Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Finding Electronics Reviews

You're in the market for a new piece of equipment of some kind. You probably have a budget, you may know some brands you're interested in and possibly even some specs, but how do you know you're getting the best deal? Try some of these websites for up-to-date reviews.

Consumer Reports is the standard when it comes to testing, reporting, and evaluating. You can see articles on what to look for when buying and some suggestions of good brands, but if you want the famous CR ratings and in-depth reviews, you'll have to become a subscriber.

So where else can you go for free?

Wired magazine is known for picking out cutting-edge gadgets and quirky tools, but their website also has reviews of everyday electronics. Click "Reviews" (kind of in the center of the page), then browse for what you want. You can narrow by price or manufacturer or possibly by other features depending on the product. Reviews are basic, but pros and cons are spelled out at the end.

PCMag brings its print information to the web. Click the "Reviews" tab and browse for your electronic item. You can narrow or sort by price, or sort by rating or date. Compare products to see which one suits your needs the best. You can also keep up with technology news and read shopping guides. Reviews here are more in-depth than at Wired, and the pros and cons are listed first. You might even be able to buy your product from sellers listed in the review.

CNET is probably the biggest and best known review website. Click the "Reviews" tab, then browse by category. You can also catch up with tech news and find all sorts of useful software downloads. The neat thing about CNET is its compare feature. Instead of checking off items, as you click to view products, that list you end up generating is saved for you--look for the "Recently Viewed Items" button at the bottom of the screen.

Each website is similar in its bottom line of offering tech reviews, buying guides, and news, but the presentation differs. Check out a couple the next time you're in the market for a gadget and see which site  you like best.

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