Consumer Electronics Buying Tips: Download the User Manual First Part 1

Category: Tech Today

The best way to determine if a product or device right for you is by trying it out first. "Showrooming", which is the practice of checking out products at the retailer before buying it online, is an unfair but very real practice. I understand why so many people do it - any electronic product is a long-term investment. On the other hand, there are lots of other ways to try out devices without showrooming. I'm fortunate enough to occasionally get my hands on prototypes, but most people have friends they can borrow a device from for a few hours (it's amazing how many people with disposable income buy several tablets and smartphones). As long as you know what you're looking for in a product, a few hours with a well-used or previous version of a device (or even a new one) can help you make a decision if a product is worth your money. I have mixed feelings about depending on online reviews in blogs (including mine) and consumer websites such as CNET and PCWorld. There are very intelligent well-written product reviews out there but 80-90% of reviews, particularly in consumer websites, are pretty narrow minded, technically inaccurate and biased. What I look for in communication devices, for example, are very different from most users out there (which is one of the reasons why my web site is called Unsolicited But Offered).

Exerpt from the Kindle Paper White User Guide PDF provided by

The advice RTFM (Read the F*ucking Manual) is no longer quite applicable today when tablets and smartphones come with apps that don't include (or need) a .CHM help file or an interactive guide. As a technical writer who works with consumer electronics, I'm fully aware how irrelevant documentation is in a lot of software and hardware available in the market today. Having also worked in technical support for many, many years, however, I pray that mainstream users do their homework first before shelling out their money or adding a product to their Amazon shopping cart.

Why read the User Guide before buying?

I read product reviews regularly from different online sources and many of those found in Amazon, Newegg and other shopping sites can be quite entertaining. Users who purchase products complain about button placement, "missing" settings, weight and screen size. A well-known smartphone review site had a "professional" reviewer ranting about apps in a Windows Phone 8 product and how he couldn't perform tasks he could execute in Android or iOS (it was a terribly written and close-minded review). Downloading and reviewing the user manual and guide helps remove many preconceived notions about a product. You don't have to read the whole manual - if you know what you are looking for then skip to the sections that are important to you. Moreover, a user guide helps you distinguish facts from opinions or brand association (e.g. Apple Macbook's have better hardware components than everything else in the market).

Excerpt from the Smart 3D Blu-Ray Home Theater System Owner's Manual PDF provided by LG (

Continued in Consumer Electronics Buying Tips: Download the User Manual First Part 2


  1. I think that when we want to purchase electronics then we should think
    about the our need and purchasing a them and you have shared useful guidance for buying electronics.

    PC Richard & Son


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Quick Fix: MS Office Click to Run and CPU usage

Notes on UPnP/DLNA media streaming with Windows 10

Vivosmart HR: Setting up Notifications and Music Controls Part 1