Buy Now or Wait: Smartphones, Laptops and Tablets
The constant bombardment of updates and new products in the world of technology can make it difficult to decide when to pull the trigger on a new gadget, but this guide will help make sure your next purchase isn't outdated.
Whether it's a smartphone, tablet or laptop, the feeling that there's something better coming right around the corner lurks in all customers' minds as they walk up and down the aisles of the store or research online. No one wants to spend hundreds of dollars on a device that will be outdated in just a few months.
Unfortunately, technology moves quickly and it's a sad inevitability that no matter when you buy something, it'll be the "old model" sooner than later. However, there is a sweet spot for buying most items that will keep your new toy "new" a bit longer. Here's a look at the major products on the market to assess whether it's time to "buy it" or "wait on it."
Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is finally beginning to gain traction, and two of the best-reviewed devices running the platform just hit the market in the U.S. Samsung's Galaxy S3 and HTC's One X are brand new devices that sit at the top of the Android class. They represent the very best Google's platform has to offer and will be top-sellers through the summer and into the holiday season. If a top-of-the-line Android smartphone is what you're after, it's time to... Buy it.
When it comes to iOS in smartphones, it's all about the latest edition of the iPhone, and that title now belongs to the 4S, which is pushing about nine months old, the equivalent of about 80 in people years. Sure, it's still a nice device capable of great things, but its best days are behind it.
A new iPhone is all but a certainty by October, which sadly for summer lovers isn't as far away as we'd like to think. Even if you're someone who says you don't need the latest and greatest and are fine with the 4S, it might be worth it told hold out for a few months and snag the device at a discount once Apple launches the new iPhone. It may be hard to resist not picking up a shiny new 4S, but it won't be new for long, so... Wait on it.
Tablets: The IPad
This one is pretty simple: if you're interested in the iPad, Apple's latest version launched about three months ago. It's highly unlikely the company will say anything about a new model until February 2013, with a launch coming shortly afterwards. If you want to buy the new iPad, don't let anything stand in your way, but pick it up before the summer is out. The fall is certain to bring rumors about its successor and it may be better at that point to wait on it, but for now, go ahead and... Buy it.
Tablets: Everything Else
Yes, there is a tablet market outside of the iPad, and yes, it is a complete mess. Devices like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 and Sony's Tablet S and P may be relatively new, but that in no way makes them worthy of a purchase. The selection of apps in the Android Market for tablets remains sparse, and due to poor sales of the Tab 2 and the S and P tablets, Samsung and Sony are likely to quickly return to the drawing board.
The only Android tablet to achieve true success is Amazon's Kindle Fire, which runs a modified version of the operating system. At $200, the tablet is a nice investment for customers looking to read books, watch movies and browse the web, but it launched last fall, and an update is likely on the way this holiday season.
In addition, Microsoft's announcement of its Windows Surface tablets is another potential game changer in the market. There is no release date or price for the devices yet, but analysts believe the Surface has a lot of promise and could wind up being the best alternative to the iPad. In short, if you're looking to buy a tablet that's not the iPad, let the market fix itself a bit first and revisit it in the fall, so... Wait on it.
Laptops: OS X
Customers in the market for a new MacBook, whether it's an Air or a Pro, are in luck. Apple refreshed the specs inside all of its laptops earlier this month at its World Wide Developer's Conference. Faster processors, more storage and the looming up OS X Mountain Lion software update all make it an exciting time to purchase a new MacBook.
For extreme users, there is also Apple's new MacBook Pro with Retina display, a 15.4-inch laptop that accommodates even the most demanding programs. Some may want to wait to see what Apple's "Back to School" program will offer with the purchase of a new MacBook later this summer, but if all that matters to you is getting your hands on a new MacBook as soon as possible, go ahead and... Buy it.
Depending on how you look at it, the coming months are either the best time to buy a new Windows laptop or the absolute worst. For bargain hunters, it's time to strike. Microsoft is rolling out its new Windows 8 operating system in the fall, which means all old models must go (sales!).
However, that doesn't mean buyers will be left out of the new operating system. Customers have the option to pay $15 at the time of the purchase of their Windows 7 computer, and they will receive an upgrade to the new operating system when it launches. Looking for a laptop at price cheaper than you expected and don't care if it's last year's model? Then it's time to... Buy it.
Of course, the exit of old models means stores will be filled with brand new PCs in just a few months. If you're looking for the best possible specs and hardware to go along with the new Windows 8 platform, then it might be best to... Wait on it. ♦
Categories: Gadgets & Gear