13 Tech Purchases You’ll Probably Regret

Joel Lee 16-09-2016

I don’t know about you, but buyer’s remorse is huge for me; so much so that I’ll go out of my way to avoid it (with inordinate amounts of research) and get irrationally upset whenever it hits me (which, thankfully, isn’t too often).


In a lot of cases, buyer’s remorse stems from a paradox of choice. Too many choices leads to impatience, impatience leads to impulsive online shopping Buck the Trend: 5 Tips to Avoid Shopping Impulsively Online Are you an impulsive shopper? Do you throw away money on items you don’t really want or need? Here are some tips and tricks to help you regain control. Read More , and at that point, regret is waiting right around the corner. Sound familiar? Tired of it? Then here are several common purchases that tend to result in regret — avoid them unless you have a really good reason not to.

1. Amazon Echo

The Amazon Echo has been surprisingly well-received since it debuted in 2014. The 4.4 rating out of 5 stars may not hold much credibility, especially given that it’s on Amazon’s own site, but that kind of approval is hard to get these days, so kudos to Amazon.

But we still think you might regret getting one. At just shy of $200, the Amazon Echo is pricey — and even if you like the device, you may regret dropping that much cash on it. That’s why we recommend getting an Amazon Echo Dot or Amazon Tap Amazon Echo vs. Dot vs. Tap: What Are the Key Differences? One common complaint against Amazon Echo was that it had too many features and cost too much. Amazon's response to that? Releasing two variations with smaller price tags: the Tap and the Echo Dot. Read More instead. Both are significantly cheaper.

Sure, we’ve highlighted some of the creative uses for Amazon Echo 7 Creative Uses for Amazon Echo and Alexa You’ve seen the ads starring Alec Baldwin, but you're still not sure what Amazon Echo does or whether you need one in your home. We’re about to find out. Read More before and it’s true that this device can do a lot of cool stuff. It can even integrate with all kinds of third-party devices, allowing you to control aspects of your home using only your voice 7 Ways to Control Your Home Using Voice Commands One of the coolest advancements in home automation is the growing integration of voice control with all kinds of smart devices. Read More . But once the novelty wears off, you’ll realize that the Echo Dot or Tap can do just as much for less.

2. Other “Smart” Gadgets

A “smart” gadget is any device that has internet connectivity, such as a smartphone, smartwatch, or smart TV. And while many smart gadgets are useful, most of them have very specific use cases and the rest of them are useless gimmicks Are These Smart Products Really Smart or Just a Gimmick? Read More .


Take the Nest smart thermostat, for example. It’s an incredible device with so many more features than meets the eye 13 Things You Didn't Know You Could Do With a Nest Thermostat You may be surprised just how many little tricks you can accomplish with your new Nest thermostat! Read More , but a lot of those benefits only apply to certain kinds of houses. Or smart door locks Buy One of These Electronic Door Locks and Ditch Your Ancient Keys One area where smart home technology shines is home security. And while security cameras and motion sensors are great, neither has more of a wow-factor than an electronic door lock. Read More , which are convenient, but won’t keep you any safer.

Not to mention the risks associated with smart products. If a company goes belly-up, you could lose some (or all) of a device’s functionality. Smart devices are also more prone to errors and malfunctions, which means shorter lifespans and worse overall value.

3. Cutting-Edge Gadgets

I know several people who always need to have the latest and greatest tech, particularly when it comes to smartphones — and I also know that those same people often regret those right-as-they’re-released purchases. Not only is it a financially unsound habit How to Be Frugal While Still Enjoying Tech & Gadgets Just because you're being frugal doesn't mean you can't enjoy tech! Here are some tips on how to not break the bank with tech purchases. Read More , but it’s loaded with risks.

As an early adopter, you don’t have the benefit of user reviews and post-launch experiences. Consider the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, which released in August 2016 — and was recalled two weeks later due to reports of exploding batteries!


Early adopters also pay an “early adoption” premium. The tech world moves fast, which means device prices plummet within months (or even weeks). A little bit of patience can save you a lot of money. If you bought a device for $500 and saw that it was half price a month later, how would you feel?

For these reasons, buying cutting-edge gadgets is almost always a mistake 5 Reasons Why Being An Early Adopter Is A Bad Idea Are you the type of person who pre-orders the newest tech gadgets as soon as they’re available? Then you’re an early adopter. Is there a downside? Let's find out. Read More . The risks are too great and the benefits are few, which means regret is likely.

4. Warranties and Insurance

Generally speaking, device warranties aren’t worth it and extended warranties are definitely not worth it.

Consider SquareTrade, one of the more reputable providers of electronics protection plans. For a $500 laptop, you’d end up paying $120 up front for a two-year protection plan with a $75 deductible per claim (or $200 up front for no deductible), and it costs proportionally more for a three-year protection plan. For most folks, this is not a good financial decision.



Think of how many devices you have. How many of them are older than two or three years? Most of them, I’m betting. The truth is that more than two-thirds of the time, a brand new device will outlive its warranty — and by that point, it will be outdated enough that when it breaks, you’ll want to buy a new device rather than repair what you have. If you banked the original warranty cost, you’d already be halfway towards a newer, better device.

The same thing is true for insurance. The peace of mind of a service like AppleCare AppleCare Warranty: What Are Your Options and Is It Worth It? AppleCare+ protects your Apple device, but is it worth the cost? Here's what AppleCare+ offers and whether you should get it. Read More may be worth it to you, but chances are you aren’t going to need it.

And don’t forget that your devices may be protected under two other services that you probably already have.


5. Netbooks

I bought a netbook back in 2011 and I still cringe about it to this day. I have never used a device as slow, frustrating, and uncomfortable as a netbook, so you can imagine how happy I am that netbooks have gone out of style. For those who don’t know, a netbook is basically a miniature laptop What Is the Difference Between a Netbook, Notebook, Ultrabook, Laptop, and Palmtop? The term "laptop" encompasses so many different types of laptops these days. Here are the important differences between them all. Read More .

I won’t go on and on about this. If you’re thinking of getting a netbook for whatever reason this year, reconsider it right now. At the very least, you can get a comparably-priced tablet instead and connect a keyboard to it using USB OTG What Is USB OTG? 5 Cool Ways to Use It on Android What is USB OTG and how can you use it on Android? We explain the feature and the many ways to utilize it. Read More .

6. Desktops and Laptops

If you don’t have a tablet yet, you should really think about getting one 7 Reasons Why You Still Need a Tablet This Year Some say that the era of tablets is over, but that's quite far from the truth. Tablets are still useful in several different ways and their value should not be overlooked. Read More . I’ll admit that I thought they were stupid until I was gifted one of my own, and to say that it changed my life would not be an understatement.

Unless you’re doing heavy graphical work, you don’t need a desktop anymore 5 Reasons Why You Don't Need a Desktop PC Anymore When you hear the word "computer", your first image is probably that of a desktop machine. It's iconic, but perhaps outdated. Here are reasons why you probably don't need one anymore. Read More , and unless you’re doing processor-heavy work while traveling or commuting, you don’t need a laptop anymore either 4 Reasons Why You Don't Need a Laptop Anymore The era of laptops may be coming to an end. In fact, there are several reasons why laptops are now sub-optimal purchases. Here's what you need to know! Read More . The one exception is a Chromebook, which can be a surprisingly good alternative to a tablet How to Decide If a Chromebook Is Right For You Is a Chromebook for everyone? In a word: No. There is a time and a place for a Chromebook. If you are contemplating this laptop replacement, there are a few things you should consider first. Read More .

For checking email, browsing the web, and handling tasks and errands that are available as mobile apps, a tablet is more than great. Just remember to take these considerations into mind before buying one Which Android Tablet Should I Buy? 7 Things to Consider If you're thinking about getting an Android tablet, these are the things that you need to take into consideration. Read More .

7. Tablets and E-Readers With 4G LTE

If you do end up going with a tablet, be very deliberate in your decision to get one that supports 4G LTE or one that is Wi-Fi only.

Think of all the locations where you might use your tablet — home, school, work, library, subway, park, etc. — and think of how many of those places have Wi-Fi access. Most of them, probably. And of the places that don’t have Wi-Fi, will you really need 4G LTE? Most likely not.

And while there may be important differences between the two What's the Difference Between E-Readers and Tablets? E-readers and tablets are not the same thing. Here's what you need to know about their differences. Read More , the same holds true for e-readers: you probably don’t need 4G LTE. If you need to download ebooks to your device, you can plan ahead and load them up when you have Wi-Fi.

Wi-Fi is everywhere these days, so you may regret paying more for 4G LTE capabilities (not to mention that a 4G LTE data plan isn’t free, either). This is an easy decision, if you ask me — easier than deciding whether to get a tablet or e-reader A Brief Guide to Every Amazon Device on the Market Amazon now sells a lot of consumer electronics bearing its own name, from e-readers to tablets, from streaming sticks to smart home devices. This article offers a brief guide to every Amazon product available. Read More .

8. Low-Capacity SSDs

Solid-state drives (SSDs) are standard for home computer storage these days if you have a desktop or laptop. The trouble is that SSDs are more expensive than hard drives, so people tend to skimp on capacity when shopping for SSDs.

128 GB might sound like a lot, but you have to remember that most of that space will be taken up by the operating system, the apps you install, and the various caches that are used by web browsers, music streaming software, and other apps. And don’t forget that SSDs need about 20–30% empty space for optimal performance 5 Things You Should Consider When Buying An SSD The world of home computing is moving towards solid state drives for storage. Should you buy one? Read More !

A 128 GB SSD is effectively closer to 64 GB or 32 GB, so I don’t recommend anything smaller than 256 GB. Any less and you’ll wind up regretting it — especially if you’re ordering a new Macbook Pro or iMac and won’t be able to upgrade the data drive after the fact.

Other tips to keep in mind for an SSD include taking proper care to extend its lifespan 3 Ways to Protect Your SSD and Extend Its Lifespan There are a few mistakes that could be shortening the lifespan of your SSD. Avoid these to extend your SSD's lifespan as long as possible. Read More and learning the warning signs of a dying SSD 5 Warning Signs Your SSD Is About to Break Down and Fail Worried your SSD will malfunction and break down and take all of your data with it? Look for these warning signs. Read More .

9. Digital Music Albums

I’ve personally never bought music from a place like iTunes. Rather, I skipped right from CDs to Pandora, then Songza, and now both Spotify and Amazon Music. Given the current landscape of digital music, buying doesn’t seem to make much sense anymore.

This is because digital ownership of media doesn’t exist The End of Ownership: Netflix, Spotify, and The Streaming Generation Streaming media is convenient, but you're giving up something important: ownership of digital media. Read More , so any music you buy on iTunes, for example, isn’t actually your own. If you care about ownership, you’re better off sticking with physical CDs Don't Sell Your CDs & DVDs! 5 Downsides to Going Digital You name it, there's probably a digital market for it. And while digital is awesome in many ways, it definitely isn't perfect. Here are five reasons why. Read More or going even further back to vinyl 5 Reasons Why Vinyl Is Better Than Digital for Music Lovers Digital music may be more convenient, but there are still plenty of reasons to listen to vinyl records. Read More .

Why spend $8 on one iTunes album when you can pay $10 per month for full access to millions of songs on Spotify, Google Play Music, or Apple Music Spotify vs. Apple Music vs. Google Play Music: Which Is Best? Here's our comparison of music streaming services Spotify vs. Apple Music vs. Google Play Music on price, quality, and catalog. Read More ? All of these services also have offline playback for when you don’t have Wi-Fi and can’t stream. In a lot of ways, it is the smarter option Spotify Your Music Collection: The End Of iTunes Spotify is no longer content to just compete with radio, now they're competing with the idea of even owning music. Read More .

10. Cheap Headphones

Headphones are one item where spending a little more goes a long way Stop Buying Cheap: 7 Tech Products Worth Spending More On Sometimes the best way to save money is to spend a little more on a quality product that'll last you a while. These products are worth the extra dollars. Read More . Whether you’re shopping for practical Bluetooth headphones The 7 Best Bluetooth Headphones You Can Buy Finding the right pair of Bluetooth headphones isn't easy, so we've compiled a list of the best Bluetooth headphones money can buy. Read More or something a little more traditional, you do not want to cheap out here.

And if you’ve ever wondered why your headphones keep breaking Here's Why Your Headphones Keep Breaking (And What You Can Do) How long do your headphones last? If they're breaking too quickly, here's why and what you can do to prolong their lifespan. Read More , this could be why. Would you rather spend $30 every year for headphones that keep breaking or $100 once for headphones that last five-plus years?

However, when your headphones do break, don’t rush out to buy a replacement without first trying to fix them yourself How to Fix Broken Headphones Despite having a reasonable pair of Sennheisers and looking after them, my headphones broke recently — like they always do. Rather than replace them, I decided to repair my headphones. Here's how. Read More .

11. DVD Players

Now that streaming services like Netflix, Prime Video, and Hulu Netflix vs. Hulu vs. Amazon Prime: Which Should You Choose? It has been years since we've compared heavy-hitting streaming services, Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. And with changes in pricing, content, quality, and interface, we thought it was time to revisit the topic. Read More are well established, and now that we’re starting to see niche streaming services as well 10 Niche Streaming Services for Those Who Hate Netflix Mainstream streaming services carry mainstream content. What can you do if you want to watch something a little less conventional? You're better off checking out these alternative streaming services packed full of niche content. Read More , it may seem like DVDs are obsolete — but there are reasons to stick with DVDs, such as offline playback.

On the other hand, there are no good reasons to buy a DVD player. They’re expensive and they’re unnecessary. Most computers and gaming consoles can play DVDs, and if yours can’t, you can just buy an external DVD drive. Then all you need is an HDMI cable or a Chromecast, and you can stream your DVD right to your TV.

12. GPS Device

Whether you’re driving your car or searching for a geocache, the GPS navigation abilities of a smartphone are more than enough. There aren’t many benefits to using a dedicated GPS device over using a GPS app on a smartphone.

In fact, the smartphone is usually better because you can use voice commands 8 Voice Tricks for Google Navigation That You Never Knew About With "OK Google" enabled, you'll never have to touch Google Maps again. These voice tricks will make sure of that! Read More , integrate and automate other apps on your device How to Use Google Now to Automate Your Home and Life Google Now can serve as voice control for your smart home gadgets, posting to your favorite social media accounts, and even tracking your health. Read More , and you can always switch to another navigation app if you want What's the Best Maps and Navigation App for Android? Using the rights maps and navigation app can mean the difference between making it to your appointment on time or being late -- so we examine the best of them for you! Read More .

I can only think of two good reasons to use a dedicated GPS device instead Smartphone vs Sat Nav: Should You Buy a Dedicated GPS Device? Is there still a good reason to buy a dedicated in-car sat nav, or a handheld GPS for outdoor use? Read More : if it comes with a dashcam or you’re going to hike or camp deep in the woods and you need a better signal and better battery life.

13. DSLR Cameras

Photography has been a huge craze over the past few years (I know because I hopped on that train two years ago myself). Everyone thinks photography is easy and that “anyone can do it,” because “how hard could it be?” — until they drop $1,000 on their first DSLR and realize they have no idea what they’re doing.

If you want to pursue photography, go for it. All I’m saying is that way too many people have regretted their DSLR purchases because they underestimated just how hard photography is. The learning curve is massive, and the truth is that amazing photos can be taken without a DSLR Not Everyone Needs a DSLR: Which Camera Is Right for You? Some people say you can't take good pictures without a DSLR camera. They're unequivocally wrong. Here's our guide to which type of camera you should buy. Read More , so don’t rush into it.

If you decide to get one anyway, make sure you consider all of the important details 6 Things to Consider When Buying Your First DSLR Camera With so many options out there, how do you choose the right DSLR for you? Every camera has so many specs and features that it's hard to tell them apart. Read More . And make sure you buy used or refurbished whenever you can Why You Should Never Buy a New DSLR Camera (And Always Buy a Used One) Here's why DSLR camera bodies and camera lenses should always be bought used -- especially if you're a newbie shopping for your first entry-level DSLR or a hobbyist replacing your first model. Read More (at least until you become a professional) as that’s the best way to save money on a DSLR 5 Money-Saving Tips You Should Know Before Buying a DSLR Here are some helpful tips for making photography a more financially-manageable activity. Read More .

Which Tech Purchases Do You Regret?

Do you have an expensive smartwatch that you never wear? Did you buy an off-brand tablet only to have it malfunction within months? Were you hoping to be a professional photographer, dropped $5,000 on new gear, only to discover that you didn’t like it very much?

We want to hear your stories! Tell us below in a comment about any time you regretted a tech purchase, whether that regret was instant or took months to set in.

Image Credit: Phovoir via, Evgeny Atamanenko via

Related topics: Amazon Echo, DSLR, Headphones, Netbook, Online Shopping.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

Whatsapp Pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Troy Aldrich
    December 6, 2017 at 7:10 am

    A Xbox One S 500 GB.. I did not know it Could cost me extra Money to play it. Right now it is on Craigslist. BAD Decision.

  2. Tom Henderson
    July 25, 2017 at 7:45 am

    Fitbit. I purchased this, full of good intentions, used it for two weeks, then gave it to my son!

  3. Nathan
    July 5, 2017 at 5:35 am

    Great article

  4. dragonbite
    January 10, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    Well, I bought a Saturn car the day before they announced they were closing Saturn. Does that count?

    At least I got 1 year out of my Pebble watch before they closed down.

    I'm tempted to buy a Micorosft Surface and see if my luck closes them down too.... ;)

  5. Jake
    November 23, 2016 at 8:48 am

    The laptop is not as useless as you say if it`s not cutting-edge, of course. I do know a couple of techno maniacs who are striving to buy the newest smartphone, headphones, cat food and so on. But they usually don`t care about money wasted:)

  6. Laura Ross
    November 15, 2016 at 6:56 pm

    I always buy cheap headphones. I have cats that enjoy biting stringlike things. I'm lucky if a pair even lasts a month!

  7. Tammy
    September 21, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    I agree that buying the latest tech is silly sometimes (like Amazon Echo). But I totally disagree with the idea that a blu-ray player is a bad buy. I disagree even more with the idea that a computer, desktop or laptop, is a bad buy. I love my tablet for reading, playing games to kill time, and for weather apps, astronomy and many other things but it does not have the functionality of a computer. You have to be nuts to handle sensitive data on a tablet (or a phone) to start with and gaming computers far exceed the capability of a console system. You can store more on a computer without paying for cloud services. Do some things on a tablet, i.e. genealogy, and it is in a useless format. Do it on a computer and it is in a more versatile format. Same for other file types and editing things is much smoother on a computer. As much as I like the idea of a portable device to do everything with, I found that I can't live without my computer, and I am a HUGE fan of portable tablets.

    • Joel Lee
      September 24, 2016 at 7:32 pm

      Hey Tammy, great points on the differentiation between devices. There will be people for whom all of them are great and useful, but I wonder if that applies to the majority of folks? Or are we a niche? Also, regarding your point about Blu-ray, I didn't say not to get a Blu-ray player! Only DVD players. :P Blu-ray is still up-and-coming, especially with Ultra HD coming into the mainstream.

  8. Bob p
    September 21, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    I regret buying voice operating software such as that sold by Nuance I bought a second updated version and I rarely use it. I just find it easier to type than talk to my computer especially when listening to music at home.

    • Joel Lee
      September 24, 2016 at 7:29 pm

      That's how I feel. Voice commands are pretty cool at first but quickly lose their novelty, in my experience. The only time I use them is when I'm in the car so I don't have to look at my phone. Otherwise, it's all keyboard shortcuts for me! Thanks for sharing, Bob.

  9. Michael
    September 21, 2016 at 11:45 am

    Leaving this at three items would have been smart. Stretching to add more immediately turned it dumb.

    • Joel Lee
      September 30, 2016 at 7:09 pm

      Sorry that the article seems fluffy, Michael. Which of the three items do you agree with? Are there any other items you would've put on the list instead?

  10. Wesley Sulek
    September 21, 2016 at 12:55 am

    Netbooks? They aren't made anymore. I searched Amazon for netbooks and the only ones listed are used.

    • Joel Lee
      September 30, 2016 at 7:10 pm

      Ha, that's true Wesley. I do know that some folks are still buying them though, even through eBay and such. Perhaps the fact that they aren't made anymore proves my point in some way! Haha.

  11. William Worlde
    September 20, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    Wow Joel, you've *really* gone and pinched a nerve here, haven't you? I mostly agree with your list, and then some.

    Here's the thing: Build it and they'll come; or not. I think (a rarity these days), the modern MARKETING machine is like NOTHING we've ever experienced in our history. So, people will continue buying STUFF they don't need or really want, but "must" - to keep up with the Joneses or just to have the "experience".
    I guess (and hope) wisdom comes with age: I used to be one of these people, not a first adopter, but always getting the newest toys.

    Here's my advice: Don't get it just because Jones (or Smith) next door has it; it ain't goin' to make you no happier. Or because you've been "Minority Reported" and gotten that personal ad/invitation that makes you feel oh-so-special.
    But what if it's a "must-get" item? Don't skimp: Go mid- to high-level. (Headphones; storage; smartphones; tablets; computers; cameras.)

    Second bit of advice: Unless you can REALLY afford it, or an ABSOLUTE nerd/geek, please, PLEASE, don't buy into "SMART" anything. The only thing that's smart about those widgets is the manufacturers that invent then pawn them off on you at exorbitant prices. PLUS, their security is non-existent or minimal at best.


    • Joel Lee
      September 24, 2016 at 7:27 pm

      Hey William, I think you're spot on. That's personally how I live my life -- only buying things I need rather than simply want -- and I suppose that colors a lot of my opinions about "tech that you'll regret". I've tried to keep up with the Joneses before and it only leads to an empty wallet!

  12. Roccondil
    September 19, 2016 at 12:37 am

    The one issue I have on this list is the entry on DVD players... or rather, Blu-Ray players nowadays. Not everyone has a desktop or laptop, or gaming system attached to their entertainment center. (nor the knowhow to realize that it can be done!) But actually Blu-Ray players are really inexpensive. You can get a decent one for about $50-$75 on Amazon! Not only that you have the latest in home entertainment tech, Blu-Ray players also play older DVDs as well, so you don't always have to pay more for the Blu-Ray versions if you choose.

    As for the suggestion to buy an external DVD drive, you can, of course get those for less than a dedicated DVD/Blu-Ray player, but a Chromecast plus an external drive together costs just about as much as a dedicated DVD/Blu-Ray player, and the player usually has more capabilities/features...

    Unless the author is speaking specifically about DVD players exclusively... but Blu-Ray was not mentioned as an alternative so it was not made clear. But with DVDs on the out the author is correct that getting a DVD player is a bad decision when Blu-Ray players (that also can play DVDs) can be purchased for $75.

    • Joel Lee
      September 24, 2016 at 7:26 pm

      Hey Roccondil, yeah I was talking about DVD in particular. Blu-ray is still an important medium right now, especially since Ultra HD Blu-ray is starting to become more mainstream. Note that you will need to buy a new device that supports the new standard in order to play Ultra HD Blu-ray, so yeah, buy it if you want 4K content!

  13. Ricardo
    September 18, 2016 at 9:55 pm

    Small SSD's work if you don't use bloated operating systems. My Linux full installation uses about 5Gb of space. And this with web servers, several databases and development environments. Even with all caches and whatnots, it's great. Now if you pirate content or just have a disk full of games, it may be small. Use an external disk for all movies and stop playing so many games and actually do something useful with your computer. All techs are useful for some, not for all. For me having a smart watch sounds a terrible idea. My friends that hit the gym and have really really tight daily schedules can't live without them.

    • Don Key
      September 21, 2016 at 11:05 am

      "My friends that hit the gym and have really really tight daily schedules can't live without them."

      Of course they can. They just DON'T WANT to live without them. Big Difference.

  14. Jerry
    September 18, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    Using a smartphone as a gps works well if you are located within cell service. Try using your smartphone as a gps when you are in a remote location like the mountains in Wyoming, Utah, Montana. Then think about the data usage. I was glad to have my Garmin with me this month when I couldn't even make a phone call much less navigation. btw, I mentioned the above remote states but try it is some locations in many other states including Wisconsin.

    • rannxeroxx
      September 18, 2016 at 11:00 pm

      Not only are there free apps about there like Here that allow you to download complete countries like the US, Canada, Mexico, etc but you could also buy the Garmin app and get the same maps on that device on your phone.

    • Joel Lee
      September 24, 2016 at 7:24 pm

      Hey Jerry, GPS is actually separate from cell reception. As long as you are outdoors and have a clear line of sight to the sky (no caves, no thick canopies, etc) then GPS should work fine whether it's on a mobile phone or a dedicated handset. GPS itself also doesn't use data -- data is used when the map app downloads new portions of the map as you move. If you download the map ahead of time, it shouldn't use much data (or any at all).

  15. Bob
    September 17, 2016 at 1:56 am

    This is the dumbest article I've ever read. I own an Echo and 2 Dots. Best things ever we use them more and more everyday. Including things like DVD players on your list? DVD players were useful for 10 years you dope.

    • Lykos
      September 18, 2016 at 4:29 pm

      You're right, Bob. I disagree with a good majority of this stuff. I have a smartwatch (Huawei), a smart coffeemaker that I can control from my phone, Tablet with LTE for when I visit my dad in the country, etc etc etc. The biggest one I disagree with is Digital Music. Apple got rid of their DRM a long time ago. You can download a DRM-free MP3 file and do whatever you want with it. If you feel like you absolutely need to have a disc then burn them onto discs.

      You can also buy drm-free music from most other digital music stores including FLAC files for better storage options.

    • Kelsey Tidwell
      October 2, 2016 at 12:33 am

      If you disagree don't be a friggin jerk about it. So you like the stuff...write an article and submit it to MUO, entitled, "The Only One Who Respects Me Is An Ashcan Autographed By Jeff Bezos".

      We will give you the same respect you've given Joel.

      • Bob
        October 2, 2016 at 6:16 am

        I'd have to respect this stupid website to waste my time writing an article. Hey how about next you talk about how stupid and useless Netflix is or maybe YouTube??? Keep yourselves on the cutting edge. And who could ever take someone named Kelsey Tidwell seriously? Is that a stripper or porn star name?

        • Kelsey Tidwell
          October 2, 2016 at 1:09 pm

          Aha! The troll shows his spots! Kelsey was a male name long before it was used for females. It's Celtic, but I can tell you're much too culturally-educated to have not known that. Ever heard of Kelsey Grammer? My mom and dad (Mrs. and Mr. Tidwell, respectively and respectfully btw) wanted me to have a unique rather than generic Bob. But it's easy to hide behind generic, isn't it?

          While we're blindly and incorrectly stereotyping, have I the honor of speaking down to an 8 year old, or are you a radically more mature 12 year old? My 46 year old self, a husband and father of two much more mature and respectful children than yourself sends greetings to the basement lair from which you hail.

          If you hate this site so much, let me give you the answer...go throw rocks somewhere else. Nobody here wants to see your insults or your immaturity, kid.

          Now, Joel, where's that anti-troll button I've been looking for? No more troll food for you, Bobbie.

  16. infmom
    September 16, 2016 at 9:55 pm

    I gave my Toshiba netbook to a young friend who uses it to program his Lego Mindstorms, for which it is perfect.

    • Don Key
      September 21, 2016 at 11:09 am

      My son at Uni a couple of years ago bought one second hand. About $50 I think. Deleted chrome operating system and installed Win 8 on it. Ran like a charm. Why did he buy it? To type notes at Uni lectures. Small, light and cheap. What could a poor Uni student not like about that?

    • Joel Lee
      September 24, 2016 at 7:22 pm

      Awesome, Infmom! That's actually pretty cool. Reusing old and unused devices is wonderful and I'll always support it.

  17. Peter
    September 16, 2016 at 9:24 pm

    Not sure I agree about digital music. If you buy an MP3, it's yours to use as you wish. Yes, streaming music may have its place, but we were caught by surprise when the music we'd planned on streaming was removed from the catalog shortly before we were going to use it. Had we just bought the MP3s, we'd have been able to stream them from our PC or online storage. Besides, I have quite a few MP3s that I use often when I don't want to explore other options.

    • Roccondil
      September 18, 2016 at 11:58 pm

      In addition I think that you can burn music purchased through iTunes onto disk straight after purchasing. You can also, within iTunes media player, convert the tracks from AAC/M4A to MP3 which is unprotected. AmazonMP3 does download tracks straight in MP3 format, unprotected.

      So, at least in the digital music world, you still own the tracks you purchase. You obviously still can't distribute the music especially for profit (music distribution rights cover that). The problem is you can't resell digital music unlike the hard-copy CDs and vinyls.

    • Joel Lee
      September 24, 2016 at 7:22 pm

      Hey Peter, you make a great point about streamed songs suddenly being removed from online catalogs. That's a HUGE pain when it happens. Thankfully it doesn't happen often, at least for me.

  18. Rainvibe
    September 16, 2016 at 9:08 pm

    GPS, Careful here, this feature is great on mobile, but can end up extremely expensive if you make long trips, especially while roaming. One purchase expense forever and no cost for using it, GPS devices still beats a mobile hands down.

    DSLR, if you just want to take nice pics, sure, go ahead and use your phone, but if you want to make pictures somewhat seriously and control what the result should be, nothing beats a DSLR yet and still for a few years ahead.

    • rannxeroxx
      September 18, 2016 at 11:02 pm

      You can run GPS apps like Here or others that allow you to download offline maps, just like a dedicated GPS device.

    • Joel Lee
      September 24, 2016 at 7:20 pm

      Hey Rainvibe, the GPS on a phone doesn't actually use cell data. The reason why data charges could be expensive is that your map app is constantly updating its display by downloading new portions of the map as you move. Like Rannxeroxx said, if you download the map ahead of time, GPS shouldn't be expensive at all.

    • Chris C.
      October 6, 2016 at 5:07 pm

      Would agree with this on GPS. Have had 2 instances where thank goodness we had the "old school" GPS. The first is when you leave cell coverage and the map quits updating, and your location quits updating. Not fun. (I know folks will say you can download maps... extra work there, but you can.) The second problem would negate that downloaded map. "Hey honey, plug the phone into the charger, it's about to die and I NEED that GPS. What do you mean you took the charger out to use in a friends car and forgot to put it back???"

  19. Chris
    September 16, 2016 at 1:52 pm

    Cheap headphones... Sure I have nice ones, but I don't wear them to mow the lawn! The $2 earbuds are for when I don't want to risk the nice ones.

    DVD/Blu-ray players... I already have a substantial DVD collection, so I need a player. And heck, they are only 60-70 (30-40 refurbished)

    Smart gadgets... Smart TV's typically have netflix/amazon/hulu/etc built in are are not significantly more expensive than non-smart over the typical life of a TV. Other smart gadgets, not so useful.

    • Joel Lee
      September 24, 2016 at 7:19 pm

      Good point, Chris. Even though the smart functionality of a TV isn't worth paying extra for, most TVs nowadays are smart by default and we don't have a choice... Kinda sucks, but oh well.

    • Kelsey Tidwell
      October 2, 2016 at 12:22 am

      I get what you're saying about the smart TV's, but I feel like I've achieved maximum cheapness there with my Chromecast. It makes every TV I own a smart TV! So when you consider being able to use the $35 device (on sale at Best Buy for $25 last week I believe) on every dumb TV you own, including the ones you'll buy after your current ones break...nice.

      Of course, that also applies to the other streaming TV units out there.

      **Bonus points** -- the Chromecast goes on vacation with me every time. No expensive in-condo/hotel room/cabin video rentals. :)

  20. KevMo
    September 16, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    Don't really agree about the Echo. If you use the services it offers and place it in a household hub (like the kitchen), it can be quite useful. Dot in the kitchen isn't as you have to connect speakers and Tap isn't as you have to touch it to activate. I have all 3 and they each have their purpose.

    Most other items are spot on though I don't see tablets replacing desktops anytime soon. The tablet market is flat.

    • L. Chance Correll
      September 17, 2016 at 8:29 am

      You take it back! I'm offended! Echo lives matter! Ha ha ha! Kidding. I own an Echo as well. The one thing, tiny thing that it is: I love love love love this device. So does all my family. But It's NOT necessary. We run Nexus 6's, plenty big and loud enough for general use. Echo is a toy. Smart lights? Why. On, or off, like usual works. Order Amazon stuff easier? No.... Trying to stop spending. She does nothing well that she's amazing at. But! She is amazing. We use Echo over our Bose for music. Morning news over coffee? Sweet. Tell me a joke; oh God the groans. Easiest pairing ever. I'm thinking for a new Dot in the bedroom, because I miss my Alexa functionality. Best feature for me? During news in the morning I ask what time it is. While dressing, or feeding the dog, of whatever. Setting timers. Small things. Insignificant. But HANDY.

      Echo is awesome. It's also just a big toy. You do not need it. I'd miss her if someone took her. Awesome dichotomy. Makes for a great topic.

    • Joel Lee
      September 24, 2016 at 7:18 pm

      Hey Kev, you're right that the Echo (and its variants) all have their uses and many people are happy with them. I guess I just think the Echo is a bit more situational (maybe even niche) than expected and it isn't what a lot of people will expect it to be when they buy it.