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Gadget guide: Which electronics are 'in season' and which to avoid

Thinking about some major gadget purchases this summer? It may be the right time to pick up a new TV. An iPhone? It's probably best to wait a bit.

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Just like fruits and vegetables, electronics have seasons – months when they're ripe for the picking or well past their prime. Sure, new TVs are available year-round, but good prices and fresh features often bloom just a few times a year. Good thing that television-set season is right around the corner.

"Certainly, some things are seasonal," says Brian Lam, editor of TheWirecutter.com, an ever-updating list of specific tech recommendations. Mr. Lam digs into devices – tablets, printers, juicers – and awards a "best of" for each group.

He says that several gadget categories stay dormant for long periods of time. Early in that phase, shoppers can make well-informed decisions about which item is right for them. But as the months roll by, most people are better off waiting.

"For certain items, it's worth saying, 'Don't buy this stuff rightnow,' " says Lam.

With spring winding down, here's a buyer's guide to which gadgets are in season and which to avoid.

Televisions: Nearly ripe. TVs are one of the most seasonal devices. Prices dip during the winter holidays and rise right before the Super Bowl. But if you're in the market for a TV now, Lam says that you should wait until the end of May.

By then, most of the 2012 lineup will be on store shelves and in the hands of reviewers.

Overall, 2012 seems to be a good year to buy a television. "The price of TVs has never been better," says Steve Koenig, director of industry analysis at the Consumer Electronics Association.

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