The National Digest

The Joys of Being a Late Tech Adopter

New-gadget season is almost here, but our columnist has concluded, after testing hundreds of gizmos over the years, that it pays to wait.

The best gadget that I bought this year cost less than a week’s worth of groceries. After my smartphone, it’s my most frequently used piece of tech. It was also released four years ago.

The mystery gizmo is a used Kindle e-book reader from 2015, which I bought on eBay from a repair technician. It lacks frills that some new e-readers have, like waterproofing, but I’m not the type to read in the bathtub. So I decided to be a late adopter, and I couldn’t be happier: The dated Kindle does its job well, and if I ever break or lose it, I’ll be out 50 bucks and not $200.

I’m neither a Luddite nor a cheapskate. But after testing hundreds of tech products — and buying some along the way — over the last dozen years, I’ve come to a conclusion: People will almost always get more joy from technology the longer they wait for it to mature. Cutting-edge gadgets can invoke awe and temptation, but being an early adopter involves risk, and the downsides usually outweigh the benefits.


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