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Holiday 2015: Tablet gift guide (in pictures)

Tablets are going to be a popular gift under many a tree this holiday season, but picking the right tablet for a loved one - or yourself - can be tricky. This gift guide will help guide you through the myriad of tablets out there to find the right one.
Apple iPad Air 2
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Apple iPad Air 2

Considered by many to be the flagship tablet, and the device that's set the standards that others try to match up to.

Pros:

  • Premium product
  • Vast iOS apps ecosystem
  • Excellent range of accessories
  • Powerful hardware
  • Excellent display
  • Ideal for someone who already has an iPhone
  • Touch ID makes accessing it quick and easy

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Not particularly robust
  • No microSD card slot

Alternatives:

  • The First-generation iPad Air for $100 less

Price: Starting at $499.99

Google Nexus 9
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Google Nexus 9

Google's pure Android offering just keeps on getting better and better. This latest incarnation brings high-end hardware to consumers at a reasonable price.

Pros:

  • High-end hardware
  • Excellent display
  • Competitively priced
  • Access to Android updates and upgrades

Cons:

  • Flimsy design
  • No micro SD card slot

Alternatives:

  • Google Nexus 7

Price: Starting at $299.99

Microsoft Surface Pro 4
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Microsoft Surface Pro 4

If you want to run Windows as opposed to Android or iOS, then Microsoft's new Surface Pro 4 tablet is well worth taking a look at.

Pros:

  • Powerful hardware
  • Runs Window, so you can use all your favorite applications
  • Excellent keyboard (optional)
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • Gets expensive at the higher end of the spectrum
  • Microsoft's app store is nowhere near as comprehensive as the one on iOS or Android

Alternatives:

  • Surface Pro 3 starting at $499
  • Surface Book starting at $1499

Price: Starting at $899

Amazon Fire HD 8
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Amazon Fire HD 8

A middle-of-the-road tablet from Amazon. Ideally suited to those who are more interested in consuming than creating content.

Pros:

  • High-quality hardware
  • Access to a vast ecosystem of apps and content
  • Wide range of accessories

Cons:

  • Restricted to the Amazon ecosystem
  • Accessory ecosystem much smaller than available for the iPad
  • No micro SD card

Alternatives:

  • The larger Fire HD 10 for $199.99
  • The budget Fire HD 6 for $99
  • The super-budget Fire for a mere $49

Price: Starting at $149.99

Apple iPad Mini 4
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Apple iPad Mini 4

Like the iPad Air 2, only smaller.

Pros:

  • Compact design
  • $100 cheaper than the full-sized iPad
  • Runs the same apps as the full-sized iPad
  • Touch ID

Cons:

  • Smaller choice of cases and keyboards

Alternatives:

  • The iPad Mini 2

Price: Starting at $399.99

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite
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Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

This is a tablet specifically designed for people who like to read ebooks.

Pros:

  • High resolution e-Ink display
  • Lower eyestrain than traditional displays
  • Perfect for day and night
  • Battery lasts weeks, not days
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • No apps
  • Only really useful as an ebook reader
  • Grayscale display

Alternatives:

  • The 6-inch Kindle ebook reader for $79.99
  • High-end Kindle Voyager for $199.99
  • Kindle for Kids, featuring 2-year accident cover for $99.99

Price: Starting at $119.99

Samsung Galaxy Tab S (10.5-inch)
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Samsung Galaxy Tab S (10.5-inch)

Pros:

  • Strong brand
  • High-quality 10.5-inch display
  • Powerful hardware
  • Thin and light
  • Can be picked up for well under $400
  • Ideal for content consumption

Cons:

  • System becomes laggy if pushed
  • 2014 hardware

Alternatives:

  • iPad Air 4

Price: From about $360

Amazon Fire Kids Edition
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Amazon Fire Kids Edition

A 7-inch Amazon Kindle tablet that's been kid-proofed.

Pros:

  • Kid-proofed tablet
  • No-questions-asked 2 year accident exchange policy
  • Low price
  • Built-in micro SD card slot
  • Easy to use parental controls
  • Access to a wide range of kid-friendly content

Cons:

  • Expect to spend money on content and apps!

Alternatives:

  • iPad Mini 2
  • Amazon Fire HD 8

Price: $99.99

Sony Xperia Z4
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Sony Xperia Z4

A slim, waterproof and dustproof tablet that's highly customizable and offers superb performance.

Pros:

  • Powerful hardware
  • Water and dust proof (ideal for the kitchen or workshop)

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Optional keyboard is pretty dismal

Alternatives:

  • Get a waterproof case for any other tablet

Price: Starting at $620

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