TigerDirect was founded in 1987 and incorporated in 1989 as a distributor of software for both PC and Apple computers. TigerDirect eventually expanded its business and became known as an online distributor of products for building computers in the 1990s. The website was launched in 1996, selling computers, electronics, books on electronics, and software. The website was one of the first that was pushed towards the “Do-It-Yourself” market. They have an extensive area of their website that is geared towards the home computer “do-it-yourself” expert.
- For DIY computer builders
- Daily deals
- Marine products
TigerDirect is the ultimate experience for the Do-It-Yourself home computer builder. Here are some of the neat products that we found on the website aimed towards the DIY experience:
- Shuttle XPC SH87R: For $254.99, the Shuttle SH87R doesn't have a motherboard or hard drive, but has PCI slots for cards and other components.
- Motherboards, customers could get a performance-level motherboard for $50-$199.
- Solid State Drives for computing speed allowed a computer builder to get a 512 GB drive for around $500.
TigerDirect also has some great daily deals. We found a ProScan Android Tablet for $39.99. This product, after the rebate, comes with 8 GB of Flash Storage, as well as a carrying case and keyboard kit. The deal is great because the tablet is also outfitted with the latest version of the KitKat Android operating system.
The software selection for TigerDirect was pretty good, as we were happy to see that there was a version of Adobe Photoshop CS6 Extended. We weren't able to find a version of Photoshop with Newegg.
We saw some marine products advertised through TigerDirect that weren't available through other online storefronts. Here are some of the marine products that we found on TigerDirect:
- Boat Outfitting
- Marine Audio
- Marine Safety
- Trolling Motors
- Navigation and Location
TigerDirect also offered some good tablet gaming options. In additions to tons of games and hardware for the traditional gamer, there is also the latest Shield tablet. The Nvidia Shield Tablet was a great fit for the on-the-go-gamer, with Android 5.0 Lollipop, a great processor, 4G LTE connectivity, and a 5MP camera setup, all for $399.99. This is a great product, because it lets users connect to a home PC and play all of their favorite PC games, in addition to several different games available through the Google Play Store. The advertised computer for streaming PC games is GeForce GTX PC.
- No Apple computers
- Lack of FAQ
Where are the Apple computers? When we reviewed TigerDirect's directory of computing resources, we saw hundreds of different PC models and barebone kits. However, we didn't find any Apple computers, including MacBooks, iMacs, and Mac Minis. For example, the Mac Pro is the latest, hottest desktop on the Apple market and can play many of the games that are available for PC. We felt that TigerDirect would benefit for customers if they sold Apple computers on their website.
Another problem with the website involved the lack of a knowledge base for the do-it-yourself computer builder. A first-time DIY computer builder might benefit from a checklist of items needed to build their own computer, as well as special toolkits for assembling their home computer. To further enhance the barebone kits, there needs to be a separate category for barebone kits and complete computer building kits. There was some overlap between the do-it-yourself categories, and this was indicated by the review where an individual purchased a motherboard with RAM that didn't work. A user needs to know if they are purchasing a kit without a motherboard or a combination package with the body of the computer and necessary components.
We also felt that TigerDirect's return policy wasn't very good. There are no returns accepted. All sales are final.
The Bottom Line
We would recommend TigerDirect as an online electronics storefront. Here is what we liked:
- The Do-It-Yourself marketing paradigm and the wide array of kits and computer devices available.
- The multiple layers of customer support available for customers.
- Tiger Direct's wide selection of merchandise, which included everything from marine outboard motors for boats to toys.
- The gaming tablet that was available from Nvidia, as well as the tablet's accessories (sold separately).
We did have some concerns with some aspects of TigerDirect's products and services:
- No returns are accepted. ALL SALES ARE FINAL.
- There wasn't a knowledge base for customers who might want to build their own computer.
- We'd like to see Apple computers as part of Tiger Direct's product directory.
- Tiger Direct doesn't have a marketplace for frequent customers, as we found with Best Buy and Newegg, as well as other companies.
Read the fine print when purchasing products from TigerDirect, but the high number of quality items should attract most computer buyers.