Christmas presents wrapped in red and white paper, under a Christmas tree

With devices being brought out more and more frequently with new and exciting features, new tech can make for great gifts for relatives and friends who need a new device/s. However, phones, tablets, laptops or gaming devices can be expensive, so you want to make sure you’re taking a few key things into consideration before purchasing these items as gifts.

Do your research

Before setting out to purchase a new device, have a browse on the internet or in-store to see where you can get the best value for money. Often different retailers will offer the same product at different prices. It’s also not unusual to see deals or sales on during the holiday season, so shopping around is a good starting point. A few key things you might like to investigate before purchasing might include:


Some phones, tablets laptops or gaming devices are more prone to problems with their electrical parts than others. Similarly, other users might have had problems with software on that device and might not recommend purchasing. Try searching for user reviews of the device you’re after to see what other people think and what experiences they’ve had.

Troubleshooting information

 It’s also a good idea to investigate troubleshooting solutions for the device you’re wanting to buy – will it be easy for the person receiving the gift to get their issues resolved? Try checking the device manufacturer’s website or performing an online search for this information.

Safety (including digital safety)

Safety is an important factor to consider when buying a device for someone, especially if that person is susceptible to harm. Try checking the health hazards associated with electronic devices, and whether there have been instances of device’s electronics failing and causing injury. Think about things like choking hazards when it comes to toys or tech with button batteries, or whether the device is prone to overheating.

Also inquire about the digital safety features that are included in the device you’re thinking of buying. Devices that have in-built username and password considerations are often more secure, as they help to prevent unauthorised access. Some devices might also have default passwords already set, so make sure you switch from the default password to a personalised one. For more info on this, visit our guide to creating safe passwords.


Automatic updates are also a green flag when it comes to safety; devices that have automatic updates are often less prone to problems with functioning, and allow manufacturers to fix bugs, increase safety, improve functionality, and protect your data. 

Consider who you're buying for

Different devices work best for different people, so before you jump into purchasing new tech for someone, have a think about what would work for them and their specific needs.

If you know that the person you’re buying the gift for already has other Apple or Samsung devices, and they’re happy with their current setup, sticking with phones or laptops by the same manufacturer would be a good idea. Devices by the same manufacturer have similar layouts most of the time, and it's easier to transfer information between tech that’s been created by the same company. You should also think about whether the person receiving the gift needs any extras. For example, if you know they like to take lots of photos, maybe consider a device with extra storage.

You might like to look into devices with parental controls and more comprehensive safety features if you’re buying a device for a child or minor, and you also might like to check any age recommendations that come with the device. Additionally, chatting to the parents of the child receiving the gift before buying would be helpful in addressing any concerns they might have.The eSafety Commissioner has an excellent guide to parental controls on their website. 

Similarly, if you’re buying for someone with a disability or someone who might require extra help, doing some research to find out what accessibility features are included in the device you’re thinking of purchasing would help to ensure that the person can make full use of the device. ACCAN’s Accessible Telecoms website has a great guide to features that help people with disability get the most out of their smartphone or tablet.

Think about returns policies, warranties, etc. 

Returns policies and warranties often become an afterthought when it comes to buying new tech, so make sure to check this out beforehand to avoid disappointment. If you’ve found a device you’d like to purchase as a gift for someone, make sure to check with a sales assistant in-store or check the manufacturer’s website for any information about returns and/or warranties before you purchase.

Make sure you also let the person receiving the gift know the policies, so that they can get their issues resolved quickly and efficiently. If you suspect that the person you’re buying the device for isn’t going to be able to maintain the device, whether this is related to costs, ability, or other reasons, it’s probably best to reconsider purchasing.

Accessories and optional extras 

Finally, if you have room in your budget, you might like to look at extras or accessories that go with the device. Tech retailers will usually sell phone cases or screen protectors, chargers, or other accessories in their store, so you could ask an expert what extras would work best with your gift.

However, some accessories won’t be necessary depending on which device you’re buying, so make sure to double check which ones are going to be the most useful.

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