Smart Device Buying Guide: Separating the Greats from the Gaffes

As a true technophile, you probably know first-hand that not all gadgets are created equally. While some are definitely incredible and help make your life easier in a certain way, sadly, some end up being a waste of money.

When deciding which smart devices to spend your hard-earned money on, it’s important to do some research ahead of time to figuratively separate the wheat from the chaff. For example, the following scenarios include one must-buy tech item and one you should probably pass on:

Tech that Protects

4 devices that can help secure your home’s IoT

We can now use a variety of technology to keep our homes, property and precious families safe. In the “this is great!” category you will find home automation systems from reputable companies like ADT. Their home control systems, such as ADT Pulse, allow you to control all parts of your house from your smartphone or tablet. For example, you can turn the security system on or off, lock and unlock your doors and control the lighting, temperature and appliances—all with the tap of a finger. ADT also now offers voice-controlled home security that works with the Alexa device from Amazon; you can ask Alexa to have ADT arm your system from the comfort of your couch or bed. The home automation system is easy to use and provides all around protection for your home and your loved ones.

The Ring Zero by Logbar seems to fall short this category. The device, which made Cheat Sheet’s list of new tech gadgets that are useless, is supposed to allow people to control lights and anything else that works with a remote control with gestures. Instead of effortlessly waving and turning on several lights to make it look like your house is occupied, the Ring Zero only seemed to work about five to 10 percent of the time.

Gadgets that Free Up Time

Echo Dot (2nd Generation)

If you love to cook, you know what a pain it can be to measure out countless ingredients or make an emergency run to the store to buy more flour or sugar. This is where the high tech Drop kitchen scale will come in handy; it comes with an app that lets you know when you have added in enough sugar, spice and everything nice to your recipe. It will also automatically adapt recipes when you don’t have quite enough of an ingredient—add your remaining two eggs into the bowl instead of three and the app takes care of the rest.

In the “you should probably pass” category is a Margarita Maker. As Thrillist notes, instead of the large and spendy kitchen appliance that can whip up a tasty margarita, use your trusty blender and its “crush ice” button to get the same results for far less money.

Tech that Keeps You Smart

TYLT Powerbag

Gone are the days when students used bulky encyclopedias for research. Nowadays, students rely on smartphones, tablets and laptops to research, type term papers, email professors, participate in online classes and more. Of course, if these handy devices have dead batteries it will be hard to stay on top of your academic work. To solve this issue, consider getting an TYLT Powerbag Travel Battery Charging Backpack from Amazon; you can store, organize and charge your devices all at once while walking to and from class. The all-in-one backpack and battery includes USB ports and six storage areas so your devices won’t bump into each other all day.

On the flip side, you might feel you need a fancy new printer to stay abreast of your assignments, handouts and homework; but Forbes says think again. Many universities will allow students to print out a certain number of pages for free in the library, or some will charge a small fee, like a dime a page. When you factor in the cost of a printer plus the spendy fees for ink and paper, this is a bargain. In addition, many professors are letting students submit their assignments online; this also eliminates the need for a printer.

There’s so much tech on the market and it becomes obsolete quickly after the next big thing comes out. This means before you buy, it’s important to weigh what you need and what you should skip.

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