This story is part of and contains tips for optimizing the holiday season.
Buying a newof 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 unintended costs and complications, such as: For example, the need to buy additional equipment, or the possibility that you reveal a person's privacy in a way they did not ask for.
In some ways, 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 offor 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 .
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 byand .
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 buydo 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 made the headphone jack obsolete, so a dongle may be required to switch from USB-C or Lightning to a 3.5mm audio connection.
Other examples to consider: For aadditional brushes, filters or virtual barriers will be things your beloved ones 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.
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 owns.
The last thing you want to do is get a gift for Dad that he can not or does not want to 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. Or if you have a house full of Amazon's Alexa Assistant probably will not fit well.
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.
The golden rule of buying a phone as a present tap on your back for your thoughtfulness and generosity. Just make sure you've 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 audience.
Keep your receipt handy and tell the recipient that there is no problem in returning or exchanging the phone. This gift is all about the gesture.
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 athink of her well-being.
We store a lot of information on our cell phones and devices. Private information such as bank details, frequently visited places, our current location, photos and conversations are all things that we blindly trust. At least you should take notice of companies like Facebook orwho are constantly surrounded by privacy issues and concerns when considering buying a . or one of Amazon's smart doorbells as a gift.
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 supports 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,and 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 may be an exception for early adopters who still have money left, but will not be preordered until December 26
Software updates for smart speakers and streaming devices such as arun in the background without the user noticing it (ideal for non-technical users).
It's a good idea to look at how long a company promises to support a product with software updates after it's released.
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 specific 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 includes only 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 thealong 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 .
Originally published earlier today.