Personal Tech for the Non-Techy
When it comes to shopping for a new phone, computer or other personal technology, the options can be overwhelming. Every article, every salesman and every person you talk to has a different view on the subject. It may seem like the more you learn, the less you know about what is the best option for you. Before you even head to the store or the web to start shopping, take a moment to ask yourself a few key questions that can help narrow the list:
1. What do you actually DO with your technology NOW?
It seems simple but this is often the most overlooked part of tech shopping—Buying for what you actually need to get done. In a world where even watches come with 173 different bells and whistles, it can be easy forget that we buy technology to serve a distinct purpose in our life.
So what is it that you actually want to accomplish with your new phone/laptop/watch? What are the primary purposes you use your current technology for? If you have a smartphone with screentime tracking built in, you can go back and research what your current use is-the answer may surprise you! If you primarily use your phone for just social media and texting, really consider if you need to pay extra for that fancy camera. Conversely, if you find you have 14,000 somewhat blurry night photos on your “antique” iPhone 4, maybe put more emphasis on a better camera and bigger storage. Understand what your uses really are and write the list down to keep it with you as you begin shopping.
2. What do you wish you had that your current technology doesn’t do?
Make a wish list of features you wish you had or you wish worked better on your current tech. Is the screen so small you have difficulty typing texts? Do you wish the voice to text worked better? More storage? Faster speeds? What are the daily frustrations you face? Write these down too so you can understand what new features are most applicable to your needs.
3. Sort your lists into “Musts” and “wants” and rank accordingly.
While there might be tech might check every box on the list, it might also come at a price tag you aren’t necessarily comfortable with. This is where understanding where your priorities lay is important. A lot like you might go about buying real estate, make a list of “must-haves” and a list of “wish I had” and rank them by how important they are to you. Also target your price point. This way, when faced with a laundry list of fancy features and an even fancier price tag, you can keep your focus on what is most important to you. It is every easy to get sucked into spending big dollars new technology with 100 fancy features you will never use, use this list to guard against that.
4. Do your research before you leave the house.
Once you understand what you need, what you want and what price you are willing to pay, then you can begin the research aspect. Go on the web and use reputable sources like cnet.com to understand what new tech is on the market and how it might serve your needs. Talk to friends, neighbors, people at church about what they like/dislike about their current tech. Once you have all your facts ready, you are ready to shop with confidence!