Many tech potatoes are still in use today despite belonging in retirement or recycling containers. Experts suggest decluttering and starting the year 2024 fresh. But where would they start?
As I was browsing the web using the office-supplied Apple Magic mouse, I thought that this must be one of the worst products still in use today. It made me wonder what the actual list of tech turkeys to declutter in 2024 would be.
So, I asked random experts on various platforms to contribute, and here are their thoughts.
1. The Apple Magic Mouse
It is not just the charging port being at the bottom, rendering the device unusable during charging.
It’s impractical for casual browsing, annoying and tiring for work, and utterly unsuitable for gaming. So much so that it's the poorest-performing product among the 312 mice tested by rtings.com.
The only good thing about this mouse is its build quality, which is rated at 9 points out of 10. The other averages usually fluctuate around 5 out of 10.
I love Apple devices, but the Magic Mouse has to go. And many agree, with 7 out of 40 experts including this device among those worth replacing.
“Its sleek design is undeniably appealing, but it’s overshadowed by its lack of ergonomic design and inconvenient charging port placement. This design flaw hinders productivity, as users can’t use the mouse while it’s charging,” Michal Kierul, CEO of INTechHouse, noted.
Programmer Jakob Immel would choose ergonomic mice like the Logitech MX series over Magic any day.
“Despite its sleek design, many users find the Magic Mouse uncomfortable for extended use due to its flat profile and limited ergonomics. The touch-sensitive surface can be finicky, leading to unintentional gestures,” he said.
And have you tried selecting a large chunk of text by holding the mouse key pressed? You can’t even scroll fast enough with Magic Mouse and have to use the second hand.
2. Why do you still Skype?
Lagging, lack of default end-to-end encryption, a complicated interface, and being scarred by decades of feature creep are some of the reasons why Skype was the second most mentioned tech product.
“There’s Skype, once a pioneer in video communication, but now it feels outdated, especially compared to more seamless services like Zoom or Microsoft Teams, which offer better connectivity and features,” said Lukas Junokas, a CTO at Breezit, event planning startup.
Seven more people mentioned Skype as a relic.
“For the life of me, I will never understand why so many people still use Skype. The privacy issues alone (no default end-to-end encryption!) are enough to make me never want to use it, but the functionality also leaves a lot to be desired. With so many superior options like WhatsApp, GoogleMeet, or even Teams, I think most people would be better off leaving Skype in their digital communications past,” NickValentino, VP of Market Operations of Bellhop, said.
However, some have explanations for why Skype may be useful – it’s the connections.
“Despite the emergence of more advanced communication tools, my family continues to use Skype. Their preference is rooted in familiarity and comfort with the platform rather than its technical merits. They've grown accustomed to it over the years and don't see a compelling reason to switch to another communicator,” Gabriella O’Mullan, a Full Stack Developer at Aaron Kennedy Marketing Agency, explained.
Her professional opinion differs significantly, as Skype does not have much else to offer beyond the sentimental value.
“Firstly, the sound and video quality on Skype is noticeably lower compared to modern alternatives like Zoom or Microsoft Teams. This can be particularly frustrating in a professional setting where clear communication is key. Secondly, the interface of Skype feels outdated, lacking the intuitive and user-friendly design of newer platforms,” she said.
3. Cheap printers that make printing expensive
HP or other, many experts couldn’t wrap their heads around why people still fall for “deals” on cheap printers that only collect dust and contribute to e-waste later. The reason for this is that it’s very expensive to print with them, either due to high costs or even subscription-based ink purchases.
For Connor Ondriska, who is the CEO of SpanishVIP, an online platform for Spanish classes, those are the worst.
“These subscription models lock you into overpriced ink cartridges, often with ink expiration dates and restrictions on compatible brands. It's a blatant money grab disguised as convenience. Ditch it! Refills, compatible ink cartridges, and laser printers offer better value,” Ondriska said.
Zoltan Fagyal, the founder of Travel SEO Pros, is not convinced by the HP ads, claiming the new printers to be “less hated.”
“HP has been going as anti-consumer as it can each year. It boggles me people still buy HP printers when HP actively stops them from using third-party ink, locks features to accounts, and makes you pay per page limit instead of letting you use it till the ink cartridge runs out. It's ridiculous,” Fagyal fumed.
Why do people keep these printers?
“The persistence of outdated or flawed tech products is often due to habit and brand loyalty. For instance, people stick with printers that have expensive ink cartridges because they're wary of the hassle of switching brands or models,” said Matthew Nelson, Chief Technology Officer at EcoMotionCentral.com.
4. Ring: Smart doorbells with privacy and security issues
Some tech users were disappointed about their smart doorbells, with Amazon Ring being the third most mentioned option.
“I'm absolutely terrified by smart home technology. Don't get me wrong, things like Nest smart thermostats, Amazon Alexa, and Ring doorbells are definitely convenient and work as advertised. The thing that gives me pause is just how much data they collect about our daily lives – and share with corporations who may not have customers' best interests at heart,” said Ann Martin, Director of Operations of personal finance website CreditDonkey.
For her, it is unacceptable to have a device from which companies could collect and monetize the data, lose it all in a cyberattack, or even turn it over to law enforcement without giving any rights to object, even if the case is unrelated and you have done nothing wrong.
Amazon's Ring and Alexa were fined $30m for spying and child privacy abuse.
“Despite their popularity, these devices have faced criticism for privacy issues. In 2024, users might want to consider doorbell cameras with stronger data privacy protections. Google Nest Hello could be a good alternative as it offers similar functionality but with better privacy controls,” Jonathan Svensson, Co-Founder & CEO of Duoo, a gaming platform to connect with other players, believes.
5. Many would ditch antivirus for Windows Defender
In a somewhat unexpected and controversial twist, three experts suggested to uninstall antivirus software, especially if it is bloated with ads, useless features, or other annoyances.
“For Windows users, Defender is usually good enough. I just stick with the antivirus that's built into the system. Should people buy antivirus software? In my opinion, no. For most users, the extra safety isn't worth the cost and effort. In reality, the expense, added complexity, and the risk of being unprotected if your subscription ends don't make it worth it. But hey, many people still use them, and that's just how marketing works for these AV software companies, I guess,” Jonathan Merry, Finance and FinTech Expert at Moneyzine, told Cybernews.
Vikas Kaushik, CEO at TechAhead, explains that many conventional antivirus products slow down computers with resource-intensive scans, cluttered interfaces, and pointless functionality.
“Even if they provide rudimentary virus protection, there is frequently disagreement on their cost-benefit analysis,” Kaushik said.
Meanwhile, operating system security features come free and are lightweight.
Fagyal also believes antivirus software has long outlived its use on Windows, and inbuilt Defender does not bombard with millions of pop-ups asking for more subscriptions. He would do better by investing the money in cybersecurity knowledge.
6. Low-end fitness trackers: they do not sync
For Eolisa Hife, CTO at BarkLikeMeow blog for pet owners, the fitness tracker was the number one tech turkey this year.
These glorified wristwatches promise workout miracles but often deliver inaccurate data and battery life that's so short it's nonsensical. I would suggest ditching the tracker and going back to using the analog,” Hife said in frustration.
Ondriska agrees, calling fitness trackers “infuriatingly buggy” and failing to sync with other platforms.
“They're more frustrating than motivating. Opt for simpler, more reliable trackers or traditional methods like a good old-fashioned pedometer,” Ondriska said.
Others think that a multipurpose smartwatch matching your mobile phone’s ecosystem would be a better buy.
More notables: from USB flash drives to Chromebooks
There were many more subpar tech products that were mentioned by experts once or twice. Even the best products probably received some negative feedback. However, some of the following may resonate with your decluttering decisions.
7. How to annoy people – give them a USB 2.0 flash drive
Many still have 2, 4, 8, 16GB, or even larger USB flash drives lying around, waiting for that special day they will be needed, which never comes. Usually, they are painfully slow.
While in theory, USB 2.0 is capable of transfers at 480 Mbps, in practice, cheap old drives chug at just a few megabytes per second, which is orders of magnitude slower than a mobile internet connection.
“One of the worst offenders is the basic USB 2.0 flash drives with painfully slow transfer speeds. In an era where time is precious, it's baffling that these aren't obsolete. A solid alternative would be investing in USB-C drives with USB 3.2 or Thunderbolt technology for lightning-fast data transfer,” Nelson from Eco Motion Central said.
8. A cheap Chromebook provides a similar experience
Alan Muther, a seasoned digital marketer and founder at Ardoz Digital, was Ctrl-Alt-Defeated by Chromebooks.
“Chromebooks don't have the most up-to-date processors and usually only have about 4GB of RAM, which is half of what you'd get in a typical laptop. You can't upgrade the hardware in a Chromebook either. They don't support a lot of downloads because of Chrome OS limitations. They lack essential features and have limited compatibility, which really makes them underwhelming,” Muther said.
However, he is not alone.
“This might ruffle some feathers, and I’m not against ChromeOS in general. But the cheap Chromebooks that have been flooding the market for the last few years are literally designed to break down after a year or two. Planned obsolescence at its ugliest, producing landfill waste to turn a quick profit,” Fagyal noted.
9. Fax machines – some believe those still need to be mentioned.
“Fax machines. What, is it 1989 already?” Steve Silberberg from Fitpacking shared.
10. The Kindle Fire Tablet is just too slow for some
“The Amazon tablet shows that just because something's cheap doesn't mean it's worth buying. It's just not user-friendly, doesn't let you customize much, and has a really bad user interface. I've struggled with its low-quality apps and found its parental controls hard to use,” shared Lucas Ochoa, CEO and Founder at Automat, an AI-based enterprise workflow automation startup.
Svensson also thinks users should investigate alternatives from Apple or Samsung in 2024: “Even though it's an affordable tablet, it seems there were substantial issues, possibly related to performance or user experience.”
Tim Lee, Founder of Tim’s Coffee, would add Echo Show 5 into the mix.
I got it at a discount, but I’m not happy now that I’ve been using it for the last five months,” Lee said. The Echo Show 5 doesn’t seem like a finished product that justifies its price. It’s like a glorified speaker designed to push you towards buying services like Audible or Spotify. Using it as a digital photo frame is also tough because picking pictures is a hassle. It's expensive but still slow and laggy. I have the third-gen, and I wonder if older ones are even worse.”
Some think that cryptocurrencies and their platforms already had their best in the past. In 2023, we witnessed FTX and numerous other cryptocurrency exchanges burn down or fall victim to cyberattacks in a spectacular fashion. Some experts think it’s time to say enough of that old dream of a decentralized future that proved to be useful for money laundering.
Ondriska mentioned them all: NFT Trading Platforms, riddled with scams, pump-and-dump schemes, and inflated prices for pixelated doodles; metaverse Real estate, which seems “like a recipe for financial disaster,” or Crypto-Based Games with Pay-to-Win Mechanics that prey and exploit players on their gambling instincts. They all are poison.
Others mentioned cryptocurrency wallets having poor security, putting users at risk.
And should we venture into Blockchain-Powered Coffee Makers?
12. Anything plugged?
A few experts would even go as far as deleting social media accounts for losing touch with users, spreading misinformation and being unsafe, disabling all Alexa or Siri, embracing minimalism, and going back to a simpler, unplugged life. Good luck with that in 2024.
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