Is Buying A New Gadget (Cellphone, Smartphone or Tablet) A Good Investment?

Samsung Galaxy S III smartphone

Samsung Galaxy S III

Should you buy a new gadget?

This is the hard times, I believe. Like many others, I try to save and be content with what I have, and at the same time, I need to look after my health and my finances too. I have to prevent unnecessary expenses…even if technology is calling me to spend on new gadgets.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. It is not only technology that is calling me to get hold of the hottest and latest smartphones or tablets, but people too, directly and indirectly. A relative is expecting me to buy a smartphone or a tablet (for myself though) this Xmas. He recommended that I buy a Samsung tablet or a Nokia Lumia smartphone. On the other hand, acquaintances are flaunting their wares in front of me. I am among the few at work who do not own a smartphone yet.

This is not a matter for me to boast of, but I think I own the most cellphones than many people I know. I own four: A Sony Ericsson K750i (a camera-phone)  which I bought three years ago, a Nokia 2600 which I bought two years ago, a chinaphone TV1100i given to me last year by my girlfriend as a birthday gift, and a Nokia 1100 given to me by an ex-classmate early this year.

They were not new when I got them. The first two were secondhand items. Two friends gave me their old phones because they had new ones. Now two of these units have issues with their batteries, and my SE has keypad issues and a camera that no longer functions, and is now best used as my alarm clock.

I ponder lately what to gift myself this Xmas. I thought of buying myself a new phone, don’t care if it’s an Android, QWERTY, TV phone of whatever brand, but I do not trust Samsung as from what I have heard, they are beyond repair. I also thought of buying a digital camera because I love taking pictures. And yeah, back to the title of this blog post: Is Buying A New Gadget (Cellphone, Smartphone or Tablet) A Good Investment?

Sorry for keeping you too long. I feel I need to spice up this post to help deliver my message.

Apple iPhone smartphone

iPhone in use

Gone are the days when Nokia handsets were in people’s hands. Gone are the days when Nokia ruled the cellphone market. This is the Samsung age now.

Recent news reports show that Samsung edged out Nokia as the top-selling cellphone brand in the Philippines and that the Samsung S3 smartphone outsells Apple’s iPhone 4 as the best-selling smartphone in the market. If Samsung is enjoy great sales, it is because they have overtaken Nokia and Apple.

I see people operating their smartphones and tablets (and laptops too) in coffee shops, in malls, in churches, in restaurants and elsewhere there is free Wi-Fi. But I never see them using their wares in the streets. Better not to flaunt them in public as there are snatchers around.

Yeah, it is no secret those things cost five figures (in my country). In one of the Pugad Baboy comic strips, the ex-convict Igno remarked to his cousin, the womanizing soldier Tomas, that people buy expensive cellphones yet they feel afraid to use them in public. But anyway, what good would a smartphone or a tablet would do?

iPhone 4 Apply smartphone

iPhone 4 by Apple

With a smartphone (I don’t know if it would make me smart), I can take pictures again (like what I used to do with my SE K750i). I can play games or apps and access to the Internet easily (but it is useless as I am no longer a social media whore and an Internet addict). It’s useless too that I never go inside coffee shops, I seldom go to malls and I abhor upscale places. Just because you have a smartphone on your hand does not mean you’re smart or you’re rich, right? You bought that on a loan?

samsung galaxy tab tablet

Samsung Galaxy Tab

What about a tablet? Well, I am talking about the shiny black thing, not the stone that needs a hammer and a chisel (history buffs, let’s recall history). What about it? Well, my relative told me I can do my part-time article writing (and blogging) with. It is relatively lighter than a laptop anyway. I can browse the Internet with it, play games, take pictures and yes, you can also bring it to the coffee shop for your expensive dose of caffeine.

I just remember an ex-classmate telling me he wanted to buy a laptop to satisfy his Facebook needs. Three years, he would buy a secondhand laptop because he wanted to earn from freelance writing just like me, only to sell it months later because he was unable to find work. At least, he did own a gadget for practical reasons. But what about those people who would want an expensive gadget for practical reasons?

In another Pugad Baboy comic strip, the womanizing Tomas told off his devout born-again social climbing Christian wife for having him to buy her a pocket PC just because she wanted to show off to her friends. Do we just need expensive gadgets to fulfill the need for higher social status? How far should people go to express their vanity?

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet android

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet android

How far should people go to apply for loan just only to buy expensive yet trivial items? It is not wrong to fulfill our wants anyway, but are we going to buy something just because everyone else has it? Are you going to buy something just because you want to be in with the crowd?

It would cost you thousands of bucks to buy those so-called hottest and latest gadgets and you still need thousands to maintain them. Thousands to spends, thousands to maintain those hottest and latest gadgets from Apple, Samsung, Sony Xperia, HTC, Blackberry, LG, Lenovo, Acer, Toshiba, whatever. In my country, Nokia no longer commands a lion’s share in the cellphone market and that market happens to be the smartphone market now of which Samsung is the king. But it sees a bit of competition from MyPhone who rolls out quite affordable Android smartphones and TV phones (a market Samsung has yet to penetrate).

I feel no special need to fit in with the (gadget-obsessed) crowd. I don’t see any special need to buy a smartphone or a tablet yet. If there is something to buy, it would be new batteries for my units or else another (secondhand) cellphone (not a smartphone or TV phone but an outdated model, a Nokia handset on a buy-one, take-one promo or a affordable dual SIM phone perhaps) to replace my SE unit so I can still maintain my four SIM cards. Mind you, my Nokia  units are already outdated around eight years ago but they are still good for texting and calling – functions I cared about.

MyPhone TV phones

Communication is important so I invest in my communication with people. I have been out of the social media loop since June. I don’t need to invest much in my self-image. In this case, Samsung or Apple has no reason to charge me a premium. You won’t see me hanging out in malls, coffee shops, restaurants and other upscale establishments carrying one of those hottest and latest gadgets. Moreover, I won’t have to pay for the talent fee of the celebrities who endorse them.

I cannot attach myself too close to a product that will depreciate over time. Next year, who knows, Apple will roll out iPhone 5 or the iPad Mini 2. You will need to upgrade your technology needs for the umpteenth time.

But I won’t stop you anyway from buying a new gadget. It is your money, not mine. Who am I to stop you on that? I’m just explaining why a smartphone, tablet or any hottest or latest gadget is not the best investment for me to make at the moment. Even an ex-workmate who owns a HTC smartphone discouraged me from buying one unless smartphones now perform primary functions like MS Word, Powerpoint, etc.

In the end I have nothing financially to regret if my gadget gets damaged. I know how my ex-workmate felt when his expensive Sony Xperia became damaged and useless and it was not even a year since he bought it.

Call me envious, but I am just being practical for my practical needs in life. I am just being careful with the money I have. It is not that I am stingy. It’s just that I don’t have much money.


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