iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Phones, fitness bands and streaming video devices, oh my! If Santa was good to you and put one of the top tech gifts under the Christmas tree for you, it’s time to start playing with them. But to get the most out of your gadgets, here are a few things you should do as soon as they’re out of the box.
Good Morning America tested fitness bands this year and showed that they can have a pretty big variance on distance and steps. They need to be customized to you: they take you through a standard start-up process asking weight, height and gender. But some of them have extra refinements you can make by adding extra data. To maximize accuracy, measure your stride and input that in the device according to the instructions.
Streaming Media Devices
The Chromecast, Firestick, Roku and Apple TV were all big this season. First, many streaming media devices don’t even have remotes and if you do have one, you’ll likely lose it. Thankfully, there are apps that let you control the device from your smartphone. Install it now. Added bonus: it may allow you to look at photos and videos from your phone on the big screen, all wirelessly.
Also if possible, hard-wire the device to your Internet router. Yes, it can work off your Wi-Fi. But trust me, you don’t want your neighbor’s new baby monitor or your teenager’s YouTube downloads to stop your binge-watching of Nashville or Scandal, right?
With a new iPhone model just released and Samsung slashing prices on new phones, smartphones are a hot present. As you break in your new smartphone, keep in mind that you may soon break it. More than a quarter of you will crack the screen in the next couple of years, if surveys are to be believed, and it will cost you approximately $150 or more to get the screen replaced. So you have three options:
1. Apple Care or a similar insurance policy from the manufacturer. These cost about $99 and especially if you’re giving this to someone who is accident prone or to a teenager, it’s worth it.
2. Get a case. Sometimes they are bulky and make it harder to put in your pocket, but since the iPhone 6 is so skinny, it’s actually easier to hold with a case.
3. At the very least get a screen protector. In my very anecdotal experience, a clear screen protector can guard against cracks and screen breakage as well as a case.
Sell Your Old Gadgets
If you got a new device as a replacement for something old, sell the old one. In my anecdotal experience, you get the best price on eBay. For example an iPhone 4 from a carrier is currently going for around $100. But then again it’s so easy to use a gadget recycling service like Gazelle or NextWorth. You just send it in and they pay you immediately. The downside is the payments are generally about 50 percent less than via eBay.
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