When the holidays arrive, it’s time to find the right gift for everyone on your shopping list. Laptops are the perfect choice because they’re practical and fun, and your loved one will actually use them every day.
Still, laptop gifts can be pricey, and all the options can be frustrating to sift through. Worse, the wrong choice can pass that frustration on to a loved one every time they sit down to play, watch, work, or telecommute. That’s not a good look for you as the buyer, and it’s why a gift laptop needs to fit your budget along with the recipient’s needs.
In this list, we’re looking at the 5 best HP laptops to give as gifts this holiday season. We grouped the choices into the best gift laptops for moms and dads, grandparents, kids, significant others, and professionals. We also sorted out the best laptop gift ideas for when you’re on a budget and whether you’re buying for a gamer, student, video editor, Netflix binge-watcher, casual user, or office superhero.
Who are you buying for? Laptop gifts for different folks
The biggest factor when buying a gift laptop is who it’s for. Is your spouse a videographer who needs a mobile workstation? Or is your son a cubicle warrior who needs a durable, light machine for schlepping to and from the office? Are you buying for a grandparent who wants a budget laptop to call in on Skype from their travels?
Maybe you’re shopping for a son who’s heading into high school and needs a basic laptop for writing papers and online research. Or maybe your daughter just declared her graphic design major in college, which means she’ll need a beefier GPU to run high-powered graphics apps like Adobe Illustrator. Whatever your loved one’s needs, stock up on some gift-giving delight with the easy-to-use laptop gift guide below.
HP laptop gift guide
HP laptops are trustworthy for a number of reasons. Known as the world’s most secure laptops, they’re built tough-to-crack with layers of protection. Then there are the jam-packed integrated features. You can choose 2-in-1 laptops that work as traditional work machines, as tablets, or in tent or stand modes for easy binge-watching or gaming. You can also pick from dozens of convertible or traditional HP laptops with powerful Intel® Core™ processors, Bang & Olufsen audio, and dedicated Intel HD Graphics cards.
1. Best laptop gift on a budget - HP Chromebook notebook
If you need a budget gift laptop that grandma and grandpa can use to Skype with grandkids, an HP Chromebook is a smart pick. That goes double for high school kids or college students who just need to turn around crisp homework assignments in a jiffy.
How do HP Chromebooks stay wallet-friendly while still delivering a robust computing experience? By foregoing heavy local storage and software and keeping those functions in remote, cloud-based locations. These solid laptop gift ideas also run on Chrome OS instead of MS Windows. That’s Google’s Linux-based operating system that leverages the user-friendly power of Google Drive.
Rock-bottom prices and energy efficiency
You’ll pay up to one-fifth of the price for an HP Chromebook compared to many traditional laptops. Despite the low cost, you’ll still Skype seamlessly with a crystal-clear HP TrueVision HD webcam and dual-array mic setup for a being-there feel. Plus, the streamlined hardware profile of HP Chromebooks means they sip energy compared to Windows laptops. Available in ENERGY STAR® certified configurations, they also get top ratings from EPEAT®. These machines are green, lean, and friendly to power bills.
Power where it counts
HP Chromebooks come with up to 8GB of RAM to keep even power users in the fast lane. They pack speedy multicore Intel processors and dedicated graphics cards so streaming video stays smooth and free of lags. Plus, the HP Chromebook x360 is a 2-in-1 convertible with a strong hinge that lets you use it in multiple modes. That gives you the flexibility of more expensive convertibles for less.
2. Best gift laptop for students - HP Pavilion x360 laptop
For a look of delight when your favorite college student unwraps their laptop gift, the HP Pavilion x360 convertible laptop is the perfect fit. It’s geared for budgets that are roomier than the rock-bottom HP Chromebook laptop gift range. This is a great laptop for college students because it’s a slim, light powerhouse that comes in at surprisingly low prices for a full-scale laptop and tablet combo.
Serious work machine
Your son or daughter will love this laptop’s processing power of up to 4.6 GHz, which suits anything from daily school work to video editing and serious gaming. Choose from a quad-core Intel Pentium® Silver processor with up to a 10th Generation Intel Core i7 processor - the first broad-scale AI chip for the PC . These processors actually learn and adapt to how your loved one works to help them do things faster.
The HP Pavilion x360 also packs up to a 1TB hard drive so your student can store more photos, videos, and school files without worrying about running out of space. With 16GB of Intel Optane Memory, they’ll also process more with no freezing or lagging. Add up to 10 hours of battery life and the college-favorite Windows 10 Home 64 operating system, and this is one gift your student will be thrilled to unwrap.
For everything you get in an HP Pavilion x360, your loved one never needs to know you didn’t break your budget. Most variants aren’t much more expensive than an HP Chromebook.
Convertible 2-in-1 flexibility
The HP Pavilion x360’s crowd-pleasing 2-in-1 form factor and sturdy 360 degree hinge lets your student work in laptop mode or tablet mode. Add an optional digital pen for sketching, drawing, or note-taking with pen-on-paper feel. Flip the screen around for a cozy movie night on the couch, or prop it up in tent mode for sharing during collaborative project sessions.
Attractive and easy to handle
A laptop gift should be slim, light, and simple for your son or daughter to manipulate. The HP Pavilion x360’s less than 1-inch profile and light weight mean you won’t max out the already daunting mass of your kiddo’s bookbag. Its 3-sided micro-edge HD display comes in 3 convenient sizes: 11-inch, 14-inch, and 15.6-inch. Finally, a choice of two attractive colors - pale gold or natural silver - helps them look professional in a classroom, sunlit quad, or student union.
3. Favorite gift laptop for office pros - HP Spectre x360 laptop
Spread a little cheer with the most powerful HP Spectre yet. For mom or dad, the HP Spectre x360 pulls out all the stops to serve up a robust office computing experience. With this gift under the tree, you’ll arm your office warrior with one of the fastest machines available. But it’s also smart and stylish for even more gift-giving joy.
Power in the workplace
Professionals need machines they can rely on, and it’s no fun to hunt for outlets every time you want to finish a project. A good work laptop gift should start up fast, last all day on its battery, and process business applications free of hitches. The HP Spectre x360’s Intel Core i7 processors are among the fastest on the market, with 4 cores of performance and up to 4 GHz of blazing speed. That means crisp and snappy spreadsheets, Word docs, and PowerPoint presentations.
Does your loved one work with more than MS Office? The HP Spectre x360’s NVIDIA® GeForce® MX150 video processor handles 4K video editing, 3D rendering, inking, and photo editing with ease. It also supports dual 5K displays for when your loved one is desk-docked. Plus, seasoned graphics pros will master even the finest details with the included HP Pen.
Storage, battery, and memory to spare
When the wrapping paper’s off, they’ll be glad to have the HP Spectre’s 16GB of SDRAM and up to 2TB of solid-state drive (SSD) storage in their corner. They’ll store and quickly process volumes of office documents. What about battery life? This gift laptop boasts 17.5 hours to 21.5 hours of use depending on what your office champ is up to. Plus, the fast, secure, and user-friendly Windows 10 Home 64 OS supports full touch screen functionality. That makes using the HP Spectre x360 15t laptop a pleasure.
Look great in the conference room
Keep your office hero looking great at work with the HP Spectre x360’s choice of dark ash silver or Poseidon blue finish. Its gem-cut 2-in-1 convertible chassis dresses for success, and your loved one can use it in several modes, including laptop, tablet, tent mode for collaboration, and with the screen flipped around and the keyboard out of the way for easy streaming.
4. Best laptop gift for gamers - HP OMEN 15t laptop
If you’ve got a gamer in your midst, you know his needs are different from the casual user. Your gamer son or daughter is serious about specs like screen resolution, processor speed, dedicated graphics cards, room-filling audio, and super-quiet fan noise. Your gift laptop’s cooling power will be a factor too, and throttling should be held to the bare minimum. The HP OMEN 15t laptop ticks all those boxes while staying in a reasonable price range.
Run silent, run fast
The HP OMEN 15t gaming laptop is famously quiet, which is a big consideration for serious gamers. Its Intel Core i7 processors and up to 32GB of SDRAM keep the action moving fast and smooth. Meanwhile, up to 1TB of SSD storage means they can keep their favorite games close by. That makes this HP OMEN a winning laptop gift idea for the top contender on your shopping list.
Cutting edge graphics
Your champion won’t miss a trick with NVIDIA GeForce GTX and RTX GPUs that open up a crystal-clear view into the action. Both 1080p and full 4K display options with up to 60 Hz refresh rates give eagle-eyed responsiveness to your digital defender. Audio by Bang & Olufsen with HP Audio Boost adds depth to the totally immersive gaming experience. Plus, the RTX graphics cards have unprecedented real-time ray-tracing to deliver one of the most intense graphical upgrades in gaming in years.
Command and control
Think your champ would like to play PC games on the big screen? This laptop lets them cast the action to the family TV with HP OMEN Game Stream. They can also tap into HP OMEN Command Center to control and customize their setup. Plus, with Network Booster to prioritize web traffic, your home-based hero won’t get iced because dad re-ordered oatmeal on the voice assistant at a crucial moment.
5. Best gift laptop for filmmakers - HP ZBook Studio x360 workstation
Sure, the filmmaker, graphic artist, or animator in your life would be happy with a less-pricey laptop gift like the HP Spectre x360 or HP EliteBook x360. Those are both excellent choices with touch screen variants and plenty of rendering and graphics power. But if you’ve got the budget to make dreams come true, the HP ZBook is the right choice.
This is the world’s most powerful convertible PC. It’s built from the ground up for the video editor, product developer, graphic artist, animator, or CAD-using architect on your shopping list. The strong 360 degree hinge lets you work in multiple modes, including but not limited to standard laptop mode for editing 4K video or tablet mode for sketching and designing.
Would you rather have a fully detachable screen to work in true tablet mode? There’s an HP ZBook x2 detachable for that.
The power to create
Give the gift of creative power with the HP ZBook Studio x360’s Intel Core i9 processors, 64GB of memory, and an on-board NVIDIA Quadro P2000 graphics card. If that’s all geek - err, Greek that is - to you, it won’t be to your favorite visionary. The hardware profile delivers up to 6 cores of power to tackle even multi-threaded apps like Adobe Premiere Pro or Blender.
Meanwhile, the Quadro P2000 graphics setup adds stability with pro-level software. Couple that with up to a gargantuan 4TB of local NVMe storage, and your friendly neighborhood creator will access libraries of data up to 6 times faster than traditional SATA SSD drives .
You’ll also dazzle your loved one with the world’s brightest 4K Ultra High Definition laptop display. Its anti-glare, 600 NITS bright surface generates 1 billion colors and is 20% brighter than the Apple MacBook Pro. Your favorite artist won’t ever have to squint or wonder if what she sees is what she gets. Finally, the display’s anti-glare surface works smoothly with an optional digital pen.
HP laptop accessories gifts
Looking for laptop accessories gifts from HP®? External speakers, hard drives, Bluetooth mice, keyboards, batteries, monitors, adapters, bags, and cases all make fantastic laptop-owner gifts. See the HP accessories page for an abundance of great gift ideas.
The best laptop gifts keep on giving
The best part of giving a laptop gift is that it keeps rolling out the joy and functionality all year, for years to come. The best HP gift laptop to buy depends on who you’re buying for. Our list has the best choice for grandparents, high school or college students, moms, dads, and better halves. It’s got everything from the super budget-friendly HP Chromebook to the no-holds-barred HP ZBook Studio x360 workstation to make your loved one happy on that special day.
Tom Gerencer is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Tom is an ASJA journalist, career expert at Zety.com, and a regular contributor to Boys' Life and Scouting magazines. His work is featured in The Boston Globe, Costco Connection, FastCompany, and many more.
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