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Top Questions to Ask When Choosing a Cell Phone for a Christmas Gift


December 20, 2018

There's nothing like getting a new cell phone (and all the new features that come along with it). Christmas is the perfect time to give someone a cell phone as a surprise gift. If you’re considering buying a cell phone as a gift this year, these tips can help you pick the perfect device for your partner, older parent, or setting up a phone for your child.

How to choose a cell phone for kids

Giving your child a phone is a rite of passage that affirms they are responsible (and mature) enough to carry one. When deciding which cell phone to purchase for your child, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is it your child's first phone? If so, a used phone can be a great starter device.
  • How much memory will your child need? Although 64GB is the standard on newer models, most kids do not need this much storage — an older model with less will probably be enough.
  • How much data do you think your child will use? You’ll likely need to add them to your mobile plan. Remember to talk to them about the cost of data, and the consequences of using too much.
  • Do you plan on putting parental controls on the phone? Apple and Android phones both offer parental controls — just remember to set them up before you give it to your child.
  • What brand should you get? Apple and Android phones are both popular choices, but what you choose will likely depend on what you, personally, prefer.

If you're giving your child their first cell phone, you don't need to give them the best phone out right now. Consider a used cell phone to start, and upgrade once your child has proven they are responsible enough to have one.

How to choose a cell phone for seniors

A cell phone is a great way to stay in touch with your aging family members. If they feel comfortable with today’s technology, a newer model smartphone is best for pictures, cellular connections, storage, and more. If your gift is not a surprise, ask the recipient these questions:

  • What do they use a phone for most? Whether they use it mostly for talking, the Internet, FaceTime, or a combination of many functions will help determine which model is best.
  • Do they ever print the pictures they take on their phone? Some people simply keep the pictures they take stored on their phone, but if they plan to print them, a better resolution is needed.
  • Do they prefer a pay-as-you-go plan? These plans have their own locked phones, so do your research before purchasing one.
  • Who is responsible for the bill? Consider adding your family member to your plan or offer to explore plan options with them.

How to choose a cell phone for your spouse or partner

Whether they want the best phone on the market or prefer something a little more basic, keep these questions in mind when considering a new device for your significant other:

  • Do they take a lot of pictures and store them all on their phone? Consider a phone with 128GB, or 256GB of memory.
  • What screen size do they prefer? Some people have a strong preference for small or large screen phones.
  • Do they have a color preference?
  • What cellular plan will the phone work on? Even if it is an unlocked phone, you need to ensure it will work on your carrier.
  • What accessories are available for the model you are considering?

Regardless of who you buy the phone for, knowing the color, screen size, storage needs, and brand ahead of time will make buying a phone as a gift an easier process. If you are considering gifting a used cell phone, only buy from a reputable site, and ask the seller these questions:

  • What is the IMEI (serial number) of the phone? Look it up to make sure the phone is not blacklisted or stolen.
  • Does the phone come with the original box and accessories?
  • Is there a warranty, either through the seller or the website you purchased it from?
  • Can the seller send you pictures of any wear, dents, or scratches?
  • What is the return policy?

A cell phone is a thoughtful, generous gift that can keep you connected to your loved ones. As you explore your options, this guide can help you find the perfect device for anyone on your list.

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