Sunday, February 25, 2024

Give away gadgets as gifts? Prepare to answer these questions

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Common question: Will I have to pay for this subscription?

How to respond: No, or yes if they want to continue using it after your donation period ends. Subscription services work in different ways, but generally speaking, once the giveaway period is over, they will simply lose access. If they liked it and want to keep access, one of you will have to foot the bill. There may be different levels available if the person wants to upgrade to a lower cost plan or access different content.

In addition, most of these services offer free trials, sometimes substantial ones. If they’ve never tried this service before, make sure the person completes the free trial period before activating your gift membership.

When offering smart home products

Smart home products can range from smart bulbs, door locks, smart electrical outlets, and security cameras. It is a broad category. Most people could benefit from some sort of smart, connected device, but you don’t have to go overboard and do their whole house.

What would you like to know: For smart home products, you’ll want to consider how the recipient will access those devices. If they already have a smart speaker, does the product you plan to offer work with that platform? Some products are more universal than others. Hue lights, while more expensive, are compatible with HomeKit, Google Home, and Amazon Echo devices. Others, however, can cause more of a headache than joy when it’s time to set them up. Sticking to reputable or well-known brands can also signal a minimum level of safety and the likelihood that they will work and be supported in the long term.

You’ll probably also want to know how comfortable the recipient is with smart home technology, and if they’re okay with setting it up (or if you give yourself a job and give them a gift). Connected lights are clean, unless they constantly leave the person in the dark.

Common question: Can it be hacked and can my home be taken over? (Also: will this use a lot of internet data?)

How to respond: No, your house will not be taken over. But since a device connected to the Internet is potentially vulnerable to an outside source, it is important to take easy security measures.

Make sure the Wi-Fi network the new device is connected to is password protected. (And make sure that only people you trust have this password.) Make sure the device itself has a strong password, or any account you need to set up for it. ‘use has one. If the device or service offers two-factor authentication, this will also help. Finally, don’t reuse passwords across devices or accounts. Even complex passwords are less secure if they are used over and over again.

Regarding data usage, it varies. A smart bulb will only use data traces, while security cameras can be data hogs, especially if you’ve configured them to record video to the cloud.

When you give a smart watch or fitness tracker

Not only have smartwatches and fitness trackers become popular giveaways, but they’ve also become more affordable. Even Apple is trying to lower the entry price of the Apple Watch thanks to old models and the new SE model.

What would you like to know: Smartwatches can provide a range of functions. You should probably know if the person is serious about health and fitness and wants a tool to help them, or if they are more interested in general purpose things like checking notifications and answering phone calls. Some Android Wear watches can be used with an iPhone, but Apple Watch cannot be used (great, at least) on Android. You absolutely have to know what kind of phone they are using.


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