Don’t let tech ruin your Christmas – get these necessaries

A checklist for an angst-free Christmas filled with technology fun, to avoid the frustration of lacking a vital component

Christmas is meant to be a time of joy, but if you lack the correct cable you could end up having a terrible time
Christmas is meant to be a time of joy, but if you lack the correct cable you could end up having a terrible time. Photograph: Martin Barraud/Ocean/Corbis

Agadget-filled Christmas is one of the best types of holiday season, but when the shops are shut and you’re tearing into the wrapping paper what if you realise you haven’t got the right cable or battery?

Here’s a quick list of things to make sure you have in your armoury to avoid tears on Christmas morning.

Batteries

Energizer batteries
Many things come with built-in rechargeable batteries, but the odd thing still needs removable ones. Photograph: John Gress/Reuters

An oldie but a goodie. These days most devices have built-in rechargeable batteries. Those that don’t typically need either AA (LR06) or AAA (LR03) batteries in twos or fours.

Other devices, including watches and fitness trackers occasionally need coin cell batteries, normally CR-2032, but check the size.

Power cables

USB-C cable and Nexus 5X
The USB type-C connector is the new kid on the block when it comes to cables. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs for the Guardian

The number of cables within the snake’s nest hasn’t changed much from the 1980s, but the types of cables have.

Most mobile devices including smartphones and tablets are charged with microUSB cable. Apple devices require a Lightning cable, which is typically included in the box.

To complicate things slightly, a new breed of device connector is being rolled out, called USB type-C. A handful of new smartphones, tablets and computers have adopted the new connector, which promises to be the one connector to rule them all.

Ethernet cable

Ethernet cables
A trust ethernet cable is your friend when it comes to diagnosing internet issues. Photograph: Stockconceps/Alamy

For when turning it off and on again just isn’t going to cut it, chances are you’ll have to fix the Wi-Fi router at some point during Christmas, particularly if you’re connecting a collection of new internet-enabled toys.

Most broadband routers can be managed via Wi-Fi, but it is a lot quicker, easier and more stable if you perform your maintenance operations over an ethernet cable.

Video cables for your set-top box or smartphone

HDMI cables are the most common for video
HDMI cables are the most common for video. Photograph: Thomas Northcut/Getty Images

Sending video or photos to a TV is a family favourite. Whether it’s connecting your smartphone, a new set-top box or a dongle straight into your TV you’re going to need a cable, and most don’t come with them.

The most basic is the HDMI cable. If it’s a set top box such as a Roku, Amazon Fire TV or Apple TV you’ll need an HDMI cable to make it work.

If you want to go wireless from your smartphone, a Google Chromecast can do the trick. But if you want to connect it with a cable rather than directly into the back of the TV you’ll need either an Apple Lightning to digital AV adapter (and an HDMI cable) or an MHL adapter.

If your smartphone supports it, MHL adapters output video to HDMI via the microUSB port. They work well, but aren’t all that common, so best to think ahead if you’ll need one.

Sim cards

Original sim card, micro and nano sim cards
Original sim card, micro and nano sim cards. Photograph: Reinhardt Altmann/Getty Images

If you’re setting up a new smartphone, the chances are you’ll need a sim card. They come in a range of sizes. The most common are micro and nano, but while a nano sim will fit into a micro sim slot with an adapter, the reverse is not true.

Apple’s iPhone and some other smartphones cannot be used at all without prior activation with a valid sim card.

What other essentials are on your checklist for Christmas?

[Source:-the gurdian]