Free App Helps You Know when to Buy Electronics

When I’m shopping for consumer electronics, I usually have one of two motivations. I’m either looking for the best solution to an immediate problem or I’ve done some careful research to determine my next long term purchase. In the first case, I’m typically in a hurry and just need good information about the gadget I’m about to purchase. In the second scenario, I like knowing whether or not I’m getting the best possible deal. The new app for iPhone and iPod touch helps make better choices for both of these types of purchases.

Here’s a recent example where I needed to make a smart choice in a hurry. About a month ago, I was traveling and forgot to pack an external hard drive. I recorded about 250 GB of video and ran out of room on my computer’s hard drive to back it all up, in part because I already had too much video stored on my drive. This is an easy enough problem to solve; hard drives are available at stores like Office Depot, Staples, and Best Buy in every major US city.

Free App Helps You Know when to Buy ElectronicsAt the store, things become more confusing. Even though I’m in a hurry, I still want to buy a hard drive that solves my immediate problem and also provides a viable solution for the future. The row of hard drives routinely leaves me confused, because pricing for storage is all over the map. The next time I need to make a similar rushed purchase decision, the new app will make my life easier. Instead of walking into the store and facing a sea of confusing choices, I can launch the app, scan an item or two, and arrive at the one or two options that offer me the best bang for my buck. The app helps guarantee you are getting the best product with a comparable feature set at the best price by providing both pricing comparison data and version information.

Those longer term purchase decisions are where using the app can make a bigger difference. I buy new camcorders almost every year. When you log as many recording hours as I do, it becomes a necessity. I tend to plan my purchase around a combination of new product releases and the cyclical sales that happen in the camcorder market, but keeping track of all that becomes complicated. Most of the time, I try and check Amazon and Best Buy periodically to see if the camcorder I’ve been eyeballing had a recent price drop, which is a fairly unscientific approach. With the app, I can scan the price at at the store to see if the model is a good deal, if someone else has a better deal, if there’s a newer model, or if I’d be better off waiting for another day.

As much as I love the instant gratification of taking home a new gadget, getting a great price on that gadget is more important. After you download and install the app, becomes your one-click gadget purchasing conscience. When you’re at Best Buy (or wherever you shop for gadgets), on the verge of purchasing that new HDTV, cellphone, or virtually anything else in the store, open the app. Scan the Best Buy QR code or scan the bar code on the item. The app will instantly tell you whether the item you scanned is a smart purchase by pointing out recent pricing trends and whether or not there is a better model at a cheaper price. At the moment, the app is iOS only, but you can still get a similar benefit on Android or Windows Phone 7 by going to and typing in the bar code number in your smart phone’s browser.

To further entice you to try out the free app, the company is currently giving away a $5,000 American Express gift card. All you need to do to is install the app on your iPhone or iPod touch, then take a screenshot of any part of the app and email it to the company. Full details on how to qualify for the giveaway are available on the Decide blog.

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday just around the corner, this is the perfect time of year to validate whether or not those advertised prices are actually better than the price you could get any other day. As we all know, going to the store for the marked-down item doesn’t always mean that’s the item you will take home. Using the app can help you make sure the item you buy is really the best deal for the features you want. Download the app and arm yourself with money-saving holiday shopping information.