In Pictures: Holiday 2012 tablet buying guide - top picks

The tablet market is awash with iOS, Android and Windows 8 models that come in different sizes and with different features, specs and prices. How do you decide? Start with our Holiday 2012 Tablet Buying Guide, which highlights the top picks in 13 categories.

Best for Microsoft Office: Microsoft Surface RT

There are Microsoft Office-compatible suites and standalone apps for both iOS and Android. Meanwhile, Office for iOS is coming in early 2013, but early reports suggest Office on iOS lacks key features. Nothing so far beats Office 2013 Home & Student edition on Microsoft's Surface RT tablet—especially when coupled with Microsoft's $130 Type Cover keyboard.

Some caveats apply. This version of Office lacks Outlook, but the Surface RT tablet includes mail, contact and calendaring apps. Also, the current Surface tab runs Windows RT, which isn't the full Windows 8 OS. Though Microsoft will release a Windows 8 Pro version in early 2013, other manufacturers are already coming out with tablet/laptop hybrids running Windows 8.

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