8 things to consider when you do your tech shopping
By Eric Geier (Our Founder & Owner)
Originally published by Cox Media Group on 11/19/18
The holidays can be a great time to buy electronics, gadgets and computers for you or your family. There are some awesome deals, but it can all be a bit overwhelming. Here are some tips that I hope will ease your tech shopping so you can enjoy the season:
Cheap isn’t always good: I know some of the prices this season will pique your interest, like $99 laptops, $29.99 tablets, and $19 printers, but you generally get what you pay for. Don’t expect the ultra-low-price items to work great. Of course, this varies based upon the exact item. But for example, the lowest-priced laptops typically have very low storage space, a slow processor, and don’t come with the typical Windows operating system so you can’t run Windows programs and games that you might be used to.
The ultra-low-price items are usually the lower-end models, too, so I recommend checking if a better model or version is offered. The better model will cost more, but might also be on sale.
Check online reviews: I always suggest checking online reviews for electronics and computers before you purchase, even if you’re buying at a local brick and mortar store. At the same time, it also lets you price compare. Amazon is usually my go-to website for that. If you have a smartphone you can download the Amazon Shopping app to scan the bar codes at the store to bring up the product reviews and price if it’s sold on Amazon.
Double-check compatibility: There are so many different electronics and versions of them, so be careful when purchasing accessories. Double-check that you buy the accessory that’s compatible with your particular device. Consider this when buying for others as well. For example, if buying a game for your grandkids, be sure you know which game device or console they want it on, as many games support PCs and all different console types.
Don’t forget batteries: If you’re buying any electronic, I’d check if it requires batteries and if it comes with it or not. Don’t forget about those kid toys, too, many today have electronics. You might want to grab extra batteries during the holiday season just in case.
Prepare for Black Friday: If you’re wanting to shop during the late Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday sales, I suggest planning out exactly what you want to buy ahead of time and where in the store the item will be, as the hot items are generally placed in other departments. You can browse through the ads online, such as on www.bestblackffiday.com.
Keep in mind the big door busters, like TVs and other hot items, may have very limited supply and you usually need to be in line at least a few hours before the sale starts. Some items you have to grab a claim ticket that’s handed out in line, which is actually nice so you don’t have to rush in the store to get that particular item. Stores usually pass out the store map in line as well so you can see where the hot items are located.
Don’t forget about Small Business Saturday: Although many small businesses can’t provide some of the huge discounts the big-box stores offer, consider supporting the local small businesses. You still might find some good deals at small businesses the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
Get pro advice for larger purchases: Before significant purchases, like a computer, I suggest getting feedback from a professional. They could possibly compare the specs of your old computer to the new one and ensure you’re making a good technical purchase.
Get help with setup and training: Setting up and learning how to use new computers and other tech gadgets can be very frustrating for those who aren’t techy. If you aren’t, I highly suggest having at least a techy friend or family member help you. Or call a local tech support company even. Having help can make a huge difference.