Photo portrait of santa claus and elf browsing internet on desktop.

The end-of-year holiday shopping season is both an exciting and challenging time for purchasers and recipients alike. During this time, we might be buying tech devices or services for ourselves or others. Do you need the assistance of a tech elf to help you choose, purchase, upgrade, or install new devices? To ensure a successful and smooth holiday gift-giving season, there are a few things to remember.

Understand the life of your technology

Many shoppers will be in the market this year for a perennially hot holiday item — the newest smartphone. In case you missed it, the iPhone is no longer the de facto choice for unbeatable smartphones. Take Google’s recently released Pixel smartphone, for example, with its more advanced camera and longer battery life. You certainly don’t have to limit your selection to the old favorites this year.

Smartphones, however, don’t have a long life expectancy. New lease pricing plans direct from manufacturers or different carriers mean that phones aren’t expected to be carried for years on end. If you are in the market for a smartphone or other hot new tech item this holiday season, be realistic about how often you buy a new phone, the best pricing models, and what type of phone will last you the longest.

Be sure to consult your wireless carrier to see what kind of pricing models they can offer you. Then, compare those prices with the leasing options available via manufacturers such as Google or Apple.

Beware of hidden costs

Today’s technology has us seemingly living in the future. One example of that is the hot gadget trend that kid and adult gamers and tech lovers alike are gunning for this holiday season — virtual reality. But beware: Like many other popular gadgets this year, virtual reality is a component system, which means spending $599 on a top-of-the-line virtual reality headset isn’t the only cash you’ll be shelling out to enjoy your new toy. Get all of the nitty-gritty information regarding costs before taking the leap on a “pre-holiday” or “last-minute” sale. While these deals can seem hard to pass up, they may only give you part of the package, meaning you’ll be locked in for the other parts whether you were expecting to purchase them or not. For first-time virtual reality buyers, consider an all-in-one gadget or something that works with your phone, such as Samsung Gear VR or Google Daydream View.

Think about compatibility

These days technology is all interrelated. Is what you are looking at related to something you already have or is it from a very different platform? For example, to get an Apple Watch, you must have an Apple iPhone, not just an iPad or a Macintosh. If you want to use your iCloud services, it won’t work as well with an Android Phone. Be sure you know what is needed for your existing service and devices and those you would like to add to your life this season.

Know your options

Let’s be honest. Shopping for technology can get overwhelming quickly. Before setting foot in a retail store or filling out card information online, it’s best to do a good deal of research about your potential purchases. Need a gaming console system for your child? What about a laptop for the recent college grad? Different manufacturers make different models. It’s in your best interest to research before you hit the stores. Consult reviews on different retailer sites such as or and take a lesson from your kids by looking up YouTube reviews, too. If you need more help making a decision, don’t forget social media. Tools like Facebook and Twitter are great resources where you can poll friends and obtain trusted user reviews and opinions on the best (and worst) features.

First things first, start with a product review in a place you frequent. Expert reviewers can help identify the pros and cons of different items and will often make comparable recommendations that would have gone unnoticed otherwise.

Be sure to purchase in time

The thing about tech gifts across the board? They’re in high demand. In fact, the hottest items are usually in such short supply at local retailers that everyone can’t get them in time for Christmas. For example, Nintendo is known for creating massive hype and low supply around their newest gadgets, and this year is no different. The Mini NES Classic, their latest commodity, is out of stock at most major retailers and selling online for many times its MSRP.

Our tip? Get as much of a head start as possible. Time is running out on the hottest tech gifts. As you begin to shop, however, remember our tips. Make time to do the research and pick the best options. This way, the gift keeps on giving long after the holidays are over.

Protect yourself

All the SCAMS, security issues, and other things that can mess up your day are even more prevalent during the holiday season and you are more likely to be busy, frustrated, and not on your guard as much as you are usually. Be sure you know that you are using a reputable site and not a look alike. Be sure to protect your financial information and as always, document everything you do so that in the unlikely case that you have a problem getting your purchase, you have what you need to execute a refund.

Be extra careful with where you purchase and where you put your personal information. Research vendors in advance and use only known safe options.

If all else fails!

If you need help in any part of this process, We can help. Consultant Alliance is happy to help you with all your Holiday season needs from checking compatibility to helping you migrate your old devices to your new devices or move your information between services. We will assist you with the process complexity and do it safely and effectively. We can’t wait to hear from you.