Christopher Smith writes:

I have a question for you and was hoping that you can help. I plan on using my tax return this year to purchase a new tablet (or possibly two, but more on that later) or similar device. The problem I have is that I am getting married in 2014 and will put a large chunk of my tax return also aside to save for the wedding. This will leave me with only about $600-$700 for a tablet and protective case. I was wondering if you had any suggestions for what would be an above-average tablet at that price range. In a perfect world I’d love to get two tablets (one for my fiance) as well, but I don’t want to buy two $200 tablets that are garbage. If there are tablets out there that could be purchased in a pair for a total of $600-$700, I’d do that. I have previously owned an iPad (first generation), but I’ve gotten rid of it. My fiance and I both have Android phones and she currently uses a first generation Amazon Kindle (that’s in desperate need of an upgrade). Do you have any advice for me?

Which tablet would you choose -- on a budget?
Which tablet would you choose — on a budget?

I don’t know how you define “above average,” and I’m not really sure why you decided to get rid of the first-generation iPad, but my immediate thought is to recommend two iPad minis. I’d consider the iPad mini above average in terms of build quality, app selection, and hardware feature set. You’d be able to get two of them, and they should each last quite a while.

You said you didn’t want garbage, so I’d avoid half-hearted attempts at ecosystems if at all possible. Plus, I think your new family unit would be happier with two tablets instead of one to share; if I were to suggest to my wife that we only get one tablet, she’d be the first to claim dibs on it — because of her superior dib-calling, and because I love her.

Don’t leave your bride standing there empty handed, man!

I know you have Android phones — which is great! There’s nothing saying you couldn’t try iOS again and see if it suits your tablet needs as well as those Android devices suit your pocket-computing needs. However, if you have your hearts set on an Android experience, perhaps the Nexus 7 would suit your needs — if you’re sure that you don’t want to give iOS a second chance. The Nexus 7 would allow your family unit to have one each and still be under the $600-$700 that you mentioned above, including protective case.

I hope this helps.

Image: 5 Top-Rated Tablet PCs by sidduz (via Flickr)