Practical Tips on Buying Electronic Devices
By Andrea Toribio
These past few weeks and months have probably been the most exhausting and exciting time for tech enthusiasts as Apple, Samsung and Microsoft dished out new products, press releases and lawsuits and countersuits against one another. For most of the consumers though, these news can be a source of overwhelming info that may cause anxiety in choosing which brands to buy and what specs to look for. With this in mind, we have rounded up some practical tips to make smart decisions in buying electronic devices.
1. Identify Your Need.
While it seems awesome to have an all-in-one device readily available at your fingertips, consider your actual need for the gadget. What are you going to use it for? If you already have a phone for making calls and sending text messages, a GPS on your car to aid you along the road, and a laptop for checking emails and working on documents... Do you still really need to get a tablet that will duplicate those functions? Are you really going to read that much on an e-book reader when you're away or in transit? Will it be more convenient if you just had a Smartphone with a large display to do all of that? These are just some of the questions you may need to ask yourself. Make sure that the device you're buying is going to serve YOUR needs
2. Set a Budget and Stick to It.
There's nothing wrong with leaning towards particular brands like Apple, Samsung, Kindle or Dell, because they are trusted brands that have proven track record on quality and tech support. Those who are keen on their preferred brands can easily have an idea on how much they need to spend on a desired gadget. However, most often than not, some people commit the quick mistake of overspending on something that they end up not using at all. Before you decide to upgrade for a higher display, processor, hard disc, RAM etc. think about whether you really need it. Refer to the budget you have set and stick to it.
3. Take Your Time to Research.
Yes, it is tempting to jump on the bandwagon of early adopters and get your hands first on newly released gadgets before anyone else does. But ask yourself, "Why?" If you're not a tech reviewer whose life depended on blogging about your experience about a new product, then you will survive holding back for a few weeks before buying a new gadget. Take your time to read product reviews from blogs and forums. You will be surprised to find useful feedback such as stability and performance issues which require updates that eventually come with later batches of the same product. So the phrase "patience is a virtue" applies very well in making purchasing decisions, especially on consumer electronics.
4. Test Demo Units.
If you feel compelled to buy already, try visiting your local store with the intention of testing the product, nothing more and nothing less. This is where you can verify what you have read from the product reviews Since you're buying the gadget to serve your needs, gaining firsthand experience of it will give you the best insight. While you're at it, get the sales rep to address your concerns. You can come up with a list of questions that are built around your needs to make sure that everything is covered. Topics like the device's upgradability, accessories included in the box, guarantees and insurance are usually found on the manufacturer's website, but if it will help make you sleep better at night, feel free to ask. It's free anyway.
5. Go for the Best Deal.
One of the sweetest rewards in shopping, aside from actually holding the item in your hands (kind of like the high feeling you get when you smell fresh leather seats inside a new car), is getting the product at the best deal. An average shopper would check out prices from at least three to five shops and settle for the one with the best price. A smart shopper would do the same, but he will also look for promos, discounts and coupons. But then again, don't just focus on the item's price tag because sometimes it comes with value-added services like better customer service, after sales support, free warranty or free parts and repair services. Weigh the options and go for the deal that best suits your personal needs, preference and budget.
Have you ever bought an electronic device hastily and ended up regretting about it? Do you have a gadget that you barely use? What other factors do you consider when shopping for consumer electronics? Don't forget to invest in protection for your devices. It's the wisest thing to do after spending money on buying them.
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