TODAY   |  March 11, 2013

Is buying ‘refurbished’ electronics a good idea?

TODAY digital lifestyle contributor Mario Armstrong tackles a few of viewers’ most pressing technology questions, including whether buying pre-owned computers and printers is a smart choice and which wireless speakers are best for iPad and iPhone use.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we are back at 8:45 on today's tech answers to your pressing questions from our resident textpert, mario armstrong is today's digital lifestyle contributeor. welcome back. good to tee you.

>> good to see you matt.

>> boy the mailbox is overflowing so let's get to them.

>> it's full.

>> karen in grantsville, utah writes, what exactly does refurbished mean and is it a good idea to buy a refurbished printer, laptop or scanner? what does the term refurbished mean?

>> that right off the bat is confusion. it could mean used, it could mean new parts, it could mean a variety of different things. the bottom line is it's supposed to be a refreshed device, meaning they've checked all the software and hardware and made sure it can work.

>> you have a refurbished laptop with protective case. it looks like it's in great shape, a couple of nicks on it. how do we know what they've done?

>> the only way you can know, when you purchase it you see exactly what's upgraded. this is a stony vaio updated with windows 8. on the bottom you see the tag that says refurbished so you know this is a refurbished device.

>> do i get a warranty?

>> you get a shorter warranty. that's why i recommend buying from the manufacturer, if you're going to do refurbished get it from the manufacturer.

>> what money can i expect to save on a refurbished printer or scanner?

>> about $100 to $ 00, it's not huge but enough for a lot of people.

>> move down the table, a question about speaker systems from matt in baltimore, what are the best blue tooth /wireless home speaker systems that are operable via ipad, iphone, et cetera . sonos seems easy and gets a lot of the headlines. but what do you think?

>> sonos deserves a lot of the headlines. apple has air play, sony has network devices but sonos does something in its own league. this is perfect for the person who wants to listen to music in multiple rooms and control it from their ipad or android device. you can have a speaker in the basement playing jazz and another speaker upstairs in the kids room playing hip-hop or whatever.

>> what if i already have a sound system in my home, can this be an add-on in.

>> yes, this system is so flexible. it's not cheap, talkings about 299 to get started, but if you have sound speakers and want it wirelessly, add sonos you're good to go.

>> the bad news is sometimes there's interference so when i start using my sonos my garage door is not going to start opening and closing.

>> you won't have the microwave go off or if you get a phone call will you hear the feedback, no. this is over wifi. it sounds great so i'm really impressed with sonos .

>> this one mike from new york city writes how's microsoft doing with surface? i haven't heard a peep about it since their launch.

>> a peep, huh?

>> what do you think?

>> surface started off with a little bumpy road. people were misinformed and didn't understand exactly what it can do.

>> what can it do?

>> two devices came out, the rt model, perfect for someone looking for a tablet and wants a windows tablet. if you're looking to do something more like actual office applications , and things of that nature you want to look at something called the pro, it will be able to pull up pour point, e-mail, outlook, a bunch of things you can still do here but better and faster. this is like having a laptop and a tablet.

>> finally, melinda from kirkwood, missouri, i recently saw your segment on a device that goes on your keychain and it protects your phone. what was it called and how does it work?

>> it's called the zom like a wireless leash. it can go on your key chain , purse or pocket. it connects to your phone, because the idea is it connects to your phone.

>> savannah just walked off with it.

>> bye.

>> blue tooth .

>> it's vibrating.

>> she walks 30 feet away from the device the device makes an asible noise and vibrates.

>> she knows she left her phone behind.

>> if you're at a restaurant, you walk away from it, it's beeping.

>> you like that?

>> 69 bucks t has a panic button.

>> your baby is crying, there.

>> there you go. savannah thank you. mario thank you very much. i appreciate it. if you have a question for mario head to our website at