explainers, microsoft, android

Champion studio/Shutterstock.com

Some tech products just aren’t worth spending big on, like HDMI cables and RGB lighting for your computer case. But there are some products where the added expense can vastly improve your experience or give you additional peace of mind.

Power Adapters

It’s not worth messing with cheap power adapters that could put your devices at risk. We’re not talking about the freebies that were once bundled with your iPhone or Android smartphone, but rather the bulk-buy wall adapters from manufacturers that have questionable quality assurance practices.

Not only are these adapters potentially dangerous, but they often lack features that many of today’s devices can now take advantage of. Most new smartphones and many new laptops now support fast charging and the ability to output more power for thirstier devices like laptops or Valve’s Steam Deck like the Anker USB-C Nano II 65W.

Then there are gallium nitride (GaN) chargers that provide a modern alternative to silicon. Not only are they more efficient (converting less power to heat), but they can also be a lot smaller than chargers that use silicon circuitry. Spending a bit more can get you a smaller, more efficient, and better-built power adapter.

Surge Protectors and Power Banks

Cheap power banks and surge protectors carry the same risks as cheap power adapters. Poorly made power banks can be dangerous, not only for your gadgets but for you. But this isn’t the only reason to spend a bit more on a quality power bank or surge protector.

It’s inadvisable to plug one surge protector into another. You should also be mindful of plugging power banks into other power banks, since devices that use a lot of power (like heaters or kettles) may cause the total load rating to be exceeded.

Spending a bit more on a quality power bank or surge-protected power bank should provide you with more power outlets and a better load rating. Some surge protectors even include an insurance policy, where any damage caused to devices that are plugged in is covered by the manufacturer.

Lastly, spending a few hundred dollars on a whole-house surge protector (like the Siemens FS100) that connects to your main circuit board provides the best protection, at a premium. Everything connected to a power outlet in your house will be protected from surges, so you won’t need to worry about using portable surge protectors or surge-protected power banks.

Graphics Cards

When it comes to building a PC, the bulk of your budget should go on a few select components. These components are the ones that will really affect what you can do with your computer, particularly if gaming is your primary concern. This is why buying the right graphics card (GPU) is so important.

You should match your choice of GPU with your budget and expectations. For example, you can spend less on a graphics card if you’re targeting a resolution of 1440p. On the other hand, if you’d want full 4K HDR gaming at frame rates of 60 fps or better you’ll need to spend considerably more.

explainers, microsoft, android

NVIDIA

Which monitor you have is also worth consideration. There’s little point in spending a lot of money on a GPU only to run games at a lower resolution. If you’re looking for the edge in multiplayer titles, a high refresh rate monitor of 240Hz might make sense if you can hit those frame rates.

If you’re interested in upgrading your monitor at a later date, buying a more performant GPU makes sense. Understanding which components are causing your bottleneck can help you pick a good upgrade route. Use a tool like the PC builds Bottleneck Calculator to get greater insight into the best path to take.

A “Daily Driver” Notebook

Notebooks aren’t particularly upgrade-friendly, especially MacBooks and Chromebooks. That’s why it’s important to think ahead when choosing a laptop that you’re going to be using every day for several years. It doesn’t have to be good enough for right now, but also into the future.

Storage capacity and RAM can be upgraded on some notebooks, but not on most. Think about how much space you’ll need throughout your notebook’s lifespan, especially if you don’t have another computer. Think about your workloads and how memory requirements may evolve as operating systems and software like web browsers become more demanding.

explainers, microsoft, android

Apple

You should also give some thought to other components, like the CPU and GPU. These sorts of components are very rarely upgradeable so it’s worth buying the absolute best you can afford right now to “future-proof” yourself if you want your chosen machine to last. It’s generally more expensive to buy a new laptop in two years than it is to spend a few hundred dollars more right now to get something that will keep up in the years to come.

This advice might not ring true if you’re someone who also uses a desktop computer that has tons of storage and isn’t constrained by laptop power requirements, whereas your notebook is purely used for “wireless web” activities like office work and Zoom calls.

PC Power Supplies

Spending more money on a PC power supply (PSU) won’t improve computer performance since the power supply is responsible for one thing alone: providing enough juice for the rest of your components to function properly. But that doesn’t mean you should skimp on the PSU.

Look for an 80 Plus (80+) rating, which means that 80% of the total power draw is used to power your computer and the rest is lost to heat. There are different tiers of 80+ ratings, with 80+ Titanium being the highest rating (with Platinum and Gold just below). The higher the rating, the more efficient the power supply.

explainers, microsoft, android

Corsair

If you want to upgrade in the future (and let’s face it, you should), choose a power supply with more overhead. Use a power draw calculator like the PC builds PSU Calculator to work out how much power you need right now, then buy one that exceeds this rating.

This will be handy if future upgrades require more power. A next-generation graphics card may need more juice than your old one and may produce more heat which means you’ll need more fans or better coolers. Expanding your available storage with more drives or improving the aesthetic of your case with RGB lighting will all come out of your total power budget.

Game Controllers

First-party game controllers from Sony, Microsoft, or Nintendo aren’t cheap but they are generally well-made. If you’re going to be holding something for several hours a day (or even a week), making sure it’s comfortable and does the job well is important. This is why we’d recommend settling for nothing less than the controller that came with your console of choice.

explainers, microsoft, android

Xbox

PC gamers who want to use a controller should heed the same advice. Buying an Xbox Wireless Controller, Sony DualSense, or something a little cheaper from 8BitDo (like a retro SNES-themed 8BitDo SN30 Pro+). Many of these controllers work with your iPhone or iPad and Android devices too.

There’s nothing wrong with buying a cheap, spare controller for impromptu couch multiplayer. If your friends are keen gamers, tell them to bring their preferred controllers the next time you’re planning a session.

Headphones and Headsets

Not everyone can afford a set of AirPods or high-end Sony active noise-canceling (ANC) earbuds. While premium headphones and earbuds are unmatched in terms of comfort and features, there are plenty of slightly-cheaper alternatives that strike a balance between empty pockets and empty promises.

Take for example the Jabra Elite 45h wireless headphones and Anker Soundcore wireless in-ear headphones that featured in our best budget headphones and best wireless earbuds round-ups. Both cost less than $100 and deliver excellent value, the convenience of a wireless Bluetooth connection, and comfortable designs.

Not only can the cheapest earbuds or headphones sound bad, but they can also be uncomfortable, prone to sound leakage, and have poor build quality. The same is true of gaming headsets, which may be worn for hours a day if you’re a keen gamer.

Save Money Where It’s Wise to Do So

Spend less money on PC cases, high-speed memory cards you can’t take full advantage of, and rechargeable power banks. Check out our full list of things you can skimp on for more budget tips!

TECH NEWS RELATED

Samsung Galaxy A14 5G India Launch Confirmed as it Appears on Official Support Page

The Samsung Galaxy A14 5G will debut as a successor to the Galaxy A13 5G in India.

View more: Samsung Galaxy A14 5G India Launch Confirmed as it Appears on Official Support Page

Sony SRS-XV900 Party Speaker Launched in India

Sony has introduced a new SRS-XV900 party speaker as part of its X-series in India. Touted as the ‘most powerful and the loudest,‘ the SRS-XV900 comes with up to 25 hours of battery life, the TV Sound Booster feature, and more. Have a look at its price and features. ...

View more: Sony SRS-XV900 Party Speaker Launched in India

Gogoro plans to bring its ‘Swap and Go’ e-scooter platform to PH

This is expected to launch in Q1 2023

View more: Gogoro plans to bring its ‘Swap and Go’ e-scooter platform to PH

Fortnite Chapter 4 goes live with new weapons, skins, and maps

Epic Games introduced Fortnite Chapter 4 after a breathtaking season conlcluder. The latest season features a series of new elements like weapons, battle pass, skins, map, and a lot more. It also unveils the new gameplay mechanics with Reality Augments that offer you buffs and different abilities during the ...

View more: Fortnite Chapter 4 goes live with new weapons, skins, and maps

Summary of My Hotpot Story code and how to enter Happy Sugar Hotpot Shop giftcode

Code game My Hotpot Story – Happy Sugar Hotpot Shop with countless attractive gifts will give players new choices. When participating in the simulation game My Hotpot Story, you will have the opportunity to receive many useful items for your hotpot restaurant. Happy Sugar Hotpot Shop is a fun simulation ...

View more: Summary of My Hotpot Story code and how to enter Happy Sugar Hotpot Shop giftcode

Nothing Plans to Launch New Smartphone in US to Take on Apple's iPhone

UK-based tech company Nothing plans to launch a new smartphone in the US to directly compete with Apple’s iPhone, according to a new report out today. In an interview with CNBC, Nothing CEO Carl Pei said the startup is in “early conversations” with American cellular carriers about launching a new ...

View more: Nothing Plans to Launch New Smartphone in US to Take on Apple's iPhone

Crunchyroll: How to Cancel Your Subscription

Crunchyroll is the biggest anime streaming platform in the world. But if you have decided to take a break from anime or found a worthy alternative, you might be looking for a way to cancel your subscription. There are literally many ways to cancel an active subscription to Crunchyroll across ...

View more: Crunchyroll: How to Cancel Your Subscription

RedMagic 8 Pro Specifications Leaked, Expected to Launch Soon

Nubia previously announced that it will launch the world’s first gaming smartphone with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC.

View more: RedMagic 8 Pro Specifications Leaked, Expected to Launch Soon

How to download pieces of Paradigm’s encrypted message from data beacons in Fortnite Chapter 4 Season 1

Porsche Taycan Ground Clearance, Boot Space & Dimensions

Apple and Nvidia to be first TSMC’s Arizona chip plant customers

Rackspace Technology Extends Hosted Exchange Outage — Are There Workarounds?

Apex Legends Mobile Wins Best Game of the Year for Both Android and iOS

Realme GT Neo5 series leak suggests 240W fast charging support; More details here

Xiaomi 13 Pro gets spotted on BIS: India launch becomes imminent

Realme GT Neo 5 roundup: Expected specifications, price, launch timeline and more

New Ford Puma Vivid Ruby Edition launches

6 Ways To Fix “We Found Errors In File History Settings“ Error

Microsoft India hikes prices of products, services by up to 11%

How to Fix Dark Spot on Samsung TV

OTHER TECH NEWS

Top Car News Car News