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Black Friday: Read this before buying this phone or device to your loved one


The Echo Show 5 could be a great gift, but not for everyone.


This story is part of Holiday Survival Guide 2019 and contains tips for optimizing the holiday season.

Buying a new phone of a Smart Speaker or another electronic device from a friend or loved one may be a great idea – and sometimes is. But before you pull the trigger, remember that a technical gift is not like a new pullover or a potted plant. There may be a jumble of unintentional costs and complications, such as the need to buy additional equipment, or the possibility that you may disclose a person's privacy in ways they did not want.

In a way, giving someone a phone, tablet or other device can be very personal. They offer the opportunity to communicate with friends, make new friends, or flee to another world with a kind of Kindle for a brief moment. In other words, tech products are more than just a battery, components and some software. They are tools that can enhance a person's life, even if it does not feel like you are strolling through your local Best Buy .

The process of choosing the perfect device on Black Friday, Cyber ​​Monday, or any other day should not be an easy one. There are aspects of the product and the company behind the product that you need to consider. Privacy, security and compatibility are key factors in making informed decisions when you buy new phones or gadgets.

Let's take a closer look at some of the best practices you should consider. And if you need to start somewhere, we've put together the best deals for Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday by Amazon Best Buy and Walmart . [19659009] http://www.cnet.com/ "height =" 110 "width =" 196 “/>

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Get great deals on Black Friday


Watch out for extras someone else has to buy.

No matter what type of device you buy as a gift, think of additional accessories that may be required. Ask yourself – or the seller – if the device is ready to use.

If you buy some color changing bulbs do they need a hub for them to work? If it's a phone or tablet, does it make sense to give a case as well or let your receiver select one later? Many phones have jettisoned the headphone jack, so a dongle may be required to switch from USB-C or Lightning to a 3.5mm audio connection.

Other examples: For Roomba additional brushes, filters or virtual barriers will be things your loved one will eventually need. If you're gifted with an intelligent speaker that also acts as a voice-activated speaker for streaming music, then a gift card is ideal for subscribing to Spotify or Pandora.

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Dongles are sometimes a necessary evil.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Another aspect to consider is whether to replace things they already have. This new phone may require a different charging cable than what it already uses. It may not be your responsibility to replace it, but you must be aware that your gift may have ripple effects.

Pay attention to which devices someone already does not own or does not use. Before you decide to get someone the latest Amazon Echo or an Apple Watch, make sure you find out what kind of devices are already being used regularly.

If your 15 have an Android phone, they can not use all the features of a Apple Watch . Or if you have a house full of Smart Google Home Speakers Amazon's Alexa Assistant probably will not fit well.

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Knowing what the recipient already owns is a key aspect in purchasing gifts for the art.

Angela Lang / CNET

Wireless earphones are usually a safe bet, and smartwatches (outside the Apple Watch) generally work with any type of smartphone. Streaming devices such as Roku or Fire TV usually work with any other TV. Do not be so intimidated by the products of your friends and family members that you do not make a decision. Just remember to have your gift receipts at hand so that you can exchange them debt free.

If you have a general idea of ​​what type of device (s) the fifteen are already using in their home, we have a smart home compatibility table that lists everything for you.

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Google Pixel 4 XL is sold by any mobile operator or as an unlocked phone.

Stephen Shankland / CNET

The golden rule of buying a phone as a present [194559015] If you buy someone a phone tap on your back for your thoughtfulness and generosity. Make sure you have thought through all the angles.

The important thing is to make sure the phone you buy works with the mobile service provider of your choice. Mobile operators use a variety of technologies that can prevent phones from operating on competitors' networks. The last thing you want to do is buy a phone that only works with Verizon Wireless for someone familiar with T-Mobile.

Ask the gift recipient either directly for the mobile service provider they are using or consider buying an unlocked phone. Many smartphone manufacturers offer an unlocked version that works on almost all mobile service providers. Note, however, that not all network operator functions may work; B. Wi-Fi calls tuned to specific networks. In short, you know your target audience.

Keep your receipt handy and tell your recipient that there are no serious feelings about returning or exchanging the phone. This gift is all about the gesture.

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For someone who likes Facebook & # 39; s not comfortable with privacy practices, the portal may not be a good idea.

Tyler Lizenby / CNET

Note red flags for privacy

Some products have implications for privacy and security. Even if you do not have an Amazon Echo or a constantly-on mic at home, it may be that a friend or loved one is not so familiar with the idea. And while you may feel that Aunt Mary must enter the 21st century with a Echo Show 8 think of her well-being.

We store a lot of information on our cell phones and devices. Private information such as bank details, frequently visited locations, our current location, photos and conversations are all things that we blindly trust. At least you should take note of companies like Facebook or Amazon which are constantly surrounded by privacy issues and concerns if you are considering a Facebook portal or one of the smart pinging of Buy Amazon Ring as a gift.

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Anki has made some great products that were eventually discontinued earlier this year.

Sarah Tew / CNET

If you're looking at a product from a company you've never heard of, or even from a company you do not already know, a quick Google search should be a problem.

An option you should consider if you're not sure the gift will be a success: Get it as a wildcard. You can declare that you are okay if you help them to refine the final decision and, if necessary, purchase another product.

Think about how long a company will support its product.

Routine software updates are an important part of owning a technology product. Updates not only improve a product over time, but can also improve a device's security.

All the more important is the confidence that companies will continue to support devices through updates, especially when (as is often the case) security issues are identified.

When you purchase a phone, Apple's iPhone and Google's Pixel Lineup receive the most consistent and up-to-date updates. Outside of Google's own cell phones, Samsung has had a good track record of consistent updates with its Android phones, while Motorola has been sick in the past few years. (The Foldable Motorola Razr may be an exception for early adopters who still have money left, but will not be preordered until December 26 .)

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Reviews are an important part in finding new products. Juan Garzon / CNET

Software updates for smart speakers and streaming devices such as a Chromecast run in the background without the user realizing it (ideal for non-technical users).

It's a good idea to consider how long a company promises to support a product after its release with software updates.

Ultimately there will be many great offers and promotions in this shopping season. Do not let a store affect you with a branded product you've never heard of. If the business is not permanent, your gift could be a fancy paperweight.

Read more as a review.

Even if you've received a list of a particular gadget gift idea, you can do your own research by reading the product reviews. Read more than a review and look for similarities in compliments and problems.

For example, the DJI Mavic Mini – an entry-level drone – was recently released with a $ 399 basic package that only includes the basics you need to fly. For $ 499, you get two extra batteries, a carrying case, and a few other accessories. If the Mavic Mini base package is on the wish list, is it worth spending the extra $ 100 on the accessory? Reviews help you to make an informed decision.

The same applies to products that were launched at the beginning of the year and are expected to be updated and replaced shortly after the holidays. Take some time, research and make an informed decision.

Not sure yet where to start? Here are the Best Phones from 2019, along with our 2019 Gift Guide, which contains articles for various budgets, and Star Wars fans. You can also view our favorites for popular products like Smart Speakers Tablets and Laptops .

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