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Last updated on August 21, 2021
It can be hard to keep up with the increasing speed of life, unless you are connected with your own computer. Desktops are great for working from home, but if you are a small business owner, a student or an independent contractor, it can be vital to buy a laptop as part of your daily equipment.
With the speed of technology increasing everyday, it can seem like as soon as you buy something, it is already being replaced by the next generation. When you are looking to buy a laptop for yourself and you want to get the best deal, trying to sort through the options can be overwhelming. For students especially, cost is a huge issue. No one wants to drop a bundle on something that will be obsolete before you have even finished paying for it.
So how can you get what you need, ensure a reasonable level of quality and still save money? Do your research. With so many available options out there for buying a laptop it may take some time to sort through them all. Following the steps that we have outlined for you here will help you stay focused on your search for the best laptop at the best price for you.
Computer shopping is one of those expenses that you can put off for a long time; your old computer still works (sort of), it’s a big expense, and there are an intimidating number of options. Here are a few tips to make your computer-buying experience as painless and money-saving as possible.
In This Post:
Decide Whether It’s Worth Buying New
If all you want is basic functionality—web browsing, writing up documents and spreadsheets, streaming video—then there is really no reason to buy new. If your computer was manufactured in the last four or five years and is having trouble performing these basic tasks, it should probably be repaired rather than replaced.
If your computer is older than that, consider buying a one- or two-year-old desktop from a repair shop or Craigslist. Even if you buy a “lemon”, it’s still cheaper to replace malfunctioning hardware or clean out malware than it is to buy new.
Reasons you might want to buy new:
- If you use your computer for more hardware-intensive processes like 3D graphics, video editing, or gaming, it’s worth your time to look into a new computer.
- If you’re interested in buying a laptop, upgrades and repairs are often expensive or impossible—so it pays to buy new.
Know The Market
Laptops come with a wide variety of options. You will need to consider how much power, memory space and what kind of battery power you will need to meet your specific needs. There are hundreds of review sites online that can help you narrow down what you are looking for. Compare not only the prices but the available hardware, support and warranties that come with each laptop. These things may seem secondary, but in reality, can save you some money down the line. Find out what products are launching soon so that you don’t miss out on any products that you may be interested in.
Consider Upgrades Instead of Replacement
If your desktop is a few years old and starting to show its age, there are plenty of relatively inexpensive upgrades that can bring your computer back from the dead.
- Install additional RAM, which will allow your computer to do more at once, avoiding the slowing or freezing that afflicts older computers.
- Purchase an internal or external hard drive, which will make room for the growing quantity of video, music, and games that can quickly fill up your computer.
- Install a new video card. This is a more expensive upgrade, but it can make a world of difference for computers that have trouble keeping up with recent gaming releases, or any other programs that render 3D environments.
Knowing whether to upgrade or replace is a judgment call; not all upgrades will provide the change in performance you’re hoping for, and if it doesn’t work, you might dump hundreds of dollars into a computer that you’ll have to replace anyway. If the price of your upgrades is more than half the price of buying new, avoid the uncertainty and just take your old machine to an e-waste processing center or electronics trade-in website.
Don’t Need Portability? Go for a Desktop
While the big advertising war is taking place over notebooks, ultrabooks, and tablets, desktop computers provide the biggest bang for your buck in terms of performance, longevity, and price. While components are becoming smaller every year, bigger is still better—desktops pack faster processors, better graphics cards, and larger displays than laptops, and they cost hundreds of dollars less.
They’re also much easier to upgrade than laptops, so you can keep them kicking for a year or two longer by replacing components. If your computer is just going to sit in your home office tethered to the wall, save some money and get a desktop.
If you’re a college student, or you take the bus to work, a laptop can be worth the extra cost; but for the reasons we mentioned, it doesn’t pay to get a cheap laptop—they’re finicky, hard to repair, and harder to upgrade. Lenovo notebooks are a good compromise between price and performance; also check out Ultrabooks for a super-lightweight, low-cost option.
Set A Budget
Everyone has a different idea of how much you should spend on a good laptop. Again, each person has different needs and income streams that will greatly affect their own budget. Set your price while keeping in mind what your “must have” laptop features are, along with how often you will be using the computer.
If you are only looking for something to surf online or play games, your budget should reflect that in the same way your budget would reflect something different if you were using your laptop daily for work or school.
Watch For Sales & Rebates
You can potentially save a bundle if you take advantage of promotional sales or product rebate offers. Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales are notorious for outrageously low prices on laptops.
Visit retailers websites to get in on any online savings that may be offered. Product rebates may seem like a waste of time, but if collected properly, they can save you hundreds of dollars off your original purchase price, if you are patient.
People update their units so often that you can end up with a great deal on a laptop that is maybe just a year old. Most refurbished products come with some sort of warranty that can get, so that you can last at least a year of service without a huge amount of risk. You may want to avoid buying your laptop from sites like Craigslist or Ebay as you will likely have no guarantee of the quality of the product.