Practical Tech Gifts For Every User

December 5, 2013 Updated: December 5, 2013

Tech gifts present a challenge because everyone has different levels of expertise, and different things they like to do. This guide gives some of the best tech items out there for the full range of people. 

Laptops

 

1. Best basic: Acer C720 Chromebook

 

Courtesy of Acer

For the person who just needs the basics, such as email, web browsing, and maybe video chatting (think grandma), a Chromebook is a perfect choice. Because it uses Google’s web-based Chrome OS, it’s immune to viruses, so you don’t have to worry about maintenance. There are several manufacturers making Chromebooks, but the Acer is a strong choice. Starting at $249.99. www.amazon.com

2. Best for graphics: ASUS N550 JV 

(Courtesy of ASUS)

For the one who wants to play the latest games with incredible graphics or watch high-definition videos, the ASUS N550 JV is a solid, relatively affordable option. It has a great hi-definition display, a quad-speaker sound system developed with Bang & Olufsen, and a powerful processor. This one can pretty much do it all. Starting at $939.93. www.xoticpc.com

3. Best hybrid: HP ENVY 15

Courtesy of HP

If you need to get a laptop for a student or someone who will use it for work, the HP ENVY will provide all you need. It’s a hybrid—meaning its screen is a touchscreen, like a tablet—so you have the best of both worlds. Now that Microsoft has worked out the kinks of Windows 8, this is a viable, exciting new direction for laptops. Starting at $899. www.shopping.hp.com

 

Cameras

 

1. Best professional: Nikon D4

Courtesy of Nikon

For truly professional quality, the Nikon D4 can work wonders. Shooting both pictures and videos at incredible quality, it takes shots with exceptional speed, and even works great in dark conditions. It also has a 51-point autofocus to guarantee great pictures in a flash. $5999.95. www.nikonusa.com

2. Best entry-level: Nikon D7000

Courtesy of Nikon

For the entry-level professional, the Nikon D7000 produces great shots at a fraction of the price of the D4. One reviewer even called it Nikon’s best digital SLR ever, even better than the D4. It has great image quality, but also handles very well, and it’s fast. $999. www.nikonusa.com

3. Best point-and-shoot: Panasonic Lumix LX7K

Courtesy of Panasonic

For those who just want to take great pictures, but don’t want to do too much fiddling around, the Panasonic Lumix is your go-to camera. It’s basically a point-and-shoot, so you don’t have to worry about buying and changing different lenses, but it has plenty of options to enhance your pictures if you’d like to go there. $288 www.amazon.com

 

Tablets

 

1. For the media junkie: Kindle Fire HDX 

Courtesy of Amazon

For the person who just wants to consume media like books, movies, and TV shows, as well as do some web browsing, the Kindle Fire will deliver. With a brilliant screen, lightweight design, and integrated customer service, this is a great tablet, but the downside is the lack of apps and games on the Amazon platform. Starting at $229. www.amazon.com

2. For productivity: Microsoft Surface Pro 2

Courtesy of Microsoft

If you need a tablet that you can get some work done on, the Surface Pro 2 is probably your safest bet. It has a detachable keyboard, and runs the full version of Windows 8, so you can use all your productivity apps like Word and Excel. But like the Kindle, it doesn’t have the kind of app variety you’ll find on an iPad. Starting at $899. microsoft.com

3. For app junkies: iPad Mini with Retina Display

Courtesy of Apple

For the tablet that will do fun, the iPad wins because of the bounty of offerings in the App store. Many tablets now have great displays, and though the iPad does probably win for aesthetics, the real strength is in all the cool and entertaining things you can do on it. Of course, you can also use it for reading and movies. Starting at $399. www.apple.com

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