3 Simple Guidelines For Making Better Hardware Purchases

I got a brand new monitor yesterday. 20.1″ ViewSonic was bit more expensive than I had initially budgeted, but I’m happy with the purchase. The wide screen view is something I haven’t got used to (yet), but switching from CRT monitor to TFT one sure has improved my working conditions. My eyes like the sharp screen (at least I’m brainwashing myself to think that way – perhaps it’s true), and that’s one of the main reasons why I got the new screen.

I have some rules that I follow when I do purchases, and here’s three of them:

I consult people smarter than me
I check with some of my geek friends who know more about hardware than me, and also check out some magazine reviews before buying. I also hear the salesperson and compare his talk with what I’ve heard (it’s pretty easy to spot those who are more interested in selling rather than serving.) I also try the product at the shop if possible. By doing this I hope to get a better picture about what products are worth buying.

I don’t buy “bit more expensive version” over and over
It’s easy to spend $300 on some gadget, just to notice that with “only $50” more I can get a bigger gadget. And with “only $1002 more a premium version of the bigger gadget. There’s no limit. That’s why I set up some budget, and try to stick with it. I simply set some limit. If I want a widget that costs $300, I don’t spend $450 because “it was such a good deal”.

I don’t buy cheap
Well, at least I try not to invest in cheap. Basically I don’t buy the most expensive gadgets, but definitely not the cheapest. While in some products it’s a matter of perceived value, it can be said that really cheap products come with less quality. Investing some extra often means better quality. In the end, cheap might end up costing more in terms of time and money. They might go broke and time is wasted with returns.

I don’t suggest that a higher price would automatically mean better quality. That’s something you can find out by asking for recommendations and learn by trying. I simply mean that getting the cheapest version isn’t necessarily a wise move. Sometimes it might be a good thing, but I tend to put some extra to ensure quality.

The new monitor costed bit more than I planned, but by simply thinking how important the quality of the monitor can be for my eyes – I have no doubt that it wasn’t a good purchase.

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. dkah: yeh, true – it’s good to find out those… but I think it’s also important not to repeat that over and over. Price versus quality counts.

  2. For things that come in different sizes, like harddisks, its important to find the low point. Prizes do not go up linearly. At some point a little more buys you a lot more, but at the next step you get less again. It is worth to buy exactly at this low point, because you get most value for money. For my harddisk I paid 4$ for 50 GB more, still 50 more would have cost me 20$. This is also the point where the hardware has the biggest lasting power for a reasonable prize. They are out of the expensive toy phase and not yet into the old garbage can.

  3. I do exactly ther same.

    I still have a CRT because I’m under the illusion that I still have enough time to play games and that 3D games are best on a CRT. In reality I hardly ever play PC games and should just get a big TFT! The thing is I want to make sure that I can run it with quite a big font as I hate squinting at tiny writing which is in a TFT’s “natural resolution”

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