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Best Laptops and Tablets to Give as Holiday Gifts for 2023


Updated on Sept. 27, 2023

Written by 
Joshua Goldman

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission.

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Joshua Goldman Managing Editor / Advice

Managing Editor Josh Goldman is a laptop expert and has been writing about and reviewing them since built-in Wi-Fi was an optional feature. He also covers almost anything connected to a PC, including keyboards, mice, USB-C docks and PC gaming accessories. In addition, he writes about cameras, including action cams and drones. And while he doesn’t consider himself a gamer, he spends entirely too much time playing them.

Expertise Laptops, desktops and computer and PC gaming accessories including keyboards, mice and controllers, cameras, action cameras and drones Credentials

  • More than two decades experience writing about PCs and accessories, and 15 years writing about cameras of all kinds.

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Giving a laptop or tablet as a gift can be tricky unless you know how the recipient will use it — everyone has different needs. Our recommendations for the best laptops and tablets to give as holiday gifts take many different laptop users and budgets into account.

This story is part of Gift Guide, our year-round collection of the best gift ideas.

The holidays are the best time of year to score a great deal on a new computer, too (something to keep in mind if you’re the gift giver and recipient. Most if not all of these laptops and tablets will be discounted through the holiday shopping season. The prices listed below are the best current prices we’ve found right now. But deals come and go, so we’ll continue to update this list with sale prices as we spot them. If you need more options than those listed below, check out our full best laptops of 2023 list, where you’ll also find links to our top picks across all categories of laptops. 

Apple MacBook Air M1 laptop open on a gray table with a blue sofa in the background.

Pros

  • Big boost to battery life
  • Performance in benchmark tests shows the M1 Air easily outperforming Intel versions
  • Fanless design runs cool and quiet
Cons

  • No external design or feature changes
  • App compatibility is an issue for early adopters
  • No mobile broadband options, 5G or otherwise

Battery Life/Runtime 1,026 minutes

Weight 2.8 pounds

Display size/type 13-inch, 2560 x 1600 IPS LCD

Processor tested Apple M1 8‑core

Graphics tested Apple M1 7-core

The newer M2 MacBook Air has advantages over its older M1 Air sibling: a larger display (13.6 inches versus the previous 13.3 inches), a faster M2 chip and an upgraded higher-res webcam. However, the entry-level M1 MacBook Air remains our top choice for gift-giving because its performance is good enough for everyday school and home office use, and it’s more affordable. It regularly gets discounted, too. 

Apple MacBook Air M1 review

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The 2023 HP Pavilion Aero 13 laptop open and facing to the right and sitting on a dark blue couch.

HP packed a lot of value into the Aero 13: Eye-pleasing magnesium-aluminum chassis, strong processing performance, long battery life, a bright, colorful display and a weight of around 2 pounds (0.91 kilograms). Amazingly, with all that it offers though, it has an affordable starting price.

HP Pavilion Aero 13 review

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dell-g15-3

Dell’s G15 has been a favorite budget gaming laptop for the past few years, along with the HP Victus line. It was joined this year by a 16-inch version, the G16. We tested both and were impressed with what each offers. 

If you’re looking for a gaming laptop bargain, the G15 is the way to go. But if you can afford to spend a couple hundred dollars more, the G16 is a better bet for longevity. Either way, you’ll get a good gaming laptop for the money, but we strongly recommend waiting for a sale. 

Dell G15 and G16 Gaming Laptop review

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9th Gen iPad with accessories sits on gray surface with green background.

Despite not being the latest and greatest iPad, the ninth-gen entry-level iPad is still our pick for gifting, and not just because it’s the least expensive. It improved a lot over its predecessor, doubling the base storage to 64GB, adding a faster A13 chip and better cameras (most importantly, a wider-angle higher-res front-facing Center Stage camera that tracks your face via digital pan and zoom). It still uses the first-gen Apple Pencil, which is fine for the money, and it’s still compatible with a range of keyboard cases. 

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Lenovo Duet with a colorful splash image onscreen

The Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3 is an awesome little 11-inch ChromeOS tablet with a detachable keyboard and touchpad. Its small size and performance aren’t ideal for full-time use. But the Chromebook Duet 3 is a good pick if you’re looking for an affordable ultraportable device to get some work done on the go, sketch or jot down notes in class or do simple stuff like email, web browsing, mobile or cloud gaming, reading and streaming video.

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