As Christmas approaches, new tech products pop up and despite myself I get into a buying mood. But thanks to being raised Baptist and having a journalist’s wages, I usually hold off. Usually. Here are three tech purchases I’d love to indulge in this season but won’t pull the trigger on.
Surface windows RT ($519 and up)
- Why I want one: I had an introduction to the Surface last month and came away impressed. It’s a portable computer that can be used as both a tablet and a small laptop. The hardware is beautiful, the interface of lively, updating tiles is fun and useful, and since I’m primarily a Windows household, its use of the new Windows 8 is a plus.
- Why I won’t buy it: The RT version of Windows 8 that powers the device cannot run legacy Windows software, and its app store is tiny compared to the powerhouse iPad. To be fair, the app store is growing, and none of this will be a problem if you simply want to surf the web, watch Netflix and keep in touch with the world through email and social media. But the Surface has rightly been called a 1.0 device that promises to improve with time. It just depends how much time you want to give it. Microsoft will be unveiling the Surface Pro in January that will run the full version of Windows 8. For power users, it’s a better buy.
- Why you might want one: Despite the Surface’s weaknesses, many reviewers have called it the best productivity tablet out there, thanks to its inclusion of a free Office suite and covers (for extra cost) that function as surprisingly good keyboards. This could be your tablet choice for serious work.
iPad Mini ($329 and up)
- Why I want one: I’m not a huge Apple fan, but I’ve often thought a smaller, more portable version of the iPad would be a great buy. Full-sized iPads always look cumbersome when people pull them out at the board room or lunch table, whereas the eight-inch size of the mini is the sweet spot for portable consumption devices. A bigger screen than a phone, but without having to hold something the size of a dinner plate.
- Why I won’t buy it: I bought an Android-powered Nexus 7 tablet a few months go and adore it. According to reviewers, the hardware on the iPad mini is superior to the Nexus 7, but with a $209 starting price for largely similar capability, the Nexus 7 is hands down the best current tablet deal in Canada. Sorry, Apple.
- Why you might want one: If you really want an iPad, the mini is cheaper than a regular iPad, which makes it a relatively affordable way to access Apple’s excellent collection — the best in Canada — of apps, music and video on iTunes. Many reviewers say the higher price compared to competing products is justified.
A 50-inch television ($700 and up)
- Why I want one: I have a 40-inch widescreen Samsung TV that I bought five years ago. It works superbly and meets my needs. So of course I want a bigger set. The wisdom among home theatre geeks is that you should always buy a television one size larger than you think you need for your space. After five years, I feel I bought too small. I am planning on watching Lawrence of Arabia soon via Netflix on my TV and 40 inches won’t cut it for those vistas of sand and sky and Peter O’Toole’s blue-eyed gaze.
- Why I won’t buy it: My current TV works well. Buying a new TV after a mere five years of use with the old set feels wasteful. My girlfriend would be appalled.
- Why you might want one: Wide-screen televisions have never been cheaper, wider, thinner or more featured than now, and according to tech reviewers, viewing quality has improved significantly over a broad range of brands and price points. If you’re in the market now, consider yourself blessed.
Have any tech or gadget items on your Christmas list that you covet but won’t allow yourself to buy? Let me know via email or Twitter.