Hey Dave. When it comes to tech stuff, even in the names that I read in product reviews on your blog, there are all of these companies I’ve never heard of. How do I know if what they’re making is any good?
Today’s mass market has so many options to choose from for technology. No longer is it just Sony, Pioneer, HP and Sharp making the household technology, but there are a lot of other names hitting the market like GMX, Vizio and Scepte. You may never have heard of these companies before. The question that often comes up is, am I getting less of a product because it has less of a name?
First off, let me point out that most technology you are buying today comes with a whole lot more features than you will ever use. TV’s come with 8-10 video/audio inputs, Computers come with 450 times more horsepower than we had when we put the first man on the moon, and digital cameras can take pictures up to 25 megapixels in quality now. Retailers love to sell you on these types of features, but you have to ask yourself: are you even going to use these features? This is important to do before you start grading one product to another.
Name brand does carry history, support, and proven longevity of the business. However, it does not necessarily mean the product is any better than another name you might not have heard of before. Did you know that HTC, and I-mate make about 70% of all the Windows based (Pocket PC) phones that Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T sell? You never see HTC or I-Mate on the phone though because it has been rebranded under the carrier’s name so they can sell it as their own phone. Often this same practice goes for TVs, Stereos and other electronic equipment as well. So… if this is the case, then how do you really know what you are getting for your money?
Name brand is also something that most people associate with quality, but without doing thorough research on the actual manufacturer and public opinion of the product, it is probably not accurate to judge one piece of technology to another simply based on name.
Wikipedia defines value as “the economic value of something is how much a desired object or condition is worth relative to other objects or conditions.” Based on this, we can surmise that value is simply based on what you believe you are getting for your money, and I believe that you do get more for your money when you can buy a good product with less of a name than Sony or Pioneer. Of course there is some risk associated with choosing a product that may not have been around as long as the “name brand” manufacturer, but again, is up to you how important that feature is. If you can buy a name brand product for equal or a lesser price than another product without a name, and they have equivalent technical specifications, then of course, your best value is the “name brand” product.
In the end, value comes down to your perception, history and perceived value of a product based on any number of qualifications you deem important to your life. There is no absolute definition that can be written that would guide you to any one product for sure. A healthy dose of research and public opinion will typically steer you in the right direction to making a wise decision. Most importantly though, do not let name brand, social pressure of buying a name brand, or the “deal of the day” be the major factor that guides you into your purchasing decisions. Making your decisions based on whether or not the product fits what you’re looking for, you should come out just fine in the end, while getting a product that is the right price, with the features that are important to you and your life.