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How to Tell if a Tech Item is Just Fluff or Useful

Published on 01 April 16
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It’s all too easy to jump onto the hype-wagon and be all too eager to buy the latest tech gadget. Especially as we’re bombarded by TVs ads filled with celeb spokespersons, or surrounded by Tweets, posts, and reviews all commenting on it. However,an impulse purchase done without any research or evaluation can leave a dent in your bank account as well as you being saddled down with a useless gadget. To weed out the tech duds from the practical, here are a few questions to ask yourself before purchasing them:

Does it improve an aspect of your life or relieve a burden?

Useful tech serves to improve our lives, not over complicate them. The Merriam-Webster definition of technology is the use of science…to invent useful things.A great example of this are GPS navigation devices, which gives users easy and real time access to maps and directions, allowing drivers to focus more on driving safely and less on shuffling through their printed MapQuest directions.

Is it an improvement upon existing tech or another previous model?

One of the reasons why people stand in line for hours outside Apple stores, is to get their hands on the newest model of iPads or iPhones, which have improvements such as better camera lenses or software upgrades including the intelligent personal assistance, Siri. Since tech gadgets and appliances can be costly it’s important to consider what distinguishing features they have when compared to older models, especially as you expect to utilize them for the long term. Smart TVs for instance are capable of connecting to the Web allowing users to browse sites and access their music or video streaming services; these are great improvements when compared to normal TVs, which aren’t capable of any of those things.

Can they multitask or liberate the need for multiple devices?

There have been many crazy and ill conceived devices which sought to combine several devices, like the mouse-phone all in one. While it is a multitasking device, it’s not the best example of one. Smartphones on the otherhand, were once a novelty but now are a necessity of modern lives. They eliminate the need for several devices like desktops, landline phones, cameras, and even game consoles. Their power and usability only increases by the incredible range of apps available for them. Another indication of a useful tech item, is if it’s capable of syncing and connecting to other devices. Digital picture frames can sync with smartphones and display pictures from the phone’s internal memory or even from the user’s social media accounts.

Are they a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist?

While technology serves to solve daily life issues or inconveniences, sometimes they solve problems which don’t make sense to the average person. An easy way to determine this is if you would consider them as a gag gift. Such as a personal foot tanner that fits comfortably under your office desk. In that case, they’re not worth the price tag or the nasty looks you’ll receive from your spouse.


It’s all too easy to jump onto the hype-wagon and be all too eager to buy the latest tech gadget. Especially as we’re bombarded by TVs ads filled with celeb spokespersons, or surrounded by Tweets, posts, and reviews all commenting on it. However,an impulse purchase done without any research or evaluation can leave a dent in your bank account as well as you being saddled down with a useless gadget. To weed out the tech duds from the practical, here are a few questions to ask yourself before purchasing them:

Does it improve an aspect of your life or relieve a burden?

Useful tech serves to improve our lives, not over complicate them. The Merriam-Webster definition of technology is the use of science…to invent useful things.A great example of this are GPS navigation devices, which gives users easy and real time access to maps and directions, allowing drivers to focus more on driving safely and less on shuffling through their printed MapQuest directions.

Is it an improvement upon existing tech or another previous model?

One of the reasons why people stand in line for hours outside Apple stores, is to get their hands on the newest model of iPads or iPhones, which have improvements such as better camera lenses or software upgrades including the intelligent personal assistance, Siri. Since tech gadgets and appliances can be costly it’s important to consider what distinguishing features they have when compared to older models, especially as you expect to utilize them for the long term. Smart TVs for instance are capable of connecting to the Web allowing users to browse sites and access their music or video streaming services; these are great improvements when compared to normal TVs, which aren’t capable of any of those things.

Can they multitask or liberate the need for multiple devices?

There have been many crazy and ill conceived devices which sought to combine several devices, like the mouse-phone all in one. While it is a multitasking device, it’s not the best example of one. Smartphones on the otherhand, were once a novelty but now are a necessity of modern lives. They eliminate the need for several devices like desktops, landline phones, cameras, and even game consoles. Their power and usability only increases by the incredible range of apps available for them. Another indication of a useful tech item, is if it’s capable of syncing and connecting to other devices. Digital picture frames can sync with smartphones and display pictures from the phone’s internal memory or even from the user’s social media accounts.

Are they a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist?

While technology serves to solve daily life issues or inconveniences, sometimes they solve problems which don’t make sense to the average person. An easy way to determine this is if you would consider them as a gag gift. Such as a personal foot tanner that fits comfortably under your office desk. In that case, they’re not worth the price tag or the nasty looks you’ll receive from your spouse.

This blog is listed under Development & Implementations Community

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