surrounding the iPad mini it's easy to forget that whatever you might be able to do on the iPad mini, chances are you'll be able to do it better or easier on the iPad.

Unless you have a specific reason in mind for wanting a tablet with a small screen, there are good chances that the larger screen will be more of an advantage than a disadvantage.

Price: $399 for the (16GB, Wi-Fi) iPad 2, or $499 for the (16GB, Wi-Fi) iPad 3 with Retina display.

Image source: Apple.

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6 of 8 $299.

Apple iPod touch

Apple already makes a super-mini version of the iPad -- it's called the iPod touch.

With a 4-inch Retina display screen, and 32GB storage, the iPod touch is -- depending on the way you look at it -- either an iPhone minus the phone, or an iPad hit by a shrink ray.

If you want a small tablet, and the lack of cellular connectivity is not a problem for you, then it's worth considering.

Image source: Apple.

Price

Image source: Apple.

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Amazon Kindle Fire

The latest incarnation of Amazon's Kindle Fire -- not to be confused with the higher-spec Kindle Fire HD tablet -- is a revamp of the first-generation Kindle Fire, a tablet that came from nowhere to own over half of the Android tablet market in a matter of months.

The updated Kindle Fire offers three improvements over the earlier model. First, it's been upgraded with a processor that's 40 percent faster, so it's smoother and can get more done in less time. It also features an improved user interface making it easier to use than ever. It is also significantly cheaper than the original Kindle Fire.

Amazon is also not mean with the storage either, with the Kindle Fire coming with 16GB of space for your apps and media.

Price: $159.

Image source: Amazon.

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Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 

It's easy to think that the only real players in the tablet arena are Apple, and Google, and bookstores such as Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. Wrong.

If you're interested in a tablet that features both front and rear cameras, and is kitted out with a micro-SD card slot, then the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 may be just the tablet for you.

The tablet also comes with Peel's Smart Remote app installed as standard, allowing you to transform your tablet into a remote control for your TV. Sure, it's a free app that anyone can download from Google Play, but its inclusion on this device is a nice touch.

Price: Starting at $199 for 8GB.

Image source: Samsung.

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