I’ll admit it, I’m not the most tech-savvy person. No, I’m not a technophobe. I’m in that middle section that a lot of people fall into– I get excited when trying out new tech and I love the way a new laptop or phone looks fresh out the box, but I also find researching tech a chore. I never really had much interest in understanding what data-processors were or what they did, or how much RAM I needed for what purpose. I thought I didn’t need to know, and that ended up biting me on the butt. Hard.
Turns out tech costs a lot. And if you don’t know what you’re buying, you could be wasting hundreds, sometimes thousands of hard-earned dosh. The truth is buying tech is effectively an investment, and if you’re going to be using the same device for three or four years at a time, you want to be happy with your purchase. So, having an understanding of the tech you’re planning to buy might just save you a lot of grief in the long run.
In my experience, there are five things you should know when buying new tech.
1. What Are Your Needs?
Think about what’s important to you when buying a product. This will significantly affect what it is you’re looking for. Take headphones for example. Are you looking for in-ears and over-ears? What qualities are most important to you? Is it sound quality, comfort, or the fact that it has Bluetooth? Could you do without one of these? Could you find a pair that does all that is still affordable? It can be a lot to think about when you’re not familiar with the product. Try making a list of the qualities you find most important before you start looking to help narrow your search.
2. Set a Budget
Choosing a budget will help narrow your search so you’ll only be picking from a price range that you know you’re comfortable with. It might seem a bit on the nose, but just think of all the times you’ve frivolously shopped online and then been staggered at the total. Considering how pricey some tech can be, this is doubly important to think about.
Let’s take headphones again. The price of a single pair of over ears can span between £10 – £1000, so make sure you’re looking for a product that is within your price range.
3. Compare Prices
The golden rule when buying tech online is to never settle for the first price you see. More often than not, you’ll be able to find the product cheaper at another outlet. Nowadays comparing prices has never been easier with websites such as Price Spy and Price Runner that compare prices in a heartbeat. Trust me, you don’t want to be caught cashing out hundreds on a product only find out that your friend got it for two hundred less somewhere else. Yikes.
4. Understand What You Are Paying For
This one takes me back to all the times my mum would ask for my help when buying tech. “I don’t care what’s in it,” She’d tell me after trying to explain to her that not all laptops are built the same. “I just want it to work and I want it to work well.” In mum language, that meant she wanted a laptop that could do the very basics – she wanted to you use the internet, store pictures, and use Microsoft for work. Mum could effectively buy a sturdy laptop from the cheapest price range. Of course, my mum knew none of this, dismissed my advice, and ended up getting herself and fancy top of the range thing that cost a bomb and had way more in it than she needed. She managed to break it within a month. I can’t stress it enough – understand what you’re paying for.
5. Don’t Get Caught Out By Gimmicks and Brands
Another thing my mum is guilty of– brand loyalty. My mum was a massive Lenovo fan when they came out with their Yoga range and hasn’t looked back since. Sure, it looked cool, the fact that you could fold your laptop into a tablet and have it be a touch screen was a fun gag. But ultimately, it served zero purpose and these functions were barely used. In short, it was a gimmick. Don’t get me wrong, if you adore tech with quirks and gimmicks then great. I liked the Yoga range because it had character. But always bear in mind what you’re willing to pay for because if you want the gimmick, you better believe it’ll cost you.
Happy spending everyone!