The lightweight iPad Air and iPad Mini with Retina made their debut at Apple's October keynote yesterday, and we've got the lowdown on what to know before you buy. What's Retina? How much does it cost? Is it worth the upgrade? Click to see the answers to your burning iPad questions.
Yesterday's Apple keynote eclipsed another bit of important news: the unveiling of the Nokia Lumia 2520, Nokia's first Windows tablet. The Lumia 2520 faces stiff competition in its own field with the Microsoft Surface 2, which, curiously, shipped on the same day as the Nokia announcement (Microsoft owns Nokia).
Nokia's new tablet will also have to take on the just-announced iPad Air, which Apple claims is the "lightest full-size tablet in the world."
The Nokia Lumia 2520 ships with Windows 8.1 RT and comes in four colors (red, white, blue, and black), but only one model: 32GB with LTE. The Surface 2 does not offer an LTE cellular model, which may be why the Microsoft-owned Nokia decided to go ahead with a competing tablet.
The hardware is very similar to the Lumia smartphone line, and the tablet's specs boast a high-definition display, a great rear camera, and LTE.
When can you expect the 2520? Anytime between now and December 2013, Nokia said, with a $499 price tag. We bet that the tablet will ship just in time for the holidays, so you'll need to decide which gadget you should add to a wish list. To help you make up your mind, we pitted the Nokia Lumia 2520 against the iPad Air, spec by spec.
|Nokia Lumia 2520||iPad Air|
|Display||10.1-inch; 1920 x 1080; 218 ppi||9.7-inch; 2048 x 1536; 264 ppi|
|Size||6 x 10.5 x .35 inches; 1.35 lbs.||6.6 x 9.4 x .29; 1 lb. (WiFi), 1.05 (LTE)|
|Operating System||Windows 8.1 RT||iOS 7|
|Battery||10 hours||10 hours|
|Memory||32 GB||16, 32, 64, or 128 GB|
|Rear Camera||6.7 MP; f/1.9 aperture; 1/3.4 sensor; 1080p video, 30 fps||5 MP; f/2.4 aperture; 1080p video|
|Front Camera||2 MP; 720p video||1.2 MP; 720p video|
|Processor||Snapdragon 800, 2.2 GHz||A7 with 64-bit architecture, M7 motion processor|
|Price||LTE: $499 (32GB)||WiFi: $499 (16GB), $599 (32GB), $699 (64GB), $799 (128GB);
LTE: $629 (16GB), $729 (32GB), $829 (64GB), $929 (128GB)
While the iPad Air bests the Nokia in terms of display resolution and lightweight hardware, the Lumia 2520's price and camera are clear winners. Memory choice is limited to 32 GB on the Lumia 2520, but perhaps the LTE connection will allow for more cloud storage.
Which tablet made your holiday wish list: the iPad Air or the new Nokia Lumia 2520?
Microsoft's new Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 tablets are hitting store shelves in just a little over a week (Oct. 22), and current Surface owners may want to consider Best Buy's trade-in deal, which offers up to $350 in gift card credit for older devices.
Best Buy's program runs until Oct. 21, the day before the new Surface tablets launch. Bring in your tablet to a participating store or look online to find your device's trade-in value. If the tablet is too damaged, then Best Buy can recycle it. The least you'll receive is a $200 Best Buy gift card.
The Surface 2 is sleeker, has a higher-quality display, and has increased the quality of its front-facing Skype camera. There's also a light next to the camera, in case you happen to be Skyping in a cave. The Surface Pro 2's hardware, on the other hand, remained the same, but there's a new Core i5 Haswell processor under the hood, and battery life has been improved by 60 percent.
Accessories have been upgraded as well: the new Type Cover is backlit, and the Touch cover is more rigid for stability. A new Power Cover has an extra battery built in that can charge the Surface when it runs out of power.
Amazon introduced two new devices to its Kindle Fire HD lineup — a 7-inch Kindle Fire HDX and an 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HDX — that are intended to replace not only your tablet, but also your work laptop.
With a faster processor, better GPU, and more memory, the HDX tablets have enough power to keep users productive at work and entertain them at home. Amazon didn't just improve its hardware, either. A new feature called Mayday offers 24x7x365 tech support and peace of mind, and it's built into every Kindle Fire HDX.
The company has established its ereader dominance with the eink Kindle Paperwhite — but can it usurp the high-definition tablet market, too? The 8.9-inch HDX is slightly more expensive than the bestselling iPad Mini but boasts higher resolution, longer battery, and better rear camera. Learn more about the new Kindle Fire HDX, and let us know if you'll be trading in your iPad for Amazon's new tablets for the holidays.
The Fall product launch season continues with Microsoft's announcement of the multitasking Surface Pro 2, its second-generation laptop replacement tablet running the full Windows 8.1 desktop operating system. Like the Surface 2, the Pro ($899 for 64GB, 128GB price TBA) will be available for preorder at 8 a.m. EDT on Sept. 24 at Microsoft Stores and Best Buy retail outlets in the US and Canada.
Unlike the Surface 2, the Surface Pro 2 did not receive a hardware upgrade: the dimensions, color, and weight will remain the same in the second generation. The only update to the exterior is the kickstand, which can now be adjusted to two viewing angles. The biggest improvements are under the hood, with a new Intel Core i5 Haswell processor that boosts graphics performance by 50 percent and improves battery life by 60 percent.
Microsoft is offering two value-added services for both of its upgraded Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 tablets. Users will receive unlimited Skype calling to landlines in over 60 countries, plus Skype WiFi at more than two million hot spots worldwide and 200GB of SkyDrive storage for two years.
Get the scoop on all the Surface Pro's technical details after the break.
One year ago, Microsoft made waves with a new operating system built specifically for touch, then unveiled its first tablet, signaling the beginning of the Microsoft Windows RT era. On Monday, the company announced its next generation in tablet computing: the Surface 2, a slimmed-down, silver-laden model that's available for preorder starting Sept. 24 and ships Oct. 22.
Considering gifting this Windows RT gadget or getting one for yourself? You'll have to decide between the original Surface with a freshly reduced price ($349, originally $499 at launch) and the Surface 2 with slightly upgraded hardware but major Skype and SkyDrive perks. The two models' tech specs go head-to-head below.
|Surface 1||Surface 2|
|Dimensions||6.8 (H) x 10.8 (W) x 0.4 inches (D); 1.5 pounds||6.79 (H) x 10.81(W) x 0.35 inches (D); 1.49 pounds|
|Display||10.6 inches diagonal; 1366 x 769p resolution||10.6 inches diagonal; 1920 x 1080p resolution|
|Processor||Quad-Core NVIDIA Tegra 3||Quad-Core NVIDIA Tegra 4|
|Memory||2GB RAM||2GB RAM|
|Battery||8 hours||10 hours|
|Cameras||Front and rear 720p cameras||Front 3.5MP camera and rear 5MP camera with 1080p video|
|Extras||USB 2.0; built-in kickstand||USB 3.0; built-in stand with two angles|
|Price||$349 (32GB); $449 (64GB)||$449 (32GB); price not yet available for 64GB|
The Surface 2 is only a bit thinner (by 0.05 inches) and lighter (by 0.1 pounds). Major improvements were made to the display, which has more pixels per inch, the camera (previously referred to as "720p" quality only) for HD Skyping, the battery life, and the processor. The tablet has also shed its dark exterior for lighter silver hardware, and its kickstand now conveniently has two different viewing angles as opposed to one.
The bonus extras may, however, outweigh the superficial improvements. With the purchase of a Surface 2, users will receive 200GB of Sky Drive for two years (about a $100 value) and one year of unlimited voice calling to landlines in over 60 countries, plus free Skype WiFi at two million hot spots around the world.
New accessories will accompany the next-generation tablet as well. There's a new Power Cover ($200) with a keyboard, plus extra battery life built in, due for an early 2014 release. The Type Cover ($130), available for preorder on Sept. 24, also got an upgrade, with a thinner, lighter board and backlit keys. The Touch Cover 2 ($119) with soft keys is more rigid and, like Type Cover 2, is now thinner, lighter (2.75 mm thin), and backlit.
Are the Surface 2's hardware and design updates enough to convince you to upgrade? Or even switch from an Android or iOS to a Windows RT tablet?
The new Note tablet, with its 2560 x 1600 LCD display, boasts four times the pixel density of the first Galaxy Note 10. Stacked up against the 2012 model, the 2014 Galaxy Note 10.1 is also lighter at 535g (vs. 597g), is slimmer at 7.8mm (vs. 8.9mm), and has a much better rear camera at 8MP (vs. 5MP).
It still includes the Galaxy line's signature S Pen, which received added shortcut capabilities, like Air Command, which offers users a fan menu of features such as S Finder and Screen Write just by hovering the stylus over the display.
The tablet's standout features are the enhanced multitasking capabilities. Users can view several windows from the same application in a magazine-like format and rearrange the layout of the windows with the new S Pen.
Samsung also partnered up with publishers and apps to provide high-definition content on the tablet. The company is calling the free memberships and services "Samsung Content Gifts," which include built-in widgets from The New York Times, Bloomberg Businessweek, Autodesk, Flipboard, Twitter, Dropbox, and more.
The Galaxy Note 10.1 will be available in two colors (jet black and classic white) and three connectivity options: WiFi only, WiFi + 3G, and WiFi + LTE. Compatible with the new Galaxy Gear smartwatch, Samsung's latest tablet will ship Sept. 25 worldwide and in October for the US. Before you consider buying, take a peek at all the tech specs.
Because the Kindle Fire HD is due for an upgrade in September, Amazon is dropping the price of this generation's 7-inch tablet by $50. The Kindle Fire HD with a 7-inch display is now $160 (originally $200) for the 16GB and $189 (originally $229) for the 32GB WiFi versions. It's now much cheaper than the 16GB versions of the iPad mini ($329) and the new Nexus 7 ($230).
The larger, 8.9-inch tablet dropped $100 in March. For the past two years, Amazon has unveiled their latest and greatest Kindles in September, and we expect that these price drops are a good indication that the company will stay in that tradition.
The current Kindle Fire HD has a 1280 x 800, 720p display, a dual-core 1.2GHz processor, 11-hour battery life, and weighs 13.9 oz. If you're considering becoming a Kindle Fire HD owner, see what features stood out to us last year, then grab some tech protection for your new tablet.
Google launched the Nexus 7 tablet in 2012 and, just a little over a year later, is upgrading their Android tablet with a more portable profile and more powerful performance. On Wednesday, at a press conference in San Francisco, the tech giant announced its second-generation Nexus 7, an Android tablet that's lighter, thinner, and more high definition than the 2012 model.
Take a look at what's new in this year's Google Nexus 7 tablet:
- More portable — It's 2mm thinner, 6mm narrower, and 50 grams lighter than the 2012 Nexus 7.
- High definition — The tablet now ships with a 1080p display. The 2012 model had a 1280 x 800 display, and the new version has been upgraded to 1920 x 1200. The pixel density increases from 216 pixels per inch to 323.
- Surround sound — "Virtual surround sound technology" and a 5.1 sound system have been implemented into the new Nexus tablet.
- Added rear camera — Last year's Nexus 7 had only a front-facing camera. The 2013 model comes with a front-facing 1.2MP camera and a rear 5MP camera.
- Double the RAM — The system memory has been upgraded to 2GB RAM.
- Faster network connectivity — Now, the Nexus 7 is 4G LTE-capable and boasts dual band WiFi, plus Bluetooth 4.0 (supports low-energy, battery-saving devices).
The new Nexus 7 is available next Tuesday, July 30, on Google Play, on Amazon, and in a variety of stores including Best Buy, GameStop, Walmart, Staples, and Office Depot (preorder now at Best Buy) in 16GB ($229) and 32GB ($269) WiFi-only models. The 32GB 4G LTE, data-enabled version ($349) will be available through T-Mobile and Verizon in the coming weeks. Canada, the UK, Germany, France, and other international locales will be able to buy the Nexus 7 soon, though specific dates have not been set.
Nexus 7 is the first device to ship with the latest version of Jelly Bean, Android 4.3. Google's mobile OS now supports app-specific parental controls and restrictions — you can disable all in-app purchases, for example. Android 4.3 can also stream content in 1080p HD quality; oftentimes it's only available in standard definition. Netflix is the first partner to support 1080p streaming for Android 4.3, and the new Netflix app is available in the Google Play store now.
The new Android update introduces OpenGL ES 3.0 as well, a high-definition graphics processing technology that allows game developers to add more details, like the face shadow, stubble, and skin texture you see below.
Google made some major announcements to its apps, too. Hangouts now support screen sharing, and the newly designed Google Maps comes preloaded with Android 4.3. There's now a textbooks category in Google Play with discounted purchasing and rental options for textbooks from major publishers such as Macmillan and Pearson.
As students head back to school, it'll be interesting to see whether they opt for an iPad or a new Nexus 7. Which do you prefer: the iOS tablet or the new Android offering?
Whether you're on the go or kicking back poolside, you should know that the best way to keep your tablet or ereader safe is to invest in a waterproof case. Scratches, dirt, water damage — you won't have to worry about any of it. Sounds too good to be true? From iPad sleeves to Kindle cases, these smart waterproof options protect all kinds of tablets.