Factors to consider before buying your next gadget

Gadgets are everywhere. Whether they’re devices like e-readers and smartphones or wearable fitness devices that help athletes track their performance, gadgets can be found anywhere and are used by people from all walks of life. The number of gadgets the average person has might surprise even the most devoted techie.

According to Cisco’s annual visual networking index survey, the average person across the globe will own four connected devices by 2021. Projections are even higher in North America, where Cisco predicts the average person will own a whopping 13 connected devices in 2021. Consumers, clearly, are flocking to gadgets. But even the most well-connected consumer might want to consider various factors before shopping online or visiting their local electronics retailer.

Compatibility: Many consumers crave connectivity with their gadgets. When all of your gadgets are compatible with one another, transferring and sharing files is seamless. While it’s not impossible to link devices that are not compatible, consumers who go that route may need to put in a little more effort, which takes more time. In addition, such consumers may end up spending more money on a device like a smart home hub to ensure all of their devices can be connected to one another.

Security: Security also must be a high priority for consumers as they shop for new gadgets. Any device that connects to the internet is vulnerable to hackers. When buying gadgets, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by a device’s capabilities and ignore its potential vulnerabilities altogether. Even manufacturers facing pressure to keep up in the rapidly evolving tech industry may overlook security as they rush a product to market. As a result, it’s the responsibility of the consumer to investigate security features before buying a product. Contact the manufacturer, read product reviews online and determine what happens if or when there’s a security breach. Only after vetting a product’s security features and comparing those features to competitors’ offerings should consumers make a purchase decision.

Model year: While some techies might be excited to be an early adopter and purchase the first iteration of a given product, many consumers prefer to wait and buy second, third or fourth generation products. By avoiding first generation products, consumers can give manufacturers time to iron out those kinks that are often only discovered once a product hits the market.

Considering a few factors before purchasing a new gadget can help consumers find exactly what they’re looking for with their next tech buy.