Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Geek Out for Tech Shopping! (5 Tips)

I am married to a self-proclaimed tech geek. It is a badge he wears proudly! The problem with being married to someone like that is you have to keep up with all the technology constantly being brought into the house. It also means that I need to be up on all the latest and greatest doo-dads, gizmos and whatcha-ma-call-its. Do I sound kinda clueless? Well, here are my DH's tips to help me navigate Christmas shopping this year, maybe they can help you, too!

Hi. I'm the DH (which stands for Daring Husband, by the way). Here are my 5 tips:

1. Install a smartphone app for instant price comparison. Apps are available from many tech retailers and general online retailers. Using their apps to compare prices can save massive time, and might keep you from missing a super deal. The bonus is that some stores have price matching policies, and this can be a very quick way to get the local retailer to drop their price. The added bonus is that you can gain access to user reviews while holding the box. User reviews can be extremely valuable during a purchasing process.

2. Research features ahead of time. Whether it is a laptop, wireless router or digital camera, you need to be familiar with features and acronyms before you go. Do you know what gbps, cmos, ssd, asap, pdq, etc., all mean? Be sure to not get fooled by acronyms next to large numbers. For example, most point and shoot cameras don't have lens quality to take advantage of an 18 megapixel sensor. But, a retailer will gladly take your money for one.

3. Don't fall for uncomparable items. Some large retailers (think largest of large) have started carrying 'exclusive' items. These prevent easy price comparison, and oftentimes muddle the feature comparison game. In my experience, these have not been good deals. So, be very beware if a retailer states that you can't buy this particular item anywhere else. It is very likely that these are higher profit items for the retailer, and not the best deal for you. 

4. Consider the upgrade cycle. Is this an item you'd like to buy once every year or 10 years? In every piece of tech, various price points exist. Are you better off buying a basic camera every two years, or shelling out for a expensive one ever 10? Will it last that long? Is the risk of damage during use high? What about your home router? What about that portable hard drive? Are components of said item repairable, like in a laptop, or not repairable, like in most consumer still/video cameras. This is a huge consideration to think about, sometimes buying the cheaper tech will allow you to use it more freely and not worry about damage, since it doesn't have to last 10 years.

5. Join the tech-geek-ride-along program. Especially if you don't want to do any of the above items, find your local friendly neighborhood tech geek and bribe him or her with cookies, doughnuts, threats or the possibility of moving out of  mom's basement. We geeks are really nice if you approach us gently and smile a lot. Some of us even find great enjoyment in helping hook someone up with the perfect tech.

A big thank you to TwitterMoms and Staples for encouraging me to get a little geeked out for my Christmas shopping. Whether I understand it or not, I enjoy my technology as much as the next gal. Personally I might have to rely heavily on #5, but it would surprise and delight my DH if I could give the other 4 tips a go, too. Happy shopping everyone.

About Staples:
Staples, the world's largest office products company, is committed to making it easy for customers to buy a wide range of office products and services. Our broad selection of office supplies, electronics, technology and office furniture as well as business services, including computer repair and copying and printing, helps our customers run their offices efficiently. With 2009 sales of $24 billion and 91,000 associates worldwide, Staples operates in 26 countries throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australia serving businesses of all sizes and consumers. Staples invented the office superstore concept in 1986 and today ranks second worldwide in e-commerce sales. The company is headquartered outside Boston.

More info: www.staples.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/staplestweets
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/staples

*Disclaimer - I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Staples blogging program, making me eligible for a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.
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