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Holiday Shopping Tips!

With the Holidays around the corner lots of people are asking about what device they should get for themselves or loved ones. Here are the basics to keep in mind.

It all depends on two things, your needs and your budget. If you are only going to read e-books and minimal web browsing then the Kindle Fire is a good option. Kindle has a decent amount of apps, but you will hit a function limit past just fun simple stuff.

Android tablets, like the Nexus 7, open up more options as they use the Android App Store. You will have more apps and more functionality. These devices are like big cell phones because they are app based. Even the iPad falls into this group, the Apple apps are very similar. The main difference when looking at Apple is that you gain iTunes integration and device quality is higher. But that is at a price, Apple devices are not cheap.

Past that looking at Windows based machines you will see the Surface. They sell for about $300 (or less on sale). The catch to the Surface is it has Windows RT. Google “Windows RT vs Windows 8” for all the differences, mainly it is a stripped down version of Windows. You cannot use Firefox or Google Chrome in RT. Also any third party programs will not work. Lots of other normal windows functions are not available. But most Windows RT devices will be at a better price point and come with a limited version of Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, etc). That gets you into the next grouping of tablets.

Full Windows tablets: The Surface Pro ($900 range) and the HP Elitepad (about $700), but the market is not limited to these. Both have a full function version of Windows 8. Both have keyboards that can be attached, and other options. The HP Elitepad is tested to military standards and is a business class tablet. Microsoft Office can be loaded on these also. The current price of Office 365 is $99/year. It is subscription based and has more options than traditional Office. These also can have optional USB, HDMI and other ports. But tablets can be hard for some to use due to the smaller touch screen.

After that you are looking at Laptops or Desktops. In that world most people know what they are looking at, but remember you get what you pay for. Cheaper laptops might only last a year or so. If you go for a business class device you can get better customer service, better constructed devices and better internal parts. The difference between “Walmart” or “Staples” computers and what we sell at iNet Technology Group is astounding. We suggest HP or Lenovo (IBM) to anyone looking at computers. But still the cheaper ones have less quality parts. That is where budget comes in. We can sell a laptop knowing that 3-5 years is the lifespan and they will have little to no problems with the hardware. But that is a laptop in the $800 or more range. Microsoft Office would need purchased in addition to the computer.
What are the pros to windows? Different user accounts, can track and restrict children’s Internet access (minor configuration), full office suite available for reports and projects, updatable and many programs are available.

These are just some of the things to consider when looking at a new device. The options are almost unlimited out there. But make sure you do your homework on the device before you spend money on something that is not what you expected or wanted. Sales are great, but there is a reason the prices are so low. Have a safe and happy holiday!

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