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Navigating the New Technology Landscape: Why is This Model Better Than That One?

I realize the new technology learning curve is constantly evolving, but sometimes we forget to ask an obvious question.

I bit the bullet a few weeks ago and went shopping for a tablet. I decided my smart phone was fine for many purposes, but I was finally able to justify getting a tablet to watch videos and read articles without torturing my eyes.  The print seems to get finer as I grow older.  I don’t need my technology to constantly remind me about that.

Reading consumer reviews about the different makes and models only served to confuse me.

Online reviews were numerous but not very specific.  Customer reviews were based largely on brand preference and price – not performance.

Just when I thought I knew what I wanted, I went to a retailer to check it out, I was told “That model isn’t as good as the others.”

As I continued my research, it seemed that I was getting closer to finding the best device at the right price when tech-smart employees told me “I personally prefer the XYZ with the 10 inch screen.”  I figured I could make a decision with a few more visits to stores for the recommendations of employees who use these devices.

I have been working with computers since 1995, and realize the learning curve is constantly evolving.  However, I only started to understand which model and brand would be appropriate for me once I asked what seemed an obvious question: “Why do you prefer this particular device?”

The answers were revealing.   One clerk said his choice was because of brand loyalty.  Another said his store had a great price on a particular model and that’s what drove his decision.  The last one I asked showed me the difference between my two top choices and explained that one of them had a lot of storage space, but the other model’s screen was less jerky and the model was faster than the others.  He showed me and I agreed.

It’s a lot easier to choose a dessert in a restaurant.  If you ask a waiter or waitress which is their favorite, one might recommend the peanut butter cupcake because they love peanut butter.  Another might steer you towards the chocolate cake because of their love of chocolate.  However, when we as consumers tread on unfamiliar territory, it is important to understand the details of why a product or service is better, and in the case of home improvements, why one design is different than the others, and why it is best choice.

-Submitted by Howard Schwartz, Executive Communications Director Connecticut Better Business Bureau

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Isabel Etkind February 16, 2013 at 06:09 AM
A question that you should ask is if they work on commission or partial commission because in that case their income is tied to the amount that they sell. This candeprivesthe shopper of discounts,sales items or even manufacturer promotions. The only way to know for sure is to do your own research before going to the store. The functions of all the computer components(what they do,why they are important and even the recommendations for minimum sizes and/or amounts) is readily available on the Internet. It is also important to determine what the main function of the computer,tablet,phone etc will be. If you are not carrying a computer around much why pay for the ultra-portable extremely light design because in most cases you lose at the very least some memory and hard drive space. If you ask a sales person they are going to try to sell you the most expensive item with at least one or more additional items. These sales people do not know you, how you use the computer or what features are most important to you. Take the time to review the computers available at all price points, the differences between them and what a reliable reviewer like "Consumer Reports" recommends. The more expensive computers generally contain better made components, higher quality speakers and screens and bigger hard drives and more memory. However sometimes a midrange or low end priced computer will provide everything many users need.

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