The Best iPad Alternatives

Don't Want an iPad? Check Out These Android and Windows Tablets

The iPad is a great tablet, but it is not for everyone. Be it price, preference or special software requirements, many people choose alternatives to the iPad. Android tablets tend to provide a greater amount of control than the iPad, with the ability to customize the tablet and plug in USB devices without a special adapter. The newest alternative are Windows-based tablets, which come in two flavors: Windows 8, which is compatible with all Windows software, and Windows RT, which is a scaled down version of Windows that can only run a small subset of Windows software.

Android tablets are best for those who want an iPad-like experience but either want to save some money or simply don't like the iPad. Windows tablets are better for business purposes, and in the case of Windows 8 tablets, can easily replace your laptop or desktop.

Note: All prices subject to change. Prices gathered using to reflect real world pricing rather than manufacturer's suggested retail. Prices on tablets are taken from the least expensive model.

Google Nexus 7

Image Courtesy of Amazon

The sweet spot of Android tablets, the Google Nexus 7 has a great price and excellent specs for a tablet so cheap. This is due in part to Google trashing any prospect of profit through hardware sales, preferring to make their money via the Google Play store. The 7-inch tablet size has proven popular with consumers, with 7-inch tablets mounting a serious enough challenge to the iPad that Apple came out with its own iPad Mini.

If you are looking for a cheap Android tablet, the Google Nexus 7 is the way to go. If you are willing to pay a little more for a bigger tablet, the Google Nexus 10 is one of the best 10-inch tablets. Buy from Amazon »

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

The Galaxy Note 8 offers tablet functionality with stylus integration, allowing you to use the included S Pen to write out notes rather than fumbling around on an on-screen keyboard. Slightly larger than the Google Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire, the added screen spaces gives you plenty of room to scribble those notes without requiring both hands to hold it, which would be awkward considering you would run out of hands to actually write on it. In addition to being a powerful tablet, the Galaxy Note has an IR blaster, so it can be used as a remote control. Buy from Amazon »

Microsoft Surface Pro 3

Microsoft's timid stance on actually marketing their Surface series of tablets have led to dismal sales, but the Surface Pro does offer one distinct advantage over the iPad and Android-based tablets: it can run virtually all Windows software. The price tag may put it more into ultrabook territory, but if you are looking for a tablet that can definitely replace your laptop and run the software you use at work, the Surface Pro is your best bet. Buy from Amazon »

Amazon Kindle Fire HD

Why so far down the list for Amazon's tablet? This list isn't technically a best-to-worst, since different tablets have different benefits, but it's hard to put the Kindle Fire much higher on the list for one simple fact: the Google Nexus 7 exists. Google's Nexus line of tablets have an edge in the technology department and are more open than the Kindle Fire, which locks you into Amazon's services. The Kindle Fire is also ad-supported, which means you will see advertisements on the lock screen unless you pay a fee to opt out of the ads. But if you love Amazon services, including Kindle books and Amazon Prime videos, the Kindle Fire could be a good alternative. Buy from Amazon »


Last on this list is the ASUS VivoTab RT, and it is featured for one major reason: price. If you are looking for a tablet capable of running Microsoft Office, albeit a scaled-down version of Office, but aren't quite willing to meet the Surface Pro's price tag, the Windows RT line of tablets is a good choice. Microsoft's Surface tablet has the edge for Windows RT, but the ASUS VivoTab RT will cost almost $150 less with the same specifications: 1.3 GHz Tegra 3.0 processor, 2 GB of SDRAM and 32 GB of storage. Buy from Amazon »

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