Computerworld's holiday gift guide 2013: Tablets and accessories

Part 4 of our annual gift guide showcases the best Android, iOS and Windows tablets, plus some choice tablet stands, cases and other add-ons.

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LifeProof nüüd case for iPad Mini and nüüd for iPad (gen 2 / 3 / 4)

Got a friend whose iPad is always in danger from drops, spills, sticky-fingered kids or other environmental hazards? LifeProof's nüüd cases (one for iPad generations 2, 3 and 4 and one for all iPad Minis) strike a good balance between making an iPad practically indestructible and leaving it easy to use.

LifeProof nuud cases for iPad and iPad Mini

nüüd Case for iPad Mini and nüüd Case for iPad (gen 2 / 3 / 4)

from LifeProof

Direct price: $120 for iPad Mini; $130 for iPad gen 2/3/4

Retail price: $120 for iPad Mini; $100 - $130 for iPad gen 2/3/4

The nüüd is designed to meet tough IP-68 and Military Standard 810F-516 specifications for device protection, including submersion in up to 6.6 feet of water. Unlike most waterproof cases, however, the nüüd doesn't put a screen protector over the display -- which means the iPad maintains its full brightness, clarity and responsiveness.

So how does it work? The plastic case has rubber gaskets inside that make a waterproof, dirt-proof seal when it's snapped together around the edge of an iPad. (It even comes with a mock iPad so you can test its waterproofness before submerging your real device.) The nüüd also provides impressive shock protection -- not that we tried it with our own devices, but the CEO's demonstration video is pretty convincing (and entertaining).

Note that the currently available nüüd cases won't work with Apple's new iPad Air. The company expects to have a nüüd case for the iPad Air ready by March 2014.

LifeProof also assured us that it has tested the nüüd with the new iPad Mini with Retina display, which is ever-so-slightly thicker than the previous model, and it works as promised -- although there is a microphone on the back of the new device that the case covers up. The company is working on a design for next year that will include an opening for the back mic.

If right about now you're thinking, "If only they made a case like this for phones," you're in luck: LifeProof also makes nüüd cases for the iPhone 5/5S, along with Samsung's Galaxy S3 and Galaxy S4.

You might also like: For your friend who's already snapped up a new iPad Air, consider the Gumdrop Drop Tech Series rugged cases ($60), available in muted black or an array of bright colors.

-- Jake Widman

MoBoogieBoutique handmade tablet sleeves

Finding the perfect carrying case for a tablet -- especially if it's not an iPad -- can be an exercise in frustration.

MoBoogieBoutique handmade tablet sleeves

Handmade tablet sleeves from MoBoogieBoutique

Direct price: $28 - $35

That's where a small company like MoBoogieBoutique comes in: It offers attractive, useful padded sleeves (complete with a front pocket for cords and headsets) in a variety of patterns and sizes to fit almost anyone's taste.

Here's the best part: You can custom-order a case for the same price as one of the premade cases. Just choose a fabric and type of closure (zipper or loop), and add a note explaining which device your giftee has. (Not surprisingly, custom orders take a few days longer than stock orders.)

-- Barbara Krasnoff

iPad Musical Shower Curtain

What's a holiday gift guide without something silly but cool from Hammacher Schlemmer? This musical shower curtain fills the bill, giving the recipient a way to watch video or listen to music from any tablet (not just an iPad) while getting clean. (A smartphone or MP3 player will also work.)

iPad Musical Shower Curtain

iPad Musical Shower Curtain from Hammacher Schlemmer

Direct price: $50

The shower side has two speakers and a touch-capable plastic window over a waterproof pocket: Plug in the audio cable, slip the device into the pocket, zip it closed on the outside and let the music commence. The curtain is 6 ft. x 6 ft. and takes three AA batteries.

Give this as a present and then sneak the violin screech from Psycho into your friend's playlist for a real treat.

-- Jake Widman

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