Tuesday, Nov 26 2013 06:00 AM

Tech Wire: Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday

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Matthew Sgherzi

Thanksgiving is almost upon us. Besides the good times with family, great meal and wonderful things we all have to be thankful of, anticipation for getting a great deal is just around the corner.

With new technology always rapidly changing and new products being released on the market at a never-ending pace, prices are always fluctuating and it can become very quickly confusing knowing what to buy, what makes a good gift and where we should look for the best deals on electronics.

Whether you are in the market for a new laptop, television or iPad, seeing the upcoming "Hot Deals" for Black Friday is certainly enticing. Then there is that thing called "Cyber Monday". Which is better, and why?

Electronics can be very expensive. If you have a low budget, you may be tempted to give in to deals that are being advertised all around us. There are things to watch out for when you are doing your tech shopping for the holidays:

1. Research! Do your research online and in the stores to try and find out what the best deal is.

2. Beware of carriers -- Cell phone carriers may be offering the latest $500 smartphone for only $100. The only reason, in most cases, is because you are locked into a long-standing contract with their cell phone service for several years with an early termination fee. Don't be fooled by carriers offering these low prices on phones and tablets!

3. Consider the warranty -- When you pay a high price for an item, especially a smartphone, tablet or other tech gadget, keep in mind that a warranty or support plan can often be included and can be attributed to as much as 50 percent of the total price you're paying. Ask about these plans and even consider a less costly support plan to save extra money.

4. Terms of service -- Always know the terms of service in regards to the return policy for anywhere you buy an item from. Many tech items, such as software, often times cannot be returned in order to reduce the possibility of software piracy. Some "open box" or floor-model items may be less expensive, but it comes at a price.

In the past years, studies and statistics have shown that better deals often come on items by waiting just three more days until Cyber Monday rolls around. That $700 phone that was on sale for $675 on Black Friday may very well be $600 by Monday.

Cyber Monday is cheaper, faster and more convenient. There are many websites that you should mark down to check on Cyber Monday in order to have the greatest chance at finding the best tech deals: -- Currently running a "Black November" deal, has great return policies, friendly support and inexpensive prices -- Often has good deals on laptops and other computers

Many of these websites you may have already heard of. One site you should consider searching through is "" -- It is considered a "meta search," that is, it searches your terms through various websites and even allows you to compare prices, find items that are in-stock in a nearby local store, and more.

We all have budgets. We want to find the best deals possible. This holiday season, with utilizing a little bit of planning ahead of time and the tips mentioned here, you will be on your way to getting your loved ones the hottest tech gadgets at rock-bottom prices.


MATTHEW SGHERZI lives in Tehachapi where he has operated an IT business since 2007 (

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