[The following post was commissioned by T-Mobile]
I love buying gadgets and tech toys, and know what I like. But when it comes to buying tech for other people, I just don’t do it that often. My sisters and I bought a laptop for my mom a couple of years ago, and that worked out very well, but I haven’t been brave enough to do it any other time. So, I was thrilled to host about twenty other bloggers for an event at the new T-Mobile store near Union Square last week, where we mingled and noshed,
had the T-Mobile staff at our disposal,
and were given tips on how to choose and buy tech gifts.
Smartphones for the neophyte
Now, in my opinion, someone who is totally into smartphones and up on the latest tech trends will not want you to get them a smartphone, unless you know exactly which one they want (in which case you’re probably either married to them or gave birth to them, and they’ve been hinting pretty hard). But for people who haven’t made the jump to the wonderful world of smartphones yet, a gift might be the kick they need.
Two new smartphones from T-Mobile, the myTouch (on-screen keyboard) and myTouch Q (slide-out keyboard), are designed specifically for people who’ve never owned a smartphone before, and who might be a bit apprehensive. They both run the very popular Android operating system, and to make set-up easier they have a wizard that guides the user through setting up email and social networks, plus a tips widget to help figure things out along the way.
[I got to give these phones away on my site last week – congratulations to Deanna Watson and M. Banks – enjoy your new phones!]
What to ask at the store
T-Mobile provided us with these questions to ask at the store where you’re shopping for tech gifts (and, actually, they’re smart questions to ask when shopping for yourself as well:
- What does my rate plan cover?
- What kind of speeds/data am I getting?
- How much will my monthly payments be and/or other charges?
- What’s the exchange/return policy?
- Is my/my recipient’s home and workplace covered by your network?
- What are roaming charges?
- What are your warranty/insurance policies?
Some other tips I learned at the event:
- If your gift recipient is moving from one phone to another, make sure you can help her transfer all of her contacts, pictures, and data over to the new phone seamlessly, or that she can bring it into a store to get expert help in doing this.
- If the person you’re giving a phone to makes a lot of international calls, or is a teen with her first phone, you might want to consider gifting a pre-paid plan as well.
- Consider whether your recipient will want to use the phone as a camera replacement, GPS, or a mobile hotspot and make sure the phone you choose includes these features (and that the plan does as well).
- Don’t forget accessories, like cases or protectors, portable chargers, bluetooth headsets, and upgraded storage cards.
- If you’re gifting a smartphone to a child or teen, you can add applications like Drive Smart Plus and FamilyWhere to help put your mind at ease about your child’s location and phone usage.
- As far as plans go, T-Mobile has a great online calculator that helps you figure out the best plan, based on things like how often you stream videos or music, how many pictures you upload from your phone, etc.
Purse and pocket sized tablets
If your gift recipient already has a phone she loves, you might want to consider giving a tablet. I didn’t get a chance to play with either of the tablets that people at the event were gushing over, but lucky I ran into the T-Mobile crew the next night at another tech event, and got to try them out.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 plus and the SpringBoard with Google are, in my opinion, great gifts for someone who likes to be productive on the go but doesn’t want to carry around a laptop. At $229 and $299 respectively with a two-year contract ($50 less after a mail-in rebate) these are much cheaper than an iPad, and better suited to throwing into a purse or a pocket. I would actually let these out of the house with my kids, as opposed to the iPad, which I’m way too paranoid to let out of my sight.
Thanks to my blogger buddies!
I appreciate all of them taking time out of their day last week to come to my event. They’re all awesome, so please check out their blogs (linked below) – you won’t be sorry!
Me & Vivian
Originally posted on Selfish Mom. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. This post has a Compensation Level of 13. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information.