Do you need a new gadget?
Probably not, but maybe you want a new gadget. These are different things; very different. Either way though, it would be worth checking out this awesome new website, The Wirecutter. It’s a totally stripped- down gadget review site: rather than keeping up with news and rumours about new gadgets, or even reviewing all the major gadgets that come out, it just tells you, for each category of thing you might be considering buying, the two or three options they consider the very best.
So for instance, if you’re thinking about getting a digital camera, they offer these, uh, four categories: Great DSLR If You’re Not a Pro; Budget DSLR I’d Get; Best Pocket Camera Ever; Best $100 Camera. The articles themselves are robust defences of these picks and they’re very persuasive. They have a very definite leaning towards Apple products: they’ll advise the iPhone, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, but then again their analysis is pretty persuasive and you’ve got to admit: Apple stuff is nice stuff (and they also suggest a PC option in case you just can’t stand Steve Jobs’s world).
Having said that, I’m typing this on the Google/Samsung Chromebook that I finally caved in and bought (2nd hand off Craigslist, it was less than a third of the price of the cheapest MacBook Air) over the weekend. And it’s great. Lovely keyboard. Which reminds me, here’s a great big LRB article about Google,* which says lots of things you probably already know if you follow that kind of thing, but you know: it’s not that often you see great big articles about tech companies in the LRB, so there’s that.
*In which the writer quotes Eric Schmidt in a speech earlier this year when he said there are four really important tech companies in the world at the moment. Prizes for guessing the three that aren’t Google (hint: none of them makes Windows).