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Which tablet, smartphone or laptop should you buy?

The average holiday shopper will spend $749.51 on gifts, up slightly from the $740.57 they actually spent last year, according to the National Retail Federation. The majority of that amount will be spent on electronics. (AP photo)

Consumer electronics are once again at the top of just about every holiday wish list. But with so many choices, what do you buy?

Technology takes the top 1, 2, 3, and 4 spots of the most in-demand gifts.

Smarthones, tablet computers, e-readers and laptops are the electronic items most adults want according to Jim Barry with the Consumer Electronics association. They’re the ones who put on the huge trade show in January.

“Those really represent mobile electronics – taking our information and our entertainment with us just about anywhere,” he says. “Also using these devices even while watching television on a nice, flat panel, big-screen, high-definition screen. More than three quarters of us have another device in our hand when we’re watching TV to be on social networks at the same time.”

With tablets, the first choice is screen size. The prices are around $200 for a seven-inch screen, and $500 for a 10-inch screen. After you narrow that down, the next decision usually comes down to which operating system you prefer.

“If you’re an Apple person, if you have a Mac and an iPhone and all the rest of those, you may very well want to stay with the iPad and you’re not going to go wrong with that,” Barry says. “If not, Google has the leading operating system with the Android, more than half the smartphones use that, then that’s the way to go.”

The Consumer Electronics Association recommends the Amazon Kindle Fire HD, the Microsoft Surface, Google’s Nexus 7 and Apple’s iPad3 and iPad Mini being among the most wanted tablets.

With Smartphones Barry leans toward Samsung products.

“Samsung now has the Galaxy Note which is a five-inch, they have a new one that’s 5.5 inch. Some people call that a phablet,” he says, “a cross between a phone and a tablet. Odd word.”

Microsoft’s Windows Phone software is also getting a lot of buzz. The Nokia Lumia 920 is one of Windows Phone 8’s flagship phones, the other being HTC’s Windows Phone 8X.

Described as “big, bold and beautiful,” the Nokia Windows phone adds its own suite of software goodies such as City Lens, Drive + Beta, Maps, and Music.

Laptops are also hot this year, with products like the Lenovo Yoga, a tablet and laptop in one, and the VIZIO Ultrabook.

If you’re looking for an e-reader, the Kindle Paperwhite allows you to read outside and in the dark.

Cameras used always make the top 5 holiday buying list, not as much anymore.

“Research shows that somewhere around 75 percent or more people are using their phones for taking spontaneous pictures,” he says.

For the best in gaming, look no further than the XBox 360 with Kinect and the PlayStation Vita for portable gaming.

By LINDA THOMAS I’m looking forward to holiday shopping, but might skip the mall mania Friday.

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