How to set up gadget presents to avoid frustration on Christmas morning
Don't get caught short on Christmas morning
Well done. You’ve got everything you wanted from your list (after exhausting all the Christmas gadgets guide(s) Stuff has to offer). That’s because you’ve been very good this year. But we’ve all been there on Christmas morning. You rip open the box only to discover you have every type of battery except the one this specific machine needs. The same goes for chargers, or lack thereof. Oh, and your headphones don’t work with this model of phone or laptop.
Don’t get caught out this Christmas by spending the day waiting for a raft of updates or to order that specific charger. Prepare with our guide to some essential Christmas gadgets (and what you need to use them).
Charge up devices in advance
Until the major tech giants come together to create one universal charger, chances are there are several cupboards in your house filled with random cables and wires. But do you have the right one?
Most items of hardware should come with a charger of some description, but not always. Apple has decided not to include a charger for its newer iPhone models, but they do come with a USB-C to Lightning Cable. Google Pixel phones from the Pixel 6a don’t come a charger, either.
It’s not just cables you need to be mindful of, though. It’s the little extras that’ll cost you. The Hotel Chocolat Velvetiser is high up the chocoholics Christmas list, yet you’ll need a subscription to keep you going through the winter months. To unlock all Peloton classes, ‘scenic rides’ and more requires a subscription – the Peloton hardware is arguably quite useless without it. The lesson here? Read the small print before opting for expensive gifts.
Download system updates in advance
We thought dedicating an entire section to system updates would be useful as most people will be experiencing a lot of them on Christmas Day.
If you’ve bought an iPhone or iPad, navigating an Apple product can be a little daunting at first. To find the software version installed on your device, go to Settings > General, then navigate to About. For iPhone 8 or later, the latest available update at the time of writing is iOS 16.1.2, released on 30 November. The Apple TV 4K 3rd gen latest update is tvOS 16.1.1, while the iPad Pro (all models), iPad Air 3rd gen and later, iPad 5th gen and later, and iPad mini 5th gen and later are all running on iOS 16.1.1 and iPadOS 16.1.1. A full list of Apple’s security updates can be found here.
To discover your settings on an Android, open Settings on your phone, scroll near the bottom, tap About phone and then Android version. At the time of writing, most Android phones from the Pixel 4 upwards and the Galaxy S series support Android 13, which was released earlier in 2022.
Download games ahead of the big day
Gone are the days where Christmas mornings are spent figuring out how to wire up your new games consoles to the ‘big TV’. Well, you still need to do that, but now much more time is spent waiting for your content to download.
God of War: Ragnarok comes in at a hefty 118GB on PS4 and 90-100 GB for PS5 players. Elden Ring starts at 45GB on PlayStation consoles up to 60GB for PC, while Warzone 2.0 should be around 115GB for PlayStation and Xbox. Internet speeds will obviously determine whether your console is operational on Christmas morning or Boxing Day.
It’s worth keeping in mind, too, that your shiny new product has likely spent months in a warehouse somewhere, and will almost certainly be in need of a few system updates to bring it up to speed.
Check your electricity usage
Christmas is expensive at the best of times, and that’s without it taking place this year under an unprecedented cost of living crisis in the UK. When making electronic purchases, it’s always useful to track how much energy it’ll be using over time. There are a number of free apps that help monitor your energy consumption, such as the Emporia Energy app, while many energy companies are offering free smart meters to customers – deals vary depending on the company.
If you’re really looking to upgrade your home for optimum energy saving then there are some great options out there. The third version of Tado’s Wireless Smart Thermostat is one of the best smart thermostats out there, and offers everything in home heating. Google claims its Nest Learning Thermostat will lower energy bills by up to 16%, while the Hive Thermostat Mini is a favourite amongst the forgetful as it can be controlled on a device, through the Hive app or using your voice.
Stock up on batteries
Sometimes, the best advice is often the simplest. Don’t get caught short on Christmas morning as you’re surrounded by children asking why their battery powered Lego set isn’t working. Get yourself down to your local supermarket and stock up on all the As. For some of the best rechargeable batteries out there, Panasonic’s Eneloop series offer around 2100 full charges for both its AAA and AA options.