The Holidays are a time for giving which, in our culture, usually means it’s a time for buying. If you’re buying computers or other tech this year however, there are some things you should keep in mind to ensure your purchases are as valued in January as they are in December.

Budget Isn’t Always Best
There are some retailers and manufacturers who are selling computers for truly unbelievable prices, but this is essentially a result of these computers being completely underpowered for most typical users. It’s easy to be wowed by a $200 price tag for a functioning laptop, but if the machine has only 32GB of storage, the hard drive will be filled up with Windows updates alone within a month or two. Not everyone needs a $2,000 super computer but settling for something without adequate power for doing essential daily tasks can make for an extremely frustrating experience.

Consultation Is Key
When purchasing a new computer, whether for a gift or for yourself, the importance of seeking expert advice can’t be overstated. This may take the form of articles online, careful reading of reviews or seeking out the assistance of an actual IT professional. Salespeople at big box stores are incentivized to move products—they are not hired for their knowledge of the products you are selling. When you go to a mega store and ask a floor employee for advice on a new system, they are likely to only provide you with the price and the brand name.

Know Your Audience
There are more classes of devices available now than ever before—from desktop computers to laptops, tablets, notebooks, hybrids, e-readers and Chromebooks. For advanced users with complex needs, full-scale laptops and desktops are still the way to go. For younger users (especially adolescents) who are used to doing everything online and saving things in the cloud, the very affordable Chromebook is an ideal option. For younger children mostly interested in playing games and watching videos, an affordable tablet might be the best bet.