Though there are a lot of options, you will find value in any of them depending on what you are looking for.
Kindle Fire ($199)
By far the most successful of all the 7” Android tablets, the Kindle Fire is also the most simplistic and restrictive of them. I love the Kindle Fire and bought 3 of them for Christmas last year (2 for my kids, 1 for my grandmother) but found it would be too limiting a tablet for myself. The tablet is ideal if you want a no fuss interface, and a much cleaner app store. The Amazon Android app store is more limited than the other Android app stores but also has fewer options and many of the latest Android games take a long time to show up for the Kindle Fire (if ever so far). The Kindle Fire still however has a great price point of $199 and is a great choice for kids and grandparents since it is such an easy interface to use. The latest updates include safety options to prevent kids from charging your card to oblivion too. You can root the Kindle Fire and turn it into a full Android though it still has some limitations and is not ideal if you want a full Android OS model tablet.
B&N Nook Wi-Fi Tablet ($189.99)
With external volume buttons (and power button) a slightly less restrictive UI and almost as many apps and options as the Kindle Fire the Barnes and Nobles Nook Wi-Fi tablet was considered the 2nd best choice and even better than many to the Kindle Fire. The Nook Tablet is now actually $10 cheaper than the Kindle Fire on Amazon.com when it used to be $249 compared to the Kindle Fire’s $199 price tag. The app store is still a little more lacking than the Amazon Android app store but overall this is a great choice and many consider it to be a little better than the Kindle Fire though I can’t say myself having not directly compared them side by side in person. The Nook Tablet also accepts a MicroSD card for extra storage and you can buy a full Android OS MicroSD card and boot your Nook into a Full Android OS mode with ease. Again though if you are looking for a full Android OS then you are better off with an true Android OS tablet.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 ($249)
Probably the most versatile of the 7” tablets and running full Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwhich, you get microSD support up to 32GB of additional space. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 also supports Bluetooth and has a camera (weak one) in the back so you basically get a full featured tablet with access to everything Android for only $50 more than the Kindle Fire. If you want a full featured 7” Android Tablet, you probably can’t do better than the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 right now. It isn’t as intuitive and easy to use as the Kindle Fire or B&N Nook but certainly gives you more options and gets you used to true Android OS for later hardware upgrades. This would be my recommend at the moment.
Blackberry Playbook 16GB ($222.00)
With the Blackberry Playbook now discounted to $222 on Amazon.com it can’t be ignored, at it’s default price of over $400 I wouldn’t have even recommended it, especially with it’s lack of success and support that is sure to wane over the years to come. But at it’s current price many claim it does email better and still has a faster browser than Safari for the iPad even. The playbook is also viable especially if you are a blackberry owner already. So if you are curious and you want to learn more, it is worth looking into though I would still go with a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2.
Acer Iconia TAB A100 ($279.00)
The Acer Iconia is running Honeycomb rather than Ice Cream Sandwich but you can’t ignore that this is one of the few 7” Tablets that has USB and SD support. It also features dual speakers, microphone, rear and forward camera and has a more powerful GPU than the other 7” tablets listed for only $279. The biggest con is that this has an average 4.5 hour battery life to the other tablets which have longer battery life but perhaps you shouldn’t ignore this tablet if you really want the additional features you won’t find in the other 7” tablets.
Though there are other 7” tablets I didn’t include any that had less than a 4 star average rating on Amazon. I tested the 7” Coby tablet before Christmas and immediately returned it after I found the touch screen non-responsive and processor horribly slow compared to the Kindle Fire. Pretty much the above are the best 7” Tablet options at the time of writing this article, though there are rumors that the Kindle Fire 2 may be around the corner and of course that Apple may be releasing an iPad 7” tablet at some point in the future after seeing how successful this model size has become.
Do you own a 7” tablet already or are you considering one? Let me know what you think about 7” tablets.