How To Spot Quality Electronics

Identifying quality electronics through first impressions and knowledge of what you are purchasing

Quality electronics sounds like an oxymoron in today's high paced, throw them out there as fast as you can electronics market. The good news is that quality electronics do exist, you just have to know what you are looking for. A small amount of research along with a keen eye will go far when you shop for a brand new DVD recorder, MP3 player, PDA, or one of the many thousands of other electronic products on the market today.

Reviews

Many print publications and online venues write reviews of products. Read as many reviews specifically geared to the type of product you are considering purchasing before you actually start shopping. Consumer review publications take much of the legwork out of comparisons. While I would never buy on a review alone, I would and do let them help me narrow the field. Consider the value of the review itself though. Is it just one person's opinion of a particular product, or is it an actual comparison of several different manufacturers version of one specific type of product? Is there a list of features they compared? Does the publication commonly do reviews? Are they in any way sponsored by the same product they are endorsing? Take all of these factors into consideration when placing value on a review.

First Impressions

With electronics, first impressions can be very accurate. If something appears cheaply made or sounds far less stellar than you would expect it too, chances are it is an inferior product.



Moveable Parts

Upon close inspection, consider how moveable parts react. Doors on items such as DVD players, video cameras, and drive doors on computers should have a sturdy feel to them. While lightweight can be a plus in many instances, objects should not be flimsy. Open a few doors on similar products and you will quickly be able to tell the difference of one item that is going to withstand repeated use and one that is possibly going to crack or completely break if it receives any irregular use. Also, listen to the item while it is running. Are there noises that just do not sound right? Are there squeaks or static when there should be silence? Do drives actually clunk when put into operation instead of opening and closing smoothly? Any movable parts that sound as if they are struggling to work are most likely doing exactly that. Sounds from moveable parts can tell you a great deal about the quality of an item.

You Get What You Pay For

Deals exist in electronics, but if an item is one-third the price of other comparable products on the shelf next to it, consider why it is so inexpensive. It could really be a bargain, possibly last year's model from a well-known, trustworthy company. Then again, it may lack features that you want or expect to be included; it may be a discontinued item from a company that no longer exists, making repairs costly or even impossible.

Knowledge

Remember that when shopping for electronics, the best way to purchase quality is to buy what you know. Be aware of a product's features. Know what the product is capable of doing. Know the difference between terms that may sound similar but are actually very different. For example, a video recorder that states it is DV capable is referring to Digital Video, while a video recorder that burns media to a DVD is referring directly to the disc that is used for storage of media in place of a CD or tape.

With electronics, a moderate amount of knowledge can go a long way towards making sure you recognize and purchase quality.

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