"It won't turn on." According to NYC 8th-grader Spencer, that's the most common technical complaint from the "grown-ups" in his life. "Then I show them that the FireWire isn't plugged in or the ON button isn't really on. That's annoying," he says.
Spencer, who sports bright red and green braces, is a tech maven by nature. When he's not doing his homework or walking the dog to earn his $30/week allowance, he's usually reading Wired, cover to cover, perusing numerous tech blogs, or helping us old farts out: "This afternoon I'm going with my mom's friend to Radio Shack to show her what cables to buy so she can wirelessly stream from her airport express to her stereo," he tells us.
We've tapped into the noggin of this 13-year-old prodigy to find out what tech toys are really worth the investment in 2012. One thing, however, that Spencer recommends not believing the hype about: Beats by Dre headphones. "The audio quality is okay, but you can get the same or even better quality with some other headphones for, like, $50," he says. "For me, it's just an automatic social status upgrade instead of a really great pair of headphones." In the hopes of NEVER falling into the lame adult category, here are six smart tech buys that are good enough for an 8th-grader.