Feature: Five tips for tech shopping this Christmas

Dublin Christmas tree photo (cc) Infomatique @ Flickr

Dublin Christmas tree photo (cc) Infomatique @ Flickr

Christmas shopping can be stressful, especially when you’re buying tech for someone else.

Did you get the right device? Is it powerful enough? Will it be replaced by something better tomorrow?

To make the load a little lighter, here are five tips to keep in mind when you’re tech shopping in the coming weeks.

1)Don’t be intimidated by jargon

Gigabyte, RAM, HDMI and megapixels will be thrown at you when you go tech shopping – don’t let any of it bother or baffle you.

Before you even start find out what jargon you’ll encounter when hunting for a product and get to know what it means. So if you’re buying a PC you’ll need to know that a Gigabyte is a unit used to indicate storage space on a hard drive – and that memory is a different thing altogether.

If you are still hit with some terms that you don’t understand, don’t worry. There are no limits to the amount of jargon that’s out there so just know the basic requirements and all the rest can be put to one side. If all else fails ask the salesperson what the term means; you might even find that they don’t know!

2) Bigger is not always better

Salespeople are there to sell things – the more expensive that thing is the better. As a result you will likely have a rep. who will advise you to buy bigger, stronger and faster tech than you had planned.

Don’t be strong-armed into this. Like all purchases, the tech you buy should be fit for purpose. If you just want a neat flatscreen TV for your bedroom don’t be talked into buying something that’s too big for your wall.

Remember – there will always be a bigger, more powerful and feature rich device out there so don’t aim to buy the one with the most bells and whistles. If you do, you’ll have wasted your money on something you’ll never use properly.

3) Don’t settle on the first price

Buying tech is much like buying anything – shop around for the best price.

Certain gadgets like iPods and games consoles tend to have a static price set by the manufacturers but TVs, laptops, PCs and cameras are much more flexible. You’ll be amazed just how much of a price difference there is between two shops on the same street.

Likewise you might find that the cost of travelling to Newry is recouped twice-over in the saving made from buying your tech there.

Don’t forget to look online also – even if it is just to check prices. If you decide to buy from a website be sure you trust it, though, and at this time of year it’s also important to ensure they have it in stock and can get it to you before 25th December.

4) Check the warranty

Should you buy online – or even in the North – make sure your tech’s warranty is going to cover you.

Things like laptops and some cameras have an international warranty because they are designed for travel, but others will only cover repairs in their country of origin.

If you bought from a US website that could leave you stranded should anything go wrong so you may need to bear that in mind when you’re doing your cost benefit analysis of online shopping.

5) Don’t forget the batteries!

OK, not many gadgets need to come with a pack of AAs any more (although some still do) but there are a few extras you may need to keep in mind.

Cameras will usually come with a small flash memory card that will be filled by the snap-happy owner before Christmas dinner is even served, so picking up a larger one to go with it might not be a bad idea.

Flat screen TVs look the business when they’re hanging on the wall but you need a wall-mount to do that – your friendly salesperson should be able to get the right one for you.

PCs will usually come with a monitor, mouse and keyboard but not always so check to be sure and also see if you need anything else (like a WiFi dongle or Ethernet cable) that will make the machine as useful as possible from the start.

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