Q: TCL's new 75-inch 6-Series QLED television appears to be sold out. Is it common for TV makers to replenish inventory at this time of year?
An e-mail from another reader:
Q: On your advice, I decided to buy the Q Acoustics 3020i speakers in white. Unfortunately, they are completely out of stock. What do you think I should do?
A: I wish I had an encouraging answer for either of these questions, but the pandemic is having a massive effect on product availability. The only advice I can offer is a repeat of what I've said before: If you are shopping for something and find it, don't wait. It might not be available later.
I contacted the manufacturers on behalf of these readers.
TCL replied, "We are aware of the limited inventory and are working diligently to get our TVs back on shelves and in customers' homes." The 75-inch 2020 TCL 6-Series is unique, offering both QLED and mini-LED technology for only $1,399. I think the letter writer's best bet is to wait for more to make it to the stores, or, if their budget allows, splurge for the 75-inch TCL 8-Series, an even better TV, on sale for $1,999.
Q Acoustics said, "Yes, we're sold out of the 3020i and very, very low on 3030i stock. We are not expecting stock until January." The 3030i bookshelf speakers are slightly larger than the 3020i and sound very similar, but with deeper bass and a somewhat punchier character. They are $399 per pair. The upgrade is worth it if you don't mind spending a bit more.
Another good option for those who don't need a white finish is the Polk Audio Signature S20, now on sale for $279. It is in stock at polkaudio.com in both the Classic Brown Walnut and Washed Black Walnut finishes, with free shipping and a 60-day return period. The Signature S20 is another very fine $300 speaker, and I have a detailed review of it on my website.
Small speaker a big deal
Ever since I first heard the StormBox Micro speaker, I have been excited to tell readers about it. Listed at $49.99, it is a small, ultra-rugged, dustproof and waterproof Bluetooth speaker. It radiates upward and spreads sound through the room about as effectively as an omnidirectional speaker, and the sound it produces is very good indeed.
It has everything I look for when evaluating speakers, including very clear definition, accurate and rich tone and freedom from distortion. It has fast USB-C charging, a 100-foot Bluetooth range and can be paired with another StormBox Micro for stereo sound.
For me, what really puts it over the top is the integrated mounting strap for attaching to belts, backpacks and bicycle handlebars. I'm sure clever readers can come up with other ways to take it on their action-packed adventures. Until Thursday, you can use the code BTS10DEC to save 20% at tribitaudio.com, bringing the cost under $40 and making a good deal even better.
Send questions to Don Lindich at firstname.lastname@example.org. Get recommendations and read past columns at soundadvicenews.com.