7 Helpful Tips for Choosing a New Gadget ...

New gadgets are a lot of fun, but wow, are they expensive! This is especially true if you buy more than one — a smart phone, an iPod, a tablet, a laptop, and that’s just the small technology! If you’re in the market for a new gadget, or if you’re just coveting a new technology, here are some things to consider. Here are 7 helpful tips for choosing a new gadget.

1. How Will You Use It?

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If you’re attempting to decide between a desktop, notebook, netbook, or tablet, you might feel overwhelmed. The key things to consider when choosing between any of these computing devices is how and where you’ll be using them. If you’ll be doing a lot of computing, you’ll want a desktop or laptop, because they have more memory. If you’re mostly wanting to use the Internet and a few apps to do basic things, then a netbook or tablet might be a better choice…

2. Where Will You Use It?

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… but you also want to think about portability when choosing a new gadget, especially a computer. If portability is key, then a desktop or big, bulky, heavy laptop is out. Try to strike a balance between the computing power you need (desktop and laptop) and the portability you might want (netbook and tablet).

3. Do You Need It?

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Here’s something else to consider: do you actually need a new gadget, or can your old one be repaired or updated or upgraded somehow? We tend to prefer to simply toss our old gadgets in a drawer, when often, they’re just in need of a little refresher. Sure, the new technology is cool (like the iPod Touch), but I still love my tiny iPod Shuffle for the gym.

4. Can You Consolidate?

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Do you really need a tablet and netbook and iPhone? Probably not. Sometimes rather than buying three or more new gadgets, all you need in one multi-functional one. I get all warm and fuzzy inside when I think of all the things my iPhone can do… now I don’t need an iPad or iPod Touch or netbook. I use my phone for most small computing (and phone calls!) and my big laptop for major computing.

5. Can You Use a Trade-in?

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Lots of places (including Best Buy and the Apple Store) will give you a trade-in value of your old stuff when you buy a new gadget. For instance, my old, cracked iPod Touch was worth about $100 towards a reconditioned iPod Touch — I paid only $150 for it.

6. What about Service?

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Once you have your new gadget, how will you take care of it? How will you pay for it if it breaks? Buying a service plan or insurance up front is often less expensive than paying for repair, service, or replacement later. Consider this when shopping for a new gadget.

7. How Will You Pay?

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I highly recommend paying cash for your new gadgets. Why? Because using credit cards is for emergencies only, and some banks are charging a monthly fee for using a debit card. My one exception to this rule is if you want the points on a credit card, and you’ll pay it off by the end of the month.

So now that you’ve seen this list of helpful tips for choosing a new gadget, do you absolutely have to have that new iPhone or laptop? If you do, go for it! You can be a one-woman economic stimulus all in one shop. What new gadget are you considering? Which of these tips do you think will be most helpful in choosing one? Please share!

Top Photo Credit: Alessandro Iandolo

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