This story is part of and contains tips for optimizing the holiday season.
Gifting a phone, tablet, or other device can be thoughtful and personal. However, before sharing your cash or credit card details, remember that a technical gift is not like a new sweater or potted plant. There could be a jumble of unintended consequences, such as saddling someone at the cost of buying additional equipment or exposing a person's privacy in a way that makes them uncomfortable.
Newand other electronic devices provide the ability to communicate with friends, work, play or with something like a or escape for a brief moment into another world. In other words, tech products are more than just a battery, components and some software. They are tools that can add value to a person's life.
The process of choosing the perfect gadget this Christmas should not be a simple matter. 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. If you would like to start somewhere, we've rounded up the best deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Watch 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 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 existing material. 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 your father a gift 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 work.
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. Other.
The Golden Rule to Buy a Phone as a Gift
Tap 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 are no problems if they want to return or exchange 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 even though 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 note of companies like Facebook orwho are constantly surrounded by privacy issues and concerns when you consider 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 that you do not already know, a quick Google search, such as a Google search, should help you. For example, Facebook privacy issues potentially arise problems.
One option you should consider if you're not sure the gift will be a success: Get it as a kind of placeholder. 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,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 like aare handled in the background without the user realizing it (ideal for those who are not so tech savvy).
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 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 base 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 came on the market earlier this 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 released at the beginning of this shopping season.