Gadgets come in all shapes and sizes, and boast a variety of different purposes. Whether they’re designed to help you accomplish certain tasks or chores, or provide entertainment for you and your loved ones, gadgets are an essential part of the lives of most people.
Since starting to write about gadgets and technological innovations, I’ve seen as many bad ideas as good. In fact, I’d argue that for every essential piece of hardware released there are dozens that provide little to no use for all but a handful of people. Still, that doesn’t stop people buying these gadgets, and then regretting doing so for a long time.
We asked you, What Gadget Do You Most Regret Buying? You responded well, with dozens of you casting your minds back and remembering technology purchases that unfortunately didn’t quite come off.
The range of gadgets mentioned during the discussion was huge, so there isn’t really much in the way of conclusions to be drawn from the results. Notable mentions include a MiniDisc player, a Nintendo Wii, a Bada-powered smartphone, a Microsoft Zune, and a Microsoft Surface tablet.
One form factor that makes several appearances through the comments thread is the tablet. One commenter had bought several and found none to be particularly useful. Another bought a tablet as an upgrade to an e-reader, but is now back to reading on the single-purpose device instead. The lesson here is try the tablet form factor before you buy one, as it doesn’t suit everybody.
As noted in the Comment Of The Week that follows, the key to trying to remove regret from the buying of consumer technology is to think before you throw your money away. Read reviews, poll your friends, seek advice from experts, and try a product out before you buy. Then make the sensible decision and live with that for as long as it is relevant.
Comment Of The Week
We had great input from the likes of Lynne McCurdy, Mark E. Smith, and andreas, to name just a few. Comment Of The Week goes to dragonmouth, who receives the respect of myself and hopefully everybody reading this:
In retrospect, we can regret buying any gadget that has been replaced with later/better technology. Not every gadget is destined to be an overwhelming hit. Some are underwhelming and some turn out to be duds. The question we need to ask ourselves at the time of purchase is “Will this gadget do the job I need it for?”
When the ZipDrive was introduced, it filled a need for a storage device with more capacity than a floppy but not as expensive as a hard drive. It was useful for two or three years until CD-R and CD-RW drives came along. The gadget that should not have been released by Iomega was the JazzDrive, in essence a 250 meg version of the ZipDrive, because it came out just about the time CD drives started becoming popular.
When buying gadgets one must do their due diligence. What are its capabilities and will they satisfy my requirements? Will a new version of the gadget be released soon? Can I wait for and/or afford the new version? Am I buying the gadget because it is “cool” or because I need it?
I should have taken my own advice. I bought a motor home, figuring that my family and I would go traveling around the country in the comfort of our own home. Well, for a while we did. Then our traveling sort of petered out. In retrospect, I regret spending the money but I do not regret the traveling that we did do. And I certainly do not regret getting rid of it shortly before the gas prices really started going up.
We like this comment because it gets to the heart of the matter, which is trying to learn the lessons from past mistakes and doing all you can to avoid making purchases you’ll end up regretting. You cannot always predict the direction technology is headed in, but by conducting some research you can certainly lessen the odds of making a bad buying decision.
We will be asking a new question tomorrow, so please join us then. We Ask You is a weekly column dedicated to finding out the opinions of MakeUseOf readers. We ask you a question and you tell us what you think. The question is open-ended and is usually open to debate. Some questions will be purely opinion-based, while others will see you sharing tips and advice, or advocating tools and apps for your fellow MakeUseOf readers. This column is nothing without your input, all of which is valued.
Image Credit: Jorge Gaspar Sanz Salinas