I often get asked what the best thing to get is. Well for most people it’s this stuff. If you don’t agree with these choices, then this page isn’t meant for you!
Updated June 2020.
Get an iPhone. An iPhone is still the best phone experience you can have. If you get a big screen version, then you won’t really need any other type of computer.
Apples phones are powerful, secure, have good to great cameras, are hardwearing and have long-term support from Apple. They’re still releasing updates for the 5 year old iPhone 6s which is a lifetime ago in the software world. Oh, and the best apps are written for iOS which is what matters. You can’t get iMessage or FaceTime on Android.
Budget will dictate which iPhone you buy. The second generation iPhone SE is the best value new iPhone. It’s small, powerful, has a great camera and does all the latest stuff. I recommend the iPhone 11 though, it’s essentially the same experience as the SE but it has a more capable cameras an almost edge-edge screen and FaceID.
If you go second hand, you have way more options available and could pick up an Xr or XS from a couple of years back. Anything older than that, like an X needs to be cheap. If you see an 8, 7 or even 6S then these need to be free hand-me-downs from family or friends. Pay no more than a beer for them.
There are lots of tempting looking Android devices out there, but they are almost all without question complete shite in too many ways to list here. TWO exceptions.
- The Android One handsets from the likes of Xiaomi and Nokia are cheap but extremely cheerful at around £200. Do make sure you get an Android One model(!) like the Xiaomi A2 or A3. Both companies make phones that are not Android One. These SUCK.
- The Google Pixel 3a is a tremendous device for £329, but it is about to be replaced by the 4a which will be more expensive. These things are a worthwhile step up from the budget Android phones, they’re impressive but honestly if you’re spending £400, buy an iPhone SE. Likewise for the full-fat Pixel devices.
Do not choose something that runs Windows from PC World on a wet Saturday afternoon. In six months it’ll be unusable and you’ll hate even having to switch it on. You will think that all computers do this, but they do not.
Buy a new iMac. You’ll still have it in 10+ years and it will still be completely usable like the day you bought it. No PC on EARTH will do this.
Buy the best spec you can afford at the screensize you want and you’ll never look back. It only needs one single power socket plugging in and it’s up and running forever. You can stick it on your kitchen worktop for everyone to use.
Only software developers need laptops and they are not reading this. Do not buy a laptop ever. If you need a proper computer, buy an iMac.
If you just want something a bit bigger than your phone that maybe has a full size keyboard for travelling or writing or once a week you want to sit down and type, buy an iPad.
For laptop money (£1500?) I recommend the 12″ iPad Pro with wifi+cell connection. Get one of the keyboard covers and an Apple pencil version 2 and it will change when where and what you thought you needed a computer for.
There are trade-offs compared to laptops but non of them really affect anyone who isn’t developing software for a living and there are many benefits.
Don’t buy a cheap laptop. This is a worse decision than buying an expensive one. For smaller budgets get the bog-standard iPad for £320. You can buy a keyboard case and a pencil later on if you like, they’re about £120 each and you’ll have most of the benefits of an iPad Pro.
Never ever buy any kind of Android tablet, because (all the reasons you shouldn’t buy an android phone) X 1000.
Only buy a tablet in place of a laptop. A decent smartphone is better than a tablet in almost every situation. Your iPhone probably already does what you think you need a tablet for.
Buy what you love. If you don’t love cars but you do need one then look through the classfieds for something with a small petrol engine that’s cheap and was made by Honda or Suzuki in the last 5-7 years. The more service history the better.
Everything has gone electric in the car world, and cars are like mobile phones now. A topic for another day but don’t buy a brand new car from anywhere in 2020. The rate of change in the industry is immense and god knows what something new today will be worth in there years time.
Don’t buy a diesel. Taxes, polluting, banned from increasing numbers of cities.