There are a lot of factors to consider when shopping for electronics. You can get buried in a heap of technical specs and geek jargon without much effort at all. There’s one factor, though, that the current economic climate has brought into the foreground: cost. This has lead many enthusiast to consider buying used items.

Is Buying a Used iPad a Good idea?

People buy used items from their friends and family or popular weekend garage sale all the time, but should you buy a used iPad? As with any used purchase, you should do plenty of research beforehand. Get to know the product and shop around to get an idea of what the right cost should be. Buying a used iPad can be just as safe but even more rewarding than buying one new.

When buying expensive electronics like an iPad, I would recommend staying away from garage sales and ads you may find on craigslist. Picking up a used iPad from a friend or family member is fine, but it’s not too often a good buddy just happens to be selling his iPad. Your best bet would be finding a good deal on eBay.

Used iPads on eBay

So, why would I recommend eBay over the other options? Mostly because of the protection you’ll get when buying through eBay. If things don’t go smoothly, you’ll have a few options to correct the situation. This is especially true if you pay via PayPal. If someone takes your money and tries to run, you can file a claim and chances are really good you’ll get your money back.

Buy a Used iPad

If you’re ready to start looking, a great place to go is the used iPad section at All of the items are from current eBay auctions, but filtered down so that you see more of what you’re looking for and less of the distracting third party knock offs. You can jump in and find a great deal faster, which means you’ll be enjoying your iPad even sooner too.

While you’re there, you can also shop around for a few iPad accessories. After all, you’ll have some extra cash to spend.

Even if you’re as dubious as I am about the new Apple iPad competing seriously with the Kindle for the e-Reader spotlight, there’s little questioning that their share of the market stands to fall off a bit in the coming months and years. The sheer number of new devices available now is bound to dilute their dominance, especially when people start trying to make the apples to oranges comparison of a catch-all tablet PC with a dedicated e-Reader.

Amazon is a big company full of smart folks though, so they’re not going to take this lying down. Probably the most obvious response is the “If you can’t beat em, join em” tactic. The rumors of a new Kindle Touch seem to imply that they’re steering in that direction, at least in part. Releasing a new, premium Kindle with a bunch of fancy bells and whistles just makes sense. After all, it was our No. 1 Kindle prediction for 2010.

There is another angle to it that hasn’t been explored, and that’s offering a lower-budget version of the Kindle to get people hooked on buying eBooks. According to reports by TechCrunch, however, Amazon is prepared to take it even farther than that. Apparently, long-time Amazon customers and bibliophiles started getting promotional emails back in January, just before Apple’s big flop of an event, offering them a money-back guarantee for those who ordered a new Kindle 2 and didn’t like it. If they purchased the device and reported that they weren’t satisfied, Amazon was prepared to let them keep the Kindle for free.

While it seemed like a good one-off deal at the time meant to sway people who might be intrigued by the iPad, TechCrunch is now citing a source that says free Kindles could be the way of the future. The report says that they’re trying to find a way to cut costs to the point where they can offer a free Kindle to every Amazon Prime subscriber.

For those not in the know, Amazon Prime is a subscription service offered by Amazon where you pay a yearly fee of $79 and in exchange get free two-day shipping for the whole year as well as overnight shipping for the heavily-discounted price of $3.99. It’s a brilliant sell, because once you have that free two-day shipping going, it becomes difficult to buy products online anywhere else. Consequently, Amazon Prime subscribers become some of their most loyal customers. Give these people a few Kindles, the thinking goes, and they’re bound to happily spend away, more than making up for the cost of the device in word-of-mouth advertising and the sheer volume of books purchased.

Of course, this all hinges on Amazon being able to reduce their costs to the point where they’re not taking huge losses by giving Kindles away. I suspect, and this is purely conjecture at this point, that this is going to come to fruition at the same time as the launch of the rumored Kindle Touch. Amazon can start handing out the Kindle 2 for free to Amazon Prime subscribers and avoid cannibalizing their own market share by releasing a fancier touch-enabled Kindle to fill its place in the premium-priced niche. Everybody wins, from the budget-conscious to the gadget freaks.

The question remains: should you hold off buying a Kindle now so you can get in on this sweet deal? I don’t think we’re quite at that point yet. This is still all shrouded in rumor, and the earliest something like this is liable to happen is the holiday season at the end of the year. The degree to which the Kindle can improve your reading habits today more than justifies the cost. And would you really deny yourself that satisfaction? I wouldn’t either.

Learn more about Amazon Prime »

If you’re planning on getting a Kindle for yourself or a loved one this Christmas season, you had better act fast. At the time of this posting, you have just under twelve hours to place your order. If you wait any longer, your Kindle will most likely arrive after Christmas day.

Order a Kindle for Christmas


Isn’t competition wonderful? On the heels of the nook announcement, Amazon has decided to do a bit of maneuvering to stay competitive. Until recently, the two “flavors” of the Kindle 2 were U.S. Wireless and International Wireless. Amazon has consolidated to just the International Wireless and dropped the price down to that magical $259 mark.

If you happen to have ordered the Kindle International at the higher price point, Amazon is going to take care of you. Word is that $20 rebates are being handed out to early adopters, so there’s no reason to send your Kindle back.

Things have really gotten interesting in the eReader world. I can’t wait to see what is in store for us over the next few months. Amazon has a good lead in the eReader race and you can be sure they want to keep it that way. B&N appears to have released a good runner, but I have a feeling that the finish line is miles and miles ahead.

kindle international

For those of you who are anxiously awaiting the arrival of your internationally-flavored Kindle, your wait is nearly at its end. Amazon has announced that the Kindle International is shipping out today. Also, it seems they have plenty on hand, so if you’d like pick up the international version for yourself or maybe for the upcoming holiday season, now’s the time to place your order.

This Kindle International version is an answer to many of those who either live or travel outside of the United States. Owners of the Kindle International version will be able to download new material while travelling abroad. Those of you who have been waiting for Amazon to begin shipping the Kindle to other countries will finally get to see what all the fuss is about!

The international version of the Kindle is essentially a Kindle 2 with a different wireless service. This is great news since the original Kindle 2 (if I can call it that without causing too much confusion) has been Amazon’s most popular Reader. So, you’ll be able to purchase, download, and store a library of books (over 1500) all with the same little device. You’ll get all the features that made the Kindle 2 a huge success with the international mobility so many have been asking for.

If you’re looking for the perfect traveler’s gift for this holiday season, give the Kindle International a look. But don’t wait too long… just like previous releases, it’s possible this version of the Kindle will sell out quickly, especially with Christmas being right around the corner!


kindle-2-international-wirelessWhen you hop onto to the Amazon site this morning, you’ll be greeted with another familiar message from Jeff Bezos. There are not one, but two big announcements surrounding the Kindle 2!

First, the Kindle 2 is getting another price cut down to $259 (from $299). So if you’ve been on the fence about getting the most popular reader on the planet, you just got 40 more reasons to jump over to the Kindle side.

Second, a new (sort of) Kindle is being made available soon. You can now pre-order a Kindle 2 with International Wireless. As Jeff himself puts it:

“Until now, Kindles have only been available to U.S. customers. Starting today, international customers can now order Kindle with international wireless and get their English-language books in 60 seconds.”

Kindle 2 now $259 at

Kindle 2 with International Wireless at

alarm-clockI’ve been thinking about what my favorite gadgets and service have in common, and I think I’ve finally nailed it: instant gratification.

The Kindle and Kindle DX are really cool little devices. Among all the features they boasts, the most frequently cited are its small size, ability to hold a library of books, and the wonderful instant delivery of new reading material.

I think this is what Amazon and the competition really bank on with these devices. Sure, they’re great for reading (as they should be), but I think what makes them such a success is how owners make many more impulse buys than they normally would.

It’s kind of like the comparison between cash and credit cards. If you’re carrying a limited amount of cash, you’re far less likely to fork it over. Credit card purchases have a disconnected feel about them. Often times, credit card transactions don’t even require another person on the other end. Even the terminology is different: you use a credit card, but you spend cash.

I know the analogy is a little crude, but stay with me. With a device like the Kindle, you don’t even have to fetch your credit card. We are removed yet another step further from the notion that we’re spending money. That’s not to say it’s such a bad thing. Most of us are responsible with our money, especially if you’ve just dropped a few hundred on the device itself. It a great convenience, but I have to wonder about the true motives.

Another example of my “I want it now syndrome” is my latest fascination (or I should say, infatuation) with Netflix. I’ve been a member for years, but only recently have I really gotten into their Instant Queue.

Ever since I discovered that I could watch streaming movies with my Xbox 360, I’ve been hooked. Several times a week I’ll sit down with the family and find a movie or series that I can watch instantly. Want to watch a few episodes of the Office? No problem… three button presses and I’m there. The same can be said for countless other things.

In closing, I’d like to ask everyone what their favorite (or not) type of instant entertainment is. Just leave a comment below!

better-boxing-glovesThe last week or so has been filled with a flurry of announcements and news about all the various new contenders for the e-reader market. The Amazon Kindle was the first to really set the ebook market into motion, but it will soon have lots of competition to deal with. Currently, there are four serious players: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Sony, and Samsung.

I’m really excited to see so many other companies jump into the fray. Amazon has had a good run, but has been plagued with complaints of “premium pricing.” I agree that Amazon could probably back down on the price of their Kindle products, but they’ve had no reason to. Before long, competition from rivaling companies will likely bring the price down to a level more comfortable for average consumers.

Since there’s so much information about the Kindle on this site, I’m going to jump straight to the others.

Barnes and Noble eBook Reader

plastic-logic-readerI’m most excited about the reader Barnes & Noble is rumored to release late this year or early next year. As an establish brick and mortar book seller, B&N should have plenty of experience working with publishers. Also, Barnes and Noble is touting an impressive 700,000 titles for their e-Reader.

To make up for the lack of technical experience, they’re bringing in Plastic Logic to develop a very promising e-Reader. The specs I’ve read include a large 8.5 x 11 screen, a thin 1/4 inch construction, touchscreen, and both wired and wireless connectivity.

If Barnes and Noble plays the game right, they should be able to give Amazon some solid competition. You can be sure I’ll post more here as information becomes available.

Apple Tablet e-Reader

apple-tablet-reader-maybeThe next heavy hitter in line is Apple. Given their experience with creating popular gadgets and that little thing called iTunes, I would put Apple at the top of the list… if I new what angle they were playing.

There’s talk that Apple may simply be interested in getting in on the hardware side of things and leaving Amazon and B&N to fight over eBook sales. Considering the fact that Amazon offers a “kindle reader” for the iPhone makes this a real possibility. However, if Apple doesn’t want to play nice and takes the iTunes route for eBook sales, I believe they will be very difficult to overcome.

The Sony e-Reader

Even though Sony was the first to market a true e-Reader, they’ve been playing catch-up ever since Amazon released the Kindle. Recently, though, they’ve been in the spotlight in regards to their digital library. With contributions from Google’s public domain library, Sony now claims to have one million eBooks available.

I wouldn’t count Sony out of the race just yet, but they’ve yet to bounce back from the heavy blow Amazon delivered a few years ago. Maybe their recent increase in available eBooks will get them back into the fight.

Samsung e-Reader

Lastly, there’s Samsung’s entry into the e-Reader market. Samsung recently released their first e-Reader in South Korea with luke-warm reviews. The specs I’ve read include a 5-inch screen, only 512MB of memory (compared the 4GB in the Kindle DX), and currently provides a library of only 2,500 books with more to be added in the coming months.

Samsung is a huge manufacturer and shouldn’t be discounted for their seemingly failed first attempt. They may get things right on the next release (assuming there is one). e-Reader enthusiasts should probably skip the current offerings and keep their eyes open for the next generation.

Amazon’s lofty repair policy was recently humbled. It appears that Amazon will now drop the $200 charge to repair a Kindle 2 or Kindle DX that was cracked due to their “protective” cover.

The leather cover sold by Amazon has the potential to cause a crack in the Kindle if it is opened from the wrong side. In the words of one particular reviewer:

The leather cover locks onto the Kindle with two metal posts. The cover is only intended to be opened from the front. If you inadvertently open the cover from the back, the metal post of the cover will crack the case of the Kindle. Very poor design when a protective device actually causes damage.

It’s nice to see a large company do the right thing, but a bit unfortunate that it took a class action suit to get their attention. Matthew Geise, who is seeking class action status with the lawsuit stated:

Because of the relatively small size of the typical damages, and the modest resources of most consumers, it is unlikely that most Class Members could afford to seek recovery against Amazon on their own. A class action is therefore the only viable, economical and rational means for members of the Class to recover from Amazon for the damages it has caused.

If you’re one of the unfortunate people who have cracked their Kindles by the use of this leather cover, you should contact Amazon. After that, I’d love to hear about your experience by reading your comments.

If you’re looking for an alternative, a couple of really nice covers for the Kindle 2 I’ve seen recently are the M-Edge Prodigy and the OCTO Leather Slip Cover. We’ve also posted more information about protective your Kindle.

Amazon has reduced the price on its second generation Kindle (called Kindle 2 by most folks) to $299. That’s $60 less than the initial price point.

If you’ve been holding out on buying the Kindle, for once, waiting just might have paid off. But it you’re like me, I’d see it as an extra $60 to spend on a nice Kindle cover and some books! :)

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