What to Consider When Shopping for a Tablet or Laptop this Holiday Season

If you find yourself shopping for a big ticket item like a laptop or tablet for a loved one this holiday season, make sure you’re armed with some basic information before making a decision. Knowing what’s available on the market and what type of device suits the user best will help you make the right choice. I also recommend purchasing a complete solution whenever possible to ensure that your loved one gets the most out of their gift. Here are some things to consider before you make a final purchasing decision.


While there are a lot of tablets out there, this holiday season I recommend the Microsoft Surface and Apple iPad products. Despite being more expensive, I firmly believe that these products offer the most value for your money. This is especially true if you’re shopping for a power user and, in that case, I recommend going with the latest models with the most processing power. The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 and the iPad Pro are your best bets here, offering the longest life thanks to their powerful processors.

When it comes to choosing between an iPad or Surface, you’ll want to find out what type of operating system your loved one prefers. If they prefer or already have iOS or MacOS products, then go with an iPad. This will allow them to integrate their new device into their existing ecosystem. If they use Windows computers or laptops, the Surface devices are the way to go.


When it comes to laptops, there are a myriad of fantastic options and you should consider what the device will be used for and what type of operating system makes sense for the user. For users who like to be creative and work on desktop publishing, photography, or video editing projects, an Apple product is likely the best option. For gamers, you definitely want to stick with a Windows product. For students and general use, both work! In that case, I would consider the user’s ecosystem. For example, do they have an Android or iOS smartphone?

Again, if you’re shopping for someone who will use the device a lot and to do more than just word processing or web browsing, I recommend going with a newly released device with a powerful processor. In general, you want to stick with at least an i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 500GB of hard drive storage.

A Complete Solution

Once you’ve found the perfect device for your loved one, I recommend investing in a complete solution. Of course, you’re not going to be able to anticipate everything they need but there are a few bases that you should cover. For example, you’ll want to make sure the device is set up according to their basic needs and has Microsoft Office and virus protection installed. A device protection plan is also a wise investment that will pay off in the event of a malfunction or accident.

Over the holiday season, you can get great offers on set-up and protection bundles for new devices. For example, Staples is offering the following bundles November 20th, 2016 through January 3rd, 2017:

Tech in a Box Holiday Bundle
Price: starting at $199
Savings: up to $175

This warranty and setup bundle is perfect for students, teachers, parents and small businesses.

You receive Staples’ extended warranty with accidental coverage, Microsoft Office Home, Home & Student or Personal, Norton or Kaspersky security software, and device setup with your choice of one customization option.

MacBook Holiday Bundle
Price: starting at $349.00
Savings: $58

This AppleCare and setup bundle caters to MacBooks 13” and under.

It provides you with AppleCare protection, Microsoft Office Home, Home & Student or Personal and personalized device setup.

iPad Holiday Bundle
Price: $145
Savings: $28

This bundle includes AppleCare+ protection, which includes accidental coverage, personalized device setup, and application of Liquid-Armor scratch-resistant screen protector.

Surface Pro 4 Holiday bundle
Price: starting at $289.99
Savings: up to $78

This bundle Includes Microsoft Office Home, Home & Student or Personal, personalized device setup, and application of Liquid-Armor scratch-resistant screen protector.

By Mike Agerbo

November 15, 2016