Shopping tips: The approach of Christmas reminds us every year that electronic devices are one of the most desired gifts for men, women, teenagers and even the elderly. At the top of preferences remain smartphones, which with their variety of features and prices, allow anyone to find the right option to give as a gift. Less popular on a large scale but perhaps more coveted by those who appreciate their convenience in avoiding having to take their phone out of their pocket every time, and even more their usefulness during excursions, smartwatches are an appropriate gift for friends, family and partners who are more attentive to detail and style. Let’s look at some tips for giving a smartphone or smartwatch as a gift.
As with any other purchase, everything depends on the budget available, although the Christmas holidays are the best time to make an exception to the rule. A necessary premise because phones cost a lot, especially if you want to follow the latest market trends. This year has heralded the definitive consecration of foldable smartphones, which are selling well, thanks in particular to Samsung, and have broadened their target audience. Last August, the Koreans launched the fourth generation of models that have divided the foldable market: Galaxy Z Fold 4 on the one hand and Galaxy Z Flip 4 on the other.
Dedicated to multitasking and to professional users or otherwise demanding a lot in terms of performance, the former is the best phone with a flexible display on the market. On the other hand, the smaller Flip has brought the clamshell model back into vogue, which has also been taken up by Motorola, which with the Razr 2022, offers a high-end alternative that is very nice to see and touch. Together with the Flip 4, the latter costs much less than the Z Fold 4; after all, we are talking about completely different models in terms of size, power, camera, battery life and performance, with the advantage that the two Samsung there are attractive offers online.
The iPhone needs no introduction, and as the figures show, it continues to be the most popular smartphone on the market every year. This time, however, the situation is different, as the zero-Covid strategy pursued by the Chinese government has repeatedly slowed down production at Foxconn’s factories, resulting in Apple’s inability to meet the demand for its most popular models. Those who want to buy an iPhone 14 Pro or Pro Max have to wait three weeks, while stocks abound in the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus case.
The year 2022 confirmed the strength of Xiaomi, the world’s third-largest manufacturer, which brings dozens of smartphones to Europe yearly, often even similar ones. Also evident are the advances in design and performance made by the company founded in 2010 by Lei Jun, which has the Xiaomi 12 Pro at the top of its range, offered like all the others at a reduced price for the Christmas holidays. The Xiaomi 12 shares most of the Pro’s specs, has a 6.28-inch display (the Pro’s 6.73-inch), and the camera is less impactful in wide-angle and telephoto lenses than its big brother. But it deserves attention because, with the current promotion, you can get it at a price that makes it one of the best value-for-money choices.
A premise must first be made because when it comes to smartwatches, one finds hybrid and digital models, operating systems with more options than the standardisation on smartphones, and functions that are also very different, depending on the use and target chosen by the manufacturer. Apple is still leading the market (36% in the first quarter of 2022), which this year is offering two new models: the Watch Series 8 has been joined by the Watch Ultra.
The latter is dedicated to the more adventurous and to athletes who do not want to compromise when it comes to choosing what to wear on their wrist: titanium case, precision dual-frequency GPS, three straps, the autonomy of up to 36 hours and the Digital Crown, which is larger and more comfortable to use even with gloves on. All very tempting but also very expensive because the Watch Ultra is on sale for €999, a reason to look to the Watch Series 8, available in many different models with prices starting at €499, with a saturation meter and the Fitness+ app that has few equals in terms of effectiveness and completeness.
Behind Apple is Samsung (10% market share), which launched the Galaxy Watch 5 and 5 Pro this year. Models that, above all in their design, trace the previous generation, once again not compatible with iOS but with Wear OS software in the usual Korean version enriched by the temperature sensor that, with blood pressure, body composition, stress and sleep monitoring meter, helps the wearer to achieve better well-being. Watch 5 is on sale from €279, and Watch 5 Pro from €429.
Sales are down due to the notorious ban decided by the US, but Huawei continues to churn out top-notch products, and one example comes from the Watch GT 3 Pro, the most elegant of the lot. Judgement is subjective, but the materials and the look leave little room for doubt: the design with its circular titanium case is reminiscent of analogue watches, even if that means it is less thick than the others (10.9 millimetres) but still light (54 grams, without strap). Some useful features are missing, such as NFC payments and voice assistant, and like all the others, it is at its best when paired with Huawei smartphones, but the product is good and deserves trust.
The one that has carved out a space for itself in the market is Amazfit, which continues to grow with its value-for-money models. Made of magnesium alloy and minimal appearance, the GTR 3 Pro model counts on Zepp OS, the BioTracker PPG3 for heart rate and integration with Alexa. With 150 sports it can monitor, it is rich in additional features, such as skin measurement, altimeter and menstrual cycle tracking. Thanks to Bluetooth, it can also be paired with your phone to talk to the person on your wrist. A complete product at 199 euros.