Black Friday is almost upon us and retailers are serving up huge discounts and deals on popular phones, earphones, TVs, smart speakers and other gadgets, which customers anxiously wait for when making expensive purchases for themselves or their loved ones.
If you need somewhere to start, we've put together a list of the top 10 Black Friday deals available on Walmart right now. While buying gifts for your near and dear ones may seem like a great idea, gifting electronics is very different from buying them clothes or perfume.
The purchase could be accompanied by a slew of hidden costs and complications. Tech products are more than just parts and components, they can add real value to a person's life and there are a lot of things that you need to consider when buying electronics for your friends or relatives. These are some of the questions you need to ask yourself when gifting someone a gadget:
Will they have to purchase additional accessories?
No matter what you buy as a gift, you need to make sure the person you're gifting it to will not have to spend extra money on accessories or additional equipment that the product might require. The receiver should be able to unwrap his or her present and use the device right out of the box.
If you're buying a phone or table, wouldn't it make more sense to gift it along with a phone case or a Lightning / USB-C headphone adapter for handsets missing a headphone jack. If you're thinking about buying a Roomba, make sure you toss in extra brushes, filters or virtual barriers, which the gift recipient will eventually need.
Will they be able to use the device?
The last thing you'd want is to get your mom a present that she can't or won't use. Before you finalize whether you want to gift them the latest Amazon Echo smart speaker or an Apple Watch Series 4 (available at a $300 discount on Best Buy), find out if they use similar devices on a regular basis.
For example, if your dad has an Android phone, he might not be able to pair an Apple Watch with the device. Or if they have a house that is controlled by Google Home devices, an Amazon smart speaker will be of little use.
Wireless earbuds are usually a safe bet, and smartwatches other than the Apple Watch generally work with both iOS and Android phones. And if you're not sure about which devices your close friends or relatives own, just remember to keep your gift receipts handy so they can make an exchange.
How long will the company offer support on the product?
Software updates are an important part of owning tech. Not only do updates improve the device over time, but also fix any bugs or issues experienced by the user.
If you're shopping for a phone, remember that Apple's iPhone and Google's Pixel devices have a reputation for receiving updates most consistently and on time. Samsung also has a good track record for rolling out consistent updates but Motorola has really dropped the ball over the last few years.
Smart speakers and streaming devices like Chromecast also receive updates from time to time but it happens in the background, without the user even finding out. It's always good idea to check how long a company promises to support a product with software updates after its release.
There's bound to be many good deals and promotions this holiday season but don't be swayed by a deal on a product from a brand that is unheard. You might save a few bucks but if the company doesn't last, your expensive gift will end up being a liability.
Am I reading more than one product review?
When buying a product you need to do your own research by going through reviews of the product. Read more than one review and identify similar cons.
For instance, the DJI Mavic Mini, an entry-level drone was recently launched with a base package for $399 that includes just the basics you need to fly. For $499, you get two additional batteries, a carrying case and a few other accessories including extra propellers. If the base bundle is on your loved one's wishlist, would it make sense to spend an additional $100 on the accessories.
In such a situation, the reviews will come to your rescue and help you make an informed decision. The same can be said for devices were released earlier this year and will soon be upgraded and replaced with a newer version or variant.