How Do I Get the Best Gadgets?

How Do I Get the Best Gadgets?Being a technology enthusiast often comes with an impulse to buy the latest and greatest hardware as soon as it becomes available. You might hear about it on a podcast, or read about it on a blog. The end result is pretty much the same. You spend more time broke and less time really enjoying the gadgets you have.

I’ve been there. Going from phone to phone, buying a tablet one month and a new computer the next. I spent more time regretting what I did and less time enjoying what I had purchased. Despite a misconception that tech bloggers get everything they use for free, I spent my own money on just about everything I use. What little I have received for free often finds itself in my closet or donated back to the community. How many printers can one person possibly need anyway?

There are a few questions I learned to ask prior to making any gadget purchase. These questions have kept me out of trouble more often than not, and I finally find myself enjoying what I do have a lot more than I used to. Why? Because I know everything I have fulfills a purpose well enough not to need replacement in the foreseeable future.

What Does It Do?

Does the gadget you’re about to buy do something that you need to have done? Does it do that thing in a way nothing else you currently have does?

What does it do, really? A good gadget will do more than one thing for its user. A smartphone, for example, is best suited if it runs the right apps and takes good-quality photos and/or video. It’s not enough these days that your phone just take calls, unless that’s exactly what you need. I’ve bought phones before because they had bigger screens or a faster processor only to be disappointed by a lackluster camera of poor operating system support.

Likewise, a good computer will do more than just “check email” or “play games.” It’s short-sighted to buy something that fulfills short-term needs when another month of saving will enable you to buy something that will last longer and fulfill all of your needs.

How Long Will It Last?

A good gadget will last you a year. The best gadget will last you three or more years. I realize we live in an age where things are doubling in power and/or sex appeal every 18 months. Unfortunately, it’s this very situation that encourages hardware makers to hold off on releasing a product that covers all the bases in order to release one a year later that does.

Have you ever bought something that was replaced by a new model weeks or months later? Take a moment to research when the gadget you’re considering buying came out, and how often that manufacturer updates the hardware. You can even use a site like Decide.com to help you estimate when a new model will be available.

Is This Something You Really Need?

It’s easy to convince yourself that you need something. You may have an idea in mind for how you might put this gadget to good use, but you haven’t really thought it through past the point of making the purchase. Take a step back before buying anything and consider what you want to accomplish and whether or not you really need that specific gadget to accomplish it.

I’ve gone through it before, myself. Buying a server before I really have a solid plan of execution for how I’m going to put it to work for me resulted in a net loss. Sure, I have a fun system to try things out on, but I haven’t really made the investment back in productivity. I just didn’t need it even though I had convinced myself I did.

It’s always a good idea to give purchases a day or two of thought before jumping into. Impulse buying is the number one cause of disappointment among geeks. Don’t fall into the trap.

What about you? What questions do you ask yourself before buying a gadget?

Dollar Wallpaper by Petr Kratochvil

Article Written by

Ryan Matthew Pierson has worked as a broadcaster, writer, and producer for media outlets ranging from local radio stations to internationally syndicated programs. His experience includes every aspect of media production. He has over a decade of experience in terrestrial radio, Internet multimedia, and commercial video production.

  • http://www.facebook.com/hjalti.g.atlason Hjalti Geir Atlason

    Good article thx :)

  • Cameron Ryan

    My buying rules are if it got good feedback on CNET, I’ll buy it. It’s hard to trust review sites since people make accounts and write fake good reviews about it.

  • Anakin Mignone

    That is helpful

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000919793012 Charlie Parker

    Great article, really helpful!

  • Joshua Weatherill

    At the end of the day it all comes down to money and you have to balance the features in order to get the best out of your money.

  • Weion

    Excellent article!

    I think that peer pressure is the biggest cause of spending irresponsibly because people want the latest gadget and they want it before everyone else; completely disregarding that they will only use its core features, which is a waste of money.

    Another issue is the fact that we love to have the latest technology and experience it first hand, instead of reading about we want to see what the fuss is about.

  • Ozzzzysh

    I had to go through this process just recently with my purchase of my Nexus 7. I get scared from buying things unless they are brand new; it’s ridiculous how fast tablets and mobile devices become outdated. I eventually came to the decision, my laptop is broken, I could spend $700 to get a proper laptop for my needs, or spend $200 and get a device that will have a shorter lifespan, but will tide me over until I can afford a proper laptop. I got the Nexus 7 because I can’t go without a portable internet device. My phone is not suited for browsing, but it can be a hotspot, so I’m set.

  • http://www.facebook.com/danielmulkey7 Daniel Mulkey

    if i had lots of money i would buy anything i wanted but until then im gonna think it out!

  • http://www.cyberfanatic.com/ CyberFanatic

    What Chris said is true. Be sure that you really want the gadget and also aim for gadgets that last a while. I don’t mean aim for gadgets that last years although that is what you should be doing in the first thing. What I mean by gadgets lasting for a couple of years I mean gadgets like the iPhone, Windows things that don’t come in newer versions or releases every couple of months.

  • Jesse Aranda

    I normally spend a good few weeks looking up reviews, problems, and other information about a device. Though I give you a thousand “thank yous” for Decide, I didn’t know that site existed!

  • steve362

    What i do to find the best gadgets is to first go to gadget review websites (to see what is featured) then i would look at youtube videos on reviews to that gadget, to see if it suits my needs.

  • HerezMikey

    What I do is just wait and see what other people think about it and also I will go read reviews. If I do buy any gadgets. It’s from Best Buy. That is where I bought my iPod and my Laptop there along with my iPod clock radio.

  • http://twitter.com/ferilers Fereli

    These questions are really useful to those who think they need the latest smartphone or tablet computer. It’ll definitely help you save money and time. I ask these same questions to myself before buying a new gadget and for extra measure, I read or watch reviews online from trusted sources.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003595445085 Bram Derksen

    Nice tips, they’re very handy and I think that they really work when you buy a new smart phone!

  • thomashoups

    i sold 16 15″ dell monitors that were made in about 1999 and they were selling for Β£20 per monitor like hot cakes.
    if your going to get rid of something, chuck it on ebay someone will buy it for Β£0.99 thats more the dump would give you

  • http://bkgcom.blogspot.in/ Bharat Kumar Gupta

    to me its based on pain points, based on whether i actually need it and then with regards to chris’s point in selling my old devices that might be collecting dust, then last but not least searching for coupons n ways to save money on that device, these points really help and one of many things i learned here in lockergnome community!

  • http://mumbleandtumble.tumblr.com/ klandwehr

    The first thing I do when I hear about a gadget is I wait at least a couple of days. Usually by that time the wow, look at that shiny new thing has worn off. The second thing that slows me down is I don’t pay anything on credit. If I don’t have the money in the bank I don’t buy it. Finally I think is this something I will really use or is it just something I want.

  • http://www.facebook.com/beshoy.lovesjesus Beshoy Shafek Malk

    Iam really beat, i cant just decide on getting a tablet, if i am and can afford it, billions of windows 8 tablets, billions od android tablets or an ipad, it fustrates meπŸ˜žπŸ’”

  • http://www.facebook.com/lucas.follbring Lucas Follbring

    I went and picked up the original iPad the first day it came out here in Australia. I bought it to test it out and with the forethought that I should be able to offload it quickly if I didn’t see what the big deal was, and also i the wife didn’t like the idea of it. As I came home after work that day, I handed it over to my wife and asked her to have a look. She’s not really a computer person and need to be reminded about bringing her mobile to places – within less than ten minutes she was sold. We now have a bunch of them and they are the first thing we pick up in the morning and the last thing we put down. I do believe that if we didn’t like it in the first place we would still have been able to find a buyer for it a few days later. Buying a new gadget is often about taking the leap to test it for yourself while the hype is still around, just in case you want to get your money back if you need to on-sell it.

  • anthonym

    research,research research