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Function + Fun = Tech Gifts for Teens

Submitted by on December 19, 2013 – 2:18 pmNo Comment

Tech Gifts for Teens

Tech Gifts for Teens

by Regina Lewis

According to a recent holiday forecast report from the Consumer Electronics Association, 74 percent of consumers who are purchasing gifts this holiday season are planning to buy consumer electronics and have allocated a third of their budgets for gifts like laptops, tablets and video gaming consoles.

Tech gifts are a top trend for teens this holiday season, especially laptops and tablets. A recent poll found that nearly half of all parents said they are considering purchasing a tablet or a laptop for their child.

There is one rule I always swear by when making a purchasing decision for a teenager – make sure the tech gift has a purpose.

Before you even get into the store, you should think about what you want your child to get out of this device. If school work is a priority, then make sure the tablet or laptop is homework compatible. There are quite a few laptops in the affordable price range that will give you all of the functionality you need. Some of the top picks are the full-sized 15” Dell Inspiron and the 11” ASUS X200CA. The X200CA is perfect for students or anyone looking for a great laptop for as little as $249. It’s light with a huge hard drive, runs Windows, has a touchscreen that lets you swipe or type and has an all-day battery life. If you prefer a tablet over a laptop, the Dell Venue 8 Pro runs Windows and offers full-PC functionality in a super light 8” device, and it’s available for less than $300.

Much has been made about Chromebooks recently because of their cheap prices, but there are some things you should know. They can’t install any Windows programs, including Microsoft Office, which means there’s no way to run the full versions of Word, Excel or PowerPoint. It’s also difficult to print or connect to your other devices from a Chromebook – so not a good fit for your star student.Tech gifts for teens - transformerbook

Be sure to look for technology that grows with your child. The ASUS T100 “Transformerbook” is a convertible Windows device that’s a laptop when you need it, but has a display that detaches into a lightweight tablet all for as little as $299. It’s the best of both worlds and at a price point that won’t break the bank.

In the gaming space, certainly XBox One is one of the hottest gifts of the season. It’s tough to find but look online and also look for bundles – the price point is higher because the bundles tend to include additional games and controllers – but if you think you’ll be buying extra controllers and games anyway – you can still get one.

In addition to laptops and tablets as tech gifts for teens, there have also been trends in digital health, audio and cellular devices.

tech gifts for teens - FitBit FlexThis year, we have seen a major intersection of technology with health and wellness in all age groups. However, since we’re on the subject of teens, FitBit Flex is very popular and a great gift for active teens. With a cost as low as $99, it’s a fairly inexpensive device to purchase, especially given the health and wellness aspects.

Speakers are always a hit with teens. Jawbone’s JamBox Mini is a great gift – small enough to go anywhere, great sound, Bluetooth compatible – it can even act as a speakerphone – runs about $179.

And last but not least – every teenager wants a phone. The “pay as you go” plan is a great option since there is no contract to sign. I’m suggesting the Nokia Lumia 520, which can be purchased at Walmart for $70.

No matter what you decide to purchase, remember to make sure you are getting your money’s worth, whether it’s with your wallet or child’s well-being. Also, never forget that sustainability is very important. A tech device that possesses the functionality of what your child needs today as well as what you anticipate they will need tomorrow could make a huge difference in the time period of which you will have to replace the product. Later is better than sooner. After all, don’t you do this enough already with your teen son’s sneakers?

Regina Lewis is a tech trend expert and best-selling author, national TV contributor, and former host of DIY Network’s Tech Out My House.

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