Editors Blog

Ask Better Questions, Buy Better Technology

November 30, 2011

When it comes time to purchase new technology, it is possible that you might be asking the wrong questions. Too often, people and companies purchase items with the hope that the device will solve all their problems, last for a lifetime, and “bring balance to the force.”

That is a little too much to expect from one device. The key is to choose a team of electronic items that work well together, don’t overlap in function too much, and have a price tag that won’t break the bank. To do this, ask yourself a few questions.

• How will I use the device? This is one of the most important questions to ask. A lot of devices can perform multiple tasks, but each device is usually optimized for a few specific tasks or purposes. For example, a laptop is able to edit video, but its limited memory space and lower end graphic card don’t make it the best candidate for someone looking to make it their primary device for daily video editing.

• Where will I use the device? This question is especially helpful when choosing between Wi-Fi and 3G options. It may be nice to have a device that has consistent access to the Internet, but this can prove to be a costly idea. Not only will you have to pay more for the feature upon initial purchase, but you will also have to pay for a data connection (currently averaging around $30 per month). That is going to add up quick. If you primarily use the device in a Wi-Fi setting, it may be prudent to choose the Wi-Fi only device. It is somewhat limiting, but often you will find that your primary usage doesn’t warrant a 3G connection and data plan.

• How long will I use the device? Don’t plan to use your new electronic device for the rest of your life. Technology is not built that way. In fact, most of it is built to last around two years. It may last longer than that, but after three years or so you will notice that the new low-end tech coming out surpasses your three-year-old, top-of-the-line tech. To avoid this, try a different purchase philosophy. I would suggest switching from top-of-the-line purchases to middle-of-the-road buys. It will cost a little less and will put you on track to replace earlier, but without as much price tag remorse. Another theory is to buy lower priced technology that will work well for a year or two and then replace it with the newest low-end technology. Either way, avoiding top-of-the-line, long-term purchases could be a good idea overall.

Whether a personal or business technology purchase, there is a lot to consider when buying new technology. Sometimes asking the right questions will get you a great piece of tech at a great price. Although sometimes you just have to buy a piece of technology because you want it.
Are you a techno junkie or do you have techno fear? Tell us in the comments section below.

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