Traverse City Record-Eagle

Community News Network

November 22, 2012

Slate: What not to buy on Black Friday

(Continued)

PALO ALTO, Calif —

There's the same problem with the iPad 2, which Apple is selling for $399. Yes, that's less than the newest full-sized iPad ($499), but the iPad 2 lacks that model's amazing high-resolution display. If you want to save money, go with the iPad Mini, which is actually faster than the iPad 2, much more portable, and costs only $329.

And finally, there's the $149 iPod Nano. It's a stylish device, but it lacks what has become a basic necessity for music players-a wireless connection to cloud music services like Pandora or Spotify. The Nano depends on the most annoyingly ancient technology that Apple makes: iTunes. For $129, you can buy an 8GB iPod Touch, which does allow you to connect to the cloud. So the Nano is kind of pointless.

Do buy a non-gargantuan TV.

Deep discounts on big-screen TVs make up many of the loss-leading, stampede-inducing "doorbuster" items you'll find on sale this Friday. In years past, I've advised against buying a TV on Black Friday-the TVs that are on sale sometimes aren't very good, and low prices can encourage you to buy a bigger, fancier TV than you need. And a bigger TV is not always better-if your TV is too big for the room, you may end up sitting so close to it that you'll notice scan lines or other artifacts that you wouldn't see on a smaller tube. (There are widely varying guidelines on a what size screen you should get for your room, but I like CNET's ratio of 1.5-don't get a screen bigger than 1.5 times the distance from your couch to your TV. For instance, if you're sitting 6 feet away, your maximum screen size is 72 inches divided by 1.5, or a 48-inch set.)

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