Tech has a brutal refresh cycle. You know how it goes — you buy a fancy new toy and just a few months later it gets replaced by the next big thing. We just saw this in PC processors as AMD announced it’s newest Threadripper CPUs. The Ryzen 5 and 7, AMD’s answers to Intel’s Core i5 and i7, were just gaining traction in the gaming and workstation community before another CPU came along just months later to usurp it.
No gadget lasts forever, but there are ways to maximize the life of your new toys. It’s called future-proofing, and it’s a phrase you’ll hear often in the PC building community. Gamers discuss which pieces of tech are more future-proof, meaning how long they will last until being replaced by the next thing. Before you buy any more hardware, follow these tips to future-proof your own gadgets.
The most popular smartphones, such as the Apple iPhone or Samsung Galaxy S, follow a refresh cycle. iPhones almost always come out in September and Galaxy’s almost always come out in June. These companies like to make you think anything could happen, even if the release date is now predictable.
But what if you don’t buy a new phone every summer? What’s inside these devices that will last several refresh cycles? Here’s some tech to look for:
- The best mobile processors, such as Qualcomm’s Snapdragon series, support next-gen wireless speeds with 5G modems
- OLED displays are becoming an industry standard
- Touch ID/fingerprint sensors are features of today, but biometric scanning is the ID security of tomorrow
- Bezel-less displays and software that uses them properly
Buying consoles used to be easy. An Xbox or Playstation would come out and then it would be years before the market saw a new one. That’s no longer the case — Playstation 4 Pro, Xbox One S and Xbox One X all changed how future-proof consoles really are. Instead of a complete break between generations, we now have micro-updates happening once, even twice each year. But there are ways to weather this gaming storm:
- If you only care about playing the newest games, any current-gen console will do
- If you want 4K video streaming, buy a mid-level console like the Xbox One S
- Hold out for the Xbox One X if you want to game in 4K or use VR
AI assistants are all the rage these days. Amazon Echo, Google Home, Microsoft Invoke and soon Apple HomePod are all now part of the home for millions of people across the world. But which one do you choose and how long will it last?
- Choose the Amazon Echo if you want to link you AI with other services like SiriusXM or buy products off Amazon with voice command
- Choose Google Home if you’re deep in the Google ecosystem and use an Android device
- Choose Apple HomePod if you want an uptick in sound quality and use the Apple ecosystem (and don’t mind settling for Siri)
- Probably just pass on anything Cortana as the other devices are well ahead
The beauty of these AI devices is that the software will continue to update and improve on older devices even as new ones are released. So this is really all about picking the best assistant, not the best hardware.
The way of the tech industry is unlikely to change or slow down anytime soon, but making these efforts to future-proof your tech will save you the money and hassle of constant replacement.