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The internet has changed our buying practices in tremendous ways. Electronic gadgets and accessories are among the top online purchases, and rightly so thanks to the availability of online reviews, consumer experiences and instant price comparisons. Buying electronics online is easy and often more affordable, but there are still consumer concerns.
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How to Buy Quality Gadgets and Accessories Online
The internet has changed our buying practices in tremendous ways. Electronic gadgets and accessories are among the top online purchases, and rightly so thanks to the availability of online reviews, consumer experiences and instant price comparisons. Buying electronics online is easy and often more affordable, but there are still consumer concerns. Be mindful of what you can’t see with an online purchase – the condition of the item, the possibility of sales, the other options that would have been nearby on the shelf if you were shopping in the store. Fortunately, it is not difficult to adjust your buying practices to balance some of the concerns and take advantage of what the online stores have to offer in terms of lower prices, special discounts and numerous reviews and consumer responses.
Shop the Competition
When you’re buying gadgets online, you can comparison shop across stores and brands. There are very few accessories that don’t have competing items offered by a competitor, often for a significant savings. Leave yourself plenty of time when you’re shopping for electronic devices. You’ll want to start your research at the industry level to see what is available that will do the job you need doing. It’s common to start with a single idea in mind – I need a new phone – and then go with the brand you think you want. But how do you know that’s the right brand without learning what other phones are available? Start with the various brands and options and then drill down into the categories you’re most interested in. Look at the different prices and reviews available for the products on your first website. Then look up those same products on different websites to get even better information about price. Don’t forget to factor in the cost of shipping as well.
Check Reviews in Multiple Places
It’s important to check prices across multiple stores, but it is also important to check reviews in multiple places as well. Almost all websites that sell electronics have reviews available, so investigate multiple sources.
Looking at reviews in many locations will let you shift through the ratings and experiences of others that may have been “sponsored” by the product or website. Occasionally, reading extra reviews may even offer advice on an entirely new product that you hadn’t considered in the first place: “I bought gadget A thinking it would do the job, but I learned through some trial and error that I really should have just bought gadget B because it offered this special feature.”
Be Wary of Unknown Websites
If the lowest price on your preferred gadget is available on an unknown website, you may be in for a great deal! Or you may be in for an experience more complicated than you were hoping for. There are many lesser known websites that offer great deals and great service. There are others that don’t. Being confident that you’re working with a reputable website can be a bit of a gamble if you’re not buying from one of the bigger names in the business.
Websites that have been around a long time are easy to shop from with confidence. If you are looking for something specific that comes from an unknown website, be sure you protect your own interests with a bit of due diligence.
Remember that there are online reviews for everything– including for websites. Look for reviews on the website you’re considering to be sure you’re making the right choice. Even bad reviews can be valuable. After all, what is bad for one person may be perfect for you – only research will tell! If you’re still nervous about using a new website, consider making your purchase with a prepaid credit card or gift card. You’ll protect your credit and bank account, just in case something goes wrong. Some wary shoppers go as far as ordering something inexpensive to be sure that small gadget arrives safely before spending a larger sum on something more valuable.
Look for Discount Codes
Many websites will feature special discount codes on the website itself – usually on the home page. Others may have a special page entirely designated for special events and promotions. Still others offer you a special introductory discount if you sign up for the website’s newsletter. One additional way to find savings on your electronics and gadgets would be to look up coupon codes. There are websites that compile coupons from across the web, so a simple search for “electronic coupon code” may help you find a deal you might otherwise have never discovered.
Be Skeptical about Extended Warranties
With all of these special sales and discounts, online retailers are going to be looking for ways to boost their revenues. Gadgets and electronics lend themselves naturally to extended warranties, but be wary before buying. An extended warranty sounds good in theory, but is often not especially useful in practice. Many electronic gadgets have their own warranties and return policies that are sufficient for your needs. Shopping online lets you skip some of the hard sales tactics on buying additional warranties, but there is occasionally still a push to spend more than you want. If you buy the extended warranty, be sure it’s something you truly need.
Consider Buying in the Store
If you have plenty of time to spend on a purchase, it doesn’t hurt to stroll through a brick and mortar store to see what is being offered there. Occasionally, a great deal will be available in the store that isn’t available online. This is especially true for items near the end of a model year.
You may find returned items or heavily discounted gadgets that offer big savings. Online you often miss out on some of these special opened boxes or manager specials, but some websites still offer refurbished, opened boxes and other special discounts – you’ll just need to do a bit more digging to find them. Online you can do a great deal of reading and reviews, but you’ll have a much harder time looking at the physical item since pictures never capture everything. You will also have access to specialists in some brick and mortar stores who know the right accessories and may offer tips on the item you’re considering. Sometimes customer experience is worth spending a bit more in the store.
Watch Your Personal Information
No matter where you shop, you should always be careful with your personal information. Consider using a prepaid credit card for shopping online to protect your true debit card or credit accounts. Alternatively, you can use wallet services like PayPal or Apple Pay to put an extra level of protection between you and the website or store you’re buying from.
Be mindful that it is not just financial information that can be hacked or stolen online. Addresses and personal information can be susceptible as well. Using a wallet service helps with this, as does using reputable websites. Always avoid sharing critical information that is not strictly necessary.
Think Twice about Shipping
Finally, you’ve hit the buy button and gotten your confirmation! Your package has been delivered and your new gadget should be waiting for you by the front door... except it’s not. Package thefts are common, and if you buy an expensive new gadget and have it delivered to your front door while you’re gone, you’re risking a loss.
A safer method of shipping would be to send the package somewhere it can be accepted. This might mean sending it to your office or workplace rather than your home. Another option might be to send your new electronic device to your neighbor or a family member who is home during standard delivery times. A final option would be to rent a monitored postal box and have your packages sent there for you to pick up on your way home from work.
What You Need to Know about Spy Gadgets
Want to keep a closer eye on your teen or a new nanny? Spy gadgets are a booming area in online electronic sales. Spy gear today is designed for a wide range of uses:
- Watching your nanny or babysitter interact with your child.
- Keep an eye on caregivers for older patients in home care or facilities.
- Monitoring activities around your child with special needs who cannot self-advocate.
- Checking visually to see who is approaching your door and property.
- “Secret Shopper” type activities in stores and restaurants.
- Tracking the use of your (or child’s) vehicle.
- Observing the cleaning lady or yard people around your home while you’re gone.
- Catching a cheating spouse or partner in the act.
Spy gadgets and cameras are used for purposes like monitoring a spouse’s activity, but they have many safety components designed to keep you and yours safe at home and away.
Spy gadgets for parents
The nanny-cam has been around for a while, and footage shows up frequently on the evening news justifying the purchase of these cameras. Having the ability to record footage of your nanny in action may be all you need to monitor and protect your child.
Older children need oversight as well. A spy camera in the common rooms of your home will help you be sure your teen makes it home from school at a reasonable time without any extra guests in tow.
Spy gadgets for cell phones
Thanks to cell phones, you can easily keep up with your older child, a traveling spouse, or employee using cell phone spy gadgets and trackers.
Other spy gadgets are designed for general surveillance. Someone rings your doorbell, and you can easily see who is standing there. Someone is in your backyard and it’s simple to tell if that is a person is really reading the water meter or perhaps checking for unlocked windows.
Mounted cameras can keep an eye on your cars, doors, windows and the street outside. There are even dummy cameras designed to be a much less expensive, yet visible deterrent.
The Best Camping Gear and Gadgets
There are many ways to camp. Some prefer the simplicity of sleeping in the woods with no frills – just a sleeping bag and the stars. Others prefer to make the camping experience as comfortable as possible, and that means acquiring camping gadgets. Fortunately there are many awesome things to bring with you to make camping that much more enjoyable.
Once upon a time the only way to prepare drinking water was to either boil it or drop chemicals in it. This didn’t necessarily clean the water, just made it safe to drink. Today there are better options for preparing clean, safe drinking water. There are pumps, solar stations and even filtering straws that weigh about as much as two paper clips and will filter 1000 liters of water.
Hydration Packs and Water Bottles
Water is a huge need for campers, and there are many gadgets available to be sure you can get, store and drink the water you need, when you need it. Hydration packs and bladders allow you to carry your water on your back rather than in a bottle. But if you love a good bottle, there are some great ones in the camping gadgets market, including plastic bottles with built in filters and those that can hold boiling water and double as a hot water bottle on cold nights.
Inflating Pillows and Mats
Foam mats can be comfortable, but they are bulky to carry. The same is true of pillows. Enter the self-inflating mat. These are not the large scale air mattresses that require pumps to prepare. The self-inflating mats are smaller, lighter, and as the name suggests, self-inflating. Need a pillow? Skip the bulky ones and bring a small inflatable one instead. A minute or two of air and you can have an ergonomic pillow ready to go for the night.
Folding Camp Chairs
Sure you can sit on the ground, but why would you? The camping chair market has exploded into a variety of options suitable for backpacking, car camping and traveling in RVs. You can find folding camp chairs that are recliners. You can find folding rocking chairs. You can find camping bucket seats and portable sofas. All fold up. All transport easily. All are designed for camping. If you’re going far and don’t want the bulk of a folding sofa that holds up to 600 pounds, there are small chairs that weigh barely 2 pounds that are perfect to take backpacking.
When you think about camping gadgets for sleeping, you naturally think about tents. But is that the only way to sleep outside? Not anymore! A huge market has sprung up around camping hammocks. These tiny packages unfold into single or double hammocks, often complete with rainflies and extra storage.
Solar Gadgets and Gear
Solar power has changed the world of camping gadgets forever. There isn’t much that solar power can’t do. In the world of camping gadgets, you can find solar chargers for all of your various devices. You can rely on weather reports and news using a solar-charged digital radio. You can purify water in some cases using solar energy. You can even heat your water for a solar shower using the right camp gadget.
LED Lights and Lanterns
Finally, LED lights have transformed the flashlight and lantern market. LED lights are bright, long-lasting and don’t get hot to the touch like propane lanterns. Among the most impressive camp lights are LED lanterns that can be used for up to a month before needing additional charging. That’s a lot of light without the weight and hassle of additional batteries. Electronics and gadgets are designed to make our lives easier or, perhaps, simply more interesting. A bit of convenience in your home, office or at a campsite can be invaluable when you’re trying to improve your quality of life. Best of all, there are always new electronic gadgets being created, so there is always something even better to enjoy down the road.