Does Groupon have good deals on tech?

The coupon site obviously scores you big savings on restaurants and canvas prints, but how do its tech deals stack up?

This Polaroid camera sells elsewhere for at least $50 more -- but are all Groupon tech deals this good?
This Polaroid camera sells elsewhere for at least $50 more -- but are all Groupon tech deals this good? Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

I like Groupon. Oh, who am I kidding, I love Groupon. LivingSocial, too. And even DealChicken, despite it having the name DealChicken.

I've used these services to score some pretty fantastic deals on restaurants, vacations, fun family outings, and the like.

Recently, Groupon, Google Offers, and LivingSocial (among others) have started offering goods along with services, some of which are tech items.

Ah, but are those goods good deals? Given the often-substantial savings you get on three-course Italian dinners and gallery-wrapped photos canvases, you might just blindly assume that Groupon's tech discounts are equally substantial. (Call it the Costco effect: shoppers instinctively believe the membership warehouse has the lowest prices on TVs, ink cartridges, laptops, etc. -- but that's rarely the case.)

Let's take a look at some of the current tech gadgets available from these sites and see how they rate.

First up, for the next two days, Groupon has the Sony Tablet S (16GB) for $299, plus $10 for shipping. Deal or no deal?

Verdict: Average deal. J&R sells the Sony Tablet S for $299.99 shipped. Both prices are pretty good for a new 10-inch Android tablet, especially one that sold for $500 when it debuted less than a year ago.

Next, for one more day, LivingSocial has the Altec Lansing Octiv Stage MP450 iPad speaker dock for $52, plus $7.99 for shipping. Deal or no deal?

Verdict: No deal. Amazon sells the MP450 for $46.43 shipped. And the dock has fairly mediocre reviews -- or at least it did when it was first reviewed at its $149.99 list price . For one-third the money, it's probably worth a look. (Just not from LivingSocial.)

Google Offers has a decent price on this VHS-to-DVD converter -- but it's an old version of the product.
Google Offers has a decent price on this VHS-to-DVD converter -- but it's an old version of the product. Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Google Offers has the Honest Technology VHS to DVD 4.0 Deluxe for $35 shipped. This video-transfer kit can copy video from your VCR to your PC (and, ultimately, DVDs). Deal or no deal?

Verdict: Iffy deal. Although the price isn't bad, this 4.0 version is old and discontinued. VHS to DVD 5.0 Deluxe sells for $52 at Amazon.

Finally, Groupon has the Polaroid Z340 Instant Digital Camera for $189 shipped. This popular, fairly new product combines a 14-megapixel camera with a zero-ink (ZINK) printer. Deal or no deal?

Verdict: Deal! Amazon's price on the Polaroid Z340: $243.95. You might also want to consider the Groupon offer of the Z340 with 100 sheets of 3x4 ZINK paper for $229 (i.e. an extra $40); that same 100 sheets would run you $57.49 at Amazon.

As you've no doubt guessed by now, Groupon and other daily-deal sites don't always have the best prices on tech gear -- though sometimes you can indeed score a solid deal. As with anything else you buy, always shop around first.

Did you save a small fortune (or perhaps a large one) on a tech item through Groupon or one of its brethren? Tell me about it in the comments!

 

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