Tech on a dime

Written by Tyler Anderson, Opinion Editor

Early adopters of new technology are known to shell out top dollar for the next great invention. The adrenaline rush that comes with owning each new i-device must outweigh the financial strain which comes with chasing this high.

But in a world of constant technological innovation at competitive prices, there are fewer and fewer reasons to rationalize purchases of unpolished hardware.

The Apple Inc. iPhone legacy is low-hanging fruit when it comes to criticizing price gouging for the newest tech. There’s certainly a lot of pride and work that goes into designing the hardware, and for the most part, the company’s work regularly impresses us.

But for every hit, there’s a big miss.

The Apple Watch was meant to revolutionize not only how we tell time, but how we make calls, video chat and even make purchases on the go. Its legacy has been tarnished by mediocre sales. Critics were skeptical of the item’s real-world applications and general usefulness.

To be fair, this is far from being only an Apple issue. Samsung and other innovators in the electronic world often charge outrageous prices for items that ultimately turn out to be little more than experiments to test the waters.

And this innovation is important. It’s how we shape the future of technology and consumer-friendly policies. Many modern conveniences we enjoy have been refined because of consumer investment. To discredit this would be to discredit the advantages of a free market.

The everyday person, however, would do well to resist these shiny temptations and explore options from companies offering similar experiences at much lower prices. We are at a point in our lives as college students where stretching each dollar is crucial; wasting money on high-priced gadgets simply because of brand recognition isn’t wise.

Luckily, there are more than a few alternatives to the electronic giants most are familiar with.

Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., despite issues breaking into the western market, has become a company synonymous with impressive phone and tablet hardware at almost suspiciously low prices.

The Honor 7X, for example, has been praised for providing features seen on high-end phones, but with a price tag of only $200. I am willing to sacrifice facial recognition features for the $800 savings that comes from not buying the iPhone X (and I bet many of you are too).

AsusTek Computer Inc., or simply Asus as it is known in the states, has been offering high-quality computers and tablets for quite a while now.

In particular, their Chromebooks have garnered a lot of attention lately. Dieter Bohn of praised the C302 model for “setting the standard” of expectations for Chromebooks. Asus’ Chromebook offering is exactly half the price of Google LLC’s Pixelbook, a product which offers a similar experience.

I could make lists of these companies for days, but ultimately it is our job as part of a consumer society to seek out the best value for everything we purchase.

Note that I didn’t say best price, as value and price don’t always go hand in hand. It is easy to be tempted by the $50 tablet you see at the corner store, but the bottom dollar price tag will likely come with too many compromises to make it worth even $10. Company ethics also play a part in modern consumer politics.

So, it is up to the individual to make the best choice to meet their needs. I’m not saying you shouldn’t indulge in a frivolous purchase from time to time; instead, I am urging everyone to do their research.

Make sure you can identify what you do and don’t need out of your technology. Understanding that most any purchase comes with compromises is important, too. Just be smart with your money, and only good can come from it.