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Great Tech Gifts for Teenagers

Updated on October 7, 2014

What are the Best Tech Gifts for Teenagers?

Technology is exploding annually, and while you may shake your head at the changes, your teen is probably ready for the next new piece of technology, and doesn't mind the price tag nearly as much as you do. Nevertheless, as parents, we try to strike a balance between keeping pace with advancing tech, and keeping our wallets from being empty.

As you hunt for the perfect teenage technology gift choices, it's important to keep that balance in mind, and it's important to make the most of your teenager's interests and abilities in making your selections.

Premium Tablet Options: iPad Mini Keeps Costs Down

Apple iPad Mini MF432LL/A (16GB, Wi-Fi, Space Gray )
Apple iPad Mini MF432LL/A (16GB, Wi-Fi, Space Gray )

The iPad mini made the premium quality of an Apple tablet available at a more manageable price. The mini provides an excellent screen size, much easier on the eyes than an iPod touch. At the same time, it keeps a parent's pocketbook from being over-stressed. Definitely consider a protection plan with any teen device, especially if that teen may be a bit careless about the condition of the unit. As well, think about a sturdy case that will address drops and bumps in a backpack or anywhere else.


Tablet PCs as Gifts for Teenagers

Topping the wish lists of many teenagers are very popular tablet pcs, with iPad 2 being one of the most wished for tech items on the site, as determined by user wishlists. iPad 2 is their most wished for tablet pc, with various versions of iPad occupying 7 of the top 10 spots in terms of wished for items, as of this writing.

There are many other touchscreen tablet PC options available, but for the teen who is accustomed to using iTunes, and an iPod, it's understanding that they may prefer the compatibility of the iPad and iPad 2 with their existing electronics. As an educator, I really like many of the apps that have been developed, and the continuing development of educational applications for iPad is impressive. Ereader apps, calculator apps, dictionaries, and historical and museum apps make the use of this tech tool great, from the teaching perspective. If it's in your household budget, this is a great investment. If iPad 2 is just out of reach, look into refurbished first generation iPads as a less expensive alternative.

New Kindle Ereaders and Tablets for Teenagers and Tweens

Amazon has updated the Kindle family. Options range from the basic, but sleek, Kindle eReader ( 6" E Ink Display, Wi-Fi, touchscreen interface) available at just $79. The touch screen Kindle Paperwhite is great for preteens and teens who love touchscreen interactivity and whose eyes could benefit from the clarity of the high contrast and high resolution screen along with a built-in light for those late-night readers. The basic version retails at $119.

Kindle Voyage is an excellent choice for the avid reader who may forget to charge the unit. It includes an adaptive front light that adjusts brightness based on conditions. The thin design is suitable for the teen audience, but it's worthwhile to invest in a protection plan and sturdy case, especially if your teen can be a bit careless. PagePress is a unique feature that allows for streamlined page turning. The base model is priced at $199.

As well, the Kindle Fire Family provides great tablet choices for the teen or tween who is also interested in media and social uses of tablet computing, but without the high price of the iPad tablet. The latest lineup brings sizes down for those who need to factor in cost issues while incorporating colorful casings and lower pricing than for previous generations.

If you are considering a Kindle Paperwhite reader for your tween or teen, I will let you know that I couldn't get my hands on one for my daughter's early October birthday a couple of years ago. The rude awakening came when I ordered and then realized it would be at least 3 weeks for delivery. I opted for a basic Kindle ebook reader so that she could focus on reading, her main reason for wanting a Kindle. I'm pleased with the device, and would recommend it if you have a tween easily who can be easily distracted when reading. My other alternative was a Kindle Fire, but I didn't want the focus to be games and video content for this gift.

My older daughter has a Kindle Touch, and it's my preferred choice, but Kindle basic is easy to manage and set up, a good starter ereader for your child. With the recent updates to the base model, the touch interface is no longer a problem, but the more advanced models do have some teen and tween-friendly features.

Latest Kindle Tablets and eReaders

Fire HD 6 Tablet, 6" HD Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB - Includes Special Offers, Black (Previous Generation - 4th)
Fire HD 6 Tablet, 6" HD Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB - Includes Special Offers, Black (Previous Generation - 4th)

Check out the latest options available in the Kindle family. Both the Fire tablet and the Kindle eReader have gone through annual updates with the latest options providing outstanding value and important features that are helpful for a teen audience.


Samsung Chromebook: Affordable and Dependable

Samsung Chromebook 2 (11.6-Inch, Classic White)
Samsung Chromebook 2 (11.6-Inch, Classic White)

I love the fact that the Samsung Chromebook feels sturdy but looks very sleek. The system is up and running quickly, and while there are a few slight differences from working with a Windows laptop, the unit is easy to use. Connect to an external display and use the intuitive configuration changes to create a desktop experience with an extended viewing space. Outstanding!


Computer and Netbook Gifts for Teenagers

Netbooks held the intrigue of many for several years due to portability and cost. However, my own experience with a netbook left me wishing that I had the money for a laptop at the time I bought it. A netbook is definitely not a good tool for productivity unless you invest in a souped-up version, at which point you might as well get a laptop. Seriously. The netbook may suffice for the tween, but for a teenager, definitely think in terms of the long-haul, investing in something that will work for school, research, gameplay, music, and more.

My next experience with a small laptop alternative involved a Chromebook, and I am thrilled with my Samsung 11-inch version. Bright and clear, not at all tough on the eyes, this is a great choice as an affordable small laptop. The main drawback is that it doesn't have a lot of storage if your teen wants to keep music, papers, etc. on the device. You will have to defer more to the cloud concept. However, it's great for online activity if that is your teen's primary need. Not a good choice as a main computer for the college-bound, but excellent for staying connected. Might be a great option for Mom and Dad, too.

If you have the budget to exceed $300 in a netbook, colorful netbooks are extremely popular with teenagers and tweens.

Laptop computers can be a good choice, as well, as can desktop computers. Evaluate the tech needs of your teenager, and consider future educational plans, as well as the timing. The college bound student would do well to have a printer to use in conjunction with a personal computer, while the student who has a few more years at home won't be as concerned with personal printing options.

Other Tablet Options

Samsung Galaxy Tab (7-inch, 16GB, Wi-Fi)
Samsung Galaxy Tab (7-inch, 16GB, Wi-Fi)

Galaxy tablets are among the best-sellers at Amazon, offering alternatives to both Kindle and iPad. You may want to explore related options shown on these pages to review the latest offerings. Note that many special deals crop up during the holiday season as well.


Which Computer for You?

If you were the teenager, which computer gift would you prefer?

See results

Music Tech Gifts for Teens

If you need a teen gift idea from the tech realm, mp3 players are favorites, and iPod dominates the bestselling lists at Amazon, with iPod Touch 32 GB being the favorite. All iPod versions are great, but iPod touch has multiple uses, via apps for many educational needs: dictionaries, calculators, ereading, foreign language, astronomy, and more. Find the Latest iPods.

Find the Latest Generations of Teen iPods - iPod for preteen and teen listeners is still popular!

Apple's updates are always just a little more sleek and cool when it comes to iPod for a tween or teen. The latest colors, shapes and features are never disappointing, and you'll find the current options just below.


Ereader Gifts for Teenagers

If your teenager is a reader, then ereaders are a great tech gift option. Kindle dominates Amazon's bestselling lists, and most recently in the top spot is the Kindle with Special offers, a wi-fi enabled version of Kindle with special offers and sponsored screensaver, putting the ereading device at a budget friendly price.

The Nook, by Barnes and Noble, is an outstanding counterpart, with a completely touchscreen operated version most recently released.

Read more tech gift related articles... - Tween Tech Gifts, Ideas, and Suggestions

Tweens are the youngsters who are bridging the gap between the wonder years of childhood, and the growing up years of the teenager. In between, the tween ranges from age 9 to 12, by the definition of some, but in my book, 13 and 14 are also part of the mix, as the drastic changes in those years are seen as tumultuos. Middle schoolers present all sorts of challenges, and as you consider tech gifts for middle schoolers, you need to think about that nature.

Don't miss these helpful comparisons of tween wishlists, and parental suggestions.

Tech Gifts for Teenagers: Comments

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    • Jo-Jackson profile image


      5 years ago

      I would have looked these tech gifts if they had been around when I was a teenager.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      What fun gift ideas for the young people, really cool! :)

    • Board-Game-Brooke profile image

      C A Chancellor 

      6 years ago from US/TN

      Several of my teen cousins received iPads for Christmas. I'm totally jealous. :-)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I know teens will love the colored iphone gel cases. How to Write an App

    • loveanime22 profile image


      6 years ago

      great gift ideas

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Teens definitely would love these.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Amazon Kindle Fire, Samsung Galaxy Tab 2, and Google Nexus 7 are the top 3 preferences, if I am asked for.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      wonderful selection of gifts for teens!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I gave a couple of teens, who would love all the gift ideas on this lens, some great ideas for Christmas gifts for teenagers.

    • CoffeeWriter LM profile image

      CoffeeWriter LM 

      6 years ago

      My eldest little one is turning 12, so he's right on the edge of being a teenager.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Great for grownups too.

    • Alana-r profile image


      6 years ago

      Never mind the teenagers i want them all!

    • Onemargaret LM profile image

      Onemargaret LM 

      6 years ago

      Excellent lens!

    • asilonline lm profile image

      asilonline lm 

      6 years ago

      very nice lens

    • mindlessnin profile image


      6 years ago

      nice lens...i wish someone would give me one of these...

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      great lens thanks for the ideas. I just wish, I would have seen it before xmas


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