10. Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0
I know. You can’t believe I’m picking a lower spec tablet in my top 10. But don’t think of this as a tablet. Think of it as the best RF universal remote money can buy that happens to have a pretty decent tablet thrown in.
9. Microsoft Surface Pro 2
Just as iOS has the drop on Android when it comes to power user apps, so Microsoft has the drop on Apple when it comes to getting work done. The Surface Pro 2 is a full on Windows 8 in tablet form. Yes, you have to pay an extra $120 for the Touch Cover 2 keyboard. Now the kickstand has a second position to make it even more useful. Run two apps side by side. This is the tablet for people who have invested in Windows software. Anything you can run on a laptop, you can run on this. I really enjoy using this. It is very responsive. Still, it is a lot of money for what one gets.
8. MacBook Pro with Retina Display and the Intel Haswell i7
Apple provides the best built laptops. You’ll pay a serious premium but what you get is both a tool that can get some heavy-duty work done and look awesome doing it. If you’re over needing optical disks but haven’t reached the point where you see the value in a touch screen laptop, look no further than here. Svelte, powerful, and up to 8 hours of battery time.
7. GoPro Surf Bundle
Stick this super little camera on your surfboard and capture the action from a dolphin’s eye view.
6. Google Chromecast
Want to watch your Google Play Media on the big screen? No, well then, how about Netflix, Youtube, Hulu Plus, HBO GO, or Pandora? It’s hard to blame this device for not supporting Amazon Instant Video when it only costs $35. My sister just loves hers.
5. Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro
If, like me, you’re not a Windows 8 hater, this might well be the best value in a laptop. For only $1,599 you can get the Intel i7 with 8 GB of RAM. The unique flexibility of use as a tablet or laptop or a movie stand is just a fun bonus. The processor speed is still a good bit slower than a MacBook Pro but for most users this will be more than enough.
4. 2013 Nexus 7 (32 GB)
The best value in a tablet is the Nexus 7. The 32 GB is a full $230 less than an iPad Mini with Retina display. The screen is beautiful. You have full access to the Google Play App Store apps and it supports Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Youtube, and Hulu Plus. With the Kindle app it makes a great indoor ereader as well.
3. iPad Air
($499 + $100 for each extra 16 GB of storage + $130 for cellular and GPS)
If you’re in the camp that wants a larger screen on their tablet and have no problem paying for it, the iPad Air is simply the best tablet money can buy. But remember, the tablet is only part of the expense. One reason developers are inclined to develop for this platform first is because users have been shown to be more likely to part with their money for those snazzy apps that make the iPad Air so attractive.
2. Motorola Moto X
($525, or $99 under contract)
While not the winner of the specifications battle, the Moto X has some features that set it apart from the crowd. It is not too big for your hands or pocket. It listens for your voice even while it is sleeping. When you pick it up or pull it from your pocket the lockscreen lights up with the notifications you want without your having to touch a button. If you’re buying a phone under contract to a carrier, it is hard to beat the Moto X. You can even design your own color combinations.
1. iPad Mini with Retina display
($399 + $100 for each extra 16 GB of storage + $130 for cellular and GPS)
The first iPad Mini was okay but too pricey for the lower resolution screen and outdated processor. The new iPad Mini fixes that by slingshotting its screen past the pixel density of the full size iPad Air and matching it in performance related specifications. While the Google Play store offers almost all of the most important apps, the iOS App Store still leads with power user apps. Most developers offer their apps on iOS first. The most improved device of 2013.