Holiday Tech Shopping Advice

Giving electronics as gifts can make you a terrific Santa, but with a bit of planning you can avoid making some expensive mistakes


From Black Friday to last-minute holiday sales, news reports to conversations around the watercooler --everyone is talking about high tech gifts. There are high ticket presents that are purely for entertainment to essential tools for students and business people. Before you rush to buy a tech gift there are a few things to consider to avoid expensive mistakes.

  • Buying someone a cellphone is complicated. If your recipient isn’t a member of your family make sure you know if a cellphone is the right gift for them. You need to know their carrier, their type of phone plan and what phone is right for them. Cellphones are remarkably personal as they are often the tech most used and carried everywhere. If you are in a romantic relationship, a gift of a cellphone can seem controlling if not requested by your partner. The best advice is to avoid purchasing an actual device but instead purchase a wanted accessory or better yet a gift card for their provider which can be used to pay a bill, offset the price of a phone or accessory.
  • Buying for a gamer? Know their console of choice. If you see that they want a hot new game be sure that you know the system that they are using. Many games today are cross-platform, meaning that they are available for different systems but each only works on that particular one. Don’t know if they have a PS2 or a PS3? Ask before buying otherwise that great sale on games might not be so great. Also, be sure that the game’s rating is in line with their maturity. A tween may want the latest first person shooter, but do their parents’ allow them to play games rated as Mature? Do some research before just fulfilling the wish list as you might be causing friction if not.
  • Make sure everything’s compatible. Buying an iPod dock for someone with a different type of media player is misspent money. Not everyone uses iTunes to buy music. The latest and greatest software might not run on their 4 year old laptop. Movies on Blu-Ray can’t be played on the family DVD player. If you don’t know, ask someone who might know for sure (roommates, siblings, kids).
  • Don’t think tech gifts have to be extravagant or expensive to make your loved one’s experience better. There are better mice available for someone with aging joints. Headphones will bring peace to many a shared household. A laptop desk might make things comfier. If you know someone well, you know what their computing complaints are. Listen and find the little thing that can make a big difference. If you are the go-to tech help in your family, offer your time and experience helping them with a specific project or just general help and advice, which sometimes is the most valuable present of all.


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