Last Updated: 11/1/2011
Note: These are the supporting resources for our Getting the Most for Your Tech $: Part 2- Find the Best Items for Your Needs feature. If you find them useful, you might want to check out that post.
Need to drill down and find the best product for your needs? These sites will help get you there. They are arranged from the most general to more specific and detailed. Usually you can stop well before you reach the end of the list! At the bottom of the page are links to resources for specific product categories. Note that we do not endorse any specific brands, products, services, or vendors. Whatever and wherever you decide to buy, these sites will help you make the most informed decision. Let us know what other resources you’ve found helpful.
Guides and Comparative Reviews
These sites are often the best place to start, especially if you are very not familiar the items you are buying. The comparative reviews are especially helpful. Be sure to check the date the reviews were last updated.
Consumer Search: http://www.consumersearch.com
A reliable site that covers a wide range of items by summarizing reviews from other sources and recommending products based on consensus between reviewers. Their “What to Look For” section is a good place to start your research, especially if you are new to a topic. Check out the sections of the “Full Report” to find the best products for your needs. Follow their “Our Sources” links for detailed reviews.
Provides top ten lists and detailed reviews on a host of tech topics. Often a good place to start your research.
Tech Publication Reviews and Forums
These sites often feature helpful comparisons of similar products and are a great source for reviews of individual items. Again, be sure to check the date of the reviews. Usually these also include user reviews and forums that can be helpful once you’ve narrowed it down to a few options.
Computer Shopper: http://computershopper.com/reviews
Enthusiast and Techie Reviews
The best way to get down to the nitty gritty details before you buy and a great resource if you are looking for a specific feature or the highest performance you can get. Try viewing the “Conclusion” or “Final Thoughts” type pages first to see if it’s worth sifting through all the details. If a print view is available it often makes these lengthy reviews easier to navigate. If these reviews seem TOO detailed or techie for your needs, try one of the other sources listed above.
User Reviews and Vendor and Manufacturer Sites
It’s best to start somewhere else when you’re researching a product, but these can be extremely helpful when trying to decide between a few options or seeing if an item will work in a specific situation. It’s often worth consulting user reviews at these sites even if you plan to purchase elsewhere.
A good source for users reviews on a wide range of products.
This vendor site has a huge number of reviews on a vast array of products. Since many of the customers are very tech savvy, this is often a great place to see how products perform in the field.
A huge number of reviews on almost every product you can think of. Sort reviews by those which are “Most Helpful” to sort the wheat from the chaff.
This vendor site has one of the best image collections for the products they sell. If you want to see before you buy but can’t get to the store, this is one of your best options.
B&H PhotoVideo: http://www.bhphotovideo.com
This vendor site includes many helpful reviews from very experienced users, especially for photo, audio, and video products.
Price Comparison Sites
Many of these sites link to user reviews on the products they list.
When you need to get down to the last detail, take the specific model number from your vendor and go to the manufacturer’s site and search for the owner’s manual. It’s not often you’ll need this level of detail, but when you do it often provides the definitive word.
Focused Reviews on Specific Products
- Laptop Magazine: http://www.laptopmag.com/laptops/default.aspx
- Notebook Review: http://www.notebookreview.com/reviews
- Imaging Resource: http://www.imaging-resource.com/camera-reviews
- DCResource.com: http://www.dcresource.com/buyersguide
- DPReview.com: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews
- CamcorderInfo.com: http://www.camcorderinfo.com
- Home Theater Magazine: http://www.hometheater.com/equipment-reviews
- Sound & Vision Magazine: http://www.soundandvisionmag.com/gear
- SmallNetBuilder: http://www.smallnetbuilder.com