Best Investments in Tech Gadgets and Appliances

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February 22, 2012

The speed at which technology changes makes it difficult to justify purchasing any expensive device when its operating system or components quickly become obsolete. Time spent researching new products, comparing prices and specifications prove that it is possible to get excellent, affordable alternatives to premium newly-released gadgets. Different, more reasonably priced devices may offer some capabilities of high-end products, but without financial risk. Kobo and Kindle Fire

Kobo is introducing a newer version of the Kobo Vox eReader featuring the Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system, which is expected to be the Kindle Fire‘s biggest competition. Both the Kobo Vox and the Kindle Fire retail for roughly half the cost of the iPad or comparable tablets. Kobo Vox can hold 8,000 eBooks, but an SD storage card expands that capability to 40,000 eBooks. While the storage space of traditional tablets is limited by hard drive size, the Kobo cloud provides access to unlimited storage.

The modified version of the Android operating system is compatible with most Android apps, and although users won’t have access to an unlimited number of applications, Kobo has a curated collection of about 15,000 total apps. Kindle Fire’s web browser provides access to everything from Netflix to Hulu and Pandora for movie and television watching, and the seven-inch screen has excellent resolution. Although both eReaders lack the bells and whistles of high-end tablets, they offer a nice alternative.

iPod Touch

MP3 players are popular devices and the iPod is arguably the most popular product of its kind on the market. The reason the iPod Touch is a good investment is because it offers the same design of the iPhone, messaging capabilities, Internet access, email, video streaming, a multitude of built-in apps, and bluetooth compatibility.

Pricing is based on hard drive size. The high-end 64GB model costs roughly what one would expect to pay for a low-end iPhone at retail price, and the iPod has no contract obligations. An iPod Touch offers many of the features that make the iPhone so popular, all at a more affordable price.

Flat Panel Televisions

Flat panel televisions are a great electronic investment. The technology used in plasma and LCD isn’t brand new, and multiple manufacturers make the televisions in different sizes with different resolution specifications and at different price points. If the cost is averaged out over the lifetime of the television (an estimated 20 years if used multiple hours every day,) a consumer gets an outstanding bang for their buck.

Plasma televisions are great for people who want a home theater experience. The overall resolution on a plasma screen is better for angle and motion viewing. Some plasma televisions are more affordable than comparably sized LCD televisions, but the disadvantages lie in the power consumption of a plasma television, which is greater than that of an LCD TV. Plasma TV’s weigh significantly more, so they are more difficult to mount on a wall and if space is an issue, an LCD TV is far more adaptable for smaller spaces.

Video Game Consoles

A good investment for a video game enthusiast is the Sony Play Station 3 Slim. It offers the benefits of a gaming console, plus a Blue-ray and DVD player. It also has a decent size hard drive, built-in WiFi and web browser as well as support for online gaming. The drawback of not supporting PS 2 is minor, especially considering that it doubles as a Blue-ray player and can stream Netflix with the HDMI output, while providing the ability to browse the web from a television.

One thing to remember about all high-tech gadgets is that new releases are always more expensive. By waiting until the device is widely available and not in high demand, consumers will easily find great deals.

Which gadget do you think will stay valuable for years to come?

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