Gifting a new smartphone or game console can make someone’s Christmas, but it’s important to check whether a new device needs preparation beforehand to prevent frustration from putting a damper on the big day. To help loved ones enjoy shiny, new tech over the festive period, here are four things you can do.
Bring batteries and chargers
While you may have an abundance of older charging bricks and cables ready at hand, certain devices may need a specific connection such as USB-C, so make sure there is one in the box. Apple no longer includes a charger for newer iPhones, including the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro. That means you will have to buy either a wired charger or wireless pod separately if needed. Just make sure it meets safety standards.
Checking battery levels is a good idea too. New devices generally have some charge in them out of the box, but the initial on-screen time could be limited. This can be annoying on Christmas morning, as can being tethered to the charger and wall socket. Bumping up the battery level to 100% will ensure everything is good to go. Remember to have some AA and AAA batteries on hand too, as remotes and controllers may still require them.
Update devices and download software
Arguably the most important thing you can do to avoid frustration is to complete the setup process for a new device before you wrap it up and put it under the Christmas tree. Game consoles, and smartphones in particular, require OS software updates which can take time depending on your internet connection. While online services have considerable server capacity, things can slow down when everyone is trying to download updates at the same time on Christmas.
So, if you have a new PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X or S, turn it on, download and install updates, and try to activate any codes for games or services that may be bundled with the console. Modern games have very large file sizes, up to 100GB+, which can take hours to complete. Storage capacity is likely to be less of an issue but check whether you have enough. The Nintendo Switch has a comparatively small 32GB of on-device storage.
Compatibility between two devices that pair together is another consideration, especially for Apple accessories. While a new Apple Watch may be the “ultimate device for a healthy life”, it actually “requires” an iPhone 6s or later to operate. Meanwhile, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 has a more comprehensive feature list when used with a Samsung Android smartphone.
Considering “ecosystems” is important too. If you are buying a new smart speaker for a friend or relative who owns Google-based products, it is probably best to get them a device that uses the Google Assistant rather than something like the Amazon Alexa. Being aware of the online and smart tech already in someone’s home will help you get a device that fits seamlessly into their life.
Consider security and privacy
Finally, with tech corporation’s products and services now being central to so many things that we do, it is a good time to take a step back and consider the security and privacy implications of a new device. The Mozilla Foundation has a rundown of the pros and cons of big tech products, which can be very useful for last minute Christmas shopping.