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article imageOp-Ed: Smartphones and tablets: Gift options for the holidays

By Daniel Edwards     Dec 11, 2014 in Technology
Consumer technology is growing at a rapid pace and with numerous smartphones and tablets available with different features the question is which device is the best fit for the techie on my gift list?
When market intelligence firm IDC released the third quarter report for 2014 smartphone sales at 327 million it only reiterated what many of us already know, people really love smartphones. 2014 has been a momentous year in the smartphone sector — especially for iPhone fans who have finally received the much anticipated iPhone 6 and 6 Plus — as well as the release of numerous flagship devices from several brands which are vying for consumers pockets. Although tablet sales are not growing as fast as analyst expected for 2014, tablets and smartphones are still hot gift ideas for the tech savvy individual on your list.
Samsung’s continual foray into the large-screened phablet market has inspired other brands to follow suit, creating two versions of smartphones: traditional smaller-than-5-inch screen devices and phablets with screens that are well over 5 inches. As companies such as Apple and Motorola make their way into the steadily growing phablet market with the iPhone 6 Plus and Google Nexus 6, Samsung has recently released the fourth version of the Samsung Galaxy Note, offering all the features a phablet lover could need from its sharp 5.7 inch Super Amoled screen to the 16 megapixel camera. The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 offers several improvements from the last model, but not necessarily enough to warrant a change if you just purchased the Note 3.
At first glance the improvement in physical design catches your eye right away. Samsung — which has been synonymous with plastic designs in a market of premium devices — has finally improved their design by implementing an aluminum trim on the Note 4 as well as a faux leather back cover which gives the device a stunning look, although real leather would have been nicer. The Note 4 has one of the best screens on the market and with features that enable the user to shrink the screen, the large screen experience is available to all no matter what their hand size. The S pen stylus for the Note 4 is a disputed feature as there are many Note users who rarely pull out the stylish pen, but for those who do, the functionality of the stylus adds to the overall notepad experience while also keeping your screen smudge free.
For those who prefer Apple to Samsung, the iPhone 6 Plus is Apple’s first attempt in the large phone space, and with the exception of the bending issue which occurred shortly after the product launch, the iPhone 6 plus is a great choice. Of course it cost more then the iPhone 6 (hence the name plus), however the 6 Plus offers stronger battery life and better photo capabilities. The 6 Plus is a long thin device with a 5.5 inch HD screen that keeps up with the brands minimalistic beauty. The 6 Plus is easily one of the best looking phones on the market and its vast health app with pedometers, vital scanners, and nutrition chart, will come in handy after all the holiday food is consumed and the new years resolution fitness regiment begins.
Outside of the phablet realm there are numerous options for those who desire a nice sleek device to use on a daily basis. The HTC One M8 is the perfect choice for the entertainment lover due to its great screen and superb audio. The HTC One M8 is equipped with hands down the best audio speakers in the market, the patented BoomSound speakers. The clarity is unrivaled as HTC has managed to make a speaker that produces TV quality sound yet remains clear even at low levels. The introduction of new colours such as gun metal grey and the brush aluminum finish combine to make one of the best looking devices available. However, similar to Apple’s iPhone, the HTC One M8 battery is non-removable, which may be an issue for some users, especially since it is only a 2600Mah battery. What separates the HTC One M8 from the rest of the competition is that it is available on multiple operating systems, allowing you to purchase an Android or Windows Phone model. Both Apple and Samsung released similarly designed devices which make purchasing a 4.7 inch screened device more difficult. The iPhone 6 and the Samsung Galaxy Alpha offer similar screen pixel density, battery life, and form factor. For two companies’which are in constant competition for consumers pockets, the choice between these two devices comes down to brand loyalty and not much else.
For years iPads have controlled the tablet market with limited opposition, causing consumers to believe that iPads are the be all and end all for tablet computing. Apple is still keeping the iPad selection current, but for those who are looking for an alternative there are several options on the market. Tablet sales have risen for Android devices but have fallen overall as phablet growth seems to be encroaching on Tablet sales. A few more inches of screen real estate may not be enough for some consumers to warrant the additional device purchase, but for those who are looking for a tablet device to lounge with, the recently-launched Google Nexus 9 is a great option. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S line has the hold on the superb screen segment, but the Nexus 9, with its stock Android experience and clean design is a powerful device without all the unnecessary apps and widgets that take up space on other devices.
The Nexus 9 comes equipped with pretty powerful speakers thanks to its design collaboration with HTC, but disappointingly it is not BoomSound speaker quality. For the individual who finds pleasure in being part of an exclusive crowd, the Nexus 9 is one of the only devices that are currently running Android 5.0 Lollipop which offer numerous software improvements from a very efficient battery saver to multiple user accounts enabling each user to have their own private and customizable experience.
Whether you are looking for a phablet to watch videos on or a tablet to kick back and scroll through a magazine, there are numerous options available for the consumer product techie on your list which may make the task more daunting then in years gone by. Worst-case scenario there is always socks and gift cards.
Best Smartphones For Holiday Gift-Giving | FindTheBest
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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