The best laptops and tablets to give as gifts in 2022

If you’re thinking of getting a laptop or tablet as a gift, you’ve got a wealth of options. Thanks to the latest round of hardware from Intel, Apple, AMD and NVIDIA, all of our portable devices have gotten faster and more efficient. This year, we’re recommending the XPS 13, ASUS Zephyrus G14, Apple MacBook Air M2, iPad, Surface Laptop Go 2, Razer Blade 15 and Dell’s G5 15 Gaming Laptop.

Video transcript

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DEVINDRA HARDAWAR: If you're thinking of getting a laptop or tablet as a gift, you've got a wealth of options. Thanks to the latest round of hardware from Intel, Apple, AMD, and NVIDIA, all of our portable devices have gotten faster and more efficient. Even the cheapest iPad can be a pretty decent productivity machine, while gaming laptops can almost match the power of their desktop siblings. And now that Windows 11 has proven very stable over the past year, it's a perfect time to give somebody a new PC upgrade.

As usual, first and foremost, we're going to recommend the Dell XPS 13. Not to sound like a broken record, but it's been one of the best windows ultraportables you can buy for several years. And this year, Dell has streamlined its designed to be even slimmer and lighter than before. The result is a laptop that's easy to carry all day and a joy to behold, thanks to its incredibly thin screen bezels.

It's been upgraded to a lower-wattage Intel 12th Gen processor, which means better battery life without sacrificing much performance. And the XPS 13 can also be configured with an OLED screen, which makes it a good gift for somebody who wants a bright and color-accurate display. If you're looking for more performance and even more striking design, Dell's new XPS 13 Plus is also a great gift option. For most users, though, the standard XPS 13 will still be a fantastic laptop.

Now for an Apple alternative, we're going to recommend the Apple MacBook Air with the M2 processor. This is the followup to Apple's M1 MacBook Air from last year. And we think it's even more impressive thanks to its thinner design, larger 13.6-inch screen, and a rocking Quad speaker setup.

If you were feeling a bit bored by Apple's older design, this is the upgrade you've been waiting for. While it's still fanless, the M2 MacBook Air remains one of the fastest ultraportables around. It'll handle pretty much all of your productivity tasks and even a bit of media creation, like editing video and audio and photos, without breaking a sweat. And if you're looking for more of a deal, Apple's M1 MacBook Air is still a very compelling laptop, especially when it goes on sale.

When it comes to tablets, we're still recommending Apple's base iPad. The newest model is basically a stripped-down iPad Air. It has a new flat-edge design, a faster processor, and a more convenient front-facing camera. Starting at $449, it's a great deal more expensive than the previous model, but all the upgrades also make it far more futureproof.

And if you pair the iPad with Apple's new Magic Keyboard Folio, you can even tackle basic typing, email, and productivity work. Now if you can't stomach the higher price, and we can't blame you, last year's $329 model is still a fantastic deal. It's fast enough for most users, and it also has a few keyboard accessories for writers.

For something a lot cheaper, we'd recommend Amazon's Fire HD 10. Now Amazon's Fire tablets are basically just video-first Android slates, but they also prove you don't have to pay a ton to buy a useful tablet anymore. Last year's Fire HD 10, which is still being sold now, is a bit faster than before, has 50% faster memory, and features a slightly brighter screen.

And as a bonus, there's a Bluetooth keyboard accessory that can turn it into a cheap productivity tablet. But its core selling point is the same as always. It can tackle most tablet tasks easily. And starting at $149, it really won't cost you that much. There are also some kid-centric Fire tablets that are worth considering which come with a more durable case and two years' worth of free replacements.

Now for the gamer in your life, you really can't go wrong with the Razer Blade 15. You can really take all the praise we've given this computer over the past few years and apply it to the latest model. Razer's flagship gaming notebook still has a sleek unibody aluminum case, and it packs in the latest CPUs and GPUs, including NVIDIA's top-end RTX 3080 Ti. And thanks to improved screen choices, you can also gift models with fast-working 40p displays, which require less horsepower to run than 4K screens. If you care more about portability for a gift, take a look at the Razer Blade 14, a sub-4-pound notebook sporting AMD's latest processors.

For another spin on gaming laptops, we'd recommend ASUS's excellent Zephyrus G14. We recommended this a few years ago for the holidays, and it's back. And it finally has a webcam, which fixes one of the big flaws from the original model. The G14 remains one of the best 14-inch gaming laptops around with the power of AMD's Ryzen 9 6900 chip and either Radeon 6700S or 6800S graphics. That's pretty impressive for a computer that starts at just 3.6 pounds.

You can choose between 1080p, 144 hertz, or 1440p, 120 hertz screens, both of which look fantastic. The G14 can look flashy with its rear LED panel, but it can also do double duty as an attractive productivity PC. It's a gaming machine that really wouldn't look out of place in a lecture hall or a meeting room, which makes it great for students or office workers who don't want to draw too much attention while they're watching Twitch streams in class.

For a great entry-level laptop, we're recommending Microsoft's Surface Laptop Go 2. We call it this computer basic, but in a good way, in our review, and that pretty much says it all. It's a $600 computer with the design language of Microsoft's excellent Surface Laptop and some slightly lower-tier specs. We love that it has a better CPU than last year as well as faster storage and improved cooling. It's the ideal computer for high school student who doesn't need high-end components and wants a sturdy computer that can last a day's worth of classes and beyond.

And if you're looking for a great budget gaming machine, we'll recommend Dell's G15 gaming laptop. We've been huge fans of Dell's budget G15 laptops for years, and the latest model is no exception. It starts at $900 and includes a 12th Gen Intel Core I5 chip and NVIDIA's RTX 3050 graphics.

You can scale it all the way up to an i9 CPU and RTX 3070 GPU, all the while staying well below the price of many comparable gaming machines. The G15 isn't as sleek as the Razer Blade, but it's a sturdy and reliable computer that will serve any budding gamer well. If you're looking for a more laptop and tablet gift ideas, check out our reviews at Engadget.com. If you dug this video, please be sure to like and subscribe.

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