Would tablets make better holiday gifts?

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from  Kansas City, MO
| Published: November 15, 2012

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, holiday shopping and sales are in full effect for many. While there are plenty of deals going on right now for popular smartphones, there is speculation that phones won’t be the primary focus this quarter with other useful gadgets (such as tablets) that are less expensive and come with little to no obligation to keep.

One could argue that when it comes down to comparison, a $199 phone that comes bow-and-ribbon with a 2-year contract doesn’t sound as good as a $199 tablet that can do almost as much and can easily be replaced with the next $199 tablet without many repercussions. This is especially true for those who only want a smartphone for the functionality and not necessarily for the phone aspect of the device. With a wide variety of devices to choose from, tablets are almost just as good of a choice for gift-giving as phones, if not better. Not only do you have the convenience to pick one up at major retailers at the drop of a hat, but you also don’t have to worry about what plan to pick, or messing up somebody’s bundle, or literally having this person be stuck with this device for 2 years.

Since half of the spectrum (regarding gifts) involves children and teenagers, it would make more sense to go with something like a tablet. Although they are just as breakable as any smartphone would be, as mentioned before, they’re not nearly as hard to replace. Although you can’t avoid certain situations when it comes to risking breaking a device, there are new tablets coming out that are tailored for certain age groups. Modern day toddlers are particularly curious as they see mommy and daddy playing on their phones, and they want to play too. I myself will let my son play with my phone, but only when I am completely focused on him and ready to pounce the second he raises his arm up in the air with it. That won’t be a problem anymore once I find the right toddler tablet for him to play with. They look just like your average plastic toys, but they are actually run a complex (yet simplified) version of Android within the screen. I think it’s a pretty awesome idea.

Then of course you have the wide range of tablets for anyone above the age of ten or so, but are especially useful for those going into or are already in college. You’ve got several popular platforms to choose from such as iOS, Android, Windows 8, or even BlackBerry when it comes to tablets. Tablets can actually be particularly helpful in recording lectures or taking down handwritten notes. This comes in handy if you’ve forgotten a pen or pencil, or even paper. They’re also fantastic for keeping your e-textbooks handy and ready whenever you need them and a lot less heavy too.

Even people who aren’t familiar with how smartphones work could benefit from owning a tablet. It gives them a feel for the interface without having to invest a lot of time and possibly frustration trying to forcibly learn how to work the device. It seems to be an easier transition when they know they can still use the cell phone they’re comfortable with to make calls until they’re ready to make the switch.

Although phones are a great choice for close family members, tablets seem like a good alternative for those gadget-loving people in your lives who might not need a smartphone. With all the benefits of a smartphone (minus the phone) at a relatively cheap price, what’s to say no to? I think tablets make fantastic gifts for the holidays. What do you think? Do you see tablet sales taking the stage against cell phones this holiday season? Let me know what you think in the comments!