Take the frustration out of Christmas and Don’t Forget the Batteries…

In homes all over the country, excited children and adults will soon be eagerly counting down the minutes to dawn so they can get out of bed and unwrap presents.  If you splurged on that perfect gadget, you’ve probably envisioned the ecstatic squeal sure to accompany its discovery, but if you carry that fantasy out five minutes, is the scene as jubilant?  Gadget givers everywhere will forget to make their toys usable straight out of the box, leading to frustration before the fun can begin.  Don’t let it happen to you.  Here are my last minute tech reminders to make your tech gifts truly perfect.

Charge it First:  

Before you wrap up that Leappad or iPod, keep in mind that the recipient is surely going to want to play with it immediately.  Make sure that portable electronics are charged and that if it requires batteries you add them before you put it under the tree.  If it’s already too late, at least make sure that you have the right amount and size of batteries on hand so that it will be just a few moments before your gift is functional.  If you’re giving the gift of an MP3 player, gaming device, or tablet, consider pre-loading some content so that your loved one doesn’t have to spend the first few hours loading games, apps or music before they can enjoy the device.  Even if it’s not something that they’ll play long term, pre-installing Angry Birds will at least let them get a few immediate smiles before they launch into synching their music library.

Don’t Forget the Accessories:

There are certain accessories that can make a gadget gift even better.  If a lucky loved one will be getting a camera for the holidays, keep in mind that most digital cameras require an SD Card in order to store photos.  Unfortunately, not all cameras come with one pre-installed.  Take a look at the box to make sure it’s included.  If not, pick up one that’s compatible with the camera so that they can immediately get to snapping photos.  Printers notoriously lack the USB cable necessary to function, and you’ll want to confirm that there’s ample ink to allow the recipient to immediately print out a few photos.  Screen protectors or cases for portable electronics can ensure that the device makes it past the first excited tumble or spill.  The addition of a car charger can make that new smart phone far more functional, and a decent set of earphones will ensure that an MP3 player is immediately awesome.

Don’t forget the Packaging:

For anyone who’s giving the gift of high definition with an HDTV or a blu-ray player, keep in mind that the image will only appear crystal clear if the content is high definition.  For most cable and satellite subscribers, this will require a package upgrade to ensure that you have HD channels for your HDTV.  Consider including a blu-ray movie with the player so that you don’t suffer the otherwise inevitable, “but it doesn’t look any better than it did before…”  Also, these devices are going to require at least one HDMI cable to show images in high definition and it’s unlikely you’ll find one in the box.

Order Online if you have time:

Before you grab that cable, charger or case off the rack on your way out of the electronics store, you should know that most retailers drastically mark up the accessories to make up for the loss they take on the TV or camera itself.  If you have time to order online, consider www.monoprice.com for a huge selection of low price cables that will work just as well.  Amazon offers most any other accessory at a really reasonable price.

Drop me a note if you’re still worried about ensuring your gadget gift is perfect at my computer repair website.