You may find a variance in the thickness of the cable casing and/or plastic surrounding the connector on higher priced cables, which may make the cable somewhat more durable. This may make a difference if you need your cable to go a large distance or through a wall. However, most people use their HDMI cables over a distance of less than six feet, behind their TV, where a light weight cable will be perfectly suited.
It’s not uncommon to find high-speed HDMI cables priced at $50-$80 at a big box retailer, yet online retailers such as Monoprice (www.monoprice.com) offer cables that will give you the same video or sound quality for under $5.
USB cables are similarly overpriced. The same cable that you pay $25 for at a big box retailer is available for less than $2 through a site like Monoprice.
Don’t assume refurbished means broken: Refurbished products are typically sold at a sizeable discount over the brand new, in original packaging version of the gadget you’ve had your eye on. Many consumers are hesitant to consider a refurbished item, assuming that it was damaged or found to be defective and then returned to and repaired by the manufacturer.
While this is sometimes the case, there are other reasons that perfectly good gadgets end up on the shelf tagged as refurbished. In some cases, the item (or even just the packaging itself) was scratched or damaged in transit. Units that retailers have made available as demo or display models are often sold as refurbished. If a product has been purchased, opened and subsequently returned it will be sold as refurbished even if it was never used by the original owner.
The best way to save money by choosing a refurbished product while protecting yourself from buying a defective dud is to look for one labeled “factory re-certified”
Don’t invest in the “wrong” things when buying a new desktop PC: Historically, the processor made a noticeable difference in system performance, even to basic users, so it made sense to pay more to upgrade from a 1.3 GHz processor to a 1.8 GHz processor. These days, processors process data so quickly that most of us wouldn’t notice a difference between an Intel Core i5 to an Intel Core i7 for the $200-$300 more you may spend on the upgrade. Instead, spend your money on RAM (aim for 8GB with a new PC) or upgrade from a standard hard drive to a solid state drive (SSD). Both will lead to a more noticeable speed increase and aren’t as costly as upgrading the processor.
Andrea Eldridge is CEO and co-founder of Nerds On Call, an on-site computer and laptop repair service (http://www.callnerds.com/
About Nerds On Call
Established in a spare room in Redding, Calif., in March 2004, Nerds On Call offers on-site computer and laptop repair services to consumers and businesses. Nerds On Call provides trouble-shooting for PCs and Macs, home and office networks, printers, iPods® and MP3 players, handheld devices and cell phones, home theaters and game systems, and virtually every other form of digital entertainment. In 2009, 2010, & 2011 the company was named to Inc. magazine’s list of 5000 fastest growing private companies. With 15 locations across California, Oregon, Washington, & Arizona Nerds On Call serves more than 40,000 satisfied customers per year. For more information, visit www.callnerds.com or call 1-800-919-NERD.