This is the third of a four part series on how to get the best tech for your needs at the best price. If you haven’t already, you might want to read Part 1- Figure Out What You Need, Part 2 -Find the Best Items for Your Needs or Part 3 Finding the Best Price from a Source You Can Trust.
The other three posts in this series showed you a way to get the best prices with the fewest hassles on the tech items you need. For some items like software and hardware bought directly from the manufacturer, however, you might want to take an entirely different tact.
Academic institutions often get special pricing on select technology items. You might be familiar with academic pricing for software or computers available to staff and students at your campus bookstore or tech center. But academic departments can often get even better prices by taking advantage of volume pricing available from many manufacturers or software companies. If your institution has negotiated a campus-wide pricing agreement, these discounts can be huge. If they have already purchased a campus license for a particular software title or service, you might even be able to get it for free!
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This is the third of a four part series on how to get the best tech for your needs at the best price. If you haven’t already, you might want to read Part 1- Figure Out What You Need or Part 2 -Find the Best Items for Your Needs .
Once you’ve decided what you need, the next step is to figure out where to buy it. But how do you find the best price? And how do you find a vendor you can trust? This post will give you some ideas on how to do both and some resources to get you started.
There are many price comparison sites available, and you can now even search directly for products from most major search engines. Check our resources page for links. Here are some suggestions to make sure you get the best price:
- Use more than one search tool: Different methods will search a different set of vendors. This is especially important if you’re searching for older or more obscure products.
- Sort by lowest total price for new items: Often the results aren’t sorted by price. Sometimes used items are included in the results. Be careful of prices that seem too good to be true, though. They usually are! See below for more hints.
- Don’t forget shipping and tax: Many sites offer free shipping (often with a minimum purchase) and taxes, of course, will vary based on where you purchase.
- Search for specific models, not for product names: There are often many slightly different models of the same product, especially for things like laptops. You want to compare prices for exactly the same model.
- Make sure that the product is the same one you searched for: Often when you go from your search results to the vendor’s product page you will find it’s for a different product. Verify before purchasing!
- Be sure that everything included: To undercut prices, some disreputable vendors will remove accessories that are supposed to come with an item and try to sell them to you at additional cost. Do you really want to buy a digital camera without a battery?
- Make sure that the item has a full warranty: Sometimes the cheapest prices are for “gray market” or imported items that don’t come with the full manufacturer’s warranty, but are warrantied only directly through the vendor. Look for terms like “Authorized Dealer”, “US Warranty” or “Full Manufacturer’s Warranty” to make sure you’re covered. Read the rest of this entry »
This is the second of a four part series on how to get the best tech for your needs at the best price. If you haven’t already, you might want to read Part 1- Figure Out What You Need.
Once you’ve spent some time looking at what you currently have and figuring out some basics about what you need, the next step is to find the most suitable products. In this post we will discuss how to find the items that will will best suit your needs, while in the next we’ll look at how to find the best price from a vendor you can trust. Note that we do not endorse any specific brands, products, services, or vendors. Whatever and wherever you decide to buy, these recommendations are provided to help you make the most informed decision.
As we discussed in the first part of this series, it be difficult to find impartial and reliable (not to mention intelligible) information about the best tech products for your needs. Knowledgeable friends and colleagues can be a great help in getting you started. Beware, however, if their opinions seem especially polarized or always seem to come back to one particular brand. Students can often be a great resource for all things tech, but keep in mind that their interests and priorities might be slanted more toward gaming and things like video performance that probably aren’t the most important considerations in an office environment. What you want is someone who will ask you a few questions to clarify what you need then point you in the right direction and suggest a few alternatives. Luckily, most techies love to talk about what works and doesn’t and what to buy, so don’t be afraid to ask. Read the rest of this entry »
In this four part series, we will help you stretch your tech budget. We will also provide you with helpful resources to get you on your way.
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TRIO Tech Talk Resources
We are building a library of useful resources on a variety of tech topics. Check back frequently as this list will be expanding in the coming months to support upcoming blog posts. And feel free to suggest other tech resources that may be helpful to the TRIO Community!
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