Christmas time is back with us again. The latest devices and gadgets are hitting store shelves just in time to keep up with the rush. Magazines, television, and the web are brimming with advertisements and reviews of the latest tech money can buy.
But before you rush out to buy these gadgets, consider a few important questions before parting with your hard-earned cash.
Does This Technology Do What I need?
First thing to consider is what problem you are trying to solve with a new piece of tech. The most important thing to think about is how adopting your new device will improve on what you had before. Perhaps you're looking at a new device because your current one is ancient or heavily damaged. In some cases, a sleek new gadget or device for fun is good too. But keep in mind approximately 50% of Christmas technology purchases end up never being used past the first month and instead wind up sitting on a shelf or buried in a closet. And being that many new tech devices are fairly expensive, that's probably not something you want to have happen whether you're buying for yourself or someone else.
Once you've answered this question, it's time to compare options. Chances are there are multiple choices available from more than one company each with their own sets of features. In these cases, online reviews and comparisons can give you a good start at narrowing down your decision, but more on that later.
Should I Become an Early Adopter?
Early adopters are people that anticipate the release of new tech, wait in line on release day, and pride themselves on having the latest gadgets to hit the shelves. If you recognize yourself in this description you are likely to snap up the latest devices the day they are released. This eager anticipation, however, is not always the way to get the best deals or the best gadgets.
Companies often rely on new product hype to give sales an early boost. Waiting for the marketing and hype to subside, even a little, can save you a lot of money.
After initial sales fall, companies often mark down their prices to keep their devices attractive and sales high. When newer, faster, sleeker devices hit the market, companies cut prices to maintain strong sales figures. For the budget smart consumer this is an opportunity for a bargain. A device good enough to buy on launch day is well worth waiting for.
Plus, waiting a little allows any issues or pitfalls to surface. In some cases you might be glad you waited should a major bug or security issue be found shortly after release.
Have I checked The Reviews?
We are fortunate enough to have access to seemingly unlimited amounts of information at our fingertips. Often weeks before a product is released, reviews are available across the web.
One of the best things you can do when considering a new device, particularly a high-cost purchase, is to watch and read a wide variety of product reviews. It pays to be cautious of reviews that are particularly glowing, or too downbeat. These types of reviews are actually more likely to be bought and paid-for advertisements (either a company paid for a glowing review of their product or a negative review of their competitor). Keep an eye out for middle of the road reviews that fairly weigh the pros and cons of each device.
Another good place to get a feel for a particular product or device are online forums. Keep in mind that forums tend to slant slightly negative overall but they are also your best bet at finding real people with real experiences and asking questions that you may not find anywhere else.
Finally, online stores like Amazon are generally not a good place to get reviews. While statistics vary a bit, it's well known that a large number of reviews on sites like Amazon are fake and should be taken with a grain of salt if taken at all. If you do look at online store reviews though, try to focus on the longer, more detailed ones. Reviews that includes pictures are a plus as well as it's more likely to be a real review and not just an attempt at boosting a products rating.
Have I Found the Best Deal?
There are many ways to keep an eye out to make sure you get the best deal on your device. If you can, monitor prices over time to see how they rise and fall to find the best time to purchase.
When purchasing online, many sites include a box to add a coupon code when you are ready to buy. It sometimes pays to jump over to Google and search the website name and 'coupon' or 'voucher' to find out if there are any good deals on.
A quick search can save you as much as 10, 15, or even 20 per cent on some purchases. Sometimes companies send out offers to appeal to groups they want to market to. A companies Facebook page may get different offers or vouchers than its Twitter followers or newsletter for example.
It can pay to search around for offers and vouchers to get money off before you checkout. Five minutes work can save huge amounts of cash.
Purchase in Confidence
If you have asked yourself these questions, done all your research, and found the answers you're looking for then you may well be ready to buy.
You can do so with the confidence that you've done all your homework and you're getting the best deal and gadget for your money.
Of course, if you would like assistance setting up or to check out what options are available, or just want some advice, we're always here to help.