Technology FOMO: How to be perpetually unsatisfied

Close-up photograph of a monitor showing a Meta Quest 3 listing on the Best Buy's website, a mouse cursor is over the "Add to Cart" button, individual pixels can be made out.
(Image credit: Laptop Mag / Rael Hornby)

Technology. Isn’t it great? It powers the world around us, fuels innovation at rates never seen before, and binds us into a never-ending cycle of thirsting over the next shiny new thing. Frustratingly, while I’m lucky enough to be in a position where I might just be able to afford some of these shiny new things, I can’t buy them. More accurately, I won’t.

It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s that I’m deathly afraid of wasting what little money I have buying something that leaves me feeling like I just bought a bridge from George C. Parker.

Case in point, look no further than this month’s Computex event — a sparkling showcase of all the shiny new things, from sports car branded laptops to a selection of Windows gaming handhelds. All of which are arriving “soon.”

But as sure as eggs is eggs, by the time that “soon” arrives, there’ll be something else clearing the distant horizon with its own near-future shipping date — and it’ll probably be twice as good and have a really cool unique feature that I wouldn’t be able to get if I stuck with my current Computex compulsion. It seems this month’s innovation is next month’s last generation.

I’m lumped with consumer tech FOMO, and, ironically, that fear of missing out is causing me to miss out.

Stop the innovation, I want to get off. 

It’s a cruel, never-ending cycle of anticipation and hesitation that’s left me in a constant state of deadlock when it comes to buying new tech. My love of VR/AR has had me clamoring to pick up a Meta Quest 3 ever since it was announced in June 2023. A year on, and I’m still very much Quest 3-less. 

Before the Quest 3 had even launched, there were rumors of it being just one of three headsets to be released shortly. Even by the time my life could accommodate the purchase, a cheaper, updated version was said to be coming soon.

So how could I possibly buy one now? It seems the stronger my temptation becomes, the more details emerge about the upcoming Meta Quest 3s. There are literally pictures of it appearing online, you’d have to be a muggins to pick one up at this very moment.

Even game consoles with their supposed seven-year life cycles are failing me. If the PlayStation 4 taught me anything it’s that mid-generation upgrades now exist solely to laugh in your early adopting face. I can’t get a PS5, the PS5 Pro is right around the corner. I can’t even pick up an ROG Ally, that’s due for its refresh in the ROG Ally X

Messy overlaps cause purchase paralysis 

AI PCs are another prime example. They burst onto the scene in the closing moments of 2023 with Intel’s NPU-touting Meteor Lake Core Ultra CPUs. It was supposed to be the dawn of a new era for computing, one that unlocked the power of AI for all and that would change the Windows landscape forevermore.

Six months later the supposed dawn of the AI PC falls short as Microsoft announces the Copilot+ PC, a newer, more powerful, more AI-ready machine ready to drag us, kicking and screaming, into the age of AI. And just as you’ve settled into that thought, Intel returns with its all-new Lunar Lake AI chips and disrupts everything all over again.

Intel Lunar Lake CPU held by CEO Patrick P. Gelsinger

This week, Intel revealed its latest Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite-crushing Lunar Lake chips. It's these processors that will go on to power new Core Ultra 200V AI PCs, making you wonder why you ever bothered getting excited about Copilot+ PCs in the first place. (Image credit: Intel / Computex)

Add AMD’s Strix Point CPUs into the mix and we’ve all the ingredients for a perpetually cycling rotation of more and more powerful chip releases faster than ever before. Moore’s Law might not be dead, but at this rate, I’m beginning to wish it was.

It’s not like Apple users have it any better either. I feel more compelled than ever to pick up a MacBook in the face of all of this AI PC turmoil. But why bother when the MacBook Air M4 is nearing? And why bother still, knowing that the M5 is only a year away, too? 


Before you know it, a moment’s hesitation has caused you to stray so far from harnessing the cutting-edge of tech that you’re practically wielding safety scissors in comparison.

In some ways, I should be thankful. Microsoft and Intel’s AI PC back-and-forth has probably saved me more money this year than any high-yield savings account ever could have. But in perpetually waiting for the opportune moment, I’ve missed out on some impressive tech along the way — regardless of whether or not that tech remains as impressive six to twelve months down the line.

I’ve been trying my best to ease out of this mindset and enjoy tech more and more for what it is, without worrying about whether or not it will be relevant in half a year. My tips for those similarly suffering from a never-ending fear of missing out?

Know what you really want. Nothing zaps the consumer confidence out of you more than an impulse buy without a second consideration. There’s a difference between truly wanting something and just being carried along with the ebb and flow of marketing magic.

New tech is great, but you don’t always have to be keeping up with the Joneses. While you shouldn’t feel pressured into buying every new and shiny bit of tech there is, there’s absolutely no reason to be always standing on the sidelines either.

So, to those of us ever waiting for the opportune moment, lighten up. Get back in those virtual isles and try something new. Maybe I’ll see you there. I’ll be the glasshole in the Meta Quest 3.

Absolutely worth it. (Image credit: Laptop Mag / Rael Hornby)

More from Laptop Mag

For those struggling to make a purchase, I'd like to point out Laptop Mag's excellent selection of best picks and buying guides. They're designed with you in mind, and ready to get you up to speed on the latest and greatest in tech across multiple categories.

If you're looking to solve a case of FOMO of your own, I highly recommend our expert-curated gallery of the best laptops, 

Rael Hornby
Content Editor

Rael Hornby, potentially influenced by far too many LucasArts titles at an early age, once thought he’d grow up to be a mighty pirate. However, after several interventions with close friends and family members, you’re now much more likely to see his name attached to the bylines of tech articles. While not maintaining a double life as an aspiring writer by day and indie game dev by night, you’ll find him sat in a corner somewhere muttering to himself about microtransactions or hunting down promising indie games on Twitter.