(Ed. Note: For an updated list, check out 5 Best Tablets for the 2014 Holidays!)
Deciding what is the best tablet for each friend or family member on your holiday shopping list is far from an easy feat. That’s because there are so many options, so choosing the best tablets to buy can be overwhelming.
Less than four years ago (a lifetime in the tech world), the best tablet computer was a much easier choice … because the Apple (AAPL) iPad was pretty much the only game in town. Today? There are 29 Samsung (SSNLF) tablets currently offered on its U.S. website.
New platforms have arrived on the scene, with Android tablets as top-sellers and Microsoft (MSFT) Windows 8 tablets also attempting to fill the void being left by shrinking PC sales.
Plus, while cheap, no-name Android tablets were tempting bargain shoppers last year, flagship 7-inch Android tablets from big-name players like Google (GOOG) and Amazon (AMZN) have driven prices lower than ever … even as the cheap tablets get more powerful. In many cases, last year’s premium models are available as cheap tablets this year as well, so there’s no need to buy a bad tablet anymore.
But that just makes choosing the best tablets to buy that much harder. While there’s no right answer for all circumstances, we’ve put together a tablet-buying guide for the 2013 holidays, including the top tablet choice in various categories.