Do I need the shiny new thing?

Is the new must-have tech really for me?

by Carl James | BLOOMINGTON, IN | Nov. 27, 2020

Carl James eyeing an iPhone

Technologists (like me) all have opinions. We all love new gadgets and apps. We want to see how things can work better in the future. There is often a lo of hype when a new gadget comes out. Everyone seems to be forking out money for this new toy. You wonder if it is right for you.

I’m not going to directly answer that question for you. What I am going to do is walk you through how to make that determination. Here are a few broad scenarios.

Scenario 1: My current tech is literally broken and doesn’t work.

Repairs are more and more difficult as parts for mobile devices are more often soldered and glued these days. However, there are good shops in most cities to repair these items. Get a quote on the repair. Also get a quote on a new battery while you are at it. The biggest benefit of a new mobile device is often a new battery, and you don’t necessarily need a new device to get a new battery. Then look at what you would buy if you did get something new. Look at the full retail price (not the monthly charge if it is through a carrier contract). Figure how long would keep either device and determine what the best value is for you. In many cases repairs of issues liked cracked screens are just not worth it and getting a new device is often the best choice.

Scenario 2: My current tech is not getting the job done

You are running apps that require high performance. Whether it is just high workload, or graphics intense work, your device is just not cutting it. You really have two options: upgrade or replace. Many devices (example: most Apple products) upgrades are not even possible. And then not only should you get the newest device, you should get something that is as powerful as you can afford so that it will work well for you down the road. If it is upgrade-able, please be sure before you spend money on upgrades that the upgrades in question will actually help. Technology is often only as good as the weakest link in the chain. If you have a slow laptop with a tradition spinning disk hard drive, double the RAM would not help much, while upgrading the drive to solid state technology might.

Scenario 3: It’s so cool and everyone’s getting it

If you have the money and like new stuff, that’s all you. All new mobile devices come with new batteries so that a plus right off the bat. New items have more RAM and processors. Keep in mind (especially iPhone fans) that if you splurged on more storage on your current device, you may have to do that again. Apple charges a huge premium for storage. I’ve had family members put off upgrades on a device simply because their current device had a ton of storage and to get that a new device would be an extra $100.

Scenario 4: It’s tech you don’t yet have at all

If you are thinking of buying a new class of technology, the big question is what will it do for you? Me personally, I still haven’t jumped on smart watch technology. The reason for me is everything I would want it do is already done by my smart phone. For me, a computer in the pocket is just as convenient as a computer on my wrist. I have co-workers that love their smart watches. You need to figure out how that will work for you. Also keep in mind that when you get into any new tech, its not just an expense today, but you will need to add it to the multitude of technologies you will be expected to upgrade as time goes by. Technology has a life-cycle. Expect to buying new gear on a regular basis. Can you afford that well into the future?

Carl James is CompTIA A+ ce Certified

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