I love new gadgets. Chance are you are too. But, just because it's shiny and new doesn't mean you throw common sense out the door. Below I'm going to go over the most common mistakes I see people make when buying new gadgets.
Not Checking When an Upgrade is Due
Everyone should know that a new iPhone comes out every September. Common sense would dictate that that buying an iPhone in July or August is going to be a waste when the new phone is coming out in a few months. Especially if that new phone has new features the older phone does not have.
Now, not all tech companies will have such a strict upgrade schedule. But, thanks to the internet you can get a relatively close idea of what new gadgets are coming out in the next few months. Point and case, the new Samsung Galaxy S9 comes out next month, so don't going buying a Samsung Galaxy S8.
The general rule of thumb is if there is a gadget you're thinking of buying, like a cell phone, keeping up on tech news can help prevent you buying something that could be replaced in a few months. This is not an exact science and not everything is always clear cut and dry, but you will get a better understanding on a product's upgrade cycle.
Not Checking for Compatibility
I'm not going to lie, buying a phone case is not a simple process, especially online. You have to check and double check to make sure the case you're ordering is the right one for you phone. But, the same thing can be said for buying a sound bar when your TV might be five years old.
When you keep your gadgets fairly new, typically less than two years, chances are you will not run into too many problems with compatibility. But for gadgets older than five years you might start to run into issues with older gadgets working with your newer gadgets. Will your new laptop work with your old projector? Will those USB cables work with the new phone? Does your Blu-ray player allow for 4k videos for you new 4k TV? If you answered "No" to any of those types of questions, you might need to buy adapters or upgrade additional gadgets. And if you do not know the answer, then asking a sales person or research on the internet might help find an answer. And when you research on the internet, the first place you should go to is the manufacture's website.
Another issue is cross platform use. Apple products generally play perfectly with Apple products and nothing else. Unless Apple chooses to work with certain product, chances are you might run into some issues. Microsoft and Google products general play better with other products, outside of Microsoft and Google products. But, you still might run into some odd bugs.
In the end, doing your homework on your current gadgets and determining how they will work with the newer gadgets will go a long way from preventing buyer's remorse or spending additional money. Also, when there are multiple versions of a gadget, like computers, that have various levels of performance, make sure you buy the one that will fit your needs currently and in the future.
Not Doing Your Homework
Even though it's 2018, many people will still walk into their local electronic store and see what catches their eye. The problem is, the products that have most shock and awe factor, on the display floor, may not be the best product to buy or the best product for you.
A perfect example is a super flashy and colorful demo video playing on a big 65-inch 4k OLED TV. That TV looks damn impressive on the display floor. But will it fit in your TV spot in the living room? How many HDMI ports does it have? Can you get your Blu-ray, your PS4, your Chromecast, your Roku, and all other devices hooked up to the TV without any issues?
I know I am beating a dead horse here, but knowledge is power. Knowing the specifications of the gadgets you buy helps you make an informed decision. Most companies know that shiny, bright, colorful, sharp images are designed to make something look amazing. In your world, that TV might not look the same as it does on the display floor. That phone might not work correctly for your life. That stereo might not sound like a live concert in your living room.
Once you know more about the products you're buying you will be able to determine which gear is good and which items are cheap. And you will know when gear is cheap because it's actually a bargain, not just cheap components. If you're ever doubting yourself, then step away and go back and do some more research.
Not Spending Enough
Sometimes because the gadget is cheap, does not always mean it's going to work the best for your needs. The money you save might be canceled out when you have to upgrade that gadget sooner. There are times when spending some extra money up front can truly mean the hardware is going to last longer.
In the real world, this means that instead of buying the $800 dollar laptop that works for what you need today, you spend $1200 for the laptop that has more space and faster CPU. Because you spent that extra $400 you ensure that laptop will run faster now, but run smoother three to four years down the line. The $800 laptop might not hold up well, due to hardware and performance demands, a year from now.
The general rule of thumb is that products with multiple configurations to choose from, you will find that some upgrades can give you a lot more power or performance for not a whole lot of extra cost. This is not a definite rule, but it's a good starting point. The multiple configurations to choose from plays right back to doing your research. If you have taken your time to learn about the options, you will be able to determine when something is a good use of your money.
Not Shopping Around
These days most people take "guaranteed low prices" for granted. There was a time when people had to drive store to store to find the lowest price. The problem with "guaranteed low prices" is that most people do not take the time to still double check if that statement is true. It's so easy to compare prices, thanks to the internet.
When you compare prices, it's not about comparing a retail site against a retail site, it’s about watching prices over time. There are plenty of tools online to help you monitor prices, so you really have no excuse to not compare prices. The Camelizer is great for tracking Amazon prices. Price.com helps with looking for cheaper details elsewhere on the web. The Amazon app for Android and iOS will even let you scan barcodes in a store to see if products are cheaper on the web.
Now, just because you found the product cheaper online does not always mean it's cheaper. Do you have to pay shipping and handling? Is it just the cheaper configuration of the same item? Sometimes you think you found the item cheaper someplace else but turns out it was not exactly the same item you were hoping to buy.
Hopefully everything I have talked about has expanded your purchase power knowledge. Technology is always changing. Sometimes you buy something only to find out it was not exactly what you expected. Knowledge is power in this day and age. Leave a comment below and let me know about your best tips to make sure you do not screw up with buying new gadgets.