Tablets and e-readers are once again on many wish lists this year, so they deserve their own gift guide.
The time is right for a resurgence in popularity for these devices. A new generation that’s grown up on smartphones instead of PCs could use a bigger display for shopping, watching video, playing games and reading. And many of the people who have been holding onto tablets and e-readers they love are realizing that the latest versions are now light years ahead in capability.
From a gift-giving perspective, the timing couldn’t be better either, with these devices more affordable than ever. To help you make the right choice for anyone on your holiday shopping list, we put together a list of 10 of the best tablets and e-readers for 2018.
Holiday Gift Guide 2018 (Best Tablets and E-readers): Apple iPad
The device that kicked off the whole tablet craze starting in 2010 remains one of the best choices in 2018. Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad was refreshed in March and starts at $329 ($299 if you can wrangle an education discount).
The latest consumer-focused Apple iPad still has a 9.7-inch Retina display and 10-hour battery life. The latest version is powered by an A10 processor and is compatible with the Apple Pencil stylus (which is sold separately). The iPad remains a top choice as a casual tablet, with capable specs, an attractive design and a huge selection of tablet-optimized apps available through Apple’s App Store.
Holiday Gift Guide 2018 (Best Tablets and E-readers): Amazon Fire 8 HD
The 8-inch tablet is just the right size for holding in one hand, and its HD resolution is well-suited to streaming Amazon Prime video or placing video calls. It also has Alexa onboard. The Kindle Fire 8 is offered with 32GB or 64GB of storage and a variety of case colors. Choosing a version that shows Special Offers ads will reduce the cost, and Amazon will even discount the price further if you buy a three-pack (ideal for families).
The base price starts at $94.99, or $79.99 with Special Offers.
Holiday Gift Guide 2018 (Best Tablets and E-readers): Amazon Kindle Paperwhite
Amazon also offers a top pick when it comes to a e-readers, which are typically a far better choice for reading eBooks than tablets. The company dominates the market for e-readers in the U.S. with its Kindle series, and the latest Kindle Paperwhite makes a strong case for being the best overall e-reader for most people.
Priced at $149.99 ($20 less with Special Offers) it features a 6-inch touch display at 300 ppi, Wi-Fi, LED lighting, battery life measured in weeks and it’s now IPX 8 water resistant — this is a Kindle you can read at the beach or by the pool. It also has Bluetooth, so it can be used with a pair of wireless headphones to listen to Amazon’s Audible audio books.
Holiday Gift Guide 2018 (Best Tablets and E-readers): Microsoft Surface Go
The Surface Go has a 10-inch PixelSense touchscreen display, 64GB of storage (up to 128GB), weighs 1.15 pounds, lasts nine hours on a charge and starts at $399. Most importantly, it runs Windows 10 and popular Windows software.
Optional accessories include a Type Cover, Stylus and even LTE connectivity.
Holiday Gift Guide 2018 (Best Tablets and E-readers): Samsung Galaxy Tab S3
Samsung continues to make some of the most attractive tablets in the Android market, and the Galaxy Tab S3 is a stunner, despite being a year old.
This premium tablet boasts an all-glass design and features a 9.7-inch AMOLED display with Quad HD resolution and HDR support. There are quad speakers that combine with that display to provide a fantastic video viewing experience. Battery life is a pretty amazing 12 hours. Included in the box is an S Pen stylus.
Samsung released the Galaxy Tab S4 this year, but with its design, power, specs, included stylus and a price cut (you can often find it for under $400), The Galaxy Tab S3 is a serious buy for holiday shoppers.
Holiday Gift Guide 2018 (Best Tablets and E-readers): Kobo Forma
The $279.99 Kobo Forma adopts a form factor that’s similar to Amazon’s flagship Kindle Oasis, sharing features like a 300 ppi E Ink display, physical page turn buttons, Wi-Fi, 8GB of onboard storage and water resistance.
What makes the Kobo Forma a better e-reader is its huge 8-inch display (Amazon’s biggest is 7-inches), adaptive ComfortLight PRO lighting that also automatically changes color temperature through the day to reduce blue light exposure, TypeGenius that gives greater control over fonts and page layout, and integrated OverDrive for easy borrowing of eBooks from public libraries.
Holiday Gift Guide 2018 (Best Tablets and E-readers): Apple iPad Pro 11-inch
Any Apple fan who is looking for a serious tablet will appreciate Apple’s new iPad Pro 11-inch.
This is an iPad with more power on tap than most laptops. FaceID means no Home button and minimal bezels, so the 11-inch Liquid Retina Display fits in a form factor that’s the size of last year’s 10.5-inch model. The 11-inch iPad Pro also gains USB-C connectivity for the first time, opening up a new world of accessories. It will set you back $799 or more, but any iPad fan will flip if they find one of these wrapped up with their name on it.
Holiday Gift Guide 2018 (Best Tablets and E-readers): Microsoft Surface Pro 6
For someone on the Windows side who is need of a high powered tablet, they don’t get much better than Microsoft’s new Surface Pro 6.
The sixth generation of the company’s prosumer tablet starts at $899. It continues with a 12.3-inch PixelSense display, moves to 8th generation Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) Core CPUs and adds an all black paint job option. With 8GB or 16GB of RAM, up to 1TB of solid state storage and a 13.5-hour battery,the Surface Pro 6 is the ultimate tablet for Windows 10.
Add the optional Type Cover, and it’s also a formidable ultra-portable Windows laptop.
Holiday Gift Guide 2018 (Best Tablets and E-readers): Google Pixel Slate
The Pixel Slate starts at $599, and comes with three free months of YouTube TV. Google’s new tablet offers the security and automatic updates of the Chrome operating system, but can also run Android apps.
It’s big, with a 12.3-inch Molecular display. The resolution of 3,000 x 2,000 pixels makes this one even sharper than an iPad Pro or Surface Pro. Battery life is 12 hours and Google promises the processing power to match a desktop computing experience. Naturally, Google Assistant is on board. Available options include a backlit keyboard cover and a Pixel Book Pen stylus.
Holiday Gift Guide 2018 (Best Tablets and E-readers): Samsung Galaxy Book2
Finally, we’ll finish this list off with a challenger to the Surface Pro from Samsung.
The South Korean company makes some pretty nice consumer tablets that run Android. But it also has a high powered prosumer tablet that’s able to run Windows. And its latest version — the Galaxy Book2 — is a battery life champion. This is a tablet with a 12-inch Super AMOLED display and Dolby Atmos audio that make it ideal as a media consumption device.
But it also includes an S Pen stylus for taking notes, 128GB of storage and runs Windows 10 for productivity. It offers unbelievable “multi-workday” battery life of up to 20 hours. And while the $999 starting price is a little steep, it includes the stylus and a keyboard case that most tablet makers charge hundreds of dollars extra for.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.