Buying a new computer can feel a bit like looking for a new house. There are so many to choose from and so many specs that you’re not even sure about. However, none of us want to end up with a computer that’s not going to meet our needs. Especially since computers are not cheap. Here are a few tips to buying the computer you need or want with confidence.
- Know Your Speed – Do you need or want your computer to be fast? As in, do you want pages to load quickly and files to load in the blink of an eye? Then you’ll want to make sure your processor is a good one. There are two main types of processors, dual core and quad core. If you want fast, you want the quad core. It should tell you the type of processor on the basic specs sticker in the store or online. There will also be a number that can go along with it such as i3, i5, i7, etc. The bigger the number the more expensive however, the quicker it is. I currently have a quad core i5 processor and it’s plenty fast for me. If you don’t need your computer at lightning speed, save a bit of money and go for a more basic processor.
- How Much Storage Do You Need? – If you keep everything on your computer like thousands of pictures, then you’ll want plenty of storage space. You can easily get 1 TB of storage space on a laptop these days which should be plenty. If it’s not, I would love to talk to you to see what in the world you do for a living or for your hobbies. 😉 Either way, peek at the memory/storage to make sure it will suit you.
- Mac or PC? – A Mac can be rewarding for the right people with the right interests. I can’t handle one because I’m so used to the normal PCs but I’ve heard they’re not difficult to learn. If you’ve never used a Mac, I would stick to your PC. It’s reliable and MUCH cheaper, let me tell you. However, if you’re someone who does a lot of photography, videography, or sound recording, a Mac is the better choice.
- Screen Size – The standard laptop is 15.6 inches in size. If you see a computer online and think, wow, that’s a great price. Check the screen size, that’s where they get you. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like squinting at a tiny screen like I’m working on a larger cell phone. However, everyone has their preference. Do you mind a smaller screen? If not, save money in that area and go for a smaller screen.
- Pricing – Many of us will settle for the computer that’s $200 less. However, we have no idea what we’re missing when we’re willing to pay the extra $200. Often, it’s a better computer that will last longer and come with more specs that are more useful than we realize. I had a friend who just recently bought a computer, went cheaper, took it back, went more expensive, and is in love. Expensive isn’t always better but if you’re like me and enjoy the extras, it’s worth it. My computer is my daily tool that I’ll be using for years to come so I like to get something I truly will enjoy. Also, many stores price match now so be sure to check around and save some money that way when purchasing.
- Reviews – Reviews, when read one at a time, need to be taken with a grain of salt. However, if you see that 200 people have bought the computer and a lot of them have some of the same complaints and ratings for it, be sure you’re ok with the computer’s issue before buying it. Always check reviews on the computer you’re buying. I didn’t on my last laptop and I truly wish I had because I got screwed over on it. Reviews will usually answer your doubts for you.
- Do I Need That? – I know I was just tooting my horn about loving extras but you will find that there are some extras that just aren’t worth the extra money. Had a friend who was excited about the touch screen on her laptop only to find out that’s it’s not practical at all. She can rarely use it. Everyone is different so make sure the extra you’re paying isn’t for something you’re never going to use.
- Windows and Other Programs – Most computers come preloaded with programs. Windows is almost always the main software you will be dealing with. There are multiple versions of Windows that could be on the computer so if you prefer one over the other, check to see which one your computer will come with. It’s a pretty penny to switch to a different one. I don’t mind Windows 10 but some people don’t enjoy it. I will say that you should steer clear of Windows 8 (not 8.1) it’s not user-friendly and it was a bust. Trust me on this one.
Computers can be a tricky purchase. However, if you take a minute to write down what is the most important to you in a computer, finding one becomes a lot easier. Be sure you’re honest with yourself about what the computer will be used for most. Sometimes focusing on that aspect alone gives us a good idea of what direction we need to go when buying a new computer.