Christmas Gadget Countdown Day 1: Tablets

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Off we go for another year. We have to include them again, and - who knows - the overall winner may well come from this group: I mean, of course, tablets!

I should start by declaring a personal bias as a committed Apple fan, but for my money the iPad still takes some beating, and the 4th generation iPad really is a stunner if you can afford it. Why choose the Apple over the cheaper tablets on the market?

Firstly, it's App Store is so well established (and controlled) that it leaves all the others in its wake. Secondly, Apple devices just work straight out of the box. And you can access online accounting and office files on the iPad, so it makes for a practical mobile computing device, as well as a leisure gadget.

Will the iPad Mini steal the limelight from its big brother this Christmas? Again, the retina display is stunning but for serious reading and video streaming I'd still go for the bigger model. You're never going to do a lot of reading on that screen!

Or maybe you'd prefer anything BUT an Apple. In that case you could try the new Microsoft Surface, if you're really brave. Microsoft doesn't have a great record on the hardware front, so it's not one I'll be rushing to try.

If you really just want an e-book reader then you have to go for the de facto market leader, Amazon's Kindle, now available as the high-resolution, colour Kindle Fire HD.

The tie-in with Amazon's huge online book store and Lovefilm's video library make this hard to beat. However, the battery life is far shorter than the original mono Kindle, which remains the e-book reader of choice for beaches and airport lounges.

Not to be left out, Google has launched its Nexus 7 portable media device, powered by a humungous quad-core processor that clearly aims the device at serious media streaming and cloud applications. Maybe the ideal device for servicing your cloud accounting clients while watching the latest movie?

Tablets and over-sized smartphones have been coming onto the market at quite a rate this year, so there really is something for everyone here. I'm betting on one of these being in the top two or three in this year's festive Countdown - but don't be swayed by me, we want YOUR suggestions - post them below.

About Nigel Harris

Nigel Harris

I'm a partner with Burton Sweet, chartered accountants & business advisers, and run the Shepton Mallet office down in beautiful Somerset. Despite the name, Shepton Mallet is actually the home of Glastonbury Festival! I trained in audit and corporate tax with Grant Thornton and came to my current position in 1991 via small local practices and a stint with a training consortium.

I have the distinction of being one of the original members of the AccountingWEB editorial team, having been a freelance writer here for a year or so before John Stockdyk joined!



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By Jamest
06th Dec 2012 12:14

iPad Mini

The iPad mini doesn't have the retina display... Apple are no doubt saving that upgrade until the iPad mini 2 - which will probably be out early 2013 the way they're updating products at the moment!

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By waltere
06th Dec 2012 12:16

Any recommended netbooks?

I know it's going against the trend for tablets, but does anyone have any experience of / recommendations for netbooks?  I've seen the GoClever R103 10" Android device priced at less than £130, with a touch screen and keyboard.  I just need some basic internet access and simple document editing and this seems to fit the bill at a bargain price... unless you know otherwise!

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06th Dec 2012 13:48

You're right James

Thanks for the correction James. The full spec is at for anyone still curious.


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07th Dec 2012 09:13

I know I'm going to sound *so last year* but my tablet du jour is still the iPad 3 - I got this year and the specs serve my every need, so I have no intention of changing. 

However, I've heard amazing things about the Google Nexus tablet too - better media streaming definitely wouldn't go amiss. 

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07th Dec 2012 09:59

+1 for the Nexus

An Apple devotee for 3+ years now, I picked up a Nexus 7 on a whim following the recent price drop which placed it within impulse buying reach. I'm so impressed with the speed, power and convenience of the device (it's replaced my Kindle, handheld games consoles and, for quick browsing and messaging, my laptop) that I'm getting ready to jump ship on iOS entirely and make the move over to Android 100%. 

There are a few technical and build quality issues that many people seem to be experiencing but, thankfully, I haven't encountered the dreaded screen lift or random reboots that have been documented elsewhere.

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07th Dec 2012 16:38

you report on Kingle Fire HD

is very poor its not just a reader, and no mention of the marvellous new galaxy tab note. what a shame

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