Gift giving: Don't forget the tech extras - East Valley Tribune: Business

Gift giving: Don't forget the tech extras

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Posted: Friday, December 23, 2011 3:13 pm

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 usable 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.

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 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. 

Certain accessories can improve a gadget gift.

Digital cameras: 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.

Printers notoriously lack the USB cable necessary to function. You’ll also want to confirm there’s ample ink for printing a few photos.

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.

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. 

Miscellaneous: These 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, know that most retailers drastically mark up accessories. If you have time, order online.

Andrea Eldridge is CEO of Nerds on Call, which offers onsite computer and home theater set-up and repair. Contact Eldridge at

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