The iPad 4 is a marginal improvement over the iPad 3, but it represents the thinking that created the new tablet market. This thinking has at its core the belief that tablets should be used in conjunction with a laptop. As a result, in this class, the iPad Mini is better because it is a better addition to a laptop than its larger sibling.
The Microsoft Surface product is by far the best laptop replacement product in segment and if you want something smaller to read with, it pairs well with the Kindle Paper White eReader (because it is vastly lighter and cheaper than a full tablet, and ePaper is better for reading).
Now if you are buying one of these as a gift, Rob would personally recommend either the Amazon Kindle as the best value in the 7-inch class, the safest, and in contention for easiest to use, or the Surface tablet instead of a small notebook. Good luck!
According to Rob Enderle, the top tablets in the market are very different from each other. Given the popularity of Apple products, it’s no surprise that the tablet to beat is the iPad 4. However, each of the contenders, including the iPad Mini, Microsoft Surface, Google Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD, has unique advantages over the iPad 4.