There are many options to consider when purchasing a device for a gift. Here are a few helpful questions to ask yourself before purchasing any device.
- What will the device's primary purpose be?
- What will the user need to access on the device?
- Will this device need to be used for work/school?
Notice, I didn't ask any questions about the technical specs. When buying a computer, as well as integrating technology into the classroom, you should focus on the purpose, not the device.
What will the device's primary purpose be?There are some common answers for this question. Your answer will narrow it down quite a bit.
Web-Browsing (Social Media, Email, and Google), School Work...Some will use a computer primarily for social media / e-mail. I recently posted an article about over 70% of global web traffic is routed through either Google or Facebook. However, if this is all you are doing, you don't need a top of the line machine. For example, using a MacBook only for playing FarmVille or Liking Statuses is like using a Bazooka to catch flies. You can use a lower end computer for occasional basic photo/video editing and causal gaming.
So, if this is the primary purpose of your computer the following devices would work fine.
Chromebook OR a Lower-end Windows Laptop (Price range around $350 to $500, Intel Core I3 processor, 8GB Ram, 250GB SSD....) You could also use an iPad or other tablet for this purpose, but if your doing word processing, you will probably want a keyboard.
Some Gaming, Photo/Video Editing, some Tinkering with coding or other mid-level computer functions
So, if you like playing games with 3D graphics, but don't need the specs that break the bank, most will be good with a mid-level computer. I always recommend a laptop over a desktop these days, as performance is about the same as well as price once you've bought the monitor and other accessories...
Believe it or not, the Chromebook still does this, except for most games. If you want to play games on a website, the Chromebook will work. Some Chromebooks can run Android Games as well. If other gaming is a priority, you will want a Windows or Mac device. Otherwise, through cloud-based apps, you can still video and photo edit consistently on your Chromebook without much slow down.
Chromebook OR a Mid-Range Windows Laptop (Price range around $$500 to $800, Intel Core I5 or I7 processor, 8GB Ram, 250GB SSD, Graphics card is optional....) OR a MacBook Air or other entry level Macbook. At this point I would rule out an iPad or other tablet.
Anything more than this and you are probably looking at a workstation type Windows device or a Macbook Pro.