Yesterday may as well have been declared unofficial tablet day: Microsoft unveiled its new Surface 2 (whose main selling point is an improved kickstand for better stability on your lap), Nokia released its long-rumored tablet debut (a sleek 10-incher running Windows RT), and Apple announced a completely redesigned iPad: the iPad Air. While the other two focus on productivity, with built in Office Suite and attachable keyboards, Apple outrightly balked at its competitors for being “confused” in their attempts to merge tablet and laptop.
Apple’s approach? Making the iPad thinner, lighter, smaller, and more carry-on worthy than ever, building in a 9.7-inch retina display and super-fast M7 motion coprocessor (the same as what’s in the new iPhone 5S), all in a one-pound, 7.5mm thin package. Travelers will also appreciate 10 hours of battery life (enough to get you from New York to Rome), speedy web browsing, and upgraded 5 megapixel iSight camera. But is this the best new tablet for travelers? It’s certainly the sexiest, but we’re still partial to the new iPad Mini that was released last year—its similar design hits the same portability scores with a price savings of $100. And now that the Google Play store has surpassed Apple as far as number of available apps, the powerful Nexus 7—an even more affordable option at $229—shouldn’t be ignored.
Nikki Ekstein is an Editorial Assistant at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.