Tablet Computers

6 Cool End-of-the-Year Tech Deals

Is it the best point-and-shoot camera you can buy? Definitely not. But is it the best value? Heck yes, says Spot Cool Stuff.

It’s Cyber Monday! Online deals for gadgets and electronic stuff abound. But which products are a genuine good deal as opposed to only being, well, cheap?

Here’s a look at six tech products in the former category. Our selections range greatly in price (from $35 to almost $5,000) but each represents a high value in its own way. Each is also an item Spot Cool Stuff loves.

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The QOOQ Cooking Tablet
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If you are a cook and a gadget lover then chances are high that you’ve used your tablet computer in the kitchen. Tablets make outstanding kitchen companions. They can serve up nearly limitless recipes, cooking tips, instructional videos, background music and means for digitally sharing your culinary creations with the world, all in a device that’s significantly smaller and lighter than your typical cookbook.

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The iPad Mini Versus the Nexus 7, Kindle Fire HD and Nook HD

When the iPad first launched, then Apple CEO Steve Jobs remarked in an interview that the company would never built a 7-inch version of its tablet. Customers, he said, wouldn’t want them.

Since then two things have happen. First, sadly, Steve Jobs has passed away. And, second, a slew of 7-inch tablets have rocketed in popularity, cutting significantly into Apple’s market share. Three tablets in particular saw their sales climb: the Google Nexus 7, the Amazon Kindle Fire HD and the Barnes & Noble Nook HD.

The combination of both of those events lead Apple to launch their own 7-inch tablet: The Apple iPad mini. So how does it compare to those competitors mention above? Our review:

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The Amazon Kindle Fire HD Tablets

That didn’t take long. No sooner did Google announce the Nexus 7, a sub-$200 tablet aimed at directly competing with the Kindle Fire, that Amazon made an announcement of its own. In a move that one-ups Google — and perhaps Apple, Sony & Samsung too — Amazon is launching the next generation of Kindle Fire eBook reader-tablet, the Amazon Kindle Fire HD.

The Kindle Fire HD will be available in three models. Collectively, they go a long way towards addressing the complaints that several reviewers (including Spot Cool Stuff) have made about what is now the “old” Kindle Fire.

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Best Tablet Computers for Students

Tablet computers are joining backpacks, bicycles and beer pong tables as essential items for university and college students. Some students in high school (and earlier) are taking tablets to class too.

On a tablet a student can read (and purchase) textbooks, manage a to-do list, keep a calendar of assignments, take notes in class, conduct research, check email, collaborate with other students, use educational apps and, of course, procrastinate with Angry Birds. On many tablets you can write or edit papers too.

As such, a good tablet computer for a student is one with a long battery life, with enough processing power to run high-end apps and with a screen that’s especially easy to read. Students tend to type more on their tablet than typical users, so a large, responsive on-screen keyboard can be essential.

There’s another consideration when choosing your tablet: The operating system prevalent the institution where the tablet will be used. Some schools are very Apple and Mac oriented. Others are more Chrome- and Google-centric.

With that in mind, here are Spot Cool Stuff’s tablet recommendations for students. As always, you can click on the category that most interests you or continue reading on after the jump.

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The Google Nexus 7 vs Kindle Fire

It seems that nearly every large electronics company is getting into the tablet computer business. So no surprise that Google is too. The company recently announced its Google Nexus 7, a tablet that takes direct at Amazon’s Kindle Fire.

Like the Fire, the Nexus 7 is designed primarily to read eBooks and watch videos. Like the Fire, the Nexus 7 has a 7-inch screen. And both tablets (when configured with 8GB internal memory) sell for exactly the same price: $199.

So which tablet is better? Our review comparison:

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The Samsung Galaxy Note: Phone or Tablet?

Is it a tablet? Or is it a phone?

That’s the tagline on billboards advertising the new Samsung Galaxy Note. When the company selling a product expresses uncertainly about what exactly their product is, you know you are dealing with something different.

Indeed, the Samsung Note really is something different—a new hybrid product that’s both an oversized phone and an undersized tablet. The phonelet weighs 6.3 ounces (178 grams) and has a 5.3-inch display—more than the largest smartphone and less than the smallest tablet. The Android operating system, powered by 1.4GHz dual-core processor, is capable of doing anything Samsung Galaxy tablets are (and then some). And it makes phone calls with all the functionality of a high-end Samsung smartphone.

So does the Samsung Galaxy Note deliver the best features of a tablet and a smartphone? Or is it the worst of both worlds? Spot Cool Stuff takes a look:

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The Best Tablet Computers For Kids
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Software makers have long known that children love playing with tablet computers. To wit: the innumerable apps they’ve written for them. More recently, Hardware makers have been catching on. And so an increasing number of tablet computers are coming to market designed especially with kids (and kid online safety) in mind.

Kids tablet computers break down into two basic groups: Those that run a proprietary operating system and those that run on Android. Proprietary systems tend to be cheaper and the more kid-friendly (since all the software is designed for kids from the bottom up). Android-based tablets tend to be more powerful, more expandable and have the possibility of doubling as a parent’s tablet computer.

In general, Spot Cool Stuff recommends choosing a proprietary tablet for younger kids (eg under 5 or 6 years old) and an Android for older ones. Our top recommendations in both categories:

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    Creative D100 Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
    Cool-looking. Highly portable. And, for the moment, 44% off!

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