Computers are an integral part of our lives today. As a result, computing gifts are just as popular as personal electronics. They make great gifts for families, students, gamers or pretty much anyone. Of course they are expensive, so it is important to take the time and try to match the computer to the recipient as best as possible. If a new PC is too expensive, this guide also includes suggestions for accessories, peripherals and upgrades.
Tablets are the big trend in mobile computing these days. Since the primary function of computers for many now is entertainment and communication, these extremely portable and easy to use devices are a great option for those that don't necessarily want to carry around a laptop and a mobile phone is too small to use. With such a large group of tablets to choose from, it can be very challenging to compare them. I recommend looking over my Tablet Buyer's Guide to get a feel for the various options before taking a closer look at individual tablets.
Portable computers now sell more than desktop systems. Their performance and features have increased dramatically where they can function as a primary computer system. They take up less space then a desktop and can be carried and connected to the Internet pretty much from anywhere. If you aren't really sure what to look for in a laptop PC as a gift, check out my Laptop Buyer's Guide for tips and advice.
Best Laptop PC Lists:
- Budget Laptops - Laptops costing less than $600
- Thin and Light Laptops - Laptops between 14 and 16-inches in size
- Desktop Replacements - 17-inch and larger laptops designed for performance
- Ultraportable Laptops - Highly portable laptops with screens smaller than 14-inches
While laptops are gaining in popularity, desktops still have the advantage in terms of performance, price and expandability. These are a great option for those needing a computer system that they don't have to take with them. If you are considering getting one for the holidays but aren't sure where to start, check out my Desktop Buyer's Guide for tips.
Best Desktop PC Lists:
- Budget Desktops - Desktops priced under $500
- Mainstream Desktops - Desktops with performance priced between $700 and $1000
- Performance Desktops - Expensive PCs designed for gaming and performance
- All-In-One PCs - Desktops with built-in monitors
- Small Form Factor PCs - Desktops that are relatively small in size
Monitors are an essential item for any desktop PC system. If you are looking to purchase a desktop system don't forget to also get a display. They also make great upgrade gifts for those with older screens. Prices have dropped allowing larger screens to be more affordable. If you aren't familiar with LCD monitors, a good place to start might be to check out my LCD Monitor Buyer's Guide for a better understanding of all the different terms and features.
Best LCD Monitor Lists:
- 22-inch LCDs - Smaller and more Affordable Displays
- 24-inch LCDs - Larger screens that cost a bit more but provide a good balance between size and resolution
- 27-inch LCDs - Larger displays for those that want more
- 30-inch LCDs - The largest PC specific displays currently available
- LCDs for Graphics Work - Best LCDs for high quality color reproduction
Accessories and Peripherals
Maybe you aren't looking to purchase a new computer but get a computer related gift for someone who already has a PC. There are a large number of accessories and peripherals that are designed for different types of computers and users. Here are some suggested gifts for broken out by how people use their PCs or specific peripheral types.
- Computer Stocking Stuffers
- Gifts For Tablet Users
- PC Gifts for Gamers
- PC Gifts for the Digital Photographer
- PC Gifts for Kids
- PC Gifts for the Apple User
- PC Gifts for the Business Traveler
- Gadget Gifts Under $25
Another great gift idea is to buy an upgrade to a desktop or laptop computer that would be useful to the receiver without costing too much. There are a variety of different upgrade options, but one of the easiest is a memory upgrade. Of course, buying memory requires some extra knowledge. Be sure to read my Computer Memory Upgrade article for details on what you need to know.
If you know someone who is into PC gaming, then a video card or sound card upgrade can be a gift option. There have been a number of video card releases recently that add extra performance that don't cost a lot. Similarly, a wide variety of audio cards have been released that challenge Creative's dominance of the market.
- Budget 3D Video Cards - Graphics cards available for $100, $150, $200 and $250
- Performance Video Cards - For those wanting high speed 3D graphics for gaming
- Sound Cards - For those that care about audio from music, games or movies
Storage upgrades are also an excellent option for those looking for PC based gifts. With the explosion of digital media files, the amount of space we need for our PCs keeps getting larger. Hard drives allow for more data to be stored on the PC itself. Blu-ray allows existing computers to play the new high definition movie format.