7 questions to ask yourself before you buy (or upgrade) your smartphone or tablet

Here are seven questions to guide the decision making process when upgrading your mobile/cellular phone, smartphone, tablet or any other electronic device.

http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=2664With the much anticipated big reveal of the new iPad on Wednesday 7 March, to varying degrees, we all might be thinking whether we should bite the bullet and purchase it. For some of us, however, we might already have an iPad or another tablet, that we are considering upgrading, or are looking to purchase our first one. In a similar vein, we are regularly faced with a similar dilemma in the smartphone market: should you go for the new fangled, much hyped device, or perhaps something more modest? Here are some questions that could guide your decision making process, which could be applicable when purchasing electronic devices.

1. Can you afford it?  It is easy to be seduced by the hype and anticipation surrounding a new release, along with the new features and capabilities that might be available. However, as much as you might be entranced by the new release on the market, or believe that ‘old faithful’ should be put out to pasture, you ought to be able to afford to make such a purchase. Depending on the brand and model, smartphones and tablets generally cost between USD 250 and USD 600, which might not include sales taxes, as well the extras (e.g. cases and memory) that might be needed.

2. How have your needs changed? This question requires you to consider what your needs might be; how you have been using your current device; and the extent to which it satisfies your needs. Do note that the new features of the product you might be interested in purchasing might help you recognise how your need have changed. However, also try to recall past experiences, especially frustrations with your smartphone or tablet, to help you identify the types of demands you might wish to make on any new device you purchase in the future.

3. To what extent will the new purchase be an improvement over your current device?  The question is a follow on from the previous one, but in comparing your current device with the new one you have been considering, how different are they? If you already own a smartphone or tablet and are thinking about upgrading, the newer version might be a relatively modest update of a previous release, which seems to be the case with the “new iPad” and the iPad 2:

4. Will the new device better address your needs?  Okay, so you have access to the funds to purchase a new device, but is it really necessary? Is it about having the latest release of your favourite brand, or do you have some specific needs that this new device must fulfil, which your current smartphone (or tablet) cannot or does not do satisfactorily? Clearly, there are those among us that are keen to get the newest, cutting edge products on the market – and that is fine. However, for most of us, due to the relatively sizeable investment required, particularly when you already have a device, you might need some plausible reasons to justify the spend. This question aims to focus your thoughts on the point that ideally, your new purchase is a tool to be used to help you to be more productive, effective, efficient, etc. in your daily life, and hopefully is not just a casual accessory.

5. Will you be able to grow with (or into) the new device?  Although it might be desirable to buy a device for which you have ready use for most of the features, or its specifications are aptly suited for your needs, it is also good to be able to grow into your new device. When the novelty wears off with a “perfect fit”, you might find yourself bored and even frustrated that the device is unable to adapt to your changing (or growing) needs. As a result, you might find yourself looking to upgrade again far sooner than you had anticipated.

http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=40616. Are there other devices that should be considered?  Quite often, we find ourselves drawn to a particular brand or model, to the exclusion of other equally good options. Tablets and smartphones are expensive, so it is advisable, using your perceived needs, to establish a shortlist of devices that you should consider, and try to conduct a dispassionate assessment of those devices against your needs. Even if you cannot be truly impartial in your review, the exercise could allow you to identify areas in which your preferred device might be deficient, and hopefully help you to manage your expectations.

7. Can you still justify your selection?  New smartphones and tablets are being released so frequently, it is easy to be swayed, especially when they are receiving rave reviews, which are also being confirmed by friends and associates who have purchased them. However, although most economies are on the mend following the global financial crisis, many of us cannot afford to be carefree with our spending. Hence, having examined your requirements, the features and capabilities of your proposed purchase, and how it stacks up against comparable devices, you should be in a better position to defend your selection and ensure its overall suitability to your needs and circumstances.

Images courtesy of adamr, Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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1 Comment

  • A timely post to read, before we fall for marketing hype. But I think, there is consideration for things such as compatibility: applications, connectivities, programs etc all soon begin to function better on the new platform. Sometimes this becomes a consideration to upgrade.

    On the whole, though, the article makes some compelling factors to think through before rushing.

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