If you’re shopping around for a TV, computer, camera, or other consumer electronics gadget, you may want to add Gazaro to your online toolbox. The service, which is free but requires registration, tracks items that are listed on sale, then rates the sale price by comparing it to the item’s pricing history. It’s an easy way to quickly scan a list of current sales and see which ones are actually good deals. We like it, but there are still some areas that could be improved.
First, here’s what’s cool about the service. It makes comparing the “real” value of a sale price easy. It has an uncluttered layout (fig. 1), and the ratings badges are simple and clear. The “Price Trending” data is a terrific way to quickly see whether or not the store is really offering a good deal. You can filter results by score, by date, and by store, to help make searching more useful.
Now here’s what needs work.
The search interface is far too simplified for some of the categories. Check out your filtering options when you type “pc” in the product box (fig. 2). As you can see, there’s no way to set up categories for operating systems, processor speeds, hard drives, or any other specs that matter to someone shopping for a PC. We’re optimistic that this will be improved as the site grows, based on the detailed filtering they offer in some categories (LCD TVs, for example), but currently it casts too wide a net for some searches.
While you can filter searches by manufacturer if you set up a custom product category, you have to do it using the interface shown in fig. 2. In other words, you can’t filter out manufacturers once the search results are displayed.
It looks like, as of now, they’re only pulling data from 14 stores, but that list includes the big players such as Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Buy.com, Newegg, Geeks.com, and J&R. We want more stores. We want every store. We know this is unlikely to happen but it’s what we want. And it would be nice to see shipping included in the total price, a la DealRam. (We also want more product categories, but Gazaro says it’s already addressing that.)
Finally, Gazaro focuses
solely on comparing the current price to past prices, so the deal it ranks highest may be for a subpar device that no savvy shopper would touch. In the Digital Picture Frame search, for example, the frame that ranks a 9.7 score (almost perfect) is an off-brand, low-rez frame with a mediocre rating from Amazon customers.
Update: Gazaro notes that “the deal score (e.g. 9.7) factors in a bunch [of] market-oriented indicators as well,” not just pricing history.
Bottom line: You’ll still have to do your own research on quality and usability, but Gazaro is a good way to provide more insight into the price.