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Tab'™s the way to go

It is raining tablets in the Indian market with most manufacturers showing their portable large screen hands. Nimish Dubey takes a look at some of the offerings and finds out which ones work best for you

Indian tech consumers have been spoilt for choice when it comes to tablets. With the recent launch of a number of high-profile tablets in the country, now they even have a tougher job at hand. After all, each tablet claims to be special in its own way. From the latest in the iconic iPad series to the Ashton Kutcher-designed Lenovo Yoga tablet range, there is plenty to choose from. But which one works best for you? Well, that is exactly what we try to figure out. Read on:

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 8
A touch of Hollywood
Rs 22,900

It is being marketed as the tablet designed by Ashton Kutcher, who ironically was recently seen playing Steve Jobs on the screen. But what makes the Yoga Tablet 8 interesting is its design with one side of the tablet having a thick round spine, giving it a book-like feel while holding it. It also contains a stand that lets you keep the tablet in different modes. Some might complain that it does not have a full HD display or that its quad core processor is not exactly the fastest around, but on the bright side, the tablet is incredibly light to carry, handles routine tasks easily (even letting you make calls), has very decent sound, and has easily the best battery life we have seen on a tablet, going well beyond a dozen hours of hefty use.
Pros: Innovative design, Long battery life
Cons: Stumbles a bit in HD game territory, has an
odd shape
Perfect for: Those wanting a decent Android tablet with great battery life.

Acer Iconia W4
Let there be Windows 8
Rs 24,999 

Microsoft had made Windows 8 to be touch-friendly, but by and large most devices running the OS have been notebooks, convertibles and desktops. Acer was one of the first players to actually come out with a very portable 8.0-inch display tablet running Windows 8, when it launched the Iconia W3. And now it has come out with its successor, the W4 with a better display, improved specs and a sleeker design. And all this at a price that is in the range of the best Android can offer and well below that of the iPads. Yes, you can attach devices to it over USB and while some might scoff at its Atom processor, it performs very solidly as long as you do not stray into hefty computing territory. Pretty much the best value for money proposition for those wanting the complete Windows experience in their hands.
Pros: Complete Windows 8, terrific price
Cons: Not cut out for heavy duty tasks, will need a keyboard for best results
Perfect for: Anyone who wants to stick to the world of Windows, even in tablet form.

Google Nexus 7 (2013 edition)
Android’s iPad adversary
R20,999 onwards

The Nexus range is the torchbearer for Android devices, and in tablets, the Nexus 7 carries the Android standard. Like all Nexus devices, it is designed more for function than for fashion, but comes stacked with very powerful hardware, not the least of which is a magnificent 7-inch full HD display and a quad core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. No, it won’t amaze you with its camera or sound, both of which are very much middle-of-the-road, but on the bright side, it is assured of getting every Android update before any non-Nexus tablet. And of running just about any app that has been developed for Android. Some people would want nothing more.
Pros: Great display, latest flavour of Android
Cons: Relatively plain design, ordinary sound and camera
Perfect for: The Android fanatic who wants a tablet.

Apple iPad mini with retina display
Mini only in size
R28,900 

There are those who think that the iPad mini is basically a shrunk version of the larger iPad. And well, while that certainly was not the case with the original iPad mini, which was released last year with relatively humble specs, the new iPad mini is a very contrary beast. It has the same retina display sported by the iPad Air and a processor of the same family. The result is a device that is capable of blistering performance (and the iPads, unlike Android tables, have apps that can make the most of their specs) and yet is more hand (and wallet)—friendly than the ‘real’ iPad. And thanks to the form factor, you can actually think of using the very handy camera it sports. The iPad Air experience shrunk? Pretty much we think.
Pros: Great design, lots of quality apps
Cons: Relatively expensive for an 8.0-inch tablet
Perfect for: Those wanting the iPad experience in a smaller form factor.

Apple iPad Air
Light as air, powerful as a gale
Rs 35,900 onwards

For many people, tablets are synonymous with the iPad, which started the tablet revolution in the first place, and still sets the benchmark for tablet experience. The iPad Air is certainly the most powerful in the iPad line, combining a processor with 64-bit architecture with a 9.7-inch retina display in an incredibly sleek and light form factor. The Android crowd may claim they have processors with more cores, but the iPad continues to hold the edge in tablet apps, and with the Air, both the camera and sound quality get a boost too. All without compromising on what remains an incredibly good battery life of 10 hours.
Pros: Great design, fantastic apps
Cons: A bit on the expensive side
Perfect for: Those looking for the very best tablet experience around.

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