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 Keyboard: Type Cover for Microsoft Surface

Every tablet has a virtual onscreen keyboard for typing, and they're all useful for short periods. But for any prolonged typing—such as in a Word document—you'll want a physical keyboard. The best one is by far Microsoft's Type Cover, an optional purchase for its Surface tablet. It's a thin keyboard that also serves as the Surface's cover, yet it feels like a real keyboard. There's even a built-in trackpad.

Microsoft also sells its Touch Cover ($120) for Surface tablets. It comes in various colors and has a trackpad, but it isn't as comfortable for sustained typing, and there have been reports that the Touch Cover isn't terribly durable.

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