Apple iPad 2, Samsung Galaxy S2, here's how to find the best gadgets online
1. Think about your needs
Before you even start shopping, Suzi recommends that you decide what it is that you require from your gadget. If this means sitting down and making a list of your needs and wants then so be it. Are you looking for a gadget that is portable and allows you to stream the latest movies, surf the net, video-call plus much more such as the Apple iPad 2? Or a more functional device such as the Asus Eee PC, which lets you type up a presentation, keep up-to-date with your emails and boasts extra-long battery-life so you can work on-the-go? By asking practical questions before you start your search, you could make savings on the final cost and find a gadget that you will actually use rather than the latest hi-tech gadget you talked yourself into buying on a whim.
Read reviews of the iPad 2 on Ciao
You wouldn't buy a house without researching the area first so why not apply this logic to buying gadgets? They can be, after all, quite an expense. Suzi Perry says: "Research the market. You can do this online or also by reading tech magazines." Once you've nailed down your requirements, check out what people are saying about the Samsung Galaxy S2, for example, on a review site such as ciao.co.uk. Featuring reviews from both the experts and consumers, ciao.co.uk is rich with advice on what's worth the money. It even ranks certain categories such as the top 10 mobile phones based on users' reviews, which allows you to compare say a Samsung Galaxy S2 to a Apple iPhone 4S.
As well as researching the performance of certain gadgets, check out the tech news to find out about any new releases. If you're looking to upgrade your mobile, for example, and a version with improved features is out in the next few months, it could be worth hanging on in there so you can benefit from the latest new tech on the market.
Top-rated tech on Ciao
3. Get testing
It may not be possible for you to test every gadget you want to buy but Suzi does recommend that you: "If possible test it for yourself rather than order from a picture." Alternatively, you could look at user reviews as above or head to the Hands-On section of MSN Tech & Gadgets, where the team present a range of gadget reviews via video. You can even ask our tech editors to review a specific gadget @msntech on Twitter.
Read reviews of the Apple iPhone 4S on Ciao
4. Compare online
Unlike fashion, where the buying process is more down to taste and what is in a specific store, you can find the same model and make of a certain device in several different outlets and at a variety of different prices. This is why Suzi suggests: "Finding the best price by using an online comparison site." Ciao is a fabulous example of a price comparison site as it compares prices of products from several well-known brands including argos.co.uk, John Lewis and amazon.co.uk. Be wary though, as sometimes the cheapest is not necessarily the best offer. Make sure you look out for postage and package costs as they can add up. It's also worth thinking about the guarantee - John Lewis, for example, offers an extra year on-top of the manufacturer's guarantee on many electricals - this added reassurance is good to know, especially when you've shelled out a substantial amount on a hot new gadget.
Read reviews of John Lewis on Ciao
5. Learn to use it properly
Suzi's final tip is: "When you get hold of it, learn how to use it properly to gain the most enjoyment, then show it off to your mates!" You wouldn't buy a bike and then ride it only in one gear so apply this thinking to your new gadget. Take the Sony PlayStation Vita, for example - this hot new games console hosts a whole load of new features that you can find out about and then show off your skills when you challenge your friends to a game. Or if you're buying the latest Apple iPhone 4S, take the time to get to know all the applications. You can then impress your friends with your new found knowledge.
More smartphones on Ciao
Suzi Perry is the Ideal Gadgets Ambassador for the Ideal Home Show in London, running at Earls Court from 16 March to 1 April 2012. Suzi will be hosting the 'Home of the Future' brought to you by Virgin Media, offering the latest gadgets, gizmos and inventions for the home.
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