Clark Griswold's reaction to receiving a pre-paid Jelly of the Month Club membership instead of an expected bonus check in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation is exactly what it feels like to buy the 'wrong' piece of technology. For example, let's say you plunk down $200 on a subsidized top-of-the-line dual-core smartphone, and then as soon as the return/exchange period expires, the manufacture releases an upgraded quad-core model with more bells and whistles. You can shake an angry fist at Mount Olympus all you want, you're still locked into a two-year agreement. Sometimes these situations are unavoidable, but many times they're not.
Time is of the essence, and now that we're into December, it's time to get serious about holiday shopping. To get started, you can find a whole bunch of great gift ideas in our "Geek Holiday Gift Guide 2012," which we've broken up into several categories. It's not an all-inclusive list, however, and to help make sure you or your gift recipients won't have to fly off the handle like Griswold did, we've put together a gallery of tech items you should avoid like the bubonic plague.
Some of the entries might surprise you, while others, like the Nexus 4, are downright controversial to include in a list of avoidable gadgets. We explain our rationale for each item and, in many cases, offer alternative suggestions. As always, if you think of an item that should have made the list, be sure to post it in the comments section below!