9 Best Tablets You Can Buy In Summer 2013 (PICTURES)

Modern tablets are still a relatively young category in consumer tech - but they're also one of the biggest. And while Apple's iPad has been the dominant player since its launch in 2010, many of its biggest rivals are catching up fast.

Samsung has made a big effort to release many new, often iterative tablets appealing to those who want to break away from the Apple monopoly. Its Galaxy Tab series, as well as the hybrid Note II, Note 8 and Note 10.1 devices, show that it's not ready to cede any ground to its great smartphone rival in this emerging space.

Meanwhile Google (with Asus) has made its own assault on Cupertino with the successful budget-minded Nexus 7. Sony, HP and Acer have also remained in the mix with Android devices, while Amazon, Kobo and Barnes & Noble have carved out their own niches with content-focused tablet e-readers.

Oh, and then there's Microsoft. While its own Surface tablets made little more than a shallow dent in the market, its touch-focused Windows 8 OS has seen a proliferation in tablet-style computers, and the future's getting brighter with the prospect of new and improved Surface hardware on the horizon.

We've tried to make the job of picking a tablet easier with our list of the 9 best models on the market as of Spring 2013. Take a look, below.

Update: Added the Sony Tablet Z to replace the Nook HD