TechSpot: Tablets of 2013

The tablet market doesn’t look very different than it did a year ago from the perspective of who’s doing well and who’s not. And yet quite a bit has changed in the last twelve months. Apple is still the undisputed leader with an astounding 58 million iPads sold in 2012, but in that timeframe we’ve also seen a handful of smartphone and computer makers who dipped their toes in the market take a step to the side and reconsider their strategy.

Perhaps the most exciting developments came towards the end of 2012 and beginning of 2013 from the usual big guys: Google released the Nexus 10 and updated the Nexus 7, Apple launched a smaller and cheaper iPad mini, while Microsoft went all in with the Surface RT and Pro.

With Mobile World Congress in the rear view mirror it’s time to revisit our list of favorite tablets. As usual, we've compiled a comparative table with what we consider are the best options either currently available or announced so far, complete with metascores from our Product Finder engine and review links.

Read: Tablets of 2013: Nexus vs. Surface vs. iPad

These articles are brought to you in partnership with TechSpot.

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My favorite tablet I've ever seen would have to be the Surface Pro because of what it can do. A very close second would have to be the Nexus 7 (running Ubuntu Touch). I would never buy an iPad.. It's pretty much a bigger iPod Touch but with somewhat better specs.

Really bad partnership article to be honest. Compares a bunch of consumption or mobileOS tablets with a tablet pc (full desktop OS). A surface RT comparison would have made more sense.

You guys write a headline "tablets of 2013" but it should be "tablets of 2012"!!!

Because in my eyes the real competitor for 2013 to the 2012 tablets are the Windows 8 tablets with an Atom z2760 chip onboard! They are cheaper than their RT counter parts, they are faster than any ARM counter part! And you can run every Windows software ever created on it! Add to this that you can always RDP to your fat client at home to run the heavy software.

A Surface tablet with this chip would really make a difference because for the RT there is not enough software at the moment while the Surface Pro has not enough battery time and is to expensive for the home user!

What I miss is the Asus and Acer Atom tablets in this view!! What about HP and Leveno, look at what they are going to bring to the Atom side!! No this article is about 2012 not 2013 in my eyes!!

Some how I dont like the idea of tablet rather for me large screen smart phone but small enough to pass and be held as phone is the way forward..

iPhone and in Android, Samsung to look forward, specially that new samsung GS IV with such brutal hardware punch

I think that MS have worked themselves into a corner with tiles. Where do you go after tiles? On a similar theme where do you go with large fonts that dont fit on the screen properly? Are tiles and large fonts really the future of Windows?

The way I see it the only change from tiles and large fonts must be to some new design that is considered the next big thing that comes after tiles and that is not a good user experience. Look at the uproar now with the change to tiles. Do people want even want tiles? MS are doing their best to convince you that you need tiles but I never heard anyone say hey I with this interface had lots of flashy colourful tiles.

Thinking about the Surface... what is it really? Its just another Windows laptop and not necessarily a good one.

Is Windows 8 a great tablet OS? Probably not, I mean it is not setting any tablet sales records and under the tablet component is the same old desktop that is not very finger friendly and not really usable on a tablet at all.

Windows RT looks to be dead and Windows RT tablets are not getting anyone excited. Is anyone apart from MS even making one?

A bit random, I hope you appreciate.

That's just bonkers - you obviously haven't used a WP8 phone. Live Tiles are the future and they make iOS and it's Android clone's grid of static icons look incredibly old-fashioned and very, very dated.

Windows 8 is the future of computing and in a year or two people will look back at the old desktop metaphor the way we look now at bellbottom jeans. There was exactly the same uproar when PCs moved from the command line to a GUI. While there are still some dinosaurs who pine for the days of the command line, most seem quite happy with Windows.

Meanwhile most people are missing one of the most important aspects of W8 and Surface - stylus input. Now the 1.4 billion people in China won't need to enter data in a foreign language by typing on an English on-screen typewriter emulator. The future of tablets is in Asia, not North America or Europe. Too small and not very important. Already in China Apple is dying a very rapid death.

Major Plonquer said,
That's just bonkers - you obviously haven't used a WP8 phone. Live Tiles are the future and they make iOS and it's Android clone's grid of static icons look incredibly old-fashioned and very, very dated.

Windows 8 is the future of computing and in a year or two people will look back at the old desktop metaphor the way we look now at bellbottom jeans. There was exactly the same uproar when PCs moved from the command line to a GUI. While there are still some dinosaurs who pine for the days of the command line, most seem quite happy with Windows.

Meanwhile most people are missing one of the most important aspects of W8 and Surface - stylus input. Now the 1.4 billion people in China won't need to enter data in a foreign language by typing on an English on-screen typewriter emulator. The future of tablets is in Asia, not North America or Europe. Too small and not very important. Already in China Apple is dying a very rapid death.

On the phone, I think tiles are a good concept... and they work... I can make my Android phone look exactly like it, with 'Live' tiles and everything... or I can just use widgets, but I do think WP8 is alright... but on a desktop, W8 is just meh. It's faster than W7, but it's obvious most people don't care for the new tiled start screen... and tablets aren't really selling as well as you'd think. Apple clearly holds the crown there, and Android is coming in second.

Is tiles the future of computing? Doubt it. But I guess we can wait and see... They don't bother me like most, but then again I never see the start screen anymore since all I use my desktop PC is for gaming... for everything else I use my Chromebook.

I'd love to see factual numbers about how Apple is dying a rapid death in China, let alone the overall sales of the W8/Android tablets... I mean, I don't want to just trust your word on this, I want evidence.

UIs will evolve a lot. look at anroid, it started as an iOS clone and now it is more an more like windows phone every day. all flat, no gradients all solid colors.

"Apple is still the undisputed leader with an astounding 58 million iPads sold in 2012"

That's a lot of sales but are they still the "undisputed leader"? I thought Google had greatly closed the gap.

trip21 said,
"Apple is still the undisputed leader with an astounding 58 million iPads sold in 2012"

That's a lot of sales but are they still the "undisputed leader"? I thought Google had greatly closed the gap.

First off they are the tabled "leader" second off Google won't be able to close off the gap if they keep that crappy Android tablet interface let alone keep pushing with OEMs crap, ugly and cheap hardware.

ingramator said,

Google won't be able to close off the gap if they keep that crappy Android tablet interface let alone keep pushing with OEMs crap, ugly and cheap hardware.

I'm sure people said that about the phones as well.....

If you want a cheap tablet that does the stuff you need there is nothing wrong with the Android tablets. It is pretty amazing how cheap some of them are. Even the larger Samsung tablets can be found very cheap.

The problem with Android is its based on Java and unless it has expensive multi-core processors it will always run very slooooooooow. Meanwhile Windows RT on the same speced hardware is silky smooth. So cheap hardware and Android together is an awful mixture.

Major Plonquer said,
The problem with Android is its based on Java and unless it has expensive multi-core processors it will always run very slooooooooow. Meanwhile Windows RT on the same speced hardware is silky smooth. So cheap hardware and Android together is an awful mixture.

My Nexus 7 was never slow... in fact, Project Butter made it 'silky smooth' always, and got fast updates... let alone cost a fraction of what the Surface costs.

it's ok. the nexus 7 OS is smooth but the apps stutter a lot. browsing the web in particular can stress the tegra chip too much.

as for cost, 199 vs 499 sounds like a lot, but the reality is that the nexus 10, which is more similar to surface isn't cheap either so it is kind of a pointless comparison to make.

JaseChaos said,

My Nexus 7 was never slow... in fact, Project Butter made it 'silky smooth'

In order to be made smooth it has to not be smooth to begin with so yes, by your admission; it was, at least at one point, slow.

Oxymoron much?