By William Judd

In the past week, we’ve seen dozens of product announcements as gadget makers across the world show off their best for the holiday season.

Now that we’ve got all of these new products out in the open, we can start to make some recommendations for what you should be looking for this winter. In this article, we’ll look at ten of the best smartphones, e-readers and tablets on the market, culminating in a top three that gives you one easy recommendation for each category. Let’s get started!


galaxy note2
10. Galaxy Note 2

The Galaxy Note 2 is an expensive gift, but a good one. The Note 2 is a massive smartphone / tablet hybrid, with an expansive screen measuring 5.5″ along the diagonal. That puts it between 4″ smartphones and 7″ tablets, with characteristics of both. It’s a bit awkward for making calls, but almost everything else – playing games, watching films and surfing the web – feels more comfortable on the large screen. The Note 2 includes a clever S Pen stylus too, which is perfect for writing notes or drawing. While it won’t suit everyone, the original Note proved to be much more popular than expected and the sequel is even better. The Note 2 costs £485 sim-free or is available on contract from around £31 a month.



9. Google Nexus 7

The Nexus 7 is a brilliant Android tablet that runs the stock version of the latest version of Android, 4.1. The 7″ display makes it easy to use one-handed and is well suited for media consumption, whether it’s reading books, watching films or playing games. Unlike similar tablets from Amazon and Barnes & Noble, the OS is left open so you’re able to access the full gamut of Android applications, over 700,000 at the latest count. The Nexus 7 works well as a constant companion, a tablet that you’ll want to keep with you. The Nexus 7 has a seriously attractive price too, costing just £159 for the 16 GB Wi-Fi version.



8. iPad 4

The fourth generation iPad is an iterative update to the series, offering the new Lightning connector and an upgraded processor that loads big apps like games more quickly. If you’ve already got an iPad 3 there’s not too much reason to upgrade, but for newcomers to the series the iPad 4 is a great starting point. The iPad 4 costs £399, the same price as its predecessor.


7. Windows Phone 8X by HTC

If you’re looking for an alternative from Android or Apple this holiday season, then you should take a look at Windows Phone 8. The new OS is just being released now, and of course there’s a wave of new handsets too. The Windows Phone 8X by HTC looks like the best of the bunch, with a beautifully fresh design that offers comparable specs to Android and iOS phones. It’s a breath of fresh air in the smartphone space – Microsoft have crafted something truly unique here, and it’s well worth checking out. The Windows Phone 8X is available for £399 sim-free or £31 per month on contract.


samsung google nexus
6. Samsung Nexus 10

Google always take no prisoners in the spec war, and after the third generation iPad produced a display of breathtaking quality and resolution, Google have fired back. The Nexus 10 features a 10.1″ display at a ludicrous 2560 x 1600 resolution – the same size as 30″ high-end monitors. The rest of the tablet is no slouch either, with the upcoming Android 4.2 OS powered by a Exynos 5250 processor and 2 GB of RAM. This is the Android tablet to get at the high end this Christmas, and it only costs £319 – take that, iPad!


iphone 5
5. iPhone 5

Apple’s iPhone 5 has proven extremely popular since its launch late September, with millions and millions sold. There’s good reason – this is the nicest looking iPhone ever, with the move to a taller 4″ display answering a long-standing complaint of the series. The iPhone 5 comes with a new version of iOS, version 6, an improved Apple A6 processor and high-speed LTE connectivity (on EE in the UK). It doesn’t come cheap though – it’s available for £179 plus £36 a month for 4G LTE service, or approximately £36 per month on a 3G contract. Of course, if you’ve already picked up an iPhone 5 then you might think about picking up some iPhone 5 covers as a nice aftermarket addition.


kindle fire
4. Kindle Fire HD

The Kindle Fire HD is one of the hottest 7″ tablets this holiday season, offering tight integration with Amazon’s content ecosystem and upgraded specs over the earlier Kindle Fire. Aside from the expected HD display, the tablet also includes a fast dual-core processor, dual-band Wi-Fi and dual stereo speakers. While it doesn’t offer the freedom of the Nexus 7, it’s a bit easier to use and includes HDMI-out for watching your films or TV on the big screen. It costs the same low price, too, at £159.


nexus 4
3. LG Nexus 4

Announced at the same time as the Nexus 10, the Nexus 4 is a top-end smartphone at a ridiculously low price. At just £239 sim-free at its 8 GB configuration, it’s more powerful than smartphones that are twice the price. It has a 4.7″ 1280 x 768 IPS display, a quad-core Snapdragon S4 processor, 2GB of RAM and a beautiful design. This could be one of the hottest smartphones of the year, and yet again Google have made a product so cheap that you’d be silly to get any other Android handset at this size.


kindle whitepaper
2. Kindle Paperwhite

The Kindle Paperwhite is the best Kindle e-reader yet, featuring a new high-resolution display that updates faster and is lighted. Even with the new features, the new Kindle still has the same weeks-long battery life as its predecessors. The Paperwhite is a gorgeous device and at £109 is incredibly affordable. If you’re considering picking up an e-reader this holiday season, then the Paperwhite is the one to get.


ipad mini
1. iPad Mini

Surely the hottest tablet this holiday season will be the iPad Mini. A lighter, smaller version of the full-size iPad, the Mini takes the iOS experience to a much lower form factor and price point. It costs more than similarly sized Android tablets, but the rich app ecosystem and impeccable construction make it worth the price. Like the iPhone 5, there are a rich range of iPad Mini accessories that will help you get the most out of the tablet. The Mini comes in a wide range of configurations, starting with a 16 GB Wi-Fi model for £269.


So there we have it – ten of the hottest smartphones, tablets and e-readers on the market for the holidays. That top three represents the best of the best, I feel – the Nexus 4 is by far the best smartphone for the money, the Paperwhite stands unopposed in the e-reader space and the iPad Mini is another superlative Apple product that will no doubt sell millions.


Jeanette LaPorte

Christmas Section Editor at Families Online Magazine
I love everything about Christmas and I hope you do too!
Jeanette LaPorte

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