It's both the most exciting and most nerve-wracking experience for the modern geek. You've decided that one of your trusty gadgets is outdated -- or perhaps its broken -- and it's time to choose a new one. But with the huge volume of gadgets pumped out daily, we can become paralyzed by choice. The average geek gets just one chance at a new gadget. Pick the wrong one, and you're stuck with it for a bit. That makes the choice all the more crucial. Thankfully, we can employ a simple process to figure out what brand, make, and model will work best for us. No, this is not a personality test that will spit out your "perfect gadget." Instead it's a series of five questions that get to the heart of the matter.
Top 5 Questions To Ask Yourself When Buying a New Gadget
1. Is the device for work or entertainment?
We're all allowed to treat ourselves if the circumstances are right. Sometimes that means buying a device purely for entertainment. A portable DVD player, for instance, is a purely leisure device. But devices such as smartphones and tablets are a bit blurrier. They have many implications for both. If you can use the device for work, you can better justify the purchase. You can also justify a higher cost, since it will help you make back that money. This is absolutely the first thing you should ask yourself before any gadget purchase. Knowing your purpose will help you answer the other questions.
2. Do I need this gadget right now?
If you read gadget blogs -- and you're reading one right now -- and you'll know that new devices come out all the time. A week doesn't go by without a new smartphone release, and tablets are being released with increasing frequency. This leaves us with some uncertainty with picking a gadget. Namely: What if I buy a gadget and a new, better one comes out a month later?
No one wants to be in this situation. The solution: only buy a new gadget when you need it. That way you can be assured that even if a better device does hit the market in a month, you had no other choice. It might mean riding out your old smartphone or laptop for another few months, but you'll ensure that you get the best possible device at the time. Alternatively, you could follow those gadget blogs and pick out the device you want before it gets released. By conducting research on rumored devices, you can get ahead of the game.
3. Do I know anyone who owns this gadget?
Another thing you might notice when browsing around gadget websites: everyone has an opinion. Oftentimes these are loud, forceful opinions that are hard to ignore. Yet most of the time you probably should ignore them. User reviews might provide a personal touch, but they're full of problems. It's best to go to a trusted source. Ideally you can talk to a friend who has the gadget you seek. For instance, if you're in the market for a tablet and know someone who owns an iPad and another who owns an Android tablet, you can talk to them and gauge their experiences. You know you can trust these people -- well, at least you hope that you can. They are your friends, after all. Maybe you're even comfortable trusting your favorite bloggers' opinions. We are an opinionated bunch, after all, and most of us do love our gadgets. Reading high quality blogger reviews is another way to get a somewhat personal recommendation.
4. Are there any cheaper devices that are similar?
I might not be your favorite blogger, but I do have a story to share here. A while back, my MacBook took a plunge from my desk to the hardwood floor. Unsurprisingly, it did not survive. That meant I needed a replacement device fast. My first thought was to visit the Apple Store, but then I asked myself this question. Aren't there similar laptops that are cheaper? Sure enough, I found my answer with a Lenovo Ultrabook. They're very similar to the MacBook Air, but they're considerably cheaper. And, from what I read from my favorite bloggers, they're a bit more durable as well. That saved me a few hundred dollars, and I hardly recognized a difference in quality. The biggest benefit to saving money on gadgets: more money to buy more gadgets, of course.
5. What will happen if I don't buy this gadget?
The last question is something you should ask just before purchase. It's simple, and it gets right to the heart of the matter. Even though I knew the answer, I asked myself this when buying the new laptop. What would happen if I didn't buy it? I'd need to find a different one, or else I'd lose my job. That's easy enough. But sometimes the answer isn't so straight forward. A friend of mine recently wanted to upgrade his smartphone. He was afraid, though, that a phone he wanted even more would come out soon after he upgraded. And so I had him ask this question. What if he didn't buy a new smartphone now? He'd just use his old one for a bit. After waiting another month, lo and behold, the exact Android smartphone he wanted hit the market. Buying a new gadget is certainly exciting, but it can also be a very difficult decision process. You don't want to get the wrong gadget, and you don't want a new and better one to come out just after you buy yours. Ask yourself these five questions, though, and you'll have a much easier time dealing with the process.