Don’t want an iPad? Here are some tablet alternatives


Noah Berger | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Noah Berger | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Apple’s iPad may still be the leader in the tablet space, but a growing number of competitors are offering cheaper tablet alternatives and are stealing market share.

“I think we will see the market share leadership coming more under attack as others drive prices down. However, I find it hard to see Apple’s leadership in this segment to be threatened any time soon.” said Carolina Milanesi, vice president of research on Gartner’s consumer devices team. “At the end of the day the iPad remains the one to beat.”

(Read moreApple’s new iPad 5 may look a lot like iPad mini)

Still though, if Apple’s iPads are out of your price range or you are just in the market to try another tablet, here is a brief wrap of a few alternatives

Nexus Tablets

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Google Inc on Wednesday showcased a new-generation, slimmer Nexus 7 tablet.

Google’s Nexus tablets come in 7- and 10-inch models, ( Nexus 7, Nexus 10). They are available for purchase on Google’s Nexus website and are gaining traction among consumers. (Read moreNokia, Microsoft attempt to rain on Apple’s parade)

“In the consumer space, I find the Android ecosystem still not as strong on the tablet side as it is on the phone side, but products such as the Galaxy Tab and Nexus 7 are competing in the consumer space,” Milanesi said.

(Read moreApple’s tablet competitors)


The Wi-Fi only Nexus 7 comes in a 16GB model and a 32GB model and begins pricing at $229. There is also a 32GB model that supports 4G LTE, which costs $349.

Google’s Nexus 10 only supports Wi-Fi and is available in a 16GB or 32GB model. Pricing starts at $399.


The Nexus 7 has both a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera. The Nexus 10 also has a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera, making it good for video chat. 

Operating system and battery life:

Both tablets run on the latest version of the Android platform called Jelly Bean. 

The Nexus 7 has about 10 hours of battery life and the Nexus 10 has over seven hours of battery life.


Content for the device can be purchased via the Google Play Store, which has many of the same apps that are popular on Apple’s store.

Kindle Fire HDX Tablets

Source: Amazon Inc. Kindle Fire HDX

Source: Amazon Inc.
Kindle Fire HDX

Amazon’s Kindle HDX comes in a 7-inch and 8.9-inch model. Both are in preorder and will begin shipping in November. 


The Wi-Fi enabled 7-inch model begins pricing at $229 for a 16GB model and goes up to $309 for a 64GB model. The same size model that also supports 4G LTE begins at about $329 and goes up to more than $400. 

The larger Wi-Fi enabled model, the 8.9-inch version, begins pricing at $379 for a 16GB. The model that also supports 4G LTE costs about $480 for a 16GB model and goes up to $579 for a 64GB version.


The 7-inch tablet is more compact than Google’s Nexus 7, but is a little bit heavier. Both size models of the Nexus have an HDX display, which make them good devices for watching video, reading and playing games.

The 7-inch Kindle model features a 1.2 megapixel front-facing camera, but no rear facing camera. The larger model has an 8 megapixel rear-facing camera with flash, as well as a 720 pixel HD front-facing camera.

Operating system and battery life:

The tablets runs on a modified version of Android, which is called Amazon Fire OS 3.0.

The 7-inch model has about 11 hours of battery life for mixed use and the 8.9-inch model has about 12 hours.


One of the biggest differences between a Kindle Fire and a Nexus device is the available content. 

Not as many apps are available on the Kindle Fire HDX tablets as on the Nexus tablets because Amazon runs its own app store. Instagram and Candy Crush Saga are among some of the popular apps missing. Google’s productivity apps are also missing, which includes Google Docs.

Microsoft Surface tablets

Source: Microsoft Microsoft Surface 2 Pro

Source: Microsoft
Microsoft Surface 2 Pro

Microsoft’s Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 launched in 21 markets on Tuesday. The devices are also available for order on the Microsoft Store website and will ship by Friday.

One of the key differences of the Surface tablet is that they are built for productivity.

Because the tablets include Microsoft Office and accessories like the Touch Cover, which functions as an attachable keyboard, and the docking station, which enables the tablet to be display on a larger monitor, make it a more enterprise focused device.


The Surface 2 comes in 32GB and 64GB models and begins pricing at $449.

The Surface Pro 2 is available with several different memory models and is priced significantly higher. The 64GB version begins pricing at $899 and the model with the most memory, the 512GB version, costs $1,799.


The Surface 2 has a 3.5 megapixel front-facing camera and a 5 megapixel camera on the back.

Operating system and battery life:

Microsoft’s Surface 2 runs on Windows RT 8.1 and can have up to 10 hours battery life depending on use.

The Surface Pro 2 runs on Windows 8.1 Pro and has an undisclosed battery life.


Microsoft says on its website that it currently has over 100,000 apps available on its Windows Store, including popular ones like Netflix and Twitter. It also boasts that the Surface tablet is the only tablet that allows users to play Halo.

Microsoft also offers 200 GB of storage on its cloud service SkyDrive for two years and unlimited minutes and Wi-Fi for one year on Skype with the purchase of a Surface 2 or Surface Pro 2 tablet.

By CNBC’s Cadie Thompson. Follow her on Twitter @CadieThompson

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