Technology is all around us. Smart phones, watches and homes. Fashion adopts technology trends (both the good and bad). Technology adopts fashion trends (geek chic anyone?). But at the end of it all you still need to decide what devices you want to own for yourself. (Or maybe you are trying to figure out the gadgets a loved one may like for themselves but don’t want to ask.)
To get started you need to answer a few questions:
- Do you favor form, function or are you willing to pay for both?
Let’s start at the top of the price range, if you are willing to pay for both then you have your pick of what you want. Rock the iPhone 6 Plus with a Moto 360 and the latest MacBook Air. Don’t forget to pack a tablet the fills in the gaps.
But for those favoring form or function there are a surprising number of options these days. Those seeking form are probably on the last generation iPhone or maybe even going for a slightly obscure Android device that’s not the most expensive (lots of great options). Those seeking function likely are running a Nexus of some sort or even that same last generation iPhone (it fills a lot of niches at the same time, Apple does great things).
In terms of non-phone tech, the function crowd often goes for the Windows (Surface, Yoga, or other interesting convertible) devices that aren’t as pricey as the Mac but get the job done. However, more and more I am seeing this crowd go Mac as well. Screensize is less important and a smaller, slightly used MacBook can do quite a lot at not bad pricing. The form crowd is Surface or Mac all the way depending on the story they want to tell about themselves (and that’s really all it comes down to).
The function crowd may even be rocking a lower cost wearable like a Pebble or Android watch but not likely yet. There’s still a long way to go. The form crowd hasn’t found anything to get behind quite yet.
- Do you travel much or mainly stay local?
This is where size and battery life come into play. The more you are away from home the more you need small, lightweight, long battery life devices. You’re likely even willing to give up some form and function to get it. I see a lot of travelers who have learned to move almost 100% over to an iPad or Android tablet for the sake of size and battery life (you can carry a full multiple recharge spare at little extra weight). That spare portable battery may not be a bad choice – even if they got one last year.
If you are staying local you probably stay more traditional and aren’t seeking to modify the form vs. function categories above. But larger monitors or backup devices for the home office are never a bad choice.
- Do you care what others think about your technology?
Do you have a tech story to yourself? Me, I’m anti iPhone and Microsoft for personal gadgets (although that view is starting to change some) for no real reason other than personal preference. Others I know are anti-Google or anti-large screen or anti-typical black look. If this is the case then you probably already have an upgrade roadmap for yourself and know what you want and when. Just go ahead and make the list out.
If you don’t have a tech story yet, are you looking for one? Sometimes people just like trying out new gadgets. At $150 to $300 per smartwatches aren’t terribly expensive when compared to regular watches. Maybe get someone who has one already a different one of a different style. If you can own multiple traditional watches, why not multiple smartwatches?
The same goes for technical knick-knacks. I like having devices around that are curiosities (my Useless Box is still one of my favorite gadgets ever and sits just off my desk) and things that get me thinking. I don’t need something that will be used every day or every month. It’s like a nice picture or home decor item, it just happens to use electricity. Not everything technical has to get used regularly to be good.
- Are you looking to use it for work?
- Do you upgrade often?
- Do you live in a single ecosystem?
There are lots of other questions you can ask about technology to help decide what you want. But it really all comes back to the fact that technology is no longer just gadgets. Technology is anything you want it to be. It’s time to think about it differently.