Shrewd comparison shopping helps you get the absolute best price, no matter what you’re buying, and that includes accessories and compatible parts for your laptop . The global online marketplace makes your comparative analysis somewhat more complicated, but it's not a huge problem. Develop a system, and you can compare laptop accessory prices and prove that you’re a smart consumer.
Identify the accessory or accessories you want to purchase. Start with a broad category (laptop bags, for example) and think of all the qualities you want in that accessory (good padding to protect laptop, large pocket for notebooks and papers, outside pouch for water bottle).
- Prepare a checklist that includes space for for you to list the item, the item's manufacturer, the retailer that's selling the item, the item's characteristics and the item's price. You can do this with a spreadsheet, a word processing program or with a sheet of paper and a pencil.
Visit online retailers to get an idea of what’s out there. This is where you’ll compare your “perfect world” list of desired qualities with the real world of what’s actually available. Go to big box stores like Best Buy and Target, as well as specialty stores like ebags.com.
- Read reviews of the compatible parts you’re considering. Type in “laptop bags, water bottle” and you’ll find a string of blogs and reviews about a variety of makes of bags. Users are very willing to share their opinions and you will learn a great deal from them. Shoppers also write reviews of retailers; if you're unsure about a business, read the reviews. Start at CNet reviews (see Resources); mySimon (see Resources) also shares product reviews. The blog at Consumer Reports (see Resources) includes information about laptop hardware and accessories. And Viewpoints shares commentary by laptop users and "technology geeks."
- Make sure you’re comparing like products. Read the product descriptions very carefully; an optical laptop mouse is different, and less expensive, than a wireless optical laptop mouse.
- Compare the total cost of the accessories you’re considering. Before you click the “Purchase” button, pay particular attention to shipping and handling charges; high shipping will eat up that great deal you thought you were getting.