When you think about the cost of the device, does it include a service plan or an accidental damage plan? Since tablets are made to be mobile, they take a lot more abuse than your desktop computer. At our world-class repair facility — Geek Squad City — we see many units that have been accidentally dropped, or damaged because they had fluid spilled on them. Having coverage that repairs or replaces the unit in the case of catastrophe is vital.
Currently there are three operating systems for tablets: Android, iOS, and Windows. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks. When choosing a tablet as a gift, think about what kinds of tech devices the person for whom you are buying it currently uses. If they use a smartphone with an Android operating system, an Android tablet would be a natural choice. The same thing is true for if the person is a Mac user. And Windows users? Most of the newer Windows tablets come with a tablet version of Windows 8. Tablet users have been surprised about how well they like the new system.
Tablet screens today range from about 4.5″ touchscreens to almost 12″. The size of the screen makes a big difference for kids or older adults who may have trouble holding and using smaller devices. You may also want to consider the shape of the product and its thickness when deciding if the device fits the person’s lifestyle.
How will the gift recipient use the product? Take what you know about their use of tech into account. If the person is going to use it to check email or watch movies and videos that require Flash, then you will need to choose a compatible product. Does the person like to take pictures or put files on detachable media? You’ll want to be sure to choose something that has a SD card. Does the person need a web camera? What about two cameras (front and rear facing)? Thinking about how the recipient of the tablet is likely to use it will also help you choose the right accessories for it.
Generally most tablets come with between 2 Gigabytes (GB) to 64GB of internal storage. Some products allow the internal storage to be expanded by using SD cards, while others do not. If the person you are giving the tablet to is likely to use it to store music, photos or other data, you will want to make sure the device has a good amount of internal storage.
I suggest that you go into a store and actually hold tablets you are considering to give as a gift. Talk to a sales associate and ask questions. Play around with them and see which one you like best. Consider the person to whom you are giving the gift and what he or she might like best. Make sure you understand the return / exchange policy. Some stores charge a restocking fee, or will require that the return be made within a certain number of days from the date of purchase. A gift receipt is always a good idea. Also, ask if it is possible for the person can exchange the product for a different brand or model if there is an issue with the size or operating system.