NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Sure, the Apple ( AAPL) iPad paved the way for tablets to finally find a mainstream audience. Today there are a plethora of choices -- some not so good, some even better than you'd think. How does one choose the best fit? As back-to-school lists emerge, let our handy guide help you figure this out.
Still on an Allowance: In the sub-$100 tablet market, pickings are slim for a sturdy tablet that is not an actual child's toy. But the $69 Nextbook 7-inch Tablet, available at Wal-Mart ( WMT), delivers the basics, mostly because it has a small 7-inch screen and last year's Android operating system. It does include 8 GB of built-in storage and a Micro SD slot, if you need more. There is also a very low-resolution front-facing Web cam. Most importantly, it offers pure access to Google ( GOOG) Play and the 800,000-plus Android apps, which some popular tablets like the Kindle Fire lock out. There is Gmail, Google Maps and access to nearly 50,000 educational apps, including OfficeSuite Viewer, to create documents and take notes during class. Such small tablets are really more of an accessory (as opposed to being a sole computer on which a student can rely), but this affordable tablet is a good start.