By EDEL O'CONNELL
TENS of thousands of us will be unwrapping iPads and Nexus 7s on Christmas morning.
As our gift buying goes into overdrive, shops are reporting sales of PC tablets are up 500 per cent on last year.
But consumers may be overlooking the full running costs of these pricey stocking fillers.
When it comes to choosing a broadband provider to get your device up and running, going for the wrong tariff could leave you with big bills. Simon Moynihan, who runs price comparison website Bonkers.ie has warned of hidden costs in some of the cheaper tariffs. being offered by providers this year.
He said: "There are, at first glance, some incredible deals, such as Eircom offering broadband for just €40 a month. The problem is that they are not unlimited usage and you end up going over your limit very quickly and then getting stung at the end of the month."
Simon said shopping around is key to finding the best deal. He said: "It's much better to pay a little more such as €45 a month deal with Magnet which has unlimited usage. UPC is still one of the best with a €47 tartiff which covers line rental and a phone line and unlimited internet."
Simon added: "The advice is don't be tempted to go for a deal with a lower tariff, paying a fiver extra a month could save you hundreds in the long run."
Smartphones are another big must-have this Christmas but new research revealed phone users waste millions every year because they don't know their data allowance limits.
The blunder costs each person an annual €194 on average.
Carphone Warehouse, which carried out the survey, said smartphones with internet access add to the complexity.
The problem with entering into a contract with a mobile phone company is having to commit to it which could be for 12, 18 or even 24 months.
Most companies will only give you a phone if you sign up for a contract of two years or more. Consumers can avail of packages offering a certain number of minutes and texts and you'll get a subsidised or even free handset.
Many people however opt for the freedom of the pay-as-you-go system as you aren't tied into any lengthly contracts.
Some networks give free credit when buying a phone.
There are also SIM-only deals, where you sign up to a 30-day contract and receive a fixed allowance of minutes, texts and internet use.
The SIM-only system would be ideal if you have a handset already and if you decide to leave you just have to give 30 days notice.