Now comes the new 7.9-inch iPad mini, smaller, lighter, thinner, but just as useful as its big brother. It’s a lovely thing indeed, a first-rate alternative to full-sized tablets. But its rather stiff starting price of $329will scare off many a Christmas shopper. For $199, Barnes & Noble Inc. offers an appealing fallback. Its new 7-inch Nook HD has a sharper video screen than the iPad, along with some very smart family-friendly software.
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