Tech products you shouldn’t buy or gift, even on Black Friday

This article is a preview of The Tech Friend newsletter. register here to receive it in your inbox every Tuesday and Friday.

During this Black Friday week, you will see locations to BUY THIS AMAZING STUFF.

Even though experts recommend the best products for everyone, we are all unique. A product I love might be one you hate.

So my colleagues and I are sharing five(-ish) tech purchases we regretted. This is a subjective guide to the products you should not buy.

They include a keyboard tray that broke three times, a pair of wireless headphones that never fit properly, and pet technology that failed to help a dog “talk” to his human friend.

Our regrets show that even journalists who question everything can be influenced by what is popular or what may seem too good to be true – and sometimes is.

Learn from our bad mood and read tips to avoid your own purchasing mistakes.

Two computer mice and a terrible keyboard tray

My colleague Nitasha Tiku said the Apple Magic Trackpad, a $129 mouse-like computer controller, was so large that it cluttered her keyboard.

Next, this Kensington Orbit trackball mouse was shaky and didn’t help alleviate a type of wrist pain that can affect parents taking on young children. Nitasha’s son even got tired of the mouse as a toy.

(In a statement, Kensington said it offers several models to meet people’s different needs, from computer mice to trackpads.)

To complete her unfortunate trio of computer accessories, Nitasha purchased this keyboard tray three times in three years. Everyone broke.

When screws fell out, she would ignore them or half-heartedly attempt repairs until the board collapsed.

“You fix it, it breaks again, you use tape, then the situation becomes untenable, you buy another one. Then the third time, it’s too shameful, you have to stop,” Nitasha said. “So here I am: without a keyboard tray.”

The Baratza Encore coffee grinder

I’ve heard raves about how burr grinders – which cut coffee beans into consistently sized pieces – make for a better cup of coffee.

I respect those of you who like burr grinders. But sorry. I can’t tell the difference between the coffee I make with the $150 Baratza Encore grinder and the cups I’ve made before with a $20 Krups coffee and spice grinder.

And the burr grinder takes up a lot more space on my small kitchen counter.

Call me a clueless coffee shop moron. But I’m not alone.

The culinary pros at America’s Test Kitchen said using a burr grinder wasn’t a surefire improvement in their coffee taste tests.

The Baratza mill is good. It just wasn’t worth it to me.

The Amazon tablet is proof that a cheap product is not necessarily a good deal.

Heather Kelly, a staff technology reporter for The Washington Post’s Help Desk, bought Kindle Fire tablets for her children years ago because they were much cheaper than iPads.

But Heather struggled with too many unwanted apps and found the parental control features difficult to use.

Amazon said it offers kid-friendly entertainment and education hardware and features for its Fire Kids tablets.

(Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Post. Interim CEO Patty Stonesifer serves on Amazon’s board of directors.)

In contrast, Heather said she “ride or die” for her Kindle Paperwhite, the $140 Amazon e-reader that only does one thing.

Sony WF-1000XM5 wireless headphones

Sure, some people love those Sony wireless earbuds that cost $300.

Chris Velazco, the gadget specialist on our Help Desk team, used an expletive to describe them.

Chris said none of the foam tips that came with his Sony headphones fit his ears properly. He purchased additional tips from another company that fit better, but made the headphones sound worse.

Additionally, when Chris used the earbuds’ touch controls to play or pause music, it felt like he was passing the earbuds around his ear canal.

Sony and most of the other companies cited in this article did not respond to questions or could not be reached for comment.

Chris currently uses Apple AirPods Pro. He’s always looking for wireless headphones that work equally well whether he’s using an iPhone or an Android phone.

(Some AirPods features, including surround sound, do not work properly if you are not using an iPhone or Mac computers.)

“Talking” animal buttons

My colleague Andrew Van Dam couldn’t resist a technology that has gone viral online and promises to help dogs “talk” by pressing buttons recorded with words such as “out” and “I love you “.

Your pet can finally communicate its needs and feelings!

Andrew programmed his buttons to say “peanut butter,” “outside,” and “dinner” in his voice.

But he said Shorty the Dog, a “near perfect” Chihuahua mix, never figured out how to push the buttons despite Andrew’s coaching and copious peanut butter rewards.

“Now they sit by the kitchen, collecting dust and dog hair, and silently shame me for my horrible training skills – and my dog ​​for his complete lack of sense to press buttons” , said Andrew. “I blame technology.”

(Dis)honorable mention: Another colleague regretted buying an Upright Go gadget that monitors your posture and vibrates if you’re not sitting up straight. My colleague said it was so sensitive that the annoying vibrations were constantly going off. She gave up.

And for a positive version: We Loved These 7 Incredible Tech Products

Here’s how to avoid your own regretful purchases.

Be careful with internet famous products. My colleague Tatum Hunter admitted to buying a must-have hair removal product on Instagram that broke her skin.

Tatum said she would have liked to see the Amazon reviews of the Bleame “crystal hair gum,” which was drawing complaints from other bruised and unhappy shoppers.

Products like Bleame or Andrew’s pet buttons that are popular on social media can be polarizing. Just because a product has many happy customers (or the company is a marketing genius) doesn’t mean it’s right for you.

Be wary of products that you hope will make you a different person. I definitely buy fitness equipment or gadgets like the Upright Go hoping they will transform my life.

Usually, though, purchasing a product doesn’t magically give you time to exercise or cure a bad habit.

Consider buy a second-hand product or borrow it. At least you will pay less for a product that you might regret later.

If you’re not sure, you can also borrow a product from a friend or Buy Nothing group to try before you buy.

Gn En tech