How do you shop for tech?


Creative Commons License photo credit: {Guerrilla Futures | Jason Tester}

I do a lot of research for many different people in my life where I am the research person when it comes to technology. And as you are reading this blog, I would say you are much in the same boat. My question I pose to you is this. How do you shop for Tech? How do you know what is the best thing out there in the price you are looking at? Do you just go to Newegg, get rid of the features you don’t want out of a product, and then tell someone that you have found the perfect item for them? Or do you go to review sites and read up before even looking at prices?
Here is my way of going through sites to look at consumer electronics.

First, I go to Cnet and read/watch the reviews of the products and see what is out there. They normally have a nice list of their editor’s picks to choose from, then I look through those and see what looks like the best bets in the range I am looking at. Within that review, they will normally reference features of other products, which lead me to the reviews of other products that are similar, but have different feature sets. Another newer contender in this space is GDGT. This site is a community for gadget lovers and owners. This is where you can find people who own a specific product and ask them their thoughts. It is also a database where you can choose the features you want in a product and it will filter to find the appropriate product for you. The newest, and slickest, contender in this space is Measy. This site currently only helps with TV’s, Cameras, netbooks, and smartphones, but does it extremely well. I don’t know how big of a pool of devices it is pulling from, but it is a very sweet interface and works quite well.

Next, I check Google for the products that I like and see what user reviews I can find. Most of the time, I get the most user reviews from Amazon, but that isn’t set in stone, so Google is a better place to go than just to Amazon. And Cnet has user reviews as well, so it is a good resource for user and editor reviews of lots of products. Then if I don’t like what I see, then I go back to Cnet and look at other products on the same lists and reviews.

But if I do like what I see, then I go to Google Product Search to see what some of the best prices are on these items on the net. I then sort by price, lowest to highest, and look for the lowest price on the product itself.

When I find the lowest price, I then look to see the seller rating on Bizrate to make sure they are a credible vendor with enough of a background for me to risk buying from them. Obviously sometimes there are vendors that I know are big enough where I don’t do this, but for smaller vendors, you almost have to.

At that point, it is all up to the final price after shipping and handling to find out where my best deal is and where I should order from.

So, did I miss anything? Do you have a better way of shopping? Let me know in the comments.

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