Most tablets have 10 inch screens mounted in a chassis that weighs something in the region of 500g and cost around £500. But what if you want a 20-inch tablet that weighs 5.1Kg and costs just over £800? Well, then Sony has you covered with it's new Vaio Tap 20 a machine that's one part tablet, one part desktop PC and one part object d'art. 

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With its new FonePad Asus posits the notion that you don’t actually need a tablet and and a smartphone, just a cheap 7-inch tablet that can function as a cheap and affordable replacement for both. Cheap? How does £180 unlocked and SIM-free sound? That’s £60 less than the Nexus 4 which is the cheapest, good, smartphone you can buy at the moment. Look at it from a tablet point of view and it still makes sense -  an unlocked 3G Nexus 7 costs £240 but out of the box (and like the 3G iPad mini) it has no support for voice calling and there’s no ear speaker.

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Want a tablet and a smartphone that can run off the same SIM card at the same time? That lets you make phone calls through the phone and the tablet? What you want then is the new Asus PadFone 2 (PadFone 1 was never released in the UK so don't worry, you haven't missed anything). In a nutshell what we have here is an Android smartphone that can be docked into a dumb tablet giving you a choice of two screen sizes but the convenience of one data connection and unified app selection and storage. This is what I call a Very Good Idea.

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When it comes to smartphones Samsung has done a good job of talking the war to Apple's doorstep with its Galaxy S3 and S4 Android devices. But when it comes to tablets Apple still reigns supreme. The iPad 4 and iPad mini continue to sell like hot cakes despite them being in some people's view a little overpriced and under-specified. How that musk irk the big cheeses at Samsung HQ. Now in an attempt to take a serious bite out the iPad's market share Samsung has released the Note 8.0, a device aimed straight at Apple's tablet jugular.

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For its new 10-inch tablet Xperia Tablet Z Sony has gone back to basics and created an Android tablet that has a very slim profile (7.2mm), a high definition screen (1920 x 1200) and which weighs next to nothing (495g). This could be the tablet that Sony was always threatening to make and at long last maybe even a genuine iPad-killer.

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It's a question I often get asked.

If you want to buy a tablet there are now a plethora of devices available for under £200. Some are good, some are mediocre, some are downright awful.

Sadly that price ceiling rules out any sort of iPad. Even the entry level iPad mini (left) will set you back £270 and it doesn't even have a GPS radio or a memory card slot so you will be stuck with 16GB of storage and no idea where you are. Not good value in my book.

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Under-powered, overpriced, too restrictive. That was the verdict of most writers on the first Google Chromebook laptops.  Google has kept it’s shoulder to the wheel though and recently announced two new machines - the £229 Samsung Series 3 Chromebook and the Acer C7 which at £199 is the cheapest laptop you can buy in the UK.

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Asus’ new semi-budget 11.6 inch VivoBook S200 may look like a run-of-the-mill small laptop but it has a trick up its sleeve that makes a lot of difference in these days of Windows 8: a touchscreen. On a Windows 8 machine a strokable screen is well worth having because it makes it a lot easier to get to grips with the new tile based touch-optimised user interface that is Win8's big selling point.

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Walk into any supermarket in the UK and you will likely see a tablet of some sort or other taking pride of place in the Christmas present suggestion displays. Twelve months ago the choice was limited to an iPad or something that wasn't anything like as good, but now the choice is bewildering. Should you go for something made by Apple, Google Nexus or Microsoft? Do you want a seven or ten inch screen? Or how about a retailer-tied device like Amazon's Kindle Fire HD or Barnes & Noble's Nook HD? Not as versatile as the opposition granted but easier for your mum to use. And how much should you spend? Last year under £200 got you a pile of rubbish, this year you can get a very good device and change from £160.

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