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For the Gadget Hobbyist: Frugal Smarts Work Just Fine

February 23, 2015       Tech Buzz
For the Gadget Hobbyist,
Frugal Smarts Work Just Fine

It used to be that any standard for tech lasted for 18 months or so before upgrades made it to the market for the next wave of gear and gadgets.  These days, the next upgrade comes up in just 6 months time and  electronics are always getting faster and cheaper.  Everyone already has a smartphone or a tablet, and the pace of upgrades might overwhelm the average person looking to take advantage of the best stuff they can get and still keep a gadget that won't become obsolete in a year or two.

This used to be the most coveted phone in Manila, as the smallest
mobile phone of its time, at P18,000 to P20,000 a pop.  Would you
spend that much today when tech upgrades are at a pace of
6 months for brand new smartphones and mobile devices?

Is it necessary to keep up with the Joneses? Remember waaaaaaaay back when the smallest mobile phone, a Nokia 8210 cost P18,000, and it was a status symbol more than a useful gadget?  Would you fork out that much money for a piece of technology that is getting cheaper and more affordable each year? 

Sometimes using last year's gear might get you a better price for tech that is still useful for the next 3 to 4 years.  And even for the latest tech products, there are best value products that won't break the bank.

If you are buying for brand cachet and can afford to, there is no sin and enjoying what your hard earned money can get you.  Go out and knock yourselves out and get 3 boxes of the brand new iPad6 for yourself, your kids and anyone special you want to gift with a gorgeous high-end useful mobile device.

For people looking to get the biggest purchase power out of their quid, a more frugal choice might be the smarter idea...

Saving Money on Electronic Gadgets:

You can buy refurbished items from brand products to get them
cheaper and they are still NEW!

Image from Matthieu Riegler for  WikiCommons CC BY 3.0

Buy refurbished

Refurbished items are usually store display items or returned gadgets that are still barely used. Most sellers will offer a full warranty for those purchasing refurbished gadgets. Buying refurbished will get you a nice markdown off the sticker price for a branded product and you still get your favorite brand like say, an Apple iPad at a reduced price and still keep the full warranty.

The tech reviews rave over the Xiaomi Mi series having better specs
and costing half of branded smartphones, check their website

Don't Buy for Brand Cachet

Samsung and Apple are brands that offer some of the latest tech for tablets and smartphones.  Their products often stand up as the most reliable and stylish choices among mobile devices.  If you were NOT buying for brand, but looking at TECH instead, there are plenty of choices, especially from Chinese and Indian brands such as Gionee and XiaoMi that offer top-of-the line features, as good as brand name products for half or even a third of the price of a branded mobile device.  If you aren't snooty and buying smart, Gionee and Mi might be your best options, given that purchasing even their older models gets you top gear for great value!

Used turntables can still be repaired by seasoned electronics
technicians and you can get great entertainment listening to
your hoard of old records or get into the hobby of vinyl
collecting for cheap too.

Buy Used Gear

Some gadget freaks bent on getting he latest stuff often sell their 7 month old gadget, just to be the first kid on the block to get the latest release.  You can buy used gear compared to buying the lates model and still get amazing value because of depreciation and your device that is still top of the line.  Getting 10 per cent to 30 percent off as opposed to getting your electronics fresh out of the box at the store.  Old technology like analog turntables still offer great value for music lovers who know how to get them back to good working condition without breaking the bank.  And you get yourself the best music experience in the privacy of your own home once you dust off your old vinyl record collection...

Used professional DSLRs are another good purchase to make as
long as you check the gear for low shutter counts
and overall wear and functionality.

Some tech products don;t really upgrade as fast as mobile phones and tablets, like professional DSLR cameras.  If the camera comes with very low shutter counts and still looks brand new, you get a steal; usually a third off the sticker price for brand new. 

Saving a lot of money by buying used is one option for people who can bear with not getting something fresh out of the box and are good with using gear that is already field tested or slightly used by careful users.  Many gear hobbyists still sell their old stuff for a fair price, but you must know what you are looking at or you might also get a pricey lemon instead of a steal of a bargain.

The Apple iPhone 4S is still an amazing phone to have.  Keep an eye
out for your friends who change iPhones for a newer one like
they change clothes.  Or you can get a brand new one from
any store still keeping old models and selling them for cheaper.

Buy Last Year's Model

You can still buy stuff brand new if you want it still fresh out of the box.  Choose the product model that is being replaced by that brand's latest offering.  Most of the time, you don't really need all the new specs of the latest device, and the previous model or even older models that are still unopened and lying in inventory are still good choices for a value purchase. 

Know what specs you need from the device you want so that you also don't get something with proprietary tech that might not be supported anymore.  Many shops may be offering huge markdowns on an older model series to get them off the inventory, and this gets you a nice discount if you don't mind shopping for brand new old gear that is still good for its purpose.

Do You Really Need the Gear?

Do you really need to get a smartphone if your old phone still gives you everything you need from a mobile device?  Same for tablets and laptops.   Electronics used to last a LONG time.  You only upgraded when the TV break down and couldn’t be repaired at all.  People replaced their old gear when they conked out and the cost and hassle of getting a repair was too much trouble over getting brand new gear or even a brand new old model. 

If you have a working jukebox or could get one for a good price,
no need to pay through your nose for audiophile gear when
this contraption does just fine!

The habit of dumping a still working device seems to have become the thing to do in the age of trendier mobile devices for better or worse.  Electronics are a lifestyle product nowadays more than a functional device for most people, especially younger gadget lovers.  Just avoid spending that P18,000 for what may become a ridiculous object in the next 6 or so years.


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