Photography / Hands-on Review

Hands-On Review: the B&H Electronic Gift Card

         

You can now purchase an electronic gift card from B&H—the B&H eGift Card! If you previously read my hands-on review of the standard B&H Gift Card, you know how absolutely versatile and amazing this product is. How does the new electronic version compare? Now, since it is not on the SuperStore shelves, let us find out!

"The world is going digital faster than you can say ‘zeros and ones.’ "

The world is going digital faster than you can say “zeros and ones.” It was only a matter of time before the B&H Gift Card followed suit and I, like you, wanted to know if the new electronic gift card performed as well as the original one and if the new B&H eGift Card is anywhere near as useful.

For those unfamiliar with electronic gift cards, the new B&H eGift Card, thoughtfully purchased for you (or me) by a loved one, friend, or secret admirer, arrives in your (or my) email inbox with a unique code/serial number. When it comes time to purchase your favorite stuff from B&H Photo, you simply enter this super-special code at the time of checkout and, voilà! The balance of the gift card is applied to your purchase. Absolutely magical. It is like free money!

What is Missing from the New e-Gift Card?

Before you get all excited about the new eGift Card, know that there are some things missing in the new electronic version.

The first change you might notice when you do not hold the new electronic B&H Gift Card is that there is no gray scratch-off latex shield over the PIN code. More importantly, because you cannot physically hold the electronic B&H Gift Card, you are bound to miss out on the tactile feel of the previous version’s physical presence.

For some of us, there is a big difference between the sound of a postal truck driving to your abode and the sound of the AOL guy saying, “You’ve got mail!” If you are a big fan of getting something in your real mailbox, not your email inbox, you’ll definitely want to stick with the older version of the B&H Gift Card. The good news for your mail delivery person is that, with this new e-version, they will never be burdened by having to schlep a B&H Gift Card down the sidewalk to your home or up the stairs to your fourth-floor walkup in the city.

Size

Because the new B&H eGift Card is completely electronic, it does not occupy physical space. This is a fantastic feature of the new version, especially for those living in tiny, overpriced New York City or San Francisco apartments. “Where do I put it?” “Where would it go?” “What do I have to sell to make room for it?” “Do I need to get a larger storage unit?” All questions you will never have to ask when the B&H eGift Card arrives in your email inbox.

Speaking of space, because the gift card is binary, it will take up room in your email inbox. I recently purchased a $100 B&H eGift Card for myself. The email containing the eGift Card took up exactly 39.3KB of space in my inbox. For most of us with modern email services and servers, this is insignificant when compared to the awesomeness of an email containing your very own B&H eGift Card—even if it is one you bought for yourself to write this review.

Design

One advantage of the new B&H eGift Card over the previous plastic version is the customizable façade of the electronic version. Not that the original B&H Gift Card was unattractive—it wasn’t—just know that you can customize the appearance of the new electronic version.


Currently, there are 11 designs to choose from. Giving an eGift Card for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, holidays, anniversaries, birthdays, National Argyle Day (January 8—I just Googled it), or as a thank you? The B&H eGift Card has you covered with its variety of designs.






Weatherproofing

Electronics and water do not mix, unless the electronics are weatherproofed. With the B&H eGift Card, it really isn’t the Gift Card itself that needs the extra seals and gaskets to make it resistant to moisture and dust; it is the actual email-reading device that may require weatherproofing to protect your gift card. However, because the B&H eGift Card exists in your inbox and not on a particular device, it will not vanish when you accidently drop your phone in the toilet or get caught outside in inclement weather with your laptop. If the email-reading device is destroyed by rain, snow, lightning, or dust, you can simply read your email on another device and see that your B&H eGift Card is safe and sound!






 

Security

Hey, your inbox just got really valuable, so protect it! If you leave your phone tablet somewhere and a not-good Samaritan picks it up, they very well may hack into your email and use that eGift Card for their own purposes. There is more than email in your inbox now. Be vigilant!

Versatility and Use

I am delighted to report that the B&H eGift Card, even though you cannot actually touch it, virtually mirrors the standard B&H Gift Card in its versatility and flexibility. This usefulness is the very core of the gift card.

Being completely electronic, the new B&H eGift Card is supremely portable. Basically, you do not have to pack it in your camera bag, suitcase, or wallet. It exists in the virtual world—always ready, but never actually present—like a superhero.

However, if you prefer to get the tactile experience of a gift card you have two options: 1) You can print out the email with your B&H eGift Card on it or, 2) you can, instead, get the traditional plastic B&H Gift Card. Note: Even though the regular Gift Card is made out of plastic, its value is only that of what is designated on the card. Currently, the plastics market does not assign a monetary value to the card itself.

How to Use it

Not to sound too repetitive, but the B&H eGift Card is just as easy to use as the B&H Gift Card. It is obvious that the engineers took care to carefully recreate the core functions and capabilities of the original gift card when they created the B&H eGift Card.

"Not to sound too repetitive, but the B&H eGift Card is just as easy to use as the B&H Gift Card."

The new B&H eGift Card, just like the traditional B&H Gift Card, will help you purchase ANYTHING at the B&H SuperStore and, if you cannot make it to the store, it will help you purchase ANY of the products available on the B&H website. Like the B&H Gift Card, the B&H eGift Card will also gladly help you make a purchase on the B&H Mobile App if you are away from a wired Internet connection.

Also, when you give the B&H eGift Card (or regular B&H Gift Card), you are passing that versatility to the recipient. Who out there has not struggled with the pressures of getting the right gift? Who out there has been the recipient of a thoughtful gift that you really, really did not want? Yes, I know you should not look a gift horse in the mouth, but giving and receiving a B&H Gift Card solves a lot of those potential issues for the gift giver and the recipient. Powerful stuff!

The B&H eGift Card can be purchased in different dollar amounts starting at $20. Unfortunately, the maximum value is $250. If you wanted to send me more than $250, all is not lost. You can simply order a second, third, or fourth gift card.

Summary

I made this bold statement in the review of the original B&H Gift Card, and I think it is worth repeating…

The gift card has, for years, been stereotyped as the gift you give when you are not thoughtful. Let me tell you, again, that giving B&H eGift Card or the B&H Gift Card to a friend or loved one is, in my opinion, one of the most thoughtful gifts you can give because of its engineered versatility and because of the variety of things that can be purchased using the card—that they can select personally.

How do I know this? Because I bought one for myself just a few minutes ago and it really made my day!

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Entertaining review and informative. I also read your review on the B&H plastic card and found it equally informative. Now, I just wish that B&H gift cards were available along with the other gift cards at the local grocery stores. That way, if my wife doesn't know what to get me, she could buy a B&H gift card locally.

Hey Ralph,

Thanks! 

Good news! Your wife can get B&H gift cards on the internet, so she doesn't even have to go to the grocery store (unless she is buying you groceries)!

Feel free to send links to those two articles to her email..."Honey! Check out these hilarious articles. Hint. Hint."

Good luck, Ralph! Let me know if I can be of further assistance in your quest for the perfect gift!

Hi Todd,

I got a great wife. Early one December 2013 morning, she was surfing the internet and asked me about this package deal. I asked "You're buying me a 5D Mk III?!" She answered "Yes". I said "Let me check B&H". I won't mention names, but they're based in Seattle, WA; they had a package deal for $4000. At B&H, I found a similar package for $500 less (I didn't need the tripod since I had bought one in 2012). I didn't realize that I'd buy two cameras in 2013, a used F-1N and a 5D Mk III.

December 2011, I talked her out of buying me a DSLR when I found her budget was a T3i. As a consolation, I got a used FD 28mm f2.8 from B&H, which has become my favorite lens.

I may need your assistance later.

Thanks. Hanukkah Sameach!, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Hey Ralph,

Sounds like you have a keeper!

As always, standing by to assist! Thanks for being a regular here at the B&H blog!

Todd....Great humor in this article! Left me smiling.

I don't want to be greedy so don't spend more than 10K on my eGift Card.

All the best for the holidays, hope you'll be home in CT.

Hey Tom,

Thanks! Ill get you a $10k gift card if you get me one!

No home(s) in CT anymore, but I will wave to them when I drive to Rhode Island!

Thanks for reading!