A purchasing misstep like that will sow trouble and hassle throughout your entire mobile ecosystem. You won't be able to buy the apps you really want, you'll be barred from using the services you really need, and you'll feel like a complete doofus when you pull out that white elephant in a crowd and someone asks, with a raised eyebrow, "How's that workin' out for ya?"
Here I have created a list for you help avoid the stigma and potential chaos that can come with choosing the wrong mobile product.
Apple iPad, 3rd generation (tablet)
The iPad ranks first on this sublist and third overall. Why the third-generation tablet when the fourth-gen product is already available? Because it had the biggest impact on the tablet market—it was the first to feature Apple's high-resolution Retina display. But if you want to buy a full-size iPad now, get the fourth-gen model: It has a faster processor, better Wi-Fi capabilities, and improved LTE circuitry.
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (e-reader)
Amazon has the best e-reader in the Kindle Paperwhite; in fact, the Paperwhite is so good that it ranked fifth in our entire list. The Paperwhite's best feature is the integrated light that brightly and evenly illuminates the page, even in daylight. But Amazon has made other improvements to its e-reader: The E Ink display boasts higher resolution, the fonts are better, and the underlying software has been significantly overhauled.
Samsung Galaxy S III (Android smartphone)
You don't get to be the best-selling Android phone by being average, and the Galaxy S III definitely has what it takes to move ahead of the Android pack—not to mention the iPhone 5, which didn't crack the top 10 on our overall list (the Galaxy S III came in sixth). With a speedy processor, an eye-catching display, and loads of attractive features, it's our favorite smartphone of 2012.
It’s the best iPhone yet, improving on its predecessors with features such as LTE connectivity, an improved camera, and a larger screen. It might not have the best map program, as you may have heard, but we have no doubt that the iPhone 5 is still one of the best smartphones of 2012. While we don't like it as much as Samsung's Galaxy S III, it remains high on our list at the number 22 slot.
We saw plenty of cheap Android tablets in 2012, but not one that was a worthy contender for this list. Then along came Google’s Nexus 7, which brought top-flight performance, features, and great design to an inexpensive tablet—along with a lovely, optically bonded display. It placed 14th overall.
As Maxwell Smart might have said, the Surface RT misses our top 10 by that much. That’s no surprise, considering that this is Microsoft’s rookie effort at building a retail computer; it's number 11 because the Surface has successfully redefined what a tablet can be.
Apple iPad Mini (tablet)
While it lacks a Retina display, Apple's smallish tablet is a joy to use, delivering a higher resolution than the first two generations of iPads. It would rank much higher than 48 on our master list if it carried a price tag closer to that of the Nexus 7.
Thoughtful design and an ethereal yet effective built-in reading light make this e-reader one of the best you can buy. It’s also the most flexible, with a MicroSD card slot on board. And unlike Amazon, B&N doesn’t charge extra for an AC adapter. On the full list, the Simple Touch is number 26.