Nexus 7 (2013)
The 1.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro with Adreno 320 graphics gives the 2013 Nexus 7 a serious boost in power over last year's model, and on several occasions, we saw the new model post benchmark scores twice as high as its predecessor. Gamers in particular stand to benefit from the upgraded SoC, which was able to pull 41 frames per second in GLBenchmark's Egypt Off Screen test.
Everything about the new model Nexus 7 for 2013, which is priced starting at $229, is improved from the original. Granted, we didn't find the 2012 model to be heavy or chunky, but next to the 2013 release, it almost feels that way. The new Nexus 7 is slimmer, lighter, and a whole lot faster, the last of which is reason alone to upgrade if you like to stay on the cutting edge or are specifically interested in playing games. Not to mention, the new Nexus 7's fully HD display is drop-dead gorgeous. If you need more convincing, our full review is available here.
ASUS MeMO Pad Smart 10
The most impressive thing about the ASUS MeMO Pad Smart 10 is that its street price is around $250, yet it offers a 10.1-inch IPS display, Tegra 3 processor, and a thin and light design. It even looks like a premium tablet, plastic back notwithstanding. You don't get to that price point on a 10.1-inch slate without making some sacrifices, and the biggest one is screen resolution, which checks in at just 1280x800.
Considering the price, the MeMO Tab Smart 10 is a good buy for a first-time tablet owner, as a gift, or if you just prefer a larger size screen regardless of resolution. You can check out our full review right here.
Apple iPad (4th-generation)
It has become a staple in the tablet recommendation category, but for good reason. Apple's iPad is most definitely tried and true at this stage, with a massive app ecosystem, a potent processor, tons of developer support, a wealth of accessories to choose from, etc. Plus, with iOS 7 just around the corner, you'll be able to squeeze even more out of an iPad that you buy today--prices starting at $499.