NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- This year, tablet computers running Google's (GOOG) Android operating system come in more sizes and styles than ever before. They range from just a little bit larger than many modern-day smartphones to something that's large enough to replace your laptop.
We've research our files and reviewed all or our notes to come up with out top five choices of the best Android tablets to consider as presents to give or receive this holiday season.
5 - Amazon Fire HD 6
Choosing any of Amazon's (AMZN) terrific line of tablets is always a wise decision especially if you're entrenched in the company's ecosystem of offerings such as Kindle books and Amazon music and video online shopping malls. The devices are all feature rich and well priced. But, this holiday season we're highlighting the smallest and least-expensive of the bunch: the new Fire HD 6.
Do not be fooled by the diminutive size or selling price -- this is a terrific little Android-based tablet worthy of your consideration. It's (probably) bigger than your smartphone and somewhat heavier (10.1 ounces) too, but it's well suited to smaller hands. The 6-inch display offers a full (1280 by 800 pixels) HD experience. Inside, there's a quad-core processor, 1 GB of RAM, and a front-facing 2.0 MP camera. It runs Amazon's special version of Android 4.4 KitKat and comes loaded with enough software to keep children of all ages occupied for hours on end.
The HD 6 with 8 GB of storage sells for $99, while the 16GB model costs another $20.
4 - LG G Pad 8.3 Google Play Edition
The LG G Pad 8.3 Google Play Edition is one great tablet, running a stock version of the Android 4.4 operating system. The 8.3-inch touchscreen means it's direct competition for Apple's (AAPL) smaller iPad mini. A Qualcomm (QCOM) Snapdragon processor, 2 GB of RAM, Android 4.4 and a thin, lightweight frame help make this one terrific gift that any enthusiast would like to discover under the tree this year.
Despite the fact that LG's G Pad is no longer offered for sale via Google's Website, you can easily find them being discounted by numerous retailers advertising on the Web selling for as little as $210. The G Pad 8.3 is on the list to receive an early update to the latest version (5.0 Lollipop) of the Android operating system. That means the LG/Google Play Edition could be one of the great Android tablet bargains of 2014.
3 - Lenovo Yoga 2
Tablets are fun to use but can be a pain to hold for long periods of time - like when you want to watch a long video or stream music, or even a feature film. Lenovo has a great solution.
Lenovo's Yoga line of tablets has a built-in, fold-out stand which lets you prop-up the screen whenever you like. The second generation Yoga 2 tablets have a unique round hinge which lets you place them in a variable, hands-free mode. That round hinge also contains the rechargeable battery pack - allowing the up-standing screen portion to remain very thin and lightweight.
The Yoga 2 comes in either 8-inch or 10.1-inch screens capable of 1920 by 1200 pixel resolution. Both models run on quad-core Intel (INTC) Atom Processors, 2GB of RAM and Android 4.4 KitKat. Currently, the 8-inch is selling for $229.99, while the 10.1-inch is $270 in Lenovo's online store.
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2 - Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4
This is Samsung's (SSNLF) take on smaller, iPad mini-sized, full-featured tablets. It is thin (0.26 inches) and lightweight (10 ounces) and packs a big performance punch. The Super AMOLED touchscreen is capable of displaying 2560 by 1600 pixels for a 359 pixels-per-inch density. There's a 19. GHz, quad-core processor, 3 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage inside along with 8.0 and 2.1 megapixel camera back and front. The 4900 mAh battery inside is rated at as much as 10 hours of use between charging sessions.
The Galaxy Tab S 8.4 has one of the best-looking screens on any tablet available today and it's fast and fun to use.
The 8.4 is available on Samsung's Website and at least a dozen online and brick-and-mortar retailers for $400.
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1 - Nexus 9
It's easy to call the Nexus 9 is the best Android tablet available today. First of all it's a Nexus device, which means it runs a pure version of Google's Android operating system - in this case, the brand new Android 5.0/Lollipop.
It runs that software on a top-of-the-line hardware platform designed with and manufactured by HTC. There's the 8.9-inch screen LCD screen (2048 by 1536 pixels), a 2.3 GHz, 64-bit Nvidia (NVDA) Tegra K-1 processor mated to 2GB of RAM, a 192-core graphics processor, 8 megapixel and 1.6 MP cameras and a beefy 6700 mAh rechargeable battery.
It's thin, lightweight and performed flawlessly in our tests. Quality level is top-notch throughout. And, as you might expect, this level of excellence do not come cheap. Prices start at $399 for the Wi-Fi-only model with 16GB of storage and can run as high as $599 for the Wi-Fi/LTE version with 32GB inside.
The magnetically attached keyboard and cover will set you back an extra $130.-- Written by Gary Krakow in New York.
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