We all love technology for the benefits and joys that it brings us. What we don’t always like is the cost of things. Most of the time on this blog we try to find ways for you to save money, but sometimes it’s not about saving money, it’s about making sure you’re getting the value you should be getting.

With that in mind, we’re going to look at 5 things you should be thinking about with your technology when it comes to cost; cheaper isn’t always better, depending on what you want or need.

1. Smartphones are something that costs can sometimes be misleading. There’s a lot of people who are buying iPhones because they’re the cool thing to have but you really have to ask yourself if you can afford to spend that much money when Android phones can provide almost the same exact thing for much less.

At the same time, a cheaper Android phone might not give you want you want either. I paid $250 for mine instead of getting a deal for only $49 for two reasons. One, it came with a 32GB storage chip as opposed to the 2GB that came with the other phone. Two, it was a 4G phone, the fastest speeds to date, while the other one topped out at 3G. True, 4G isn’t everywhere yet but it’s growing fast, and storage is a big deal. My phone also came with a lot of other options the other phone didn’t come with, so it seemed the way to go. One should always measure those types of things in deciding cost.

2. Laptops can be interesting. Do you want one with an i2 or i3 Pentium chip? Do you want 4 GB DDR2 or 2 GB DDR3? Do you want the 750GB hard drive, the 320 GB hard drive or maybe the ultralight 150GB SSD drive? Do you want a 10″, 15″ or 17″ screen?

Laptops can range in price from $250 to $1,500, and offer tons of options. Bigger sometimes seems better, and so does brand name, but it’s not always true. If you’re going to use your laptop infrequently then it makes no sense to pay a lot of money for one. If you’re a gamer then it makes no sense buying something that can’t take the pounding. If you travel a lot buying something with a SSD drive, even if it’s expensive, might take less of a toll on your body by carrying it around all the time. Pentium or AMD chip; not a big deal for value. RAM; once again, depends on your needs how much you need. Don’t price yourself out of the market to get a laptop, but don’t get the least expensive thing if your needs are greater than every once in awhile.

3. Flat Screen TV’s come with many different resolutions, but do you need the best? Want to know a truth? Not everyone’s eyes love the TV’s with the best resolution. Like art, we all know what we like. Do you pay $1,200 for a 42″ Sony hi-def flat screen when you might want to get a “52 inch screen for the living room that only costs $750, even if the Sony’s resolution is twice that of the other brand?

What you want in a TV is something that has a great picture per your ideals and something that will last for awhile. Therefore, spending either the most money or the least amount of money isn’t always the smartest way to go. For tiny TV’s going for an off-brand name might not be such a bad thing, but if you’re getting anything at least 28” or bigger look for a brand name that’s known whose price is somewhat in the middle and run with it.

4. Ebook readers; an interesting thing to think about. Everyone thought the Amazon Kindle, then the Fire, were going to be the biggest sellers on the market when they came out. Turns out the Nook by Barnes & Noble is actually a legitimate contender and sales are fairly equal, which means other readers are coming, but these are the two to talk about.

Once again it depends on what you want before deciding how much you want to pay. Both can access the internet if you have a wireless connection. Both can store and play ebooks, music and movies. The Nook is rated as a better reader visually while the Kindle offers better initial storage options. The Kindle allows you to download directly to it while the Nook makes you connect to a computer to move files over. However if you go to a regular B&N store you can view its digital content for free (for a limited period of time), something you can’t do with a Kindle. Price or convenience once again, since the Nook costs more.

5. MP3 players. Yes, the iPod is very popular, and there’s a lot you can do with it, but did you know that other companies put out MP3 players that cost less, are as easy to use, and integrate well with other technology?

I purchased a SanDisk player that costs half what the iPod costs. It stores 8GB of music, can be played on my computer via USB, and there are “stereos” (I put it in parenthesis because today’s stereos are nothing like the monsters we had in the 80’s and 90’s) that I can put it in to play music throughout the room. And it came in red, as there were multiple colors instead of plain white, although I hear that iPods now have the options of adding covers to them if you want color; oh joy.

However, if you have an Apple computer then you’re probably going to want the iPod, as it offers many different things one can do with it for both music and images that aren’t as applicable with other players, although I can put pictures on my player. So, it depends on what you already have and what you might feel your needs are more than the actual cost of the device.

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