If you splurged on that perfect gadget gift, you’ve probably imagined an ecstatic squeal accompanying its discovery. But if you extend that fantasy five minutes, is the scene as jubilant? Gadget givers everywhere forget to make their toys useable straight out of the box, leading to frustration before the fun can begin.
So, here are my last-minute reminders to make your tech gifts truly perfect.
#1 Make sure portable electronics are charged. If they require batteries, add them before the gift goes under the tree. If it’s too late for that, make sure you have the appropriate batteries on hand so the gift will be functional in minutes. If the device doesn’t require batteries, make sure you have a charging device in case it doesn’t come with full battery. The recipient of a LeapFrog LeapPad learning tablet or iPad surely will want to play immediately.
If you’re giving an MP3 player, gaming device or tablet, consider preloading some content so your loved one doesn’t have to spend the first few hours loading games, apps or music to enjoy the device. Pre-installing Angry Birds will generate immediate smiles before the recipient launches into synching his or her music library.
Certain accessories can improve a gadget gift.
#2 Don’t Forget A SD Card: If you’re giving a lucky loved one a camera, keep in mind that most digital cameras require an SD card for storing photos. Unfortunately, not all cameras come with one. Look at the box to make sure it’s included — and has sufficient memory. If not, pick up an SD card compatible with the camera so the recipient can snap photos immediately.
#3 USB Cables: Printers notoriously lack the USB cable necessary to function. You’ll also want to confirm there’s ample ink for printing a few photos. Always check to make sure what’s included in the box, and get the additional part required for it to function.
#4 Screen Protectors: Portable electronics: Screen protectors or cases can ensure that devices survive the first excited tumble or spill. A car charger makes a smartphone far more functional, and a decent set of earphones will ensure that an MP3 player is immediately awesome.
#5 High-def equipment: If you’re giving an HDTV or a Blu-ray player, remember that the image will appear crystal clear only if the content is high definition. For most cable and satellite subscribers, this will require a package upgrade to HD channels. Consider giving a Blu-ray movie with the player so you won’t suffer the otherwise inevitable complaint, “But it doesn’t look any better than it did before.” And of course, make sure that your gift recipient has a compatible TV with HD capacity if you’re giving them a Blu-Ray player
#6 Get Discounted HDMI Cables: Most devices will require at least one HDMI cable, and it’s unlikely you’ll find it in the product box. Before you buy that cable, charger or case off the rack, know that most retailers drastically mark up accessories to compensate for the loss they take on the TV or camera itself. If you have time, order online. Monoprice.com has a huge selection of low-priced cables, and Amazon.com offers almost any other accessory at a reasonable price. Don’t be fooled by Monster cables or similar overpriced cables as places like Best Buy. Due to the way that HDMI cables work, a cheap cable will provide the same signal as an expensive one.
I’ve compiled links to all the cool Nerdy gadgets, services and products I’ve reviewed this season at nerdsecret.com. Friends don’t let friends give boring gifts.