Finding Tech Discounts

We love Apple products, but we hate paying top dollar for them. Apple stores have been the traditional retail outlet for many of the company’s products, but this year, the landscape has changed. You may find competitively discounted prices at leading retail stores and websites.

We’re not privy to Apple’s marketing and sales strategies, but we are seeing the Apple store as the place to showcase technologies, take care of repairs and let customers come in and really put a product through its paces. Factory-trained experts can better concentrate on answering questions and offering suggestions without the pressure to sell at full retail prices.

When it’s time to make the purchase, we’re finding lower prices at “big-box” retailers, and that includes many of the latest iPads and Apple Watches. We suspect the retailers are happy to offer Apple products to help build traffic for all other types of products, and if they make a little less on an Apple device, they can more than make it up selling something else.

We’re also finding more widespread buying opportunities and lower prices on Microsoft’s Surface tablets and other manufacturers’ tablets and devices. It could be the start of a “tablet war,” that also includes Samsung and puts three mobile operating systems into play.

The winner of any tablet war should be the consumer. Each tablet manufacturer has several models on the market of varying ages and capabilities – and putting them on the open retail market heats up the pricing competition.

Naturally, this wide-open market is not restricted to tablets. Computers, mobile phones and TVs are part of the product mix. All of this puts it on your shoulders to find the best prices. Research both online and brick-and-mortar retailers for the best prices but be aware of a few caveats – all of which add up to caveat emptor, or buyer beware:

  • When shopping a specific brand and model, make sure you are comparing the same performance specs for the products offered at each store. TVs especially may be a mix of older and newer models, with the older ones having lower refresh rates and resolutions or not having as many features, such the number of HDMI and USB connections or older connection ports. Some may or may not Internet connection capability. There’s nothing wrong with the older or lesser technology; just don’t think you’re scoring a deal that’s too good to be true.
  • Some items just may not be discounted. They may be too new to the market and still have a WOW factor, or their market may be so limited that the manufacturer cannot produce and sell enough to take advantage of any economies of scale.

As you get deeper into your shopping and price comparisons, questions will inevitably arise about whether a product and its price are right for you. We can help you with both the questions and the answers. Just call us – 973-433-6676 – or email us. And remember, we can help you set up any home electronics system.

Traditional Laptop or SSD

Where do you draw the line between speed and price for a new computer? While traditional, business laptops pack a lot of computing power for business applications, newer SSD-based technology, such as the MacBook and Surface families, are a lot, lot faster. They’re also a lot, lot more expensive. Here are some points to consider:

Cost – How much money do you really want to spend? The premium for speed and performance is considerable.

Patience or Impatience – In today’s on-demand world, many computer users are losing patience with their computer’s boot-up time, either when you power it up, restart it or awaken it from sleep mode. In some cases, your impatience can be justified. If you are making a sales presentation, for example, you just don’t want to waste time for your computer to go through its start-up routine, and you want to give the impression you and your technology are on top of your game.

You can manage the start-up time through Task Manager by deciding which applications to load, but that’s something you should do in advance of any presentations. Trying to do it seamlessly while standing in front of people you want to impress probably won’t come off as you’d like.

The difference between the technologies in start-up time can be a couple of interminable minutes, and patience may not be an option.

Physical – Consider a couple of physical points, especially if you will be traveling a lot with your computer. The MacBooks and Surfaces are a lot lighter than traditional laptops. Additionally, SSDs are much more resilient and better able to avoid damage if you drop your computer or if it gets jostled a little too vigorously.

Free Space on Drive – If you have a lot of free space on your hard drive, you may not need the faster SSD or MacBook just to improve performance. As we’ve pointed out, you need to leave room on your hard drive so that your applications have room to move files and do their work. Look at your drive’s capacity and at what you’re storing. Your hard drive should be a minimum of 256 GB, but 500 GB or 1 TB are much more realistic. If you need more space, you can always offload data files to the cloud. If you have a lot of free space and don’t anticipate needing a great deal of storage, you might not need the speed and performance – and expense – of SSD technology.

Flexibility – You don’t necessarily need to buy a new computer to get SSD technology. Depending on the age and RAM capacity of your existing computer, you could buy and install a new SSD hard drive, and that might a good investment to give you a performance boost for a year or two – maybe longer – if that’s what you need.

We are getting into the heavy buying season for electronics, so you can expect to see a lot of choices and price points. New products and ways to upgrade an existing computer will give you enough options to make your head spin. You can make your best decision after you gather all the facts, and that’s where we can help. Call us – 973-433-6676 – or email us to discuss your needs and budgets for now and for the next few years, and we can guide you to the best options.