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Want to Buy a Phone For Christmas? Think Again!

Want to Buy a Phone For Christmas? Think Again!

A smartphone is a very useful item and can be a source of endless fun. What other device fits into your pockets (well, in most of them) and has the power of a supercomputer, connects to the internet, and gives you the opportunity to stream movies, listen to music, play mobile slots, and keep up with the news?

The holiday season is riddled with specials and promotions by tech vendors all over the world, so it may seem a great idea to surprise your loved ones with a new smartphone for Christmas. But this may be trickier than you think.

Dead in the water

Without the internet, a smartphone is little more than an expensive paperweight. Before you buy a smartphone for a loved one, make sure they have the possibility to connect it to the global network – otherwise, the initial enthusiasm may turn into disappointment pretty fast.

If the giftee has WiFi at home, it’s good. If they have a wireless plan that includes mobile broadband, it’s even better. If they have neither, they’ll find little use for the handset other than using it for calling and texting – and for that, they only need a feature phone.

Before you give a smartphone as a Christmas gift, make sure it won’t be dead in the water.

Check your discounts (and conditions)

Wireless carriers often have special offers lining up around the holiday season, with phones that can sometimes cost even a fraction of their full price. The caveat that makes these deals less sweet is in the fine print: these prices only apply with a contract that often binds the user to the network for at least a year or two. So, you may end up paying several times the money you save on the phone’s price on subscriptions.

Also, make sure to check if the phone is locked to a carrier’s network. In most cases, the phones attached to new contracts are unlocked – meaning that they can function on any network – it doesn’t hurt to check to avoid a potentially unpleasant surprise.

Make sure you can return it

No matter how good your intentions are, the gift may not work out – the giftee may not find it as useful as you intended it to be, may find the user interface annoying or may have been secretly dreaming of something entirely different, say, the new iPhone instead of the latest Samsung flagship. A phone is not like a sweater – it can’t be just tossed into the back of your closet never to lay eyes on it again. It’s an expensive piece of technology, one that the giftee may feel compelled to use despite hating it.

So, just in case, make sure to check whether you can exchange it for another model at the place where you bought it or if you can obtain a refund if needed.

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