Whether you’re treating yourself or buying it as a gift for someone else, there’s a lot to consider when you buy a new gadget. Besides the normal financial concerns that you’ll encounter whenever you make a big purchase, there are also a number of other factors that need to be considered, particularly when you invest in new tech.
To help you feel secure that you’ve made the right decision (and that you haven’t forgotten anything vital), here are 8 things you should think about when you buy a new gadget.
1. Can I afford it?
It’s an age-old question, one that baffles every person on almost a daily basis – do I have enough money to cover this? But unfortunately, the buyer’s remorse you get from a £20 t-shirt isn’t going to be anywhere near as extreme as the regret you’ll feel after dropping £800 on a new laptop that you can ill afford.
Although there are lots of low interest (or even interest free) repayment plans that can help you to afford some of the more expensive gadgets, it’s a good idea to think carefully about whether you’ll be able to afford the monthly repayments in the long term – after all, it’s a big financial commitment.
2. What are the terms and conditions?
As with anything in life, it’s a good idea to check the terms and conditions (if there are any) before you commit to buying a new gadget. Whether it’s for the repayment of the loan or to understand what’s included on your new mobile phone contract, it’s a good idea to have a thorough read through of any terms and conditions that come attached to your new device.
3. When will it be delivered?
Making sure you’re at home for deliveries is a pain at the best of times, but when you order more expensive items (such as the latest tech), the courier is unlikely to want to just leave it on the door step if you’re not in to sign for it – and for good reason, too.
They’ll also be very specific about when it’s delivered, so plan for your packages arrival and make sure there’s someone home for the delivery slot - especially if you’re ordering it close to Christmas.
4. Should I read the instructions first?
It’s a good idea to always read the instructions first, especially if you’ve just bought a new gadget. Whether it’s a laptop, tablet or mobile phone, you’re probably going to need to read the instructions first to understand how to download any required software, security updates or simply just to clone your old device to your new one so that you don’t lose any important data.
It’s usually fairly self-explanatory, and your new device will sometimes have onscreen instructions to help with the set up process - but it’s always handy to have a read of the instruction manual first, just in case.
5. Does it need a case?
As discovered by countless smart phone users that have dropped their devices, a cracked mobile phone screen can cost a lot of money – especially if it’s not insured. No matter which gadget you’re buying, it’s a good idea to purchase a robust protective case and screen cover (if applicable) to protect your new gadget from scratches and spills.
6. Does it have a warranty?
As a general rule, the more expensive items and electronic devices will come with a manufacturer’s warranty that will last for a specified time period, usually between three months and four years. This warranty means that, should anything go wrong with the device that isn’t caused by misuse or accidental damage, the manufacturer will repair or replace the item free of charge.
However, guarantees usually come with their own terms and conditions, so it’s a good idea to make sure you’re aware of the requirements for the product to stay under warranty. You may also need to activate the warranty online, which will be detailed in the user instructions.
7. How often should it be cleaned?
Malware, viruses and other unsavoury programs are bad news for your gadgets, which is why downloading anti-virus software is essential no matter what device you’re on (or how new it is). Devote some time on a monthly basis to scan your gadgets for viruses and delete any cached or temporary files, as this can slow your devices down.
Aside from doing regular software health checks, it’s also a good idea to give your gadgets a physical wipe down every once in a while – you probably don’t want to know how many food crumbs are trapped inside your keyboard right now…
8. Do I need gadget insurance?
Whenever you purchase a new gadget, it’s a good idea to consider whether you need to take out gadget insurance to protect your investment. Could you afford to replace it if your new device were to get lost, damaged or stolen?
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