We have to put in a lot of thought when buying gifts. Especially if that gift is a smartphone, and you happen to reside in the U.S. or the U.K – the service plans have to be taken into account, which means that you are in for a long march. However, chicks seem to dig smartphones – it’s a general observation these days. So why not buy her something that would make her smile and appreciate your “expensive” input?

The Problem with Buying Smartphones as a Gift?

Smartphones, cell phones, mobile phones – call them whatever you want to. But they all come with a couple of issues. As mentioned earlier, you will need a service plan alongside your grand purchase. You can’t expect to gift him or her a device, which requires a fortune to be spent on the data plan and service charges, can you? It is a 2 year long commitment – so you better make sure that you are setting up all the angles right.

Other than tariff related hitches, there’s the smartphone itself. What if you did not check the device’s history properly? A lot of people are impulsive buyers. We see something; we want it instantly. Many a times when you are buying a certain laptop or a cell phone, you forget to check its history in the market.

Who knows that your specific model may be having a reputation for bugs, random restarts and bottle neck issues? It won’t matter to your girlfriend, or boyfriend, if the recently gifted mobile phone keeps hanging up, restarts on its own or it is just too damn slow on the performance side. The price tag, no matter how big it was, will simply go to waste… You want to make sure that you are lovingly investing your money in the right device.

Here’s how you can buy her a nice smartphone, without running into any trouble.

  • Surprise! I Got a Smartphone for you, Baby

Girls and gifts can be a little complicated at times. I have run into few felines throughout my relationship span who would say, “Oh dear… you don’t have to buy me a gift.” Believe me, they mean the complete opposite of it whenever they say that. Even though she is saying that she doesn’t “expect” a gift from you on that special occasion in her life, she DOES. She wants you to gift her something without stressing too much.

Coming back to the smartphone issue. Don’t try to surprise her. If she doesn’t like smartphones, or maybe if she does and she is not planning to have one, drop the idea. What’s the point of going through the hassle of buying a cell phone when your girl is thinking of a Tutu probably? It would be okay to ask her what she’s expecting on her birthday, the coming Holiday season or whatever.

  • Know Thy Carrier

Unlocked cell phones are another story; you just have to buy the device at full price and insert your SIM to get going. At least that’s how it works for me because I travel around the world a lot. At times, I am at places where the concept of carrier service for smartphones is still mundane.

However when you are aiming to buy a device that doesn’t come with a suitable carrier service, you may want to reconsider your options. Of course, it does not mean that all smartphones come with shitty service plans – there are good ones too. If your girl, or guy, is getting a nice reception at a place where he/she lives and goes to work, they are going to keep the device close to their hearts.

It would be a good idea to know what kind of carrier he/she is already subscribed to. This will help you avoid the hassle of switching again.

Now here’s another dilemma. What if your loved one is already subscribed to a network which requires an early termination fee if it needs to be switched??? Normally, the termination fee could go as high as $150. Please ensure that your tiny gesture of kindness, love and friendship does not take a huge chunk out of the recipient’s monthly budget just because your gift requires an early termination fee.

  • A Smartphone has a Personality… Watch Out

So you gifted your cousin Carol a smartphone which you thought was right for her. Did you know that Carol is going to be carrying your gift all over because a smartphone is a very personal gift? What if this so-called personal gift is not what she was into? She likes smartphone but she was expecting a model different than the one you just gifted?

Does she Love Samsung Galaxy S3?

According to many surveys, respondents felt that their smartphones are a part of their personality. What kind of personality is the recipient of the phone known for? Maybe you love Samsung Galaxy S3 but your spouse is more into the HTC brand? Likewise if you are gifting a device to your mom or late grandpa who doesn’t understand the touch system too well, you may want to stick with something simpler.

For instance, my Mom has a busted Nokia but she loves it because it is easy to use and simple enough to get by. – No pun intended, Nokia. It’s just that she does not like touch-base smartphones and all… She doesn’t understand them much.

  • Prepaid, Unlocked or Locked?

On a related topic about buying prepaid or unlocked cell phone as a gift, I would like to say that it is a great option. The only problem is that you’re going to have to pay the full price. For some people, that’s not an issue, but it is something that an average person with a 9 to 5 job that hardly pays a lot, can’t overlook.

What you do is that you start off with purchasing a prepaid phone, or an unlocked phone. You can even order unlocked phones from Amazon for that matter. While doing so, you are completely skipping the service selection option, which makes it a great bargain.

The receiver simply has to choose the carrier of his or her choice – it is that simple. In a way, for more price, you are eventually granting the freedom of choice to your loved ones because they are going to have the liberty to make a decision.

And of course, if you have more money, you can even accessorize your gift. If you are buying a smartphone from a retailer at full price, he will try to upsell. The guy will advise you to consider buying Bluetooth devices for the smartphone, a couple of nice cases, a screen protector and etc. Why would he do that? He’s getting a commission on each sale, so why wouldn’t he?

  • Bless the Grace Period…

Finally, there is a grace period for every item that has been gifted in the history of relationships. You put in a good amount of effort to buy a smartphone for that someone special, but somehow it didn’t work – Bad stuff happens, dude.

The grace period is your Wild Card. You can take the gift back to the retailer to have it replaced or you can ask for a refund. Eventually you will have something better. Or if the entire experience drained you of your energy, you can be a snobbish SOB and ask your girlfriend to do it on her own 😀

Personally, I like to give cash to her because I know that she will have the freedom of buying whatever she wants. Good luck and may your fortune smile on you, my friend.