A friend's birthday is coming up and you really want to do it up and are considering getting him or her the latest and greatest techie doodad. But before you go to all the effort and expense, you first might want to clarify exactly what kind of tech consumer your friend is because there are few things more annoying than giving something and receiving something that is both expensive and useless to your everyday way of being. So have a look and get a handle on who you're dealing with because it could save you a fair bit of money and anguish. Let's take phones, for instance.

Buying Gadgets Online

Tech Addict

These are your friends who know about the latest technological gizmo years before it's even launched. They read up on it, wait without a trace of patience, and will stand outside overnight if need be. These people spend a lot of time in the formative days of the forums for each device and become the go-to person before the thing's even hit the market. If you are not this person but your friend is then this is someone us regular folks enjoy teasing. They are also the people we buy chocolates for when we're desperate to reset our phones without losing all of our vital information.

(Buying guide: Don't bother, get them a gift certificate for their favorite brand and let them have fun).

No Questions, Just Work

This consumer is far less interested in trends and the latest apps and upgrades; they just want their phones, Mp3 players, GPS's to work without drama and without the requirement of a PhD. The beauty of this level of techdom (or lack thereof) is that we, er they are very easily impressed and amused by shiny new toys and will make “oohs” and “oh's” like watching a good fireworks display when you show us the Magic 8 Ball app. Though at the first sign of trouble we're sure the gizmo “hates” us. The No Questions/Just Work folks are also fairly slow to upgrade gadgets and most likely will not do so until buttons stop working, screens become unreadable, they get a new one as a gift, etc.

(Buying guide: Make sure that if you go “smart” you don't go too intimidatingly smart because they'll never use it).

Modern-Day Luddite

This is a person who would do without a phone altogether if their family would let them get away with it. They often say “Back in my day” even if they're in their 20s. They pine for the old candy bar phone that could drive nails and will never EVER sign up for email and/or texting options with their phone. Now sometimes the Modern-Day Luddites move on up (or down) in the ranks and go on to become immersed in all that tekkie stuff, but that changeling is the rare individual indeed.

(Buying guide: Save yourself the money by getting them a nice paperback book and maybe some tin cans and some string, trust me on this).

Written by Sarah Simpson. Think they're ready for that cool new Smart Phone?

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