This post was sponsored by Samsung as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own. New tech purchases can be intimidating, but these tips can help make your decisions easier.

I love technology. The feeling when I open the box and pull out something brand new to me is indescribable. I love setting it up and playing with it and getting comfortable with it. What I don’t love is getting something home and realizing it isn’t for me. I’ve been lucky in my tech purchases lately that they’ve been winners. I just bought a new laptop that is fantastic and so much faster than my old one. And my new Samsung dishwasher? I cannot tell you how much I love it even eight months later.

Technology tends to be a fairly big commitment in terms of dollars relative to a new pair of jeans or dinner out. That makes the cost of failure greater, but there are tips to make your new tech purchases easier. I’ve had to return a laptop before, and that’s never a good feeling. Right now, so many are starting to think about those big tech purchases with tax season approaching and tax refunds so often burning a hole in our pockets.

6 Tips to Make Sure You’re Happy with Your New Tech Purchases

Do your research

Before you buy, look around. Get a sense of what feature are common in the technology you plan to purchase. What are the things you plan to use versus just being cool for the sake of cool? Like a wedding or baby registry, what you want isn’t what everyone wants. Learn ahead of time what you have to have so any tech you buy includes it. That also helps you from being blown away by something utterly fascinating that you later realize you don’t use that upped the cost of your new tech purchases. Oops.

Check out Walmart’s electronics department

When I head to Walmart, I usually go straight to what’s on my list. I pick up the cat food or I grab the groceries on my list, or I pick up the crafting supplies I need. At the back of the store is a nifty electronics area that has just what you may be looking for. They have a ton of great Samsung products from TVs to mobile devices, home audio systems to tablets. In fact, we bought our last tv and tablet at Walmart, and the deals were fantastic.

Head to Walmart for new tech purchases and great deals on Samsung products

Stick with a trusted brand

It can be tempting to find the lowest price for an electronics off brand, but you want to enjoy your new tv for a long time, and quality matters. I love Samsung products. My phones have been Samsung since I bought my first smart phone, and that new washer I have? Love! Our new television is a Samsung, too.

Technology changes so fast, and Samsung is there with the trends and quality you want. The last time I’d purchased a tv, you cared about having a flat screen with 1080p. Now 4K reigns, with picture quality four times sharper than full HD. The Samsung 4K Ultra HD is slimmer than ever, giving it a sleeker look in your modern home with optimized contrast across multiple zones of the picture so you can enjoy the screen from anywhere in the room. Don’t tell me I’m the only one where we fight over seats based on what gives the best view of the tv.

Samsung 4K UHD television at Walmart

I’m most impressed by the Smart View app that lets me easily watch on my mobile device. I can also view mobile media on my TV via the Smart View App. It’s amazing what Samsung offers, and I know from experience that these features aren’t just awesome today but will be five years from now when I’m watching television.

Know How Long You’ll Use Your Tech

My expectation for a phone isn’t the same as for a television. I don’t buy a new tv every year or two years. That said, I fully expect that I will want a new phone or tablet sooner rather than later. I generally keep my phone for two years, which means I need a workhorse with lots of new features that won’t make my phone obsolete in six months.

As much as I love trading in an old Samsung for a new Samsung, my old phone works just great the day I get my new one. I’m drooling over the Galaxy S7 with wireless charging, water resistance, and a flat out amazing camera in low light right now, but I can’t quite justify getting rid of my fabulous Note 5. You can pick up a StraightTalk GS7 for $599, and their monthly service costs $45 for unlimited service with no contract or hidden fees. With no contract, it’s easier – and more tempting – to upgrade more often.

StraightTalk GS7 at Walmart

When I know I plan to use my new tech purchases for a year versus five or ten years, that changes my budget and my feature expectations. That allows me to make the right purchase and be happy with it.

Know your budget

You’ve heard about people with caviar tastes and potato chip budgets, right? That right there is my tech purchase downfall. I can so easily fall in love with something totally outside my budget. There are so many amazing over the top tech gadgets out there, but I can’t buy them all. Yet. Rather than finding something I adore and then realizing I can’t – or don’t want to – spend that much, I know how much I have to spend going in and only look at gadgets in my price range. That ensures I have no danger of major disappointment because I can’t buy my first choice.

With tax refunds, that’s easy. You know exactly what money you have coming in and how much of it you plan to spend. Don’t forget to include tax, then start looking only at what items fit in your range. Online at Walmart, that’s easy since you can sort by price and filter by price range.

Get in there and play

Once you narrow down your new tech purchases, go play with it. Don’t buy it sight unseen and hope you love it. Head to Walmart’s electronics department and test it out. Does the phone feel good in your hand? Is the tablet interface as intuitive as you need it to be? Test it out in the store, not your house. This last step changed my mind on more than one new tech purchase where I thought I knew exactly what I planned to buy.

Try out new tech purchases before you buy

I love the Samsung Tab E for its price – and its versatility. Until I played with it, the expandable 16GB memory sounded nice but hadn’t convinced me. Now I dream about all the photos I can keep, the movies I can store, and the music I can play with up to an additional 128GB memory with the micro SD card.

Samsung Tab E at Walmart for your new tech purchases

What new tech purchases are you planning soon?

6 Tips to ensure you're happy with your new tech purchase. Check out what you need to know and do before you buy your next tech gadget.

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