Deal Breakdown: A Wal-Mart GPS Twofer

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I usually avoid two-for-one deals (or “buy one, get the second at half off” deals) for one simple reason: I don’t usually need two of something.

Take the famous Ronco knife set, for example. I love watching those infomercials, but the big “wait, there’s more” moment is that you’ll get two 25-piece knife sets for the price of one. I’m already dubious about the need for 25 knives plus a flavor injector. I’d much prefer they knock a bit more off the price and just give me the one set.

Still, sometimes it makes sense to get two of something. Wal-Mart’s (Stock Quote: WMT) Value of the Day is two TomTom GPS systems for $128, which seems like a solid deal at first glance. Sure, if you only have one car you won’t have much use for two navigation systems. But approximately 60% of American households have two or more cars, and many of these families would benefit from having a system in each car. So how does the deal stack up?

For $128, you get two TomTom One 140S GPS Navigation Systems, which retail separately at Wal-Mart for $99 each. This means you’re getting a $72 value, or 36% off. Looks good so far.

But that $99 figure for each system is only for Wal-Mart, and that same model is available at other retailers. They tell a different story: The best deal we found was $81.57 at Amazon.com (plus free standard shipping, which Wal-Mart also offers).  That means that if you were to buy two of the TomTom units at Amazon it would cost you $163, which is $35 more than the $128 offered at Wal-Mart. So you’re still getting a deal by going with the Wal-Mart bundle, but now it’s only a 21% savings.

Finally, let’s look at the product itself. Customer reviews on Walmart.com were generally positive, with the device scoring an average of 4 out of 5 stars. CNET.com gave it 3.5 out of 5 stars, criticizing its small screen while praising it for “bringing high-end features to an entry-level model without much price bloat.” Consumer Reports is more or less in agreement, and calls it “a good choice for a consumer looking for an entry-level navigator.” This model is more than a year old and lacks features like Bluetooth connectivity, but the general consensus is that it’s a good option for drivers seeking a basic navigation system.

The Verdict: This probably isn’t the slam-dunk deal it initially appears to be, but you’re still saving $35 more than you would at Amazon by buying the Wal-Mart bundle. If you need two portable GPS devices and don’t want to pay for all the bells and whistles of the more high-end options, this is a great deal.

Got a deal you'd like me to break down? Link to it in the comments and I'll see what I can do.

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