CHICAGO (CBS) — Tablet computers are a hot gift for Christmas. Sales are up 264% this year, with the iPad leading the way, but the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet are picking up steam.

CBS 2’s Susan Carlson looks at the differences between the three popular tablets.

It seems everyone wants a tablet this year, but the iPad starts at $499, so people are turning to the souped up e-readers — the Nook from Barnes and Noble the Kindle Fire from Amazon.

They’re half the price of the iPad, but experts at CNET say there’s a reason.

“You’re looking at products that have really chopped away a lot of features in order to hit a price point,” says CNET’S Donald Bell.

Amazon’s Kindle Fire is $199 and Barnes and Noble’s Nook Tablet is $249.

Both have 7-inch screens, only use WiFi for web surfing and don’t have cameras.

But, the experts at CNET say there are some definite differences between the Nook and the Kindle Fire.

The Nook offers more than twice the storage of the Kindle Fire

“You’re getting 16 gigabytes of storage, if you really want to get a lot of videos and photos on there,” says Bell.

Some say the Nook responds better to touch.

Barnes and Noble’s Andrew Widman explains, “They actually put in a dual core processor. We have the new Vivid view screen, which has great unparalleled video.”

You can get music on both, but CNET’s Donald Bell says say it’s easier on the Kindle Fire.

“They have their own mp3 store that’s very popular, great selection of tracks. They also have a cloud service that lets you upload your entire music library,” Bell said.

You can also download videos you buy at Amazon. With the Nook, you can only stream rental videos with Netflix or Hulu.

As far as customer service is concerned, with Amazon, you call or go online. Nook owners can stop into a Barnes and Noble store.

“We’ll sit down with you. We’ll get you where you need to be”, says Widman.

But ultimately, the choice will likely come down to one thing: what you can afford.

In the end, CNET gave the Nook a slightly higher rating than the Kindle Fire, but says both offer a lot for the price.

You can read more detailed reviews here.

Watch & Listen LIVE