World awaits the year of the tablet
Whether you’re buying for Christmas jumper-wearing dads or teenagers sporting Converse trainers and ironic grins, the tablet computer is the way to go this year.
Whether you're buying for Christmas jumper-wearing dads or teenagers sporting Converse trainers and ironic grins, the tablet computer is the way to go this year. Touted as the must-have gadget for 2013, the tablet should put right any previous gift calamities, even outfoxing the tech nuts on your list who have been known to offer a 'well, at least you tried' frown while un-wrapping previous efforts.
Okay, so tablets such as the iPad have been around for a while - but 2013 will be remembered as the year they went supersonic, with figures from YouGov showing ownership will nearly double in the UK next year.
We take our tablets everywhere; nestling them in our handbags and man-bags next to mobile phones, diaries and half-empty packets of chewing gum. We watch football and films on them, chat with friends on Facebook and enjoy payday splurges on clothes and shoes. They've even got us through the most monotonous of train journeys, although fellow passengers may have another take on our spluttering and guffawing at YouTube clips of X Factor auditions.
2013 is already being touted as the year of the tablet, so climb on board the revolution.
Sleek and slender
With sleek lines and cutting-edge tech, the iPad has become a true object of desire - adored by cool kids, gadget gods and busy mums alike. Combining iconic design, razor-sharp imagery, fluid controls and immersive graphics, the third-generation iPad could lead to hysterical scenes in your living room come Christmas morning as teenagers and parents clamber over one another to take it for a spin.
The 9.7-inch screen even out-pixels a HDTV to bring web browsing and catch-up TV into sharp focus, with 10 hours of battery life enough to see through a whole Super Sunday or series two of Downton Abbey - depending who won the coin toss. Online shopaholics can enjoy effortless scrolling from screen to screen thanks to the A5X processor, while teenagers will be limbering up for some common-room posing thanks to Apple's 'UK's coolest brand' tag. The latest iPad even talks back thanks to Siri, the app that'll tell you the football score or find you a restaurant.
Ahead of the curve
YouGov says the Apple device is expected to account for two-thirds of tablets sold next year, but how boring would the world be if everyone opted for the same gadgets? Thankfully there are plenty of other choices for those looking to go against the grain.
If you're buying for someone who likes to be ahead of the curve when it comes to trends the Google Nexus 7 Tablet PC could be a contender. The first tablet to feature the Android Jelly Bean operating system, Nexus ownership could catapult your partner into the upper echelons of office hipness, working wonders for your street cred in the process seeing as without your foresight they may still believe a jelly bean is something you eat. Despite being just 10mm thin the Nexus is no slouch when it comes to performance thanks to its quad core processor and GeForce graphics card. It also supports near field communication technology. This sounds complicated but don't let it bend your head - it merely means content can be shared between devices by clicking them together in true Paul Daniels fashion.
Work and play
When BlackBerry's range of QWERTY phones burst onto the scene they soon became a must-have object for apprentice Yuppies everywhere. Bright young things with sharp suits and sharper elbows embraced them en-masse and if your partner was among them, the BlackBerry Playbook 64GB could be the way to ease them into the tablet age. The BlackBerry features a chic design that would give The Apprentice candidates a run for their money on the wardrobe front, while the seven-inch LCD screen is great for watching Sir Alan dish out his boardroom mauling via the iPlayer. With a massive 64GB storage for films and work documents and instant hook up to their BlackBerry phone, they're unlikely to be telling this tablet 'You're fired' anytime soon.
In another galaxy
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 runs the sumptuously-named Ice Cream Sandwich operating system and offers oodles of features to gorge on in true Mr Whippy style.
With a slender, lightweight design and 3G connectivity, the Galaxy is a great choice for teenagers embarking on gap year globe-trotting, with GPS on hand to steer them to safety if they wander from the beaten track. It even includes front and rear cameras so they can share their experiences and send you green with envy over their tans and general lack of responsibilities. If you're back home with the Galaxy, take your mind off the kids' freedom with an online shopping trip powered by the dual core processor and 10.1-inch screen.
We already own 5.87 million tablets, with that number set to increase to 10 million by next summer, according to YouGov. Fools who dismissed the tablet as a fad are now backtracking in the vein of the man who turned down the Beatles or the pundit who said Manchester United 'won't win anything with kids'.
But you already know tablets are the future, because you were savvy enough to read our guide. Such scholarly research means this year there'll be no more withering looks or 'told-you-so' faces, just you basking in the glow of being bang on-trend.