Media tabletApple iPad Mini
The hardware winner. Apple has the best hardware — no question. But you'll pay for it: For the Wi-Fi model, my recommended configuration of 32GB costs $429, versus $274 for the 32GB Kindle Fire HD and $269 for the 32GB Nexus 7. The 32GB iPad Mini cellular model costs $569, versus $349 for the forthcoming 32GB cellular Nexus 7. The Nexus 7 is a pretty close second choice in terms of hardware.
The Nexus 7 has some nice attributes, especially its ability to run almost anything a full-size Android tablet can run, and its decent Web browser. The new model has addressed most of the hardware flaws in the original model, from its sluggish processor to its lack of HDMI support. The Kindle Fire HD is clearly the laggard, with hardware that was barely adequate a year ago. A refresh is planned for this fall, so if you want a Kindle Fire so that you can join the Amazon ecosystem, wait until that new version comes out.
Media tabletAsus/Google Nexus 7(2013 edition)
It should be clear by now that the iPad Mini is the best tablet because it does much more and at a much higher level of quality than the competition. The iPad Mini lives in a higher-class world than the other media tablets, and you're either willing to pay to be in that world or you're not.
For those who don't need all that or aren't willing to pay for it, get a Nexus 7 instead. You'll get a good tablet running an operating system that many people like. Just don't get a Kindle Fire HD.
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