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Buying technology can be a minefield. It’s easy to waste your money on something you’ll later regret, especially with the explosion in the number of utterly pointless gadgets in recent years.
More confusingly, a gadget doesn’t even have to be pointless to be a waste of money. Perhaps you’ve paid over-the-odds for a branded device when a cheaper model would suffice. Maybe the device sounds useful in principle, but it’s more hassle than it’s worth in practice. Or perhaps the gadget is trying to solve a problem that doesn’t even exist.
We’re going to try and help you save your money. Keep reading to learn about seven of the latest tech gadgets you should probably avoid.
1. Philips Hue Smart Lights
In the past, we’ve professed the virtues of installing a smart lighting system in your home. Those virtues still stand: smart lights can be a great way to save money, improve your home’s security, and save time.
But the Philips Hue system? It’s very costly compared to some of its competitors. One can’t help but feel you’re paying for the brand name as much as for the underlying technology.
In fact, in a recent article, I established it would take almost a decade to break even if you upgraded from incandescent bulbs to Hue bulbs. If you’re moving from existing energy-efficient bulbs to Hue bulbs, it could take a generation before you see net gains.
Don’t believe the hype. Buy a cheaper system or wait for the price of smart lights to drop.
2. Nokia 3310
No, not the Nokia 3310 from 17 years ago (though you should probably avoid that too). I’m talking about the rebooted version of the popular handset that’s sweeping across the world.
Honestly, I’m not clear why anyone would buy this device, other than in a vain attempt to be a hipster:
- It can’t run modern messaging apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
- It runs on the 2G network, so won’t work in the United States.
- There’s no front-facing camera. Forget taking selfies!
- Typing text relies on the old-school T9 approach.
- It doesn’t have any form of smart assistance.
If you buy one, you won’t look cool, you won’t look retro, and you won’t be the envy of your friends. You’ll just be a wally.
3. Juicero Smart Juicer
If there’s one device on this list that you should absolutely avoid at all costs, it’s the Juicero Smart Juicer.
The $400 device made headlines for all the wrong reasons in Spring 2017 when testers established the company’s proprietary juice pouches produced an almost identical amount of liquid when squeezed by hand as by the “four tons of force generated by the Juicero Press.”
First, why would you spend $400 on any juicer, let alone a smart one? Second, why would you buy a device that only works with proprietary pouches — what happens if the company goes out of business? Third, what’s wrong with chopping your own fruit and vegetables? Whether you’re buying pouches or fresh greens, you’ll still have to visit a supermarket.
4. Kolibree Smart Toothbrush
If you’re a parent, it’s important to make sure your children have good dental hygiene habits. Failure to do so can lead to unnecessary pain and expensive medical bills.
But do you really need a smart toothbrush to get them in the right routine? What’s wrong with looming ominously behind them to ensure they’re scrubbing for a full two minutes?
It’s hard not to think the Kolibree Smart Toothbrush is trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. It’s just another way for tech companies to get inside our bathrooms. The device comes with an accompanying app that turns brushing into a game. Why your kids would prefer to play with their toothbrush than the latest Xbox release is unclear.
For the $129 purchase price, you can find much more useful technology.
“Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?” Well, it’s certainly not you, according to HiMirror.
Smart mirrors are nothing new — Panasonic debuted one back in 2016. But at least other smart mirrors try to be your friend, gently caressing you into changing your outfit or reapplying your makeup.
HiMirror takes an altogether more aggressive approach. Its “innovative skin analysis engine” calls you out for wrinkles, pimples, dry skin, and other perceived beauty blemishes, then informs you how to adapt your skin care regime to improve your looks.
It will monitor your progress and throw more advice your way if it thinks you’re not getting more beautiful quickly enough.
Want my advice? Save your money and ask your partner to shower you with loving praise every morning instead.
6. Bluetooth-Enabled Fidget Spinners
It was inevitable, wasn’t it? As soon as fidget spinners became a “thing,” it was only a matter of time before some genius decided they were too boring in their current state and added some unnecessary tech capabilities.
Behold, the Bluetooth-connected fidget spinner. Thanks to touch-sensitive buttons and accelerometers, they can monitor your trick spins (yes, they exist), log how much time you spend spinning, share scores with friends, and perform other entirely unnecessary tasks.
Sounds bad? You’ve not heard the worst of it yet. Reports in the United States say some models are exploding during charging. Yes, not only can you waste your life fiddling with a bit of plastic, but you can burn your house down while you’re doing it.
7. Dog Parker
Pet-themed gadgets have proven to be a rich source of unnecessary technology over the last few years, but this is one of the oddest contraptions I’ve seen yet.
The Dog Parker claims to be a “smart dog house.” You’ll find them outside shops and they’re designed for you to leave your dog in while you run errands. The house itself is temperature regulated, auto-sanitizing, and includes webcams so you can always see what Fido is up to.
Using the smartphone app, you can book a slot in one up to 15 minutes in advance. To gain entry, just tap your membership card on the external receiver.
And the cost? Oh, it’s only $20 per year and $0.20 per minute of usage. A bargain, I’m sure you’ll agree.
What Devices Should We All Avoid?
It’s a huge category. I could list thousands of tech gadgets you should avoid and still barely scratch the surface. Instead of me writing forever, why don’t you give me a helping hand?
What technology have you bought that you later regretted? Which new gadgets don’t deserve your hard-earned cash? Which devices do you think are too expensive, too fragile, or too pointless?
As always, you can leave all your tips and suggestions in the comments below. And don’t forget to share the article with your friends to see what they would add to the list.