Christmas is here and in just a few days millions of people will begin opening their presents from one another. Many of us will unwrap gadgets and/or electronics, but very few of us will be prepared for the inevitable. Those flashy new gizmos and whatnots will eventually meet with mechanical malfunction, a fatal fall, a catastrophic crack or even theft. Stuff Breaks and People Steal!
iPads. iPods. Smart phones. Laptops. Desktops. You name it. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of expensive gadgets on the lists of “must have” Christmas gifts this year. If you, or a loved one, receive one of these gifts there are steps that you MUST take to protect your new gift from the inevitable. We’ve got you covered.
First things first. If you want your new gadget looking like new for more than a couple of days, you’ll need to take it out of the package and move it straight into a cover, sleeve, or case of some kind. A protective case will keep your shiny new gadget from getting scratched or cracked. The problem is, retail stores and mall carts make all of their money by jacking up the price on these simple little necessities. Here are some ways to protect your device and save money.
1) ebay – The #1 auction site on the planet is the ultimate thrift store for cell phone and gadget accessories. You get more selection and pay a fraction of the price for the exact same covers, shells and screen protectors.
2) skinit.com – Give your gadget a personalized touch with a protective skin. These stickers do a great job of protecting your device from scratches and they look cool. Just make sure you add on a bumper (rubber band around the outside) or use a sleeve of some sort to prevent damage from drops and falls.
Here is something you have probably never heard. You MUST lock down your device. If your new gadget is stolen or “borrowed” your personal information is up for grabs. Think about it, you check your bank balance, shop online and send/receive private messages on these handy-dandy little tools and that all becomes accessible if your device isn’t protected.
1) Passcode Locks – Check your settings on your device. There is a way to lock it down so a password or pattern must be entered to use the device. In iOS devices (iPods, iPads, iPhones) this is a simple 4-digit code that must be entered. It might slow you down a bit, but you’ll thank me if your gadget is ever stolen.
2) Location Apps – iPhones (all iOS devices for that matter), Android devices and computers have downloadable applications/programs that can be used to locate or remotely wipe your phone in the event that you can’t find it. Find My iPhone, Device Locator and LoJack are just a few that you can find through your app store of choice.
Don’t Just Take Our Word – update added 6-01-2011
A recent post from The Lookout Blog (a mobile security company in San Francisco) supports our thoughts above via a simple infographic. Jump on over (by clicking on the image below) to see how people are using their smartphones and read the 8 Simple Privacy Tips to Put Your Mind at Ease.
Sure, your new gadget probably came with a warranty, but have you filled out the paperwork and mailed it in? Can you locate the information when you need it? When does it expire? Does it cover drops, spills and scratches? Here are a few tools to help with all of these issues.
1) WarrantyElephant.com – Store your warrant information online and they will send you reminders as you get closer to the expiration date. You can even upload the warranty itself and a copy of your invoice/receipt so you don’t have to hunt for it when the time comes.
2) SquareTrade.com – Manufacturer’s warranties are very limited. Department/retail stores offer additional warranties, but they are expensive. Square Trade offers warranties on your gadgets and it doesn’t matter if you bought it at Best Buy, on eBay or received it as a gift. Their service received the highest ratings from every review site and their warranties are often available at half the price of other companies. Check out their site and/or read the JumpstartMyPC article to see what they protect. This is one amazing service.
So there you have it. Everything you need to protect your gift this Christmas season. The information is FREE and we hope you find it helpful. All we ask is that you pass this on to friends and loved ones so that they can benefit as well.
Happy Holidays everyone!