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Here’s the Tech You Shouldn’t Buy This Holiday Season

Daniel Howley
Technology Editor

The holiday shopping season kicks off this weekend with the annual orgy of spending and violence known as Black Friday. And while there are sure to be plenty of sales worth checking out, the truth is, some things just aren’t worth buying during the holidays.

That’s because no matter how good the deals you see on Black Friday may look, there are even better sales later in the year. What’s more, some of the products that retailers want you to buy for your loved ones are actually terrible gift ideas.

So whether you’re making a pilgrimage to the mall or doing all your shopping in your bathrobe from your computer, you’ll want to avoid these gifts.

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Nearly every major retailer is going to be advertising some kind of smartphone sale on either Black Friday or Cyber Monday. And, hey, if you’re in the market for a new handset, by all means take advantage of those sweet, sweet deals.

But unless you’re a parent buying a new phone for your kid, or you’re buying for your spouse or significant other with whom you share the phone bill, getting a smartphone as a gift is a terrible idea.

That’s because in order to buy the phone, you’re more than likely going to have to sign up for a carrier agreement. That means if you buy your niece or nephew a handset, you’re going to be responsible for that person’s monthly bill. And unless you’re some kind of oil baron, that’s a pretty over-the-top gift.

Your best bet is to simply avoid giving smartphones as gifts.


TVs have become the quintessential Black Friday purchase. How many times have you seen local news segments covering Black Friday sales with customers pushing shopping cars stacked with four or five TVs?

Despite the hype, the TVs you see on sale on Black Friday aren’t really worth being bitten by a sale-hungry shopper for. Sure, you might see a 50-inch TV selling for $200, but that TV is more than likely a budget model and won’t have all the same features or quality of a big-brand TV.

What’s more, TVs are actually less expensive following in mid- to late January following the annual Consumer Electronic Show (CES), where TV makers introduce their newest models. That’s also around the time you’ll see sales leading up to the Super Bowl. Sales get even better around March as retailers begin to clear out their remaining stock for newer models.

So, yeah, you’ll see some ridiculous sales on TVs this holiday, but chances are you’ll see even better deals if you wait just a bit longer.

DSLR cameras

A lot of us use our smartphones as our only cameras, but more discerning photography enthusiasts prefer the power of a DSLR camera for capturing quality photos.

However, DSLRs are pricey gifts, which is why many people wait for Black Friday and the holidays to pick up a camera for their loved ones. But if you can hold off on getting a DSLR now, you can save more cash by buying one after CES, when the newest models are debuted. At that point, you’ll be able to get last year’s model for a sizable discount.


Laptops might not be the hottest tech products, but people still need them. And whether you’re looking to buy one for your college courses or the office or just to watch Netflix, you’ll likely see some good-looking deals this holiday season that will have you reaching for your wallet.

If you want to get the most bang for your buck, though, you’re better off grabbing a new laptop around the annual back-to-school shopping season, when prices are at their lowest.

If you can’t hold out that long, you can also look for a new laptop around April, when manufacturers roll out their latest models and discount last year’s offerings.

Underpowered gadgets

The unfortunate thing about a lot of sales you see around Black Friday and the holidays is that the devices that are cheapest just aren’t that good. You know the saying “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”? Well, that goes double for tech products.

The fact is, if you see a laptop that’s $200, it more than likely has an older processor and small storage drive. The same goes for most supercheap tablets you’ll see on sale.

Instead of spending your $200 on a laptop or tablet that will be outdated in a year, you’re far better off putting that $200 toward a slightly more expensive gadget that will last longer and offer better performance.

No, you won’t get that ridiculous sale price, but you’ll get a far more impressive product that you won’t regret buying a few months down the line.

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Email Daniel at dhowley@yahoo-inc.com; follow him on Twitter at @DanielHowley or on Google+ here.