When browsing tech products from a brick-and-mortar store, you will eventually encounter helpful employees seeking to aid you in your search.
You may even seek out their expert advice if you are looking to buy a product that you are not familiar with.
These salespeople are usually happy to churn out advice and explanations, but how much do they really know about the technology they are selling?
To determine the level of technical expertise shown by tech store employees, MyBroadband visited a number of physical stores and asked employees a set of specific technical questions.
The questions we asked each store employee are listed below:
- Question 1 – What is the difference between a modem and a router?
- Question 2 – What is the difference between Full HD and Ultra HD?
- Question 3 – What is the difference between Ultra HD and 4K?
- Question 4 – What is the difference between LCD LED and OLED displays?
Most of these questions are relatively simple for those who keep up to date with modern technology, but a layperson might not be able to fully answer these questions.
The question regarding the difference between 4K and Ultra HD could also be tricky for those not familiar with the resolutions’ official definitions.
An employee from Makro, Dion Wired, Incredible Connection, Matrix Warehouse, Game, and a Samsung Store was asked these questions as we posed as customers, and their responses are detailed below.
The employee said there is no difference between a modem and a router.
He attributed the difference between Full HD and Ultra HD to the age of the technology, stating that “Ultra HD is the newer version with much better picture quality”.
The employee said there was no difference between Ultra HD and 4K displays, and said that OLED displays are better than LCD panels as they are “the new thin TVs that have much smaller LEDs in the TV, which gives the best picture quality”.
“The router is the part that gives you Wi-Fi functionality, where the modem is the part that you need to connect to an Internet connection,” the Matrix Warehouse employee explained.
He stated that Full HD panels have a standard 1080p resolution and that Ultra HD is a better-quality display that delivers 4K resolution, adding that there is no difference between Ultra HD and 4K displays.
The employee was not able to answer the question relating to LCD and OLED displays as he wasn’t sure of the difference.
The Dion Wired employee we spoke to did not know the difference between a modem and a router.
He said the difference between Full HD and Ultra HD is that Full HD “has a smaller resolution”, and that the quality of an Ultra HD display is four-times better than Full HD.
The employee added that Ultra HD and 4K displays are “the same thing”.
He stated that OLED stands for “Organic LED” and does not make use of any backlight, instead producing light directly from the panel, and he added that LCD LED panels make use of many LEDs in the back panel to produce light for the display.
An Incredible Connection employee called a modem and a router “basically the same thing”.
“You will find some that are just called router, and others are called modem/router, but it’s the same thing – just different ways of naming it.”
Another employee said that an Ultra HD display has three-times better resolution than Full HD.
This employee also said that 4K was better than Ultra HD and Full HD, saying it was “basically like combining the two to get a much clearer picture”.
They said that OLED and LCD LED panels produce different image qualities and colours, but provided no technical information.
A Game employee told MyBroadband that a router routes signals and a modem converts signals from the Internet connection to be used by other devices.
Another employee said Full HD panels feature 2 million pixels while Ultra HD displays have 4 million pixels, which gives the image four-times better quality.
He said that Ultra HD and 4K are exactly the same, and could not provide a technical answer for the question regarding OLED panels.
“OLED takes the picture and puts it straight on to the screen,” the employee said. “It gives much bluer blues and better picture than the LED displays.”
The Samsung employee said Full HD is a much brighter display that is not as sharp or clear as Ultra HD, and that the latter has a better resolution.
The employee said there is no difference between Ultra HD and 4K.
A different employee explained that OLED is Organic LED, which he said has a much shorter lifespan than QLED, adding that OLED makes use of a single panel for light and that it was more susceptible to burn-in.
We did not ask router and modem-related questions of the employees at the Samsung Store.