When it comes to gadgets, putting one over on the average joe is not all that difficult. Just throw a bunch of meaningless specs out there and reel em' in. So what is a poor, defenseless consumer to do when they step into their local electronics store? Fear not—the guys at Popsci have put together a list of 5 common gadget "myths" that shoppers should keep in mind when heading out to make that big purchase.
&bull 1080p is a must for an HDTV: The advice here closely follows what we have already discussed in a broader sense with the recent article The 10 Worst HDTV Ripoffs Explained. Namely, if you are buying an HDTV under 42-47 inches, you would have to be friggin' eagle eye to notice a quality difference over 720p.
&bull Megapixels matter most: The image quality of a digital camera depends on a number of factors—which is why you can find 6 megapixel cameras that are better than some 10 megapixel cameras.
&bull A 5.1 (or 7.1) surround sound system is essential: Average joes often buy things they don't need because some commercial or salesman said it was the best thing going. Unless you are a major audiophile, you probably won't notice the difference between a beefy surround system and a pair of nice speakers. In fact, studies show as many as 50% of home theatre buyers don't even hook up their surround sound properly.
&bull Turning your computer on and off shortens its life: The debate will probably continue to rage on this one, but power surges and damaged parts resulting from turning your computer on and off frequently don't seem to have much validity.
&bull Solid State Drives (SSDs) are a miracle: Again, this one is a matter of preference, but the crux of Popsci's argument seems to be that SSDs are not quite ready for primetime. Even if that is true, they still have a promising future.
Now that you have been armed with some knowledge, hit the stores and show those salesman that you are not going to fall for their fancy talk—or pass it along to someone who probably needs it. I know my mum could use this info. Hit the Popsci link for more details. [Popsci]