Why Price Shouldn’t Be Your Primary Consideration When Purchasing a New Laptop Computer
Buying a new laptop can be a daunting and overwhelming task. With so many form factors and options to choose from, it can be difficult to pick a laptop that’s going to fit your needs without breaking the bank.
1. Operating System
The first thing you need to decide is whether to buy a Windows laptop or a Mac. The key thing to think about when choosing between the two is whether or not the software programs you want to run operate under Windows or OS X. Some programs that were developed for Mac, are not available for Windows, and vise-verse. If you’re a amateur movie producer or graphic designer, a Mac would probably be the best choice. On the other hand, if word processing and web-surfing is what you primarily use your laptop for, and you have a tight budget, a PC might be a better fit.
2. Form Factor
Form factor is a fancy word for size and weight. Laptops come in a couple of different form factors from ultra lightweight to what is sometimes referred to as a “desktop replacement”. Ultra lightweight laptops are great for commuting and students, but lack some of the features found on their larger counterparts. Some of the features not usually found on ultra lightweight models are numeric keypads, 17 inch screens, CD-ROM drives, and higher end graphic cards. If performance is what you’re after, larger is usually better. The larger the laptop, the more power it consumes, so if you need extra battery life, go with a smaller, more lightweight model.
3. Screen Size
If you struggle to read text on your desktop PC, chances are you’ll probably want to opt for a larger 15 inch or 17 inch wide screen laptop. The larger the screen, the more real estate you’ll have to run programs, play games, and watch videos.
4. Battery Life
As stated earlier, the larger the laptop, the more power it consumes. This is something to take into consideration when picking a laptop. If you’re going to need to spend hours on your computer without an AC outlet, then you probably will want a small, more energy efficient laptop. Battery life varies greatly by manufacturer, and most laptops offer a larger, extended life battery that can be used when extra run time is required.
5. Applications You Plan to Use
One of the most important aspects to consider when picking a laptop is the applications you plan to use on the laptop itself. Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint run fairly well on both low-end and high-end laptops, while games and graphic design software need performance only available on larger, more expensive models. Decide what apps you are going to run most frequently, and let that determine what kind of laptop is going to fit your needs.
6. Build Quality
Build quality is extremely important when it comes to choosing a new laptop. Have you ever noticed that you can buy a laptop for $500 with the same specifications as one for $900? The reason usually comes down to the quality of parts the manufacturers use inside the unit. Some of the most common problems we see when repairing laptops relate directly to the quality of the system. Broken power jacks and cracked cases & bezels are some of the most common issues we see with less expensive laptops. We also notice that less expensive laptops seem to experience motherboard problems a lot more often than higher priced units. Nowhere is the adage “you get what you pay for” more true than with computers and technology, so buyer beware.
Price is an obvious concern for most folks looking to purchase new laptop computers. Mac’s are obviously more expensive than Windows based laptops, and laptops that are $400 aren’t going to last as long as a unit that costs $900. Decide what kind of laptop you need using the previous criteria, then try and select the laptop that provides the best combination of features and price. Also think about how “rough” you’re going to be with your laptop, and make sure to purchase something that is going to withstand daily use. Every user is differently, and some people are really hard on technology. If you’re one of these people, steer clear of cheaper systems, otherwise you might end up sending you system back for warranty repair, or worse.
Before heading out to the local computer store, think about what you want out of your laptop and what you are going to do with it. Remember cheaper isn’t always better, and that you should always buy a laptop that fits your needs from a portability and performance standpoint. Front Range ComputerWorks offers free pre-purchase consultations, so feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions about a laptop you’re considering purchasing. Doing your homework ahead of time will save you a lot of frustration and anxiety as you embark on your next journey to the computer store.