After being clean and sober from gadgets consumerism for more than 1 year, I finally decided it’s time to go “wild” once in awhile and satisfied the craving for cutting edge goodies. Here’s the shortlist of items I managed to obtain during the past 2 months:
- Nintendo Wii bare package (no bundled games nor accessories), which is exactly what I wanted since I can always get a deal on games and accessories whenever I feel the need to get them later. After almost 3 months of drought in Wii stocks everywhere in US market, we finally got some relief from Nintendo on mid-February. Essential accessories such as Wii Remote are still scarce as hen’s teeth, but I don’t think it will stay that way for much longer. Demands will eventually subside and consistent supply will eventually prevail. I paid USD $225 for the Wii system ($250 MSRP – 10% off deal for paying with the retailer’s card), plus some state tax for a total of around $243. Not bad, still cheaper than what most people pay these days for a Wii. I give this gizmo 5 stars out of 5 for its innovative input devices, the fun games, and the economical console price.
- Dell 2407WFP Revision A04. In layman words, the 24″ Dell without the banding problem and with 1:1 pixel mapping. Got this with decent deal of 15% off from an already low USD $699 MSRP, plus additional 3% off for paying with Dell account, came down to total of USD $576.33 + state tax. I have to say that I agreed with Joel Spolsky; that buying from Dell was such a drain of energy for all the pre-purchase price history and discount research. Joel mentioned an irrefutable fact about Dell buying experience: “Whenever we buy servers from Dell, even though they eventually offer us a price that beats the competition, we still have to spend a week or two negotiating, gathering competitive bids, etc. By the time we place our order the price we pay is about 20% to 30% less than the price advertised on the web, and we’re still not sure if we could have paid less.” I give this beautiful and productivity booster gizmo 5 stars out of 5 (also for passing all my initial tests for new LCD monitor and the generous 3 years warranty out of the box), but I must give Dell 2 thumbs down for making purchase decision difficult with its complicated discount schemes and maze-like automated customer service call center (I was plain lucky to find the right sequence that eventually led me to speak to real person after my 3rd attempt).
- iHome iH6 iPod speaker system/radio/alarm/digital desktop clock. In a glance, this model looks exactly the same as its older sibling, iH5. The distinctive features of iH6 over iH5 are the Shuffle dock, the equalizer, the complimentary remote iHR6 (you can purchase remote for iH5 optionally, the model is iHR5), and the 12 stations preset (8 FM + 4 AM). Snatch a decent deal from Costco warehouse for USD $89.99 (Costco’s everyday wholesale price, which is already cheaper than MSRP of iH5, USD $99.99), and with $20 manufacturer’s coupon, came down to total of USD $69.99. Not bad since the best deal I found so far for iH5 was around $50, so the $20 is definitely worth the extras.
- Garmin Nuvi 350. Not exactly the unit I always wanted since I was targeting its successor, Nuvi 360. Both Nuvis pronounce street names and came with NAVTEQ mapping data, which is extremely important for accuracy in North America region. TomTom maybe cheaper but I’m not paying several hundred bucks just to find that I’m still lost with a GPS device that has inaccurate or out-of-date mapping data (TeleAtlas mapping data used in TomTom has strong base in Europe but not in North America unfortunately). Nuvi 360 has some nice to have features over Nuvi 350 such as Bluetooth for in car hands-free calling and Garmin lock (anti-theft feature). But for around $100 bucks less (after tax and shipping), I decided to give Nuvi 350 a go. The TCO for this very useful device is USD $350 plus tax and shipping for a total of USD $390 at Costo.com.
- OEM Samsung 18x SATA DVD±RW writer and 12x DVD-RAM writer with LightScribe technology, for a nice USD $37 shipped. I’m not sure why I bought this one, I think it was just a momentary impulse since I knew the price was quite low.
- Microsoft Wireless Entertainment Desktop 7000. I didn’t intentionally buy this Bluetooth keyboard + mouse bundle. It just happened that I visited Microsoft Company Store at Redmond and they just put this product on display for a decent price of USD $100 (MSRP is USD $150). I tried the display model and was fond of the flat, soft, and compact notebook style keys of the keyboard. It’s a pity that the keyboard is not rechargeable although the companion laser mouse is. The unreleased sibling of this model (Wireless Entertainment Desktop 8000) should have been the perfect keyboard + mouse set for me, the keyboard is rechargeable, and features a USB hub and keyboard backlight. It wasn’t meant to be…
Next on the list are the Herman Miller Aeron chair (not really a gadget, but it’s a must have for people with bad back and with the price comparable to 24″ LCD monitor…) and the bits and pieces for my desktop PC. Let’s wait and see the Intel price drop next month. I’ll update this post with some photos and more reviews later.