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How to buy a smartphone as the perfect holiday gift

ByinTips & Guides | November 22, 2015

Christmas Gifts
We all love receiving gifts, especially such amazing as smartphones. The only thing better than getting gifts is giving them to these very special people in our lives and seeing the pure joy in their eyes when they open the box. That is if your gift is going to bring joy, because when choosing a smartphone, there are so many factors that need to be taken into account that it’s very easy to make a mistake that could turn your potentially perfect gift into an expensive slip. Here are a few suggestions on how to buy a smartphone as a gift like a pro.

What you need to know before you buy a smartphone as a gift

Smartphone as a gift - avoid surprises

Avoid surprises

In many cases a gift someone doesn’t expect can only add to the excitement, however, when it comes to smartphones, surprises of any kind are generally a bad idea. Your mom may watch you with interest as you play with your smartphone, but it doesn’t mean that she actually wants one, even if all her friends have already moved to the smart side of technology. It’s hard to be grateful when you find under the Christmas tree something you never wanted.

Learn about the carrier

Once you established that a smartphone is indeed the gift that would make your favorite person happy, it’s time to gather crucial information starting with the carrier. Most users complain about service providers every once in a while. Some have real reasons to do so, others just do it because they have nothing else to grumble about. However, complaining doesn’t equal a desire to switch carriers. Your gifted may not want or be able to say goodbye to his or her current network for a number of reasons: the carrier is the only one that offers great coverage in the house, it offers affordable plans or exclusive services, or the person has still a long way to go with his or her current contract.

Find out about contract

Speaking of contracts, before you buy a new phone, find out if the person you are going to give it to is eligible for an upgrade. Your little sister may have mentioned more than once that she would love to have that awesome phone that just came out but is doesn’t mean that she actually is in a position to have it, since she may have just signed a new agreement with a carrier. She may not even want to get stuck with a contract for another two years.

Unlocked or prepaid

Even though you keep your eyes open and listen carefully, it’s always possible that you might not be able to find out all you need to know about carrier status. If it happens, the safest approach would be to buy an unlocked or prepaid phone. This way you can avoid putting the recipient of your gift in an uncomfortable situation and let him or her choose the carrier he or she prefers.
Smartphone as a gift

Find out what they want

A smartphones is the most personal device you can have and for this reason it’s best to learn as many details as you possibly can about its potential owner’s preferences. There is a wide selection of phones on the market so it’s pretty easy to find a perfect match if you know what you should be looking for, for example if your loved one likes phablets or prefers compact devices, wants a great camera or not necessarily, etc. Even the color of the phone can make a huge difference. And don’t base your choices on your own likes or dislikes. This new iPhone you are dying to have might be the disappointment of a century for someone who dreams about a Windows Phone device.

Buy as a promise

If you want to gift someone a smartphone but it’s not possible at the moment because for example, the person has still a few months of contract left or the device is currently unavailable, you can always promise to buy the phone at a later date. Sure, it’s not the same as finding a shiny handset under the Christmas tree but this way you can be certain that the person will get what he or she really wants at the most convenient time. If you don’t want to end up empty-handed on Christmas morning, you can buy a toy phone or a phone case and attach a handmade gift card for a real phone. Just make sure that the case will fit the actual handset.

Family plan

If the person you are buying the phone for is your immediate family, for example a kid or a spouse, you can add the phone to your own account as a new line. In such case, the giftee won’t be required to be there to sign the papers, which can be somewhat exciting, but also takes away some of the joy of seeing the device for the first time while unwrapping it by the Christmas tree.

Grace period

Even if you followed all the steps and double and triple-checked all the details, the gift may be too far from perfect to be accepted without wincing. If that’s the case, there’s no need to worry as most carriers and retailers will allow you to return a phone within a specific time frame. Usually you will have 30 days or few days after the holidays to do so, but you may want to check in advance just to be on the safe side. Of course, you will have to pay for any minutes or data that was used and you may also be charged a restocking fee.

Smartphones make great gifts but also require more effort on the giver’s part. Hopefully, this short guide will help you pick up the perfect phone and make your loved one the happiest person on Earth this Christmas.

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