A friend of mine recently asked me what I thought the appropriate age was for a child to have an Apple Watch. Our kids are the same age and he knows I've long been an advocate of starting my kids early with tech gadgets. I knew he was concerned with the price of the Apple Watch and whether his son was too young to be responsible for this expensive and elaborate device.
Rather than tell this friend to go order his son the Apple Watch or try to come up with the age when I thought his son would be ready, I suggested he simply order an Apple Watch from Lumoid to try. He had never heard of Lumoid and wasn't just intrigued when I explained the concept, but went ahead and ordered a whole box of wearables and photography gear.
Lumoid is a service that lets you rent everything from camera equipment, drones, video accessories and wearables like the Fitbit, Pebble Watch, Samsung devices or the Apple Watch. This concept allows users to try out these new tech gadgets and then have the option to purchase. For my friend, the idea that he could spend only $45 to give his son a test drive of the Apple Watch before shelling out hundreds of dollars made all the sense in the world.
I've also become a big fan of Lumoid -- its name reminds me of the Hebrew word "lomed," which means to learn. While many might head to Lumoid.com because they just need to rent some photography equipment for a week or two, I like the idea of using new tech devices for a few days to learn how they work (and how well they work) before deciding if I want to buy them.
The company began as a Y Combinator-backed startup and has been successful for a couple of key reasons, namely their low prices for rentals and their attention to detail. All of the equipment arrives in a nicely packaged box and is ready to use upon opening. The batteries are all charged up, the memory card is inserted in cameras and there are easy to follow instruction manuals. Customers can even select complete kits. For example, if you're heading to a friend's wedding and they asked you to photograph the event, you can rent the Wedding Photographer kit for a few days -- just long enough to outfit yourself as a pro for the gig. In the wearable category, customers can choose from wellness, running or sleep tracking kits. Since wearable gadgets are so new, Lumoid's idea is that people require a week to see if they can get used to the technology on their wrist before committing to a purchase.
I recently put together a rental package from Lumoid of some wearables that my kids wanted to try including the Pebble Watch and the Samsung Gear 2 Neo. I knew I was heading to a family event in a few days so I included a week-long rental of the Canon 5D Mark III Full Frame DSLR Camera. The concept worked great as I was able to shoot some super hi-res photos of my new baby niece at the family event and my kids had a chance to see if they could commit to using a wearable on a daily basis (they do).
I've become an instant fan of Lumoid because the reasons to rent are more than simply to try it out. I can see how someone might not be ready to buy a drone, but would love to take one on vacation for a week. As Lumoid grows in customers, I'm sure there will be many competitors in the rent-to-own tech gadget industry.