The Truth About Refurbished Electronics


We all prefer to purchase new when it comes to, well, just about everything. Unfortunately, though, the luxury of buying a brand new item is something that we are simply not afforded at all times. There are a variety of reasons why, in some instances, we are resigned to purchase “used” rather than new; money and accessibility being the most obvious points. However, there can be a positive avenue to this, which is, of course, the ability to save money by purchasing a less than new product. And, the benefits of purchasing “refurbished” items are no more prevalent than they are in the field of refurbished electronics.

It is important to note, right off the bat, which refurbished – when it comes to electronic goods – does not mean used, old or previously enjoyed. As a matter of fact, the definition of what constitutes a refurbished electronic item has a variety of meanings. A refurbished electronic item can be, for example:

•    An overstock item that is no longer being produced by the manufacturer

•    An item whose packaging has been damaged during transport, even though the item itself has not been affected at all and remains in perfect working condition

•    A product that has only featured in a store for display purposes only

•    Items that have cosmetic defects (i.e. incorrect color scheme) only, with no issues with quality

When it comes to refurbished electronic goods, such as an iPod, Xbox, Playstation or camcorder, anything that isn’t “new” is considered refurbished, and must be sold as such. Because of this, the shopper can easily save hundreds of dollars when purchasing a refurbished item versus buying a new item. In many cases, the refurbished electronic item in question is in just as good of working condition as a brand new electronic item. But, because of certain circumstances, that item is no longer identified as new.

Before some of you thumb your nose at the thought of purchasing a refurbished item, consider this scenario: you are purchasing a used Xbox 360 from a friend of yours. There are stains on the console, you’re getting the item in a plastic bag, and your friend has a reputation of not being so delicate with his belongings.

Would you purchase that Xbox 360, or one that has never been used or opened, but one whose box has a tear in it because it caught on someone’s watch during handling? Or would you purchase your friend’s coffee stained version over one whose box was opened because someone simply wanted to see what was inside, and that’s all?

And another caveat for purchasing refurbished; while your friend is a stand-up person, he probably won’t offer you a manufacturer warranty on the game. Most refurbished electronics still have their warranties intact, so, as a consumer, you are protected.

More and more people, companies and retailers are capitalizing on the value of refurbished electronics. For manufacturers and retailers, it’s a great way of moving out excess stock and items. And for consumers, refurbished electronics are a fantastic way of getting a high-quality item at an exceptionally low cost.

As with any purchase, due diligence and research is paramount to locating a respectable retailer who can give you the best deal possible when it comes to refurbished electronics. It is no different than, say, purchasing a used car or a pre-owned home. You would never think buying a used car or home is a bad idea, and you would never do it blindly either. The same principle applies to purchasing refurbished electronics. A good idea, when, combined with research, can prove to be a great benefit to the consumer.

With video game consoles becoming more and more expensive, and with more competition to choose from, there needs to be an outlet for people to get what they want without having to exceed their financial considerations. Everyone wants the hottest video game system, MP3 player or video camera out there, but not everyone can afford to purchase them either. For those who can’t, there is an option, and that is to purchase a refurbished version of the product. Again, in many cases refurbished does not mean opened, used, enjoyed, repaired or rebuilt. It just means that the item can not – by law – be defined and sold as a brand new product.

It also means that savvy customers, who don’t mind paying a little less, will end up with an exceptional electronic item at an exceptionally low cost.

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Cool Designs In Consumer Electronics


Most consumers own several electronic devices that have features that perform the same function. This is because consumer electronics are designed to blend in with the needs that consumers have and are marketed solely on one feature and the other features tend to blend into the background. A cellular telephone will include features such as calculator and calendars, but since these consumer electronics are sold individually, there is little talk about duplicated features in any magazines.

Consumer electronics like personal digital assistants are designed to perform tasks that are identical to tasks performed by larger devices but are used more because they are portable and can be enjoyed in many settings where the larger device will seem inconvenient. Many people will own personal computers and use the connectivity devices to download music to the handheld consumer electronics such as MP3 players and PDA’s, but they will enjoy the storage space found on the computer and store musical files until they are needed.

A person has the option of installing global positioning devices into the dash of their automobile or using these consumer electronics from portable devices such as PDA’s. Some computer software programs will serve the same purpose and a person will find that they can use the internet search engines to find websites that will perform exact distance calculations from one place to another. All of these consumer electronics will perform the same task but consumers are given a choice in which one they want to use and most users will consider the cost of using each method.

Some people use consumer electronics to help with mathematical calculations. A handheld calculator is very useful to a budget conscious shopper, but will prove to be an invaluable tool for someone who is performing intricate equations for algebra. Some users will need consumer electronics while at work because buying materials for a job site will require a building contractor to know the square root measurements of all building surfaces.

Computer software can be used to calculate the cost of every home remodeling project and consumer electronics like flash sticks can be used to store the files safely until they are needed. Computer technicians can use these devices to store many files that are needed for completing compute repairs, and other consumer electronics can be used to verify if electrical connections are energized or not safe to work on.

Other consumer electronics will make tasks simpler and reduce the cost of building projects. Electronic devices such as stud finders allow building contractors to find objects behind drywall that are not visible with the naked eye. A contractor might need consumer electronics such as heaters to make paint dry faster. When the building is finished, the occupant will rely on other electronic devices to maintain a comfortable temperature throughout the building.

While the design of consumer electronics is angled toward accomplishing a specific purpose, many devices can be used to accomplish a variety of tasks. Electronics are meant to simplify life and serve as forms of entertainment outside the home. Radios are one of the consumer electronics that can provide safety information if it is tuned to the right channel, or it can help keep drivers awake while driving for hours on a busy highway. Some consumer electronics are capable of putting drivers in contact with fire, police or ambulance companies in the event that an accident occurs on the roadways.

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Shopping Wiser for Electronics


It was common observation that people mass forward to their nearest electronics shop the very day after Thanksgiving to buy their early Christmas wares and gifts. That date has been pegged by many businessmen as one of the unbearable cart traffic days of the entire year, if it’s not already the most unbearable. And after the long holiday period, it is expected that some opportunists who are looking for nice bargains trek and dole out some cash that should have been spent during the December days.

This is not the case in today’s time. Store owners are now wise to sweep their holiday inventory, opening their establishments in the following year with products that might not already be on the customers’ “to buy” lists. That is due to the use of the latest supply management software. Supply management software monitors demand and the products kept in the supply room daily. The management calls for shipment when it is needed.

The effect is on the price of the products. Price cuts now occur seldom and sporadically, and it is now impossible to hunt for the newest sale items since there’s nothing left in the racks to put on markdown. The inventory is kept lean until the latest gadgets and gizmos are introduced. Before, home electronics that didn’t make it to people’s wish lists last holiday will be up for sale come next year. Now, an average customer who is not much into the latest electronics will be surprised that a flat screen t.v. he’s been dreaming to buy after Christmas is still normally priced.

For the hard-core intelligent shopper, there is some way to go around this emerging trend. First, you have to know that the peak buying season usually happens at the start of spring. It would also be nice to avoid impulsive buying. Always look for latest news on the release date of novel products and what stores are offering the best bargains. And it would also be helpful too to look at the market performance of gadgets since some electronic products do not enjoy a
healthy market demand. That means that a price drop may be in the offering soon.

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Feature Overload–Why Consumer Electronics Are So Complicated


It seems like everything is so complicated these days, especially anything electronic … which is more and more products everyday.

Why are they so complex? “Hey, our cell phone takes pictures, sharpens knives, mows the lawn, pays your bills, steers your car, and cooks dinner, all by voice command!” Give us a break!

Unfortunately, the reason so many electronic products are stuffed with features is that it is relatively cheap to add features to them! Do we consumers really want or need those functions? That is an entirely different question. Often, the answer is no. But the manufacturers add them, in many cases, simply so they can advertise that they have more features.

It costs a lot more to carefully determine what features are most wanted and to design products so that they are feature-rich, yet easy and intuitive for people  to use. That is why this vital step is often shortcut.

Ever had trouble figuring out how to program your VCR? Did you ever think that perhaps it’s not really your fault? It’s the fault of the engineers who designed a lousy user interface to the product. And you think they are bad? Try using a combination VCR-DVD player!

There is second reason why manufacturers keep cramming more questionable features into products. In the case of products like cell phones, sales have slowed down because most people who wanted one have one. So, the phone manufacturers keep adding features in order to try to find ones that motivate people to buy new phones. They keep looking for that latest cool feature that people will be willing to buy a new phone to get.

Similarly, digital camera manufacturers keep coming out with cameras with more and more megapixels. Two megapixels, then 3.2, then 4.0, then 5, now 6, 7, even 8. Do consumers need 7 or 8 megapixel cameras? Not in the least. For shooting snapshots or sharing pictures online, a 3.2 megapixel camera is more than adequate. Really.

Why then, do manufacturers keep extending the capability? It is as we said above: 1) so they can advertise they have it, and 2) to try to get people to stick their old camera in a drawer and buy a new one.

Our advise: It pays to look carefully at the features being offered in the products you are interested in. Don’t assume that a product with more features (or higher numbers) is the better choice. Often it is not, it is just more complicated to use! And, there is more to go wrong.


There is a similar phenomenon in software. It is called “bloatware.” Programs that are overloaded with features, especially those not essential to the basic purpose for the software, carry this moniker.

When I was in the software industry and we were working on the next versions of software products, the programmers would sometimes come and say, “Hey I can add such-and-such feature with only 100 lines of code,” or some such number. That’s not much, since a software program can have hundreds of thousands of lines of code. But often it was a feature the users of that software had no need for. Playing consumer advocate, I’d ask why such a feature would be needed. If the answer was questionable, I’d tell them to leave it out. Too often, though, those features make it into software products, and they become bloated with unnecessary features. Bloatware.

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Shopping For Electronics: A Few Helpful Tips, Part 2


So you’ve found a product that not only has all of the specifications you need, but it also has a great reputation with those who have had experience with it. The next step from there is to find it for the lowest price. If you are buying on the internet, then you will have an easy time doing so. There are many price aggregate services that draw prices from hundreds of different stores on the web. All you have to do is enter the name of the thing you want, and wait for the results to pour it. Google is one of these services, and is probably the most popular (as well as the easiest to browse).

Warranties also need to be taken into consideration. You don’t want to buy an expensive electronic device, only to have it break a few days later with no way to get it replaced. At the same time, you should be very weary of warranty plans, since many of them end up being fairly useless when an actual problem comes up. You should find out what the manufacturer’s warranty is. You may be surprised to find out that many will replace a broken product, even if you haven’t spent extra to buy a warranty. Read reviews of the product and see if it looks like it is prone to breaking. Also find out about the store’s policy for returning products.

Buying electronics is an intimidating experience. No matter what you need or who you need it for, you should pick it out carefully. There are many cheap and unreliable products on the market today, so if you are going to spend your money, you should make sure that it is worthwhile. Using a combination of internet savvy, consumer reports, and recommendations from friends, you should be able to find the product you need. Never blind-buy an item as important and expensive as a camera or a TV – instead, proceed with caution and find the best option that there is.

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