If you’re in the market for a new laptop, read this first. There are important features to consider beyond price, and they can impact the quality of your experience. Let’s face it, we all care about money. Nothing causes buyer’s remorse as much as seeing the shiny new laptop you bought for $1,200 go on sale a week later for $800. It’s also maddening to buy a pricey new device in August and then watch as a new and improved version that’s faster and more advanced is released in January.
Purpose matters. The first question to consider is always the purpose of your laptop. For instance, do you want to start an online business like dropshipping with it? Consider the following uses for your laptop.
- Light use: Surfing the Web, social networking, email, paying bills online, organizing and sharing photos.
- Average use: Streaming and storing movies and music and tasks like document creation or using other common software for spreadsheets, etc.
- Demanding use: Using multiple programs and tabs simultaneously, high tech photo editing and graphics such as creating videos. More demanding users will need to spend a little more for a higher resolution screen, a speedy processor, a larger hard drive, and more memory.
Size and weight matters.
Today’s laptop models range from very lightweight, ultraportables that barely weigh two pounds for business travelers to the gaming giant styles that can weigh more than 10 pounds. Generally, the heavier the laptop, the larger the screen and the sturdier it will be.
Screen sizes vary from 12 – 17 inches, with the sweet spot for most users being the 14-15 inch screens. This size strikes a balance between weight and portability. They weigh a few more pounds than the 12-13 inch screens, but reading is easier on a larger screen, there’s more room for various ports, the internal components are better, and they offer extra battery cells. They’re easy to carry around your office or your home, but for frequent travelers, the 12-13 inch screens are probably a better choice.
Style matters, too.
Some are touch-enabled PCs like a slate tablet that come equipped with hardware keyboards making them notebook-style. Some laptops are folding tablets with hinges. The good news is there’s so much variety to choose from. The bad news is there’s so much variety to choose from–it can be touch to pick just one.
Battery life matters.
Often, a battery is an expensive part to replace on a laptop, and since they’re portable, the longer they maintain their charge, the better for users who move around a lot with their unit. Review the product’s statements about its battery life.
Does the laptop “feel” right? The laptop should feel sturdy. Clasps and hinges should feel sturdy enough to hold up with use. Typically, laptops are made from aluminums and/or plastics but they still need to feel adequately firm and lightweight. The mouse buttons and trackpad should let you to click, scroll, and zoom. Try typing on the keyboard to see if it’s comfortable and includes 10-key if you’re going to be needing that for data entry. Review product pages to see what other users think of the unit you’re considering. In this case, feel might be more important than cost.
Buying at the right time can save you money.
The best time to buy a laptop is when you need it. However, if your current laptop is functioning but getting slow, waiting strategically for sales is a good idea. If you’re waiting for a new model, the major manufacturers release their new laptops at three times of year: back-to-school season from June to September, holiday season from September to December, and in the spring from February to April. New models usually ship at the beginning or middle of these windows. The best deals, however, tend to be in July- August and November-December at the heart of school and holiday shopping.
Security and software matter. Be sure to ask about virus protection against malware attacks before you purchase a laptop. A good virus protection system will give you peace of mind and prevent all the headaches that come with turning your laptop over to IT support, not to see it again until a month later. Computer security becomes more important with every passing year, especially since so many of us do our banking and other buying on-line.