Nearly half of Canadians surveyed (48 per cent) by Vision Critical, say they are planning or maybe planning to purchase and give tech products to people on their holiday shopping list this year. Of those considering purchasing and giving technology gifts, tablets are the most popular gift (44 per cent), followed by video game systems at 21 per cent. Surprisingly nearly 1 in 2 Canadian respondents (48 per cent) says the value of a tablet’s components is not clear to them, making it difficult to buy the best product.
Ok. I get it. Choosing the right high-tech gift can be tricky and there certainly are plenty of choices out there! The scariest part is definitely deciphering the specifications when it comes to tablets but it really doesn’t have to be that way.
I already outlined how to choose a tablet for kids and some of the same principles can work in general for everyone on your list.
Features to Look For
Personally I prefer Intel processors paired with at least 1 GB of Ram (which is becoming pretty standard anyway) and plenty of storage capacity. The minimum I would look for is 32Gs of space with room to expand via memory card if you intend to load up the tablet with movies and music for your child. The type of Intel processor depends on your budget but for a good quality processor meant for tablets that works with any budget look for the Intel Atom. If the tablet will be used for extended time, especially during travel, battery life will be an important factor. In general look for a tablet with the capacity for at least 8 hours of continuous use.
In the specifications look for (as bare minimums):
- Processor Type – Intel Atom (Z3700 series)
- RAM/Memory – 1 GB
- Built-in Memory Card Reader – Yes
- Built-in Storage Capacity – 32 GB
- Approximate In-use Battery Life – Up To 8 Hours
The rest of the specs really depend on what the tablet will be used for which is why it is important to know the needs of the recipient.
For the Shutterbug
Tablets are super versatile tools and they can be turned into a powerful tool for photography whether live shooting or post processing. Photographers can successfully integrate a tablet into their work-flow with ease, especially if they use a DSLR with wireless capabilities. Definitely look for the Windows 8 Pro Operating System as it comes with the ease of use of the more tablet based interface (previously known as metro) as well as the familiar full desktop interface upon which Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom can be installed and used for both tethering and post processing. Tethering basically means you can use the tablet as a remote for the DSLR for remote shooting which is super handy.
Personally when shooting I dislike previewing my shots on the DSLR screen, it’s tiny and hard to tell if you are getting your subject perfectly in focus. A larger screen makes this a whole lot easier but you don’t necessarily want to go too big as camera bags already tend to get quite heavy. 7 to 12 inches is ideal.
If you have no budget the ultimate tablet for the photographer is the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 12″ 128GB Windows 8.1 Pro Tablet With Intel Core i5 Processor. The 12 inch screen is high resolution and quite simply beautiful, there is plenty of storage space to store raw photographs and the i5 processor is robust enough to handle CPU intensive programs like Lightroom. This one is on my Christmas list this year.
Budget in mind though, the ASUS Transformer 10.1 Tablet fits the bill perfectly with a 10 inch HD display, Intel Bay Trail-T Z3740 processor with 2GB RAM, Windows 8.1 and up to 11 hours of battery life. This one I own and have reviewed if you want to know more about the ASUS Transformer 10.1 Tablet.
For the Gamer
Tablets are quickly replacing hand-held game systems because of their versatility and power – not to mention the selection of games available in Google Play and the Microsoft Store. Either Windows 8 or Android tablets with a large high definition display are a must for the serious gamer as is plenty of Storage Space and Memory. The bare minimums I have listed here probably will not be good enough so try to improve on those specs by going with the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 or the Toshiba Satellite Radius P55W-B5224 both of which offer incredible processing speeds, storage space and display size and resolution.
For the Blogger/Social Media Addict
This person will want something smaller and lightweight with a decent camera and 4G connected for internet access at all times. A 2 in 1 is a really great choice if they blog or intend to do a lot of writing which can be a bit difficult with only an on screen keyboard. Personally I have found Windows 8 Pro based tablets to be slightly more productive as far as being able to easily sync with my laptop and for using the full office suite. Android though is pretty functional so I would say that is up to the recipients preference. If you aren’t sure go with Windows. In this case I would suggest the HP Stream 8 which offers 4G connectivity, a quad-core Intel Atom processor perfect for multi-tasking, 5 MP rear facing camera as well as a 2 MP front facing for Skype, and up to 8 hours of battery life.
For the Workaholic
When productivity is a must you will want to look for a 2 in 1 tablet that makes it easy to switch from ultra portability to ultra productive. A processor capable of high performance is also a must to handle multiple programs. In this case the ASUS Transformer 10.1 is a pretty decent and budget friendly pick. Other good options include the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 and the Acer Switch 10″
As I mentioned I already covered How to Choose a Tablet for Kids so I would suggest checking out the full article on that. I do recommend the HP Stream 7 though.
For Everyone Else
Still not sure and looking for more options? Take the gift quiz!and get great tablet recommendations to choose from!
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Elizabeth Lampman is a coffee-fuelled Mom of 2 girls and lives in Hamilton, Ontario. She enjoys travelling, developing easy recipes, crafting, taking on diy projects, travelling and saving money!