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Electronics 'fit' people, budgets
MISSISSIPPI STATE – New technologies are making it easier than ever to shop for that hard-to-buy-for person.
“Regardless of the shopper’s budget or the recipient’s skill level, there are many technological options available this year,” said Mariah Smith, assistant professor in the Mississippi State University Extension Service’s Center for Technology Outreach. “Some of the best ideas are the items that can support the more expensive electronics that people already have.”
Smith said smartphones, tablets and computers have a variety of accessories that are either essential or just nice options.
“An extra set of earphones, chargers or flash drives will eventually come in handy,” she said.
In addition to standard device chargers, other good gift ideas include car chargers and solar rechargers. Their prices range from $25 to $65 or more.
“Flash drives are easy ways to move data around and to back up important information. They come in a wide variety of storage capacities and price ranges,” she said.
If families plan to travel during the holidays, portable DVD players, gaming consoles and other devices can help pass the time on the road or at locations without many of the comforts of home.
“These devices will make parents appreciate volume-limiting headphones for children. The adults do not have to listen to children’s recordings, and young ears will not be damaged,” she said. “The more independent listeners might enjoy some of the small, inexpensive speakers that can boost the sound coming from electronic players.”
Andy Collins, an Extension associate based in Biloxi, said to consider specific needs if computers are on someone’s gift list.
“Determine what the user will need the computer to do and how much money should be invested,” he said. “Needs and expenses include software purchases that will operate on the computer.”
Most purchasing decisions boil down to which platform a person wants to use – desktop, laptop or tablet.
“Desktop computers tend to cost less but offer better performance. They are harder to steal due to their lack of portability, and they usually last longer,” Collins said. “Laptops are good for people on the go who will want to take their computers with them. Tablets are smaller and lighter, allowing you to easily do basic tasks, such as email and social media.”
In addition to the software operating system, owners should make sure their new computers have antivirus programs.
“Don’t forget to check out the warranties on any computer. Have a computer support plan that includes knowing who will work on the computer if there is a problem,” he said.