CHRISTMAS toys are all very well, but as any parent or grandparent will tell you, what every child aged eight or above wants in their stocking now is a new phone or tablet.
Apple products are at the top of everyone’s list, but that attests more to peer pressure and marketing than to the devices themselves. Not that iPhones and iPads are poor: far from it. But there are other products that give them more than a run for their money, at a fraction of the price.
If you expect to be buying technology for someone in your family, here are two ideas for a cut-price Christmas...
Best value tablet
Tesco’s financial practices have been through the wringer lately – and at first glance it looks like the price of its new Hudl 2 Tablet is another error by the boys in accounting – because it could easily have cost twice as much. As it stands, this £130, 8.3-inch device is hands-down the best value in mobile technology this year.
The Hudl 2 costs a thumping £190 less than the new iPad Mini 3, yet it has a bigger screen and double the memory. It lacks the “premium build” feel of an iPad Mini, but more than makes up for it in real-world benefits – not least the ability to insert an SD card for extra storage and a mini-HDMI socket so you can watch movies on your TV.
Drawbacks? Out-of-the-box, the Hudl is littered with shortcuts to Tesco’s own websites and “special offers”. You can quickly delete most of these, but they don’t create a great first impression for a teenage recipient. What’s more, battery life – claimed at eight hours – is inferior to the more expensive products.
Best value phone
Comparing the on-paper benefits of the dozens of smartphones now out there is a fruitless exercise, because today’s mobile is first and foremost a fashion accessory.
So while this phone might not be the ideal gift for a 15-year-old girl, it does represent the best balance between function, form and value.
The Moto E from Motorola packs everything you need, and a bit more, into an £80 package free of contract obligations. That’s £240 less than the cheapest iPhone. It runs the latest version of Android software and its screen is better than anything else in its class. If you want to upgrade someone from an old button-handset to a sensible smartphone, this is the one to choose.