After ten long years, the first TV I purchased in Panama died. I think it went quietly in its sleep, because one morning it just didn’t respond anymore. RIP!
It was in the forth bedroom and was really a guest TV, so I decided to just move other TVs around and get a larger on for the living room. No sense buying new TV for a room that gets used a couple times a year.
It may be worth sharing my search and cautions for newcomers to Panama.
I have seen some people recommend buying new TVs in the states and shipping them here, the thought being that Panama is not as technology current as the U.S.
I don’t think that is a good idea. It is hard enough to get warranties honored on products purchased in Panama, and a TV bought in the U.S. is even more risky to get warranty work done in Panama.
If I were moving from the U.S. and bringing other things, then I would bring what ever technology I though I would use here. For an individual item or two, it is better to buy here in my opinion.
I do agree that TV technology in Panama is usually out of date, but if the price is right, I don’t mind out of date. I am kind of out of date too, but still function.
For any substantial technology purchase (TV, refrigerator, microwave, etc.), I recommend making at least one comparative search of the primary stores in David. That would include PriceSmart, PanaFoto, AudioFoto, and Multimax.
One thing to remember about buying any electrical product in Panama is that the stores will not be responsible for warranty work following the sale. In the U.S. It is easy to be spoiled because the competition is so stiff that stores usually bend over backwards to keep their customers coming back.
In Panama, once the product is sold, servicing or warranty work belongs to another company. Newcomers to Panama have a hard time understanding this and usually decide to no longer buy from this store or that store because they had bad luck with a product that failed during its warranty and the store wouldn’t take it back.
With TVs there are two exceptions to that. The exceptions are the in house brands of Multimax and Premier. While I haven’t bought any of Premier’s TVs, I have bought a couple of MultiMax Selectron TVs and think they are a good buy for the money. My understanding is that they are built by LG.
I considered another Selectron, but I wanted a larger size than they manufacture.
Lilliam and I buy things differently. She is the type that walks into the store, sees what she likes and buys it. I am the kind of person that turns a technology purchase into a project. I gather models and prices and then research them on the Internet. What I try to accomplish is to purchase the highest quality product at the most reasonable price. I rarely buy the most expensive or the least expensive.
The first couple of TVs I purchased in Panama, I got at PriceSmart. The one that just went out after 10 years of use was the first one I bought at PriceSmart. When I bought it, there was no Plaza Terronal and PriceSmart had the only large selection in town.
I took about a month to pick it out . A year ago, Lilliam bought a Sony at PanaFoto. It took her about 15 minutes to chose.
One thing is for sure, it pays to spend a little time and look at all of the possible stores prior to making a significant purchase.
In this pass, to find the best buy in David, I started at PriceSmart. One set I saw was a curved screen 65″ Samsung selling for $2,500. Out of my price range, but I noted the price and model number.
I then looked at the sets in PanaFoto, Multimax and AudioFoto, in that order. The best prices for the most current models were in AudioFoto. In fact, AudioFoto had the 65″ curved screen Samsung on sale for $1,600 (original price over $3,000). Quite a difference.
I decided on a smaller Samsung also at a significantly reduced price.
After I got permission from Lilliam, I made my purchase. In the end, I bought what Lilliam would have spent 15 minutes choosing. Mars and Venus.
Now that I have it set up, I still believe that “Smart TVs” are a waste of money. I would have been happy without any of the smart functions, but to get best value for the money, I had no choice. The best technology today, is going to include Smart TV functions.
The functions I am using are the On and Off and that is it. I configured my AV Receiver remote to turn on the TV and have put the TV remote in the drawer. My Apple TV presents an easier to use interface and I prefer it to the built in Smart Functions of the Samsung. However, the picture quality is amazing.
So to net out the lessons to be learned about buying technology in Panama:
- Stores don’t provide warranty service after sale. Buy the product – ignore the store.
- All technology will be older than in the U.S.
- It pays to make at least one round of the major stores to compare product and prices.