The year 2013 was dominated by phablets rather than tablets. This doesn’t mean there was a dearth of tablets in the market. Apart from bigwigs like Apple and Samsung, we saw several tablets flock into the sub 20,000 budget category from Indian as well as international manufacturers.

Winner: Xolo Play Tegra Note

XOLO Play Tegra Note

XOLO Play Tegra Note – the best option for tablets under Rs 20,000

The Xolo Play Tegra Note is the latest Nvidia-based entrant in the Indian market. Powered by a 1.8GHz Nvidia Tegra 4 Cortex A15 processor, the 1GB of RAM doesn’t seem to limit the performance as heavy games load very quickly and the frame rate is solid. Add to that, the almost stock Jelly Bean 4.2.2 (Xolo has promised 4.4 update) and we’re looking at blazing fast performance. Priced at Rs 17,999, it isn’t as superior as the Nexus 7 in terms of built and display quality but a lower price, a useful stylus, expandable storage and great gaming performance make up for it. Moreover, it brings Samsung S-Pen-like features along with good gaming performance at a significantly lower price. Read our complete Xolo Play Tegra Note review.

First Runner-up: Nexus 7 (2013)

Google Nexus 7 2013

Google Nexus 7 2013 sporting a high-definition display

Built once again by Asus, the new Nexus 7 shares the same design principles as the Nexus 5. It sports a 7-inch 1200 x 1920 display, with pixel density of about 324 ppi. It is lighter and thinner than the previous model and the tapering edges make it easy to hold with one hand. The rubberised back adds to the grip while the bezel on the sides have been shaved down, making it look like a narrower iPad mini. With an MRP of Rs 20,999, the main highlight of the device is the improved Full HD IPS display with a pixel count that goes all the way up to 323 ppi. The Nexus 7 was launched with the v4.3 Jelly Bean earlier this year, but it’s now upgradeable to Android 4.4 KitKat, and most likely would get future updates too. It is powered by a Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core processor that clocks at 1.5GHz with 2GB RAM. Other specs are 16GB/32GB storage options, 5MP rear and 1.2MP front-facing cameras, NFC support and 3950mAh battery. Read our first impressions of the Nexus 7 (2013), and watch the space for our review.

Second Runner-up: New Asus Fonepad 7

The Fonepad 7 is an updated version of the Fonepad

The Fonepad 7 is an updated version of the Fonepad

An update to the Fonepad launched earlier this year, the all new Asus Fonepad 7 also features a new non-slip finish as well as a faster HSPA+ 3G with up to 42Mbit/s download speeds. It has a smudge-resistant coating that wards off fingerprints and Mirecast wireless video streaming to let you check out videos on compatible HDTVs. At Rs 17,499, the updated Asus Fonepad is a great choice for a tablet with voice calling functionality. The customised user interface integrates social media information, allowing users to check out updates on their contact list features on the tablet. It is powered by an Intel Atom Z2560 processor with Hyper-Threading technology and 1GB RAM, and comes with Android version 4.2 Jelly Bean out of the box.

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