Kim Komando: Save money by buying next-to-newest-generation tech
BY KIM KOMANDO
Sunday, August 19, 2012
8/19/12 at 4:48 AM
If you're determined to own cutting-edge tech gadgets, it can drive you to the poor house. Every year, there is a flood of new "must-have" Apple gadgets and Macs, Android smartphones and tablets and a plethora of PC laptops and desktops.
Even picking just a few new high-end items can rack up big credit card bills if you aren't careful.
Here's a little secret: You don't always have to buy the latest and greatest. With technology moving so fast, gear that's less than top-of-the-line or latest generation is usually more than good enough for most users' needs.
A good example is the iPad 2. Sure, the newest 3rd-generation iPad has a faster A5X processor, a gorgeous Retina display and 4G LTE for data.
You may want it, but do you need it? For average web surfing, video-watching and other tasks, the iPad 2 works just as well. Apple has even equipped the iPad 2 with a slightly better A5 chip than it had when it debuted. The Wi-Fi-only iPad 2 is $399 compared to the $499 new iPad.
A refurbished MacBook Air is discounted $140 or more over a newer model when you buy direct from Apple. Have a Mac monitor and keyboard you're happy with? Save the cost of new ones plus an additional $80-$150 when you buy a refurbished 2011 Mac mini. If you'd rather have the all-in-one iMac, you can still save $200-$250 on refurbished early 2011 models, and that will net you a quad-core i5 chip.
The next iPhone will be released this fall, and the contract price is expected to be $200. That means you'll start seeing markdowns on the current flagship iPhone 4S. Sprint started the ball rolling earlier this month, offering it at a $150 price tag with a two-year contract. Best Buy is currently selling a refurbished contract iPhone 4 for $50.
On the Android front, new and very capable smartphones come along every few months, and they're offered free or very cheaply. Just make sure that any phone you buy is running Android 2.3 or higher.
The 3G HTC Rhyme from Verizon, for example, is free with a two-year contract, but it has better specs than a formerly high-end Droid Pro. For $50 and a contract, you can step up to the LG Lucid with 4G LTE.
Over at AT&T, you can get the 4G LTE Pantech Burst for just $1 on a two-year contract. The carrier also offers the LG Nitro and HTC Vivid for $50 - both are 4G LTE.
T-Mobile phones operate on the HPSA+ 4G network. The Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G ($100 with contract) packs a dual-core processor and has a nice 4-inch screen.
If you live in one of the few Sprint 4G cities, the LG Viper can be a good choice - it's free with a contract and a new line of service.
With Android tablets, the Google Nexus 7 is a terrific unit that costs only $200.
Finally, you can save hundreds of dollars on PC desktops and laptops by buying models with second generation, Core i3 dual-core processors. That's more than enough to handle most average users' productivity needs.
Original Print Headline: Buy slightly older tech and save
Kim Komando hosts the nation's largest talk radio show about consumer electronics, computers and the Internet. Listen to her show from 1-4 p.m. each Sunday on KRMG am740 or fm102.3. To receive her newsletters, go to tulsaworld.com/komandonewsletters.