Things to consider when purchasing a tablet:
1. Consider the size -- 10-11 inch? 7 inch? Phablet?
2. How will the recipient primarily use the device -- for work or play?
3. Pick the best operating system for how it will be used -- Apple's iOS, Google's Android, or Microsoft's Windows 8/Surface
a. Lower Cost High-Quality (around $200) -- Kindle Fire/Nook HD
b. Smaller, Lower Cost (around $350) -- iPad Mini, Galaxy Note
c. Big & Bright will cost a premium -- Samsung ATIV Smart PC $700, iPad 4 from $500, Samsung Galaxy Tab II 10.1 $700
5. Avoid bargain basement deals