(NEW YORK) — If you unwrap really cool tech toys this Christmas, it’s time to figure out how to get your new gadgets to work and to make sure they’re properly protected.
Fly your new drone indoors until you get used to the controls. Choose a room without expensive lamps or precious photographs, and put your family pet in another room away from the drone. Keep in mind too that drones have much shorter return windows than other products so if you don’t like or want the drone, take it back as soon as possible.
Kids and virtual reality are an untested combination. Many manufacturers, including Sony, say children under age 12 should not use virtual reality products. With developing brains so neuroplastic, researchers say much more information is needed on the effect of virtual reality on the growing brain. Until it’s clear the effect this technology has, proceed with moderation.
If you have extra cash this Christmas and want to do something for your tech-loving household that will have a positive effect all year long, invest in a new mesh network router system. These are routers that have a central access point next to your cable or DSL modem but then connect with satellite access points to blanket your whole home. They aren’t cheap, but having dead spots in your home stinks. The Eero is the most popular of the mesh networks available now.
You can opt for insurance, which is sold from the carriers, Apple or a third-party company like Squaretrade. Replacing an iPhone would cost more than $500, so if it’s for a teenager, you may want to consider purchasing insurance. For an adult with no big risk factors (no outdoor job, history of dropping phones in toilets, or propensity to leave phone in taxi cabs), you can probably skip the added expense.
Trade in Your Old Stuff
With millions of new smartphones expected to ship out this holiday season, there are bound to be lots of older phones going into a cabinet or drawer. Don’t do it! Those gadgets are a source of some easy money. Use a service like Gazelle or NextWorth, which will pay for your shipping and give you cash for that old laptop, phone or iPod. Act soon because the value of that gear will only diminish the longer you wait.
Getting Media on Your New Gadget
If you receive a Kindle this Christmas, you have to sign in to Amazon to use the device. Anytime you buy a book, it charges your account. But here’s a little secret. If you and your close family members want to share books, you can all use the same login. Then, you can buy a digital book once and it can be read on all Kindles tied to that account. Also, take a look at your local library. Many have Kindle and EPUB lending libraries so you can borrow digital books over the internet for free for the Kindle.
Keeping It Organized
A Ziploc bag and a Sharpie are your best friends when you get a new gadget. Put all the peripheral items you don’t think you’ll use — like the warranty card and the manual — in the bag, label it and then throw it in that drawer or cabinet where all that stuff goes. You’ll need something from the bag sometime down the line and you’ll be glad it’s labeled.
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