How to Decide if a New Gadget Upgrade is Really Worth It


When a new version of a device is released, you probably get this insatiable urge to run out and buy it. You have loved technology and gadgets for as long as you can remember, and there is nothing quite like the thrill of buying a shiny new electronic toy. Of course, you also like the thrill of paying all of your bills on time and having a reasonable amount of money in your bank account. Because of this commitment to “adulting,” at least most of the time, you cannot justify buying every new device when it hits the market.

With this in mind, the following tips can help you decide if it’s best to hold off a bit on the gadget upgrade, or if you should get ready to stand in that long line at the electronics store:

Laptop: Keep or Toss

In addition to the cost of a new laptop, there are a number of other factors to consider. For example, while updated models are always hitting the market, the truly meaningful upgrades are not as frequent. To determine if the time is right for a new laptop, do some in-depth research on the latest models to see if their hardware, software and operating systems are worth the investment. One type of innovative update that is probably worth the money, if your existing laptop is getting old and/or is damaged, is an “always on, always connected” 4G LTE laptop platform that recently hit the market. Qualcomm’s laptop platforms are engineered to deliver a 24/7 connection, as well as super fast download speeds and a battery life that goes for well over a day. Thanks to the 4G laptops, your computer’s display will instantly turn on, just like a smartphone does, and your apps, email and data will always be synced and ready to go. If you use a laptop for work quite a bit and/or for gaming or other applications, this type of technology will make a noticeable difference.

Time for a New Tablet?

If you have had your tablet for awhile and it is always freezing on you, it may be time for a new one. The same is also true if you are trying to use a small screened device for work. If your tablet’s key roles are for social media and a bit of online shopping, a 7-inch model should be plenty large; but if do any writing or researching for work or enjoy movies and games on your tablet, it’s probably time to upgrade to one that is 10 inches or more. Another point to consider is storage; if you download films and music on your tablet, and if you have less than 32GB of memory, you might find it challenging to store everything you want.

Snazzy Smartphone: Yay or Nay?

When deciding whether or not to drop a cool $800-$1,000 on a new smartphone, suggests taking an honest look at what you do with your phone. If you use your smartphone mainly for calls, texts, emails and a bit of online browsing, you can either keep the one you’ve got until it really starts to slow down or crash, or perhaps spring for an older model that is not nearly as expensive. Keep in mind that a device that is newer than the one you have will still feel like an improvement; a refurbished phone is also a more budget-friendly option. On the flip side, if you love the state-of-the-art cameras that are part of new smartphones, and/or keep a lot of sensitive data on your phone and want the biometric security features that are inherent to the latest models, these are valid reasons to upgrade.

While springing for a new gadget is always fun, you don’t have to do it every time. Research each new device and compare it carefully to what you’ve already got, and decide on a case-by-case basis if it’s better to upgrade now, or if you can wait for another model or two to come along.