Accessories to Remember When You’re Giving Tech Gifts

When it comes to tech gifts for the holidays, sometimes, batteries are sometimes not included, and sometimes they are in the package. As soon as we open a great tech gift, most of us want to play with it right away. Here are some tips to make sure the new gadget is ready to use right out of the gift box.

Give it Power:  While many gadgets do come with batteries (particularly those that have a remote control), others may not. You’ll want to include any required batteries to get powered up right away. Batteries will be listed on the packaging along with other accessories included in the box. Mobile phones, tablets, cameras and accessories like Bluetooth speakers and portable keyboards have rechargeable batteries. Although more and more gadgets are shipped with a pre-charged batteries, others require as much as 10 hours for a full charge. If you want to give a gift that is ready to go, you’ll need to determine in advance if it needs to be charged.

The best way to check if a device comes with a fully-charged battery is to read the quick-start guide. Before you decide to open the package, be sure that the store won’t charge a re-stocking fee if the device is returned opened. Quick-start guides are often on the manufacturer’s website. Do a web search for the model and “quick-start guide” or manual. If one of the first steps in setup is to charge the battery, you know it isn’t ready to use when unpacked and you can decide if you want to plug in the charger or device prior to giving the gift.

On the subject of power, if the gift plugs into the wall, be sure to get a surge protector. Today’s TVs, video game consoles, network attached storage drives, and media players have circuit boards and processors that need to be protected in the same way you protect your computer or laptop. A single power surge can fry circuits and cause a device to act erratically or worse, to kill the device entirely.

Include the cables: Some media players, video game consoles and other home theater components will include an HDMI cable to connect to the TV. Again, check the box to see if one is included. If not, be sure to buy a cable so the gift recipient can hook up his or her new device without running out to the store. Note that some devices require two HDMI cables. Google TV set-top boxes, and the Xbox One video game console, both need one HDMI cable to connect to a satellite or cable box, and a second to connect to the TV. If the gift is a new sound bar or AV receiver, an extra HDMI cable or optical audio cable will be needed to connect the sound from the TV.

Buy memory cards for digital cameras: Giving a digital camera without a memory card is like giving a film camera without film. An 8 GB SD memory card is an inexpensive but necessary add-on. Again, with digital cameras, check the box to see if batteries are included. Lithium or rechargeable AA batteries are thoughtful stocking stuffers to accompany the gift of a digital camera.

Screen protector for smartphones and tablets: When giving a mobile device with a delicate touchscreen (especially to children, teens and clumsy adults), make sure it is protected from light bumps and scratches by including a screen protector.  Zagg makes a variety of screen protectors that are easy to apply and comes with a lifetime warranty — Zagg will replace a screen protector, if it ever starts peeling, gets dirty or otherwise looks less than new.

Give them something to watch, listen to or play: Media players are more fun when the recipient can listen to music or watch a movie right away. Note that many online streaming services offer a trial period of a week to a month. Think about including a gift card to the iTunes to accompany an Apple TV, or to

Google Play for Android devices: Gift cards can also be used to purchase apps. An Xbox Gift card can be used to pay for a downloaded game or media to play. The Gift Card Mall is a great one-stop shop for all types of gift cards including Visa gift cards.

Barb Gonzalez ~ The Simple Tech Guru

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