iPad, Kindle Fire or LeapPad: Choosing the Right Tablet Computer For Everyone on Your List
Tablets are a hot gift item this holiday season, and you may have
already decided one tablet or another will appear under the tree. Before
you make the common mistake of assuming that all tablets are for
everyone, check out our handy buying guide for getting it right!
What to get Grandma
You've sold your elder relative on getting a tablet, but aren't sure they will want all the bells and whistles that come standard with the more high-end models. Understand just what she will use it for by asking simple questions: Will you use it to read books? Are you active on Facebook? Do you have an iTunes
It's likely that Grandma won't have over 5,000 songs in her music library and won't be using her tablet to create business presentations on the road. If so, you can go with minimal storage (8GB) and a Wi-Fi only connection (unless Grandma has no other internet and needs a data plan to get online.
) It's best to choose a tablet with an external keyboard capability, as well--it gets more cumbersome to type as we age.
What to get your Road Warrior Spouse
If keeping connected to the family while knocking out sales calls is a must for your husband or wife, the right tablet can make a world of difference. For these multi-taskers, a tablet with both Wi-Fi and a data plan is essential. Work with your cell phone provider to get a good deal on an existing plan upgrade.
Be sure to pre-load the tablet with all the apps needed to keep in close contact with the kids when traveling; many tablets can be purchased with a suite of solutions already enabled. You will also want to get additional memory for the tablet user who relies on their gizmo for both business and pleasure. (The maximum amount of storage may be warranted, in this case
What to get your Teenage Child
Doing a needs assessment is crucial here; if you're not content to hand over a gift card to allow the child to buy their own, you'll want to make sure you are giving them exactly what they want. The tablet should integrate seamlessly into their online lives, so media handling is important here. If they use iTunes for most all of their entertainment needs, go with the iPad
; kids that use a good deal of Amazon
's services will be delighted by the Kindle
Remember that games are important to many teens, as well. Avoid the iPad in the case of someone who uses Adobe Flash for most of their gaming. It's also difficult to expand memory once it's full, so consider getting more memory than what you expect they'll use. It's more costly now, but is still more affordable than upgrading to a newer model in a year.
What to get your Young Child
If you insist on getting them a tablet, a "toy" version is most appropriate for kids age 4-10. The durability alone is a benefit; kids are more likely to drop and ruin a grown-up tablet. There are many options on the market for a "just like Mom and Dad" tablet that is built for the wear and tear of a precocious child. Leapfrog
offers the LeapPad
for under $200, and other companies have followed suit. Check your local big box or toy retailer for options for every budget.
The best way to find out if a tablet will be "right" for your family is to try it out for yourself. Test drive the model in store before you buy, or consider getting a tablet from a store with a generous return policy. This is one gift you can't afford to do wrong!
Will you be buying anyone a tablet this year? Let me know in the comments below!