Don’t Break the Bank on Holiday Technology

Too often we spend all of our Christmas budgets on technology that seems to go obsolete when the new year comes around. This often leads to our loved ones returning items or getting stuck in long term contracts which cost too much money for the low amount of technology they are receiving. Instead of giving someone a burden this holiday season, check out some of these quick tips to find out how you should go about purchasing the most popular electronics:

Personal Computers

A computer is a serious purchase that will mean a lot to any gift recipient. Not only can it be used for homework and business, it also serves as a multimedia center for younger generations. The newest innovation in the computer industry has been the introduction of ultrabooks. These machines are lightweight and powerful laptops that provide excellent video and audio playback options. If you’re looking to purchase a new computer for someone, you can put your mind at ease as most modern laptops between $500 to $1000 these days won’t become easily outdated.  A great example is the popular HP dv6 quad edition laptop, which is priced around $700 to $800.

Buying tip: Major manufacturers such as HP and others often have a wide range of laptop sizes to choose from. Find out first if the gift recipient in question needs a portable laptop, or something as large as 17-inch to replace their old desktop.

Tablets

There is one simple rule for purchasing tablets as gifts: get the iPad. If you are on a shoestring budget and still want to give a tablet, get the Kindle Fire. Whatever you do, avoiding the Blackberry Playbook is probably a smart move. According to Gizmodo, the Playbook is a sub-par tablet that is costing the RIM corporation close to $500 million due to lackluster sales. This device will likely be discontinued and developers will stop creating apps and updates for it.

Buying tip: There are many many Android tablets, from $100 ones to $500 full-featured tablets from major manufacturers such as Asus or Acer. These are much more akin to the Apple iPad, though you’ll be accessing Android Marketplace instead of iTunes.

Smartphones

If you are looking to purchase a new smartphone for a friend or family member, visiting a mobile retailer can be more than a hassle. Fortunately most of the major carriers are offering spectacular online deals for the holiday season through their websites. Verizon perhaps does the best job of making the smartphone experience easier by offering several free phones, cheap phones, and contract options to fit anyone’s budget.

Buying tip: If you didn’t know, smartphones can now be bought unlocked at most major retailers such as Amazon. While the price is a bit heavier than what a usual American consumer may expect, you won’t lock the gift receiver into an unwanted wireless contract.

Video Games

If you have a teenager, or even a 30 year old who still plays video games, chances are you don’t know much about the latest gaming hits. Unless you read IGN or have a strong sense of gaming standards, the person you are buying for is going to know more than you. Instead of purchasing a game that might get returned or unplayed, get your gamer a subscription to Gamefly or a gift card for Gamestop so they can compare and analyze prices themselves.

Buying tip: Check out digital contents to save even more money. If you use digital delivery service such as Steam, you can easily gift a brand new game straight to a user’s account. Saving you the time and extra cost of a physical CD/DVD.

Digital Media

Cable and Satellite television are on their way out. If you are looking for a one-stop media option for your home or one of your friends, look to digital television. Google and Apple both have options that are better than cable and provide access through smart TV’s from companies like Samsung. If your gift recipient has a game console, they already know about advanced TV options. If they do not, you can pick them up a Roku so they have access to services like Netflix and Hulu around the clock.

Buying tip: An Amazon Prime subscription now allows you to want many instant videos and shows for free, or at a steeper discount. You can buy your giftee a Netflix account, or a Hulu Plus account. These digital streaming service can now be played on multiple platform, not only on the computer, but on the latest HDTVs, smartphones, and tablets.

If you decide to do your shopping online, you can visit price comparison sites, avoid lines, and stay out of high pressure sales situations. Just make sure you do not visit sites that seem shady or want too much personal information. The large retailers like Amazon and Wal-Mart are always your safest bet for conducting online shopping.

About the Author

By , on Dec 16, 2011
Pinyo
Pinyo is the owner of Moolanomy Personal Finance. He is a licensed Realtor specializing in residential homes in the Northern Virginia area. Over the past 20 years, Pinyo has enjoyed a diverse career as an investor, entrepreneur, business executive, educator, and financial literacy author.

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