FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – New smart phones and tablets are hitting the markets almost every other week with the promise of being better than the ones before. So how can you keep up, and get the best bang for your buck?
When it comes to gadgets and devices, “They change all the time. Every three months there’s something new,” said Amber Shaw, Best Buy Mobile Sales Lead.
It’s no wonder people are constantly looking for the next “big thing.” Retailers say the most popular items out right now are smartphones and tablets.
“That’s what everybody is really going towards, having both of those devices so they can always be connected to their world,” said Trent Schott, Fort Wayne Regional Sales Manager for AT&T.
Schott says as a retailer, he doesn’t have a leg-up on when the newest items will be released. He says he normally finds out around the same time everyone else does. Although Schott may not be able to tell the future, he does know about the current devices and how to get the best deals.
For nearly $300, AT&T offers the Pantech Element Tablet. It’s waterproof and can function in six feet of water for up to 30 minutes. “We’re getting into the summer months soon, so people are going to be out and about, at the pool. If you have kids, I know mine would spill juice boxes on it, water, what have you,” Schott said. “You don’t have to worry about putting that investment at risk because it’s protected right there with the waterproof feature.”
Then there’s the Sony Tablet P—that’s “P” for portable. It can literally fold up and fit inside your pocket or purse. That runs for $400. “It can fold up to about the size of a check book for you, so you’ve got all the conveniences of the tablet, get everything done for you, but it absolutely is the most portable to fold-up, take with you and always have it,” said Schott.
At Best Buy, the most popular tablet is the Asus Transformer. It’s comparable to the Apple iPad, and $120 less. “It’s an Android operating system, so it can do just about everything the iPad can do. It has this dual-core processor, so it’s super fast,” said Shaw.
If you’re looking for a tablet that can also make phone calls, the Samsung Galaxy Note from AT&T is for you. It’s a smartphone and tablet in one, with a 5.3 inch high definition screen—all for $300 “The coolest thing about Note is the S-Pen it’s got on there,” said Schott. “You can use it to really personalize anything at all. You can take screen shots on the web, you can personalize your messages, you can take pictures, you can draw on them and send them out to people. It’s really a fantastic device.”
But, what can you do with your old device after you’ve purchased a new device? There are a couple of options. At AT&T, Schott says old devices can be mailed back to the retailer using a pre-paid box provided by AT&T.
“Then the customer’s got one of two options basically: they can donate that phone to Cell Phones for Soldiers, which many people choose to do, or they can get an AT&T in-store promotional card,” he said. Schott says that goes for any smartphone or tablet from any competitor.
Best Buy also has a buy back program, but only for phones purchased through Best Buy Mobile.
“New stuff comes out and people are like, why didn’t I wait for the iPhone 5 or the iPhone 6!?” said Shaw. “So what Best Buy did was create this program that we can guarantee you a certain amount back off the retail value of the phone. I had a customer the other day, he had Buy Back on his phone, and he was able to get $260 back for it. He was able to use it toward his upgrade and have extra money left over for extra stuff!”
Best Buy also has a trade-in program, which can be applied to any electronic, game, or device from anywhere. “You can bring in your gently-used items, whether it be a gaming console, or games, or phones, or TVs. If you bring it in, we’ll give you a certain amount back on a gift card that you can use anywhere in the store,” Shaw said.
Often times with buy back and trade-in programs, stores will give away gift cards or store credit to use towards an upgrade. Many stores also have combo deals or bundles, where two items can be purchased for virtually the price of one.
“The combo deals are fantastic right now,” said Schott. “They’re the best smartphone and tablet deals that we’ve [AT&T] ever had. You can get the waterproof Element along with the Pantech Burst smartphone for basically the price of your average smartphone.”
To get the best bang for your buck, retailers suggest doing your research and finding out what works best for you, and how you can benefit when new devices are released.
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