CES 2013 closed with a bang — more than 150,000 people attended the U.S. consumer electronics show in Las Vegas, a new attendance record. But how long will it take for the just-announced products to get to stores, and more importantly, when might electronics aficionados see price cuts?
Keep in mind that some of the more-spectacular technological offerings are still just prototypes, such as LG's 55-inch, curved OLED TV and Panasonic's made-for-giants 20-inch tablet, and may never make it to market. Meanwhile, other items, such as Samsung's glorious 110-inch Ultra HD TV that will likely cost more than $25,000, would remain beyond the reach of most Americans even at half that price.
But there are plenty of products poised to land on store shelves over the next several months. Laptops, smartphones and HDTVs may get discounted, but some product categories tend to see price cuts sooner than others.
"Unfortunately, it appears as if the flashy laptop stars of CES take a long time before they receive any discounts, ranging from four to nine months," Louis Ramirez, a writer for DealNews.com, said in today's (Jan. 14) post. "As a result, penny pinchers might want to bypass trendy CES laptops and instead look for solid deals on last year's models."
When buying those older models, you'll miss out on higher-resolution displays and touchscreens . If you can wait until late summer, though, when many new laptops get discounted during back-to-school season, watch for Vizio's 14- and 15.6-inch Thin + Light Touch laptops, which are expected this spring. Each has a 2.3-GHz quad-core processor, 8GB of RAM, a 128GB SSD and better battery life than last year's seven-hour units. (Prices were not announced.)
Smartphones get discounted sooner than other electronics, according to DealNews. However, you'll have to wait another two months or so for most smartphone launch announcements, which typically happen at the end of February at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
The exception was Sony's Xperia Z smartphone, which caused a literal splash. This new phone can stream music underwater and features a 13-megapixel camera, 5-inch full HD display and a quad-core processor. The Xperia Z was voted the best smartphone of CES 2013 by TechNewsDaily sister site, LAPTOP Magazine. The phone will launch Feb. 28.
"Finding deals on new smartphones doesn't take long," Ramirez said. "Your best bet is to wait a few weeks, as chances are high you'll see some sort of discount soon after its debut."
The deal cycle for HDTVs are less predictable, but DealNews has encouraging news based on last year's sales. For instance, Panasonic released a Viera 50-inch, 3D plasma TV in March 2011 for $1,799, and by June, the price had dropped 31 percent to $1,250.
Keep an eye on Westinghouse, too, which announced Roku-ready LED TVs. In these devices, the $99 Roku USB stock provides the Internet connection, which should mean a lower price on these HDTVs. Further, since Westinghouse doesn't run with the big boys like Samsung and Sony, discounts may happen earlier in the year than on new models from better-known TV manufacturers.
However, DealNews also recommends buying last year's HDTV models to find the best values. And when it comes to the dizzying array of monstrous 4K and Ultra HD TVs, it will be years before prices become accessible and content is produced in the new, higher-resolution formats.