Buying New Or Refurbished Computers – Which Do You Prefer?

This morning I received an email from Circuit City in which they were selling the following laptop computer. It was a Compaq Presario CQ62-219WM Notebook PC – Intel Celeron 900 2.2GHz, 2GB, 250GB HDD, DVDRW, 15.6″ Display, Windows 7 Home Premium and it was priced at $299 after rebates. In addition the sale was for only 72 hours and supplies were limited. But what caught my eye was a check mark and the statement ‘quality refurbished.’

I had to chuckle when I read the words ‘quality refurbished.’ Does this mean that plain old ‘refurbished’ computers were non-quality? I have always wondered, when we go to the grocery store or see a fruit or vegetable stand along the side of the road with a sign that states ‘fresh produce.’ would we think that this is better than rotten produce?

I took a look at the specifications for this ‘quality refurbished’ computer and this is a really lightweight system when it comes to horsepower. In an era when dual-core systems are standard, would one really be willing to buy a single core Celeron at 2.2 GHz?

I went over to Amazon and you can purchase a similar Compaq Presario with a different model # but with the same specifications new for $399. So buying a refurbished unit would save you about $100. That type of savings is in the range of about 25% off of retail for a semi-used product. I know that some people return computers for several reasons. One reason is that they discover the system does not meet their needs, or that they had problems with the system either with the software or hardware or they just didn’t like the computer for a variety of other reasons.

When the systems are returned to the company, they no longer can be sold as new so are re-boxed as refurbished units. The units are sold through companies like Circuit City, CompUSA, TigerDirect [all three of the companies are the same], or through other outlets at a discount. On this particular unit the warranty is for 90 days for parts and labor. Normally these units sold new are covered by a one year parts and labor warranty.

I build my desktop computers, so I never have to deal with any retailer. But when it comes to laptop computers I usually buy new only and have never purchased a refurbished laptop computer system. Since I have no personal experience buying a refurbished laptop computer, I want to ask the readers at Lockergnome some questions.

Do you buy new or refurbished? Why do you buy new or refurbished?

Share your experience with us.

Comments welcome.

Source – Circuit City

Source – Amazon

PS Since I wrote this article I noticed that Amazon has priced the new Compaq laptop at $405.

Would You Buy An Acer Refurbished Laptop If It Was Priced Right?

I received an advertisement this afternoon from Circuit City, and one particular item caught my attention. CC was offering a refurbished laptop computer system and had it priced at $439.97. I went to look at what was being offered at this price and was actually surprised that this system was fairly well equipped. What was also surprising is that it is a 17″ laptop with the following features:

The Acer Aspire AS7540-1284 Laptop PC is the machine that does more!

The Acer Aspire AS7540-1284 Laptop PC is packed with power for productivity or play. It uses an AMD Athlon X2 Dual Core M300 2.0GHz processor and 3GB of DDR2 memory to give you plenty of muscle to take on demanding tasks like intense multitasking or tough applications like the latest games. This laptop runs the Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit operating system so you can take advantage of the latest features, no matter what your purpose. It stores to a sizeable 320GB hard drive and lets you read and write CDs and DVDs with a DVD Super-Multi Dual Layer optical drive for more storage options. The Acer Aspire AS7540-1284 Laptop PC uses the ATI Radeon HD 4200 graphics processor for amazing visual performance with multimedia.

In addition the system came with Windows Home Premium 64 bit edition and was a fairly nice looking unit as well.

I then added the item to the shopping cart to check out the shipping cost. Standard 3 to 7 day shipping was free.

Also their were 40 reviews on the CC site in which the unit was scored an average of 4.8 out of 5 stars.

So my question is this. Would you buy this refurbished unit?

Comments welcome.

Source – Circuit City

Don’t Forget Sears When It Comes To HDTVs

While surfing this morning I stumbled on an ad from Sears in which they were selling a 50″ Panasonic 720p HDTV on sale for only $699.99. Here are the specifications:

Product Features

  • Built-in HDTV tuner
    Add HD-capable antenna to receive over-the-air high-definition broadcasts, where available. Optional set-top box required for high-definition cable or satellite programming.
  • 49-8/9″ screen measured diagonally from corner to corner
    Everyone will have a great view of the show or game.
  • 720p display
    With 1024 x 768 pixel resolution and Deep Color support provides stunning image clarity while watching your favorite shows, movies and sporting events. 24p playback support.
  • Antireflective screen filter
    For improved viewing in a variety of lighting conditions.
  • 600Hz refresh rate
    Reduces flicker for a clear picture.
  • 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio
    Delivers a cinema-style entertainment experience.
  • 30,000:1 native contrast ratio (2,000,000:1 dynamic)
    Offers shades between white and black for accurate color representation, even during scenes where both bright and dark images are present.
  • 3D Y/C digital comb filter
    Delivers state-of-the-art detail and color enhancement.
  • 20W 2-speaker system
    With simulated surround sound delivers a lush soundscape.
  • Ultraslim design measures 4-1/8″ deep
    Comes with table stand or can be mounted on a wall (with optional mounting kit, not included).
  • Progressive scanning
    Maximizes the picture quality of progressive-scan DVD players, set-top boxes and digital video recorders.
  • Secure Digital media slot
    Supports Secure Digital format for easy transfer of images from your camera or camcorder (media not included). VIERA Image Viewer makes it easy to view photos on the big screen.
  • 3 HDMI inputs
    Provide an uncompressed all-digital audio/video link for the highest quality connection and support copy-protected HD broadcast content.

The low price peaked my curiosity and I was wondering how Sears compared to others in the sale price of HDTVs. So I took a look at other retailers who also carry HDTVs and checked their prices compared to Sears. Here is what I found:

Best Buy – $849.99

Circuit City – $799.99

Walmart – $798.00

Amazon – $719.00

Though Sears has the best price, Amazon offers free shipping and no sales tax. However, the Sears price before sales tax seems to be the best when compared to other retailers.

What do you think? Would you buy an HDTV from Sears and why?

Comments welcome.


Brands We Loved And Lost In 2009

The year 2009 took away some of the brand names we knew and loved. But before you get your handkerchief out, some of the losses were inevitable.

Let’s start with Circuit City. The company went through a belt tightening mode in 2007 laying off thousands of experienced and knowledgeable employees who were replaced with newbies. The new associates had little knowledge and it soon became apparent to consumers these people didn’t have a clue about electronics. Once the company shuttered their doors, Circuit City was revived as an online store from the same folks who brings us TigerDirect.

Saturn which had once been hailed by GM as a different type of car company never really did take off like the Detroit auto maker had hoped. GM tried to sell Saturn but the deal fell though. Good-by Saturn.

Pontiac was next to get the axe. Pontiac had been a part of the GM line up since 1926. Who can forget the GTO and Firebird. Sniff, sniff.

Kodachrome film is on the way out. Kodak states that less than 1% of their sales is for film, now that digital cameras have replaced the older cameras.

Expo Design Center, a part of Home Depot, has closed theirs doors as well. It seems the public isn’t that interested in decorating once the recession hit.

Max Factor is gone as well as the brand lost its popularity.

Microsoft dumped Encarta as this also lost its luster among consumers.

Gourmet magazine, along with Portfolio, Vibe and National Geographic Adventure are gone as well.

I am sure this is just a partial list of brands we loved and have lost.

Which brands will you miss?

Comments welcome.

Source CNN

CompUSA & Circuit City Are Being Resurrected From The Dead

Two of the major electronic retailers, CompUSA and Circuit City are posed for a comeback if one company has their way. That company is little known Systemax, which is not exactly a household name. But you may know one of their companies which is Tiger Direct.

Thus far Systemax has brought back 3 CompUSA stores in the Tampa, FL. area. Currently Circuit City is only available online for purchases. But other plans are on the way. According to one recent article it states that:

Along the way, Systemax also bought the intellectual property and brand of CircuitCity, another victim of the downturn. That brand is coming back to life. Systemax is operating CircuitCity as an online-only merchant, in some respects competing with Amazon or other Internet retailers.

CompUSA was always a good place for real computer people to get oddball hardware or doodads to amp up their PCs – a graphics card, a new motherboard, etc. And much of that will stick around. There’s a large service desk for PC repair and upgrades.

Recently, the store hosted “Overclock” contests, where true propeller-head guys open up demo PCs, and retool their innards to run at a higher pace – kind of like ramping up a four-cyclinder Toyota to absurdly high RPMs.

“We had one contest where people were cheering and chanting ‘Overclock! Overclock!’ until the hardware snapped,” Paul said. “We’ll still have things like that.”

But now, TVs take a much more prominent role, with more than 65 different models from 19 inches to 73 inches, something never seen in an old CompUSA.

As for how CompUSA will compete against other electronics giants, Paul said he expects store managers to make more decisions locally about how to help customers work through their problems. Something akin to a neighborhood electronics shop, but with the deep resources of a national chain.

What is great about these stores coming back to life is that will offer additional competition in the electronic retail market. I am sure we all can agree that the more competition there is, the better the prices are for we consumers.

Comments welcome.


Circuit City 3 Day Sale – Toshiba 40″ HD – LCD 1080p On Sale For $549

This morning I received an email advertisement from Circuit City with a deal on a Toshiba 40″ LCD 1080p on sale for $549. But the item that caught my eye was a Toshiba 32″ LCD but at 720p only for only $349. This would make a great set for that extra bedroom. This sale is for only 3 days so hurry.

Take a look at these deals and let me know what you think.

Comments welcome.

40″ Toshiba LCD 1080p at Circuit City

32″ Toshiba  LCD 720p at Circuit City

Walmart To Enter Home Installation Market

There was a time when the two leaders of the electronics market, Best Buy and Circuit City, controlled a major portion of the market.  But when Circuit City closed its doors, it left only Best Buy as the major retailer to deal with. But in stepped Walmart with a revamped electronics section and now it seems that the mega retailer will be going into the home installation business as well.

A recent article states:

An official launch date for Walmart’s install service has not been announced, but HotHardware reports that the install services will be in place in time for the holiday shopping season. With Black Friday only about a month away, that should mean very soon.

The Walmart service will be a partnership with N.E.W. Customer Service Companies and will offer install services for items that Walmart sells. The service will reportedly be purchased as a prepaid card with price ranging from $99 to $399. Buyers can get all sorts of services form WiFi setup to full home theater installs. The service will also include a tutorial for the buyer on how to work their device after the install.

I certainly hope that this report is accurate and that Walmart will join the home installation market. I am a firm believer in the more competition there is the better it is for us consumers. Having just Best Buy by itself leaves much to be desired when it comes to the pricing of services.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.


Home Depot Selling Computers Online

My buddy Charlie from Pioneer, CA sent me a link to Home Depot which shows that they are now selling laptop computers online. I took a look at some of the brands and Home Depot is carrying Toshiba, Samsung, Lenovo, HP, Panasonic and a few other brands So I compared pricing of one brand that Home Depot, Circuit City and Best Buy carry and which I bought bought back in November of last year.

There are two different models, one with a Intel CPU [Home Depopt & Circuit City] and the other with a AMD CPU [Best Buy] which I bought because of pricing. The laptop is a Toshiba 17″ Tru-Brite screen, 3GB Ram, 250 HD, Vista Home Premium, and web cam. Here are the different prices available from each store.

Best Buy:  $549

Home Depot:  $703

Circuit City:  $679

I seriously doubt that the performance difference between the Intel CPU and AMD CPU warrants the difference of $130 or more.

Comments welcome.

Circuit City – Back From The Grave

About twenty minutes ago I get an email from Circuit City advertising all kinds of electronic products. At first I thought it might be a spyware email so I didn’t click on anything. But I did go over to and sure enough, Circuit City is back from the grave. According to a press release it states the following:

Systemax Inc., a leading multi-channel retailer of computers, electronics, and industrial products, has purchased the Circuit City brand, trademark, website and other assets. And we’ve recently launched the all-new website, which offers you incomparable values on a huge inventory of brand name computer & electronics products — all at the most affordable prices in the industry.

At CircuitCity.Com you’ll find the Top Brands, the Top Values, and Top Service – every day!

The new features low everyday prices, world-class 24/7 customer service, and a wide selection of products. You’ll also enjoy advanced search capabilities and enhanced content, which includes photo galleries and videos of thousands of the most popular consumer electronics and computer products & accessories. In fact, we’re among the most content-rich sites on the Web, which means that you’ll get all the information you need to make well-informed buying decisions.

Be sure to check your e-mail inbox for exclusive deals, the industry’s best values, and special promotions that offer incredible savings. If you choose to opt-out from addition e-mails from us, simply click the unsubscribe link from any e-mail offer you receive from us.

Welcome to the all-new It’s our pleasure to serve you.


Gilbert Fiorentino – Chief Executive
Systemax Technology Group

If I am not mistaken I believe that Systemax also owns TigerDirect [I confirmed it does] and also makes their own line of computer systems.
Comments welcome.

Will Walmart Be Your New Circuit City?

When Circuit City announced it was closing all of its stores, it seemed that Best Buy would logically pick up the surplus of electronic shoppers. But with the recession, this has not happened. So in steps Walmart with its new electronic department that wants a piece of the action. There is only one small problem with this new idea.

When I was in the market for a new Hi-Def TV last year, I was in a local Walmart browsing around looking at its TVs. I asked the clerk about the extended warranty; he handed me a brochure. In the brochure it mentioned that TVs would need to be returned to the store if they needed repair. I asked the clerk if this also included 50″ sets or larger and he said ‘I guess so.’ I later learned this was not the case. But this demonstrates the need for Walmart to train its employees in the electronic department.

Expanding the electronics department just to add more stuff is not going to make it without knowledgeable employees to staff it.

Just my two cents. What do you think?

Comments welcome.


Circuit City – Beware! All Sales Are Final

Several consumers are reporting problems with purchases they made during the liquidation sale at Circuit City. Two reports, one from Boston and another in Minnesota concerns HDTV purchases over $1,000. Both customers claim that the TV’s they bought were shattered and Circuit City refused to replace the units or provide a refund.

Circuit City has a sign in their stores that are similar to this one:

But what happens when the item you bought is broken? How about when the store refuses to allow you to check the item without paying first? According to this story, that is what has happened.

Customer Gina Reis paid $1,100 for a big screen Samsung TV at the liquidation sale, only to get it home and discover it was completely unusable.”It’s shattered from here all the way up, and then on the other side as well,” said Reis.When the couple took the set back to the store … “They said, ‘Sorry, your problem, not ours,” Reis said.Repairs would cost $2,000 and Circuit City said it would do nothing.”I expected to get a TV that was working,” Reis said.There are plenty of signs in the store that say “Final Sales” but nowhere does it say the merchandise may be defective.Team 5 Investigates discovered that while consumers are warned about final sales, they have no way of knowing if what they’re buying is bad. In the Natick store, inspections are allowed only after a customer pays, and in Somerville, one sign says “Check your purchase,” but another sign says, “Don’t Open The Merchandise.”

In Minnesota this is what happened to another couple:

A family paid $1,500 for a TV at the Circuit City liquidation sale — and claim that they were prevented from opening the box to make sure the TV wasn’t damaged. The TV was, of course, totally shattered. When the local Fox affiliate tried to investigate, they say they were “kicked out” of the store.

This should serve as a warning to any who may be thinking of getting a great deal at Circuit City. Yes. If you pay by credit card you can have the transaction stopped. But why go through the hassle?

Comments welcome.


Consumerist report.

Circuit City Liquidation – Deal Or No Deal?

We are all aware that Circuit City failed to find a buyer and is now closing down for good. We are also aware that the company is having a liquidation sale of approximately $2 Billion in electronic products. Depending on who you listen to, there are many differences of opinion about how good or bad the sale pricing actually is.

I personally have not been to the close out event and wanted to ask this question.

If you have attended a closing at one of your local Circuit City stores, what is your opinion as to the discounts being offered? Deal or no deal?

Please comment.

Circuit City’s Post-Christmas Savings

There should be an image here!We’re giving you a head start on this one! These offers are good from Sunday, December 28th through Saturday, January 3rd.

Circuit City Holiday Deals

There should be an image here!Gifts to love for under $100 from now through Saturday, December 20th! Also…

Order by these dates in order to have by Christmas:

Free shipping: 12/19 (basic, standard, and three-day shipping)
Toys free shipping: 12/16 (these are shipped directly from the vendor)

Two-day shipping: 12/22
One-day shipping: 12/23

Toys two-day shipping: 12/17
Toys one-day shipping: 12/18

Microsoft Office 2007 For Only $69.99

Over at Circuit City they are offering what is called Equipt. Originally Equipt came with a 3 subscription version of Windows Live OneCare plus a the full version of Microsoft Office 2007 – Home and Student. But here is the catch. Since Microsoft is dropping Windows Live OneCare, there is no longer any subscription. So for $69.99 you get the full version of Office 2007 – Home and Student version.

On the Circuit City site they describe the product requirements as:

System Requirements
To use Microsoft Equipt, you need:

Microsoft has confirmed that the subscription service will be ended so you do in fact get the full version of Office to use forever without renewing the subscription.

Comments welcome.