We, like you hate the encroachment of Christmas into months where it doesn’t belong. Yule is at the far end of December, and if it’s to remain special, that’s where it should stay. Mince pies becoming part of Halloween fare indeed! BUT… But with the supply chain problems that many retailers are currently experiencing, for whatever reason, it may be worth getting a few of the presents which are going to be most in demand early, rather than trusting Santa to deliver a little Christmas magic nearer the time.
So how do you decide which presents it’s worth buying now, and which to leave until Christmas Eve when you can rush around the High Street in a blind panic? (You know who you are!)
On the one hand shopping for kids is pretty easy. They like toys and sweets. They don’t like clothes, books, or educational games. To find out what your, or any child wants for that matter, just watch an hour of kids’ TV with them. You’ll be subject to so many ads and characters from favourite TV shows that you’ll find that you want them as badly as the young ‘uns do!
But buying for a discerning teen or young adult is a trickier proposition. I bet secretly they’d love some Octonauts or Alphablocks merch, but not from you, that just wouldn’t be cool! Instead they’re going to want something beautiful, or practical tech. Both if you can find it.
You could buy a smart phone as a gift, but you know as well as me that whichever you get, it’ll be the wrong one, on the wrong network, with the wrong spec, so why bother!? Instead, wireless headphones or earbuds are doing amazing numbers at the moment, as are Bluetooth speakers which are a really handy present for use around the house as well as the beach or garden. You benefit too, because they can walk around the house with it taking their tunes with them wherever they go, so no more turning up the music in the bedroom so loud it can be heard in the shower.
You might want to consider smart speakers or other smart gadgets, but you’ve got to bear in mind what technology they’re already using, and whether what you buy is compatible with it. Google, Z-Wave, and Echo/Alexa devices will often play well together, but there is a chance that they won’t, or that you’ll need a third party app to make them compatible, which means faff when all they really want to do is start using their present straight out of the box.
You can start asking innocuous questions about the network they use now, and they’ll have forgotten about telling you by Christmas, so it’ll be a proper surprise, not just because it’s the type of gift they wanted, but you got the right one for their compatibility! Kudos, you present buying hero!
Will They Have To Buy Additional Bits To Make Their Gift Work?
Whatever you decide to buy, try and bear in mind what accessories might be needed to go along with it. Ask the salesperson what might be needed to make it work properly. Colour changing LED light bulbs might be a treat, but they’re useless if the person you’ve bought them for doesn’t do Smart home automation. A lot of phones have done away with the 3.5mm headphone socket, so if you get wired headphones you will also need to find a compatible dongle to connect them to the USB port.
iPhones are now being shipped without chargers or headphones because it’s assumed that you’ll already have your own, or you will want to buy separate upgrades anyway. It also reduces overproduction, packaging and shipping. However, if the person you’re buying for has never had an iPhone before, and they don’t have Bluetooth headphones, then they’re not going to have much fun with it straight out of the box. So, either think about getting those peripherals while shopping, or think of another present.
Be careful when buying a DSLR or bridge camera too. You don’t need film, obviously, but you may need to buy a memory card as a separate. If you do, make sure it’s the right type and that the memory is HUGE! Because getting the best out of your photos depends on getting an awful lot of data into one image, and you don’t want to be limited by disappointing storage.
Look At What They Already Own
That’s not just to check for compatibility, although that’s important. But the products someone buys says a lot about them. If someone really likes Mac products they’re likely to actively eschew PCs, and likewise, if they have a bunch of Apple goods they won’t have much use for Amazon’s Alexa since they have a history of not working terribly well together (although for the most part that is no longer the case. People hold grudges!)
When you’re thinking of what they already own, think about their security too. Perhaps they’re very secretive and wouldn’t want to run the risk of having their privacy blown by putting a raft of listening devices around the house. Alternatively they might be fine with Smart technology and welcome Smart CCTV and a Smart Doorbell.
Whatever it is you decide to get them, do your research. Google the product or device name along with “privacy issues” or “data breach” to see if there is anything you should know about before setting them up.
Live Long and Prosper
Another big issue with a lot of tech is useful life. Most products will need software updates, but as they age the latest software becomes less and less compatible with the old device until one day it becomes unsupported. The device will still work, but you’ll find that you can only have the old versions of apps you already have installed and new apps won’t work at all. If Twitter or Facebook change their formats significantly again, which they do, you could find that the old app won’t work, and the new one is unavailable for your aged phone.
Routine software updates come out fairly regularly. They are a way of futureproofing products, fixing software bugs, and improving security by keeping one step ahead of anyone who might be trying to get access to the device. Therefore it’s important to know that whatever you buy is going to be supported for a reasonable amount of time. Sure products become obsolete as they’re superseded by newer, better goods, but you want them to have a few years life in them before you give them as gifts.
Most smart devices will update their software automatically and without asking for permission, which is handy.
What’s The Deal With Black Friday Present Buying?
Look out for Black Friday deals, but be savvy. Black Friday isn’t a charitable way for retailers to offload the latest tech onto the market at knock-down prices just in time for Christmas. Often it’s more the case that they will be clearing out old stock which they’ve been unsuccessful selling throughout the year in order to clear space on the shelves for the newest iterations which command the highest prices.
Because they may have been hanging around a year or two before they finally get sold, it may be that the ‘unbelievable deals’ you find on Black Friday may only have a couple of years’ support before they too become obsolete. Again, they won’t just stop working on a particular date, but you will find in years to come that the latest features other people enjoy won’t be available on the tech you give. Check for reports about the manufacturer and product online before jumping in cash first. You could find that it’s not been moving because it’s been dogged by snags, or you might find that it wasn’t a good seller simply because it was overpriced before it got discounted, in which case, happy days!
When reading reviews and reports, make sure you go to more than one source. Amazon and Google have cracked down on fake reviews recently, but that doesn’t mean that unscrupulous affiliate sellers aren’t still posting very positive reviews of decidedly mediocre goods.
Briant Communications supply and install TVs, home theatres, and a range of Smart environmental controls, Smart doorbells and CCTV as well as TV aerials and satellite dishes. Call 01273 465377 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book a free, no obligation visit and cost estimate.