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After I bought my first iPhone, something changed. When I bought a new electronic device, I was often filled with regret rather than joy.
The problem was this: Once I bought the new gadget, I realized that a cheap smartphone app could easily replace it. For example, I bought a snazzy point-and-shoot camera, wanting better-looking photos. Later, photo-editing apps like Camera Plus and Instagram appeared in the App Store to touch up my iPhone photos with a few taps. I haven’t used the point-and-shoot camera in years.
Another time I bought a cheap all-in-one printer, thinking it would be good to have a scanner for my home office. Later, I realized an app called JotNot Pro was excellent at making iPhone photos look like scanned documents. (As for the printer portion of the all-in-one – who prints things anymore?)
I even sometimes regret buying an iPad because the iPhone can perform the same tasks, and it’s more portable. True, the iPad is a great couch companion – but how often does a New Yorker stay home and relax?
I’m well aware my chronic buyer’s remorse can be considered a ” first world pain,” but you can learn from it. If you want to be wise about the gadgets you buy post-smartphone, keep the following items in mind.
JAMBOX BLUETOOTH SPEAKER The Jambox is a brick-shaped wireless audio speaker. It can play sound from any device with a wireless Bluetooth connection, including smartphones and most laptops and tablets. It is small, lightweight and has decent audio quality.
Want to listen to NPR while showering? Put the speaker on the side table in the bathroom. Traveling for vacation? You can play your own music from the Jambox in the hotel room. Heading to the beach or a rooftop party? Your friends will love you for bringing some tunes. Along with the Jambox, which costs $130, there are plenty of similarly priced bluetooth speakers to buy from companies like Logitech, Soundfreaq and Jensen.
MACBOOK AIR I use my MacBook Air every day and take it with me to cafes and wherever I travel. Like the iPad, it’s extremely thin and light. But unlike the iPad, it has all the tools I need for work and goofing off, including Microsoft Word and Adobe Flash. It’s powerful enough to occasionally edit photos and videos. If you are shopping for a computer and have to choose between a tablet or a superlightweight laptop, I would vote the latter. And I wouldn’t even consider a traditional laptop, unless I were a professional video editor who needed extra horsepower.
At $1,000, the MacBook Air is pricey. But there are lots of ultrathin “Ultrabook” laptops on the market from companies like Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo and Asus, which usually sell for upward of $800.
ASUS ROUTER Routers are kind of like sunglasses. Buy a cheap one, and you will probably end up purchasing several more because pretty soon it will break, just like the flimsy shades you bought at the flea market.

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