Giving a new smart video doorbell to a family member? Or even a new MacBook to someone who has been on Windows their entire life? Make sure you're available for the inevitable questions on how to make them work— or consider adding an hour or two of free installation or tech support to their gift this year.
Although tech companies like to crow about how easy their devices are to use (some don't even bother including installation guides anymore) we all know that when presented with cords and beeping parts, everything can get a little confusing.
Unless you're excited for them to spend four hours on hold this holiday season, consider splurging for an hour or two on one of these services so they can actually enjoy — and use — your present.
HelloTech lets you schedule service for the next day Getty Images/iStockphoto
HelloTech is a service you can use to connect to different support people either online or through the phone. The company actually breaks its help down by categories, including smart home, TV mounting, audio and video and Wi-Fi among others.
The company also highlights certain devices including Nest smart home products, video doorbells from Ring, and those from Arlo and SimpliSafe. You can get service at your home for the next day, Plus, if you enter your email address, the company will send a coupon for $10 off your next booking. The best part here, is you — as the gift giver — can set up the appointment, and pay for it online in advance.
Handy also has an iOS and Android app so you can book through a mobile device Getty Images/iStockphoto
Handy is one of those sites that can coordinate help in almost any area of your home — whether that's cleaning windows, or putting together a new Ikea bedstead. But they're also solid for connecting people with tech support on a variety of digital devices. And Handy also has an app for iOS and Android users, so booking someone can be done through a mobile device too.
There's a specific smart home section under services on Handy's site, where they highlight help from installing a smart lock to setting up a smart security camera. You'll get a price just by entering a zip code, and then describing a few details such as whether this is a replacement product, or one that's being installed the first time.
Puls breaks down pricing for categories so you can get a range before you book Getty Images/iStockphoto
One thing we like about Puls is it breaks down some average fees right on the web site, including the $69 to $159 range for installing a new TV, the $109 for putting in a smart thermostat, or the $79 for adding in a smart video doorbell. Granted, some of these services can be almost the same price as the product itself. But it's a solid way to ensure the present you're giving is actually useful — and appreciated.
Angie's List has a free membership plus reviews of tech support people Getty Images/iStockphoto
Sure you can think of Angie's List as a catch-all for any kind of help you need, but you can certainly find tech support from a cracked iPhone screen, to getting help mounting a TV on the wall. To find someone, you need to enter some details about the job, your location, and when you want someone to show up and help. So if you're thinking about using Angie's List as part of your gift, the best option may be to wait until after your present has been opened, and then coordinate with the person on a time that works best for them.
Angie's List help is available nationwide, you can join for free, and you can also read reviews of people before you hire them.
Best Buy Total Tech Support
Best Buy Total Tech Support will help you with any tech device, even if you didn't buy it from their store Getty Images/iStockphoto
What's actually great about Best Buy's Total Tech Support service is they'll help you with any piece of tech you buy — no matter where you purchased it. The service can be used in their store, online and on the phone, and they claim to help with any device — whether that's a computer, a connected car gadget, or appliances too.
You're going to pay for this help, starting at $199.99 a year. And then there are additional fees, such as the $49.99 in-home service charge to show up at your door and help you set-up and install a variety of things including a Wi-Fi system or your smart video doorbell. Some services are free (aside from the annual charge), like installing a backup camera in your car. But overall, this is clearly not an inexpensive service. Still, it's definitely worth considering for those family members who live far away, and may need more help than you can offer on your own over the phone.
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GearBrain TV Presents A Discussion with Handy on Smart Home Services Part 1 www.youtube.com