We are in a time when it seems impossible to resist the lure of the world’s biggest-selling technology giants. We all appear to be chained to the upgrade treadmill -demanding of us our attention, loyalty and, most urgently of all, our hard-earned cash.
The rise of smart, beautiful technology in the late noughties redefined both our relationship with consumer technology and how much we are willing to pay for it. For Generation Y, their mobile phone is most probably the most expensive item they own.
So how can we reign in the costs whilst sating our tech thirst? We’ve written the Fonebank guide to getting your hands on the best tech out there without circling the financial drain?
Don’t assume expensive = quality
The smart-tech revolution has not only resulted in showpiece nuggets of tech like the iPhone 7 and Samsung Galaxy 7 – handsets which operate right at the very top end in terms of price point – but it’s also raised the whole floor in terms of consumer tech, and in particular mobile phone technology.
Cheap no longer means nasty at the bargain end of the smartphone market and many of the handsets marketed today as ‘budget’ have many of the features and functions we expect from the mobile big boys.
Check out this great guide to the best budget handsets available and see if there’s anything that catches your eye.
(link to list of 5 budget handsets)
Get over the stigma of pre-owned
There was a time when refurbed tech was like gambling on what’s behind curtain number 3 – you just never really knew what you were going to get. But as Dylan once mused, the times they are a-changing, and refurbed tech is now a booming industry in its own right and for many people it has become the first port of call when buying consumer tech.
Reputable refurb outfits put the recycled gadgets through rigorous testing procedures to ensure all is as it should be under the hood, so although you won’t get the warranties usually afforded to you if you’re buying new, it’s a relatively low risk move which can save you hundreds of pounds.
Smartfonestore recently undertook research on the tech refurb market and calculated that tech-hungry fans of Apple who have shelled out top-whack for the latest models from new, could have saved close to £1500 had they gone down the refurb route for every iteration of the iPhone back to the 4S.
Become a discount hunter
For those willing to put in a bit of click-work on Google, the internet is a treasure trove of discount coupons, money-off vouchers and e-gift links. If you can sift through the marketing fodder with which you’ll be bombarded, then an afternoon spent browsing for tech discounts can be incredibly fruitful.
One of the best discount hunting tools out there is the relatively unheard of Chrome web extension, Honey, which automatically scans the web for coupons and discount codes as you browse.
Sell your old stuff for ss much as possible
Selling old phones and tech online is a no-brainer for those wanting to save up a bit of cash. Again, much like discount hunting online, you might want to ‘shop around’ a bit to get the best price for your tech. Some sites like ours specialise in buying old phones but there are other sites dedicated to laptops, gaming or even just unused DVDs, CDs and MP3 players.
It goes without saying that the better condition your old tech is in the more it’ll be worth when the time comes to trade it in. Having said that, the majority of tech buy-back sites these days have a pricing structure in place for ‘heavily used’ or defective handsets. But if you are hoping to sell an old phone when it’s had its day and hope to redeem most of its original value, give it an honest appraisal of its condition yourself before you send it off – it may save the disappointment later down the line if you don’t see the expected amount land in your bank account.
If it helps, check out our guide on how we price your old handset and what your old phone is really worth.
Megapixels & megahertz no longer matter
Let’s face it, long gone are the days when people actually gave two hoots about the consumer tech arms race being played out on the high-street between the tech superpowers. People’s attitudes towards their tech has evolved to a place where genuine usefulness and necessity wins out over outrageous specs and gimmicky functionality. Take digital cameras as an example: most digital cameras these days feature pixel counts that are more than adequate for everyday printing and viewing online. In the early days, you could see an obvious difference between a 1.3mp sensor and a 2.6mp sensor. Now that many cameras are in the 6-10mp range, we are reaching the point of diminishing returns on picture quality. If you want to splash the cash for a 20mp sensor camera to take Facebook profile pics, then you’re either rolling in lolly or have superhuman eyesight!
Be wary of brand martyrdom
The most cost-effective way of furnishing your full technology suite is to shop around and not be wedded to one particular tech brand or ecosystem. Although it may look lovely to have your home office or studio looking like a gleaming Apple store, chucking cash at the same brand time and time again usually leaves you a) without all the tools you need and b) flat broke.
Have a look around at different brands and different technologies; what exactly is it that you need and which tech company can best service that need?