Buying a new laptop is a serious investment. After all, you are giving away your hard-earned cash and hoping to get a device that will be with you for the next couple of years through thick and thin. Finding a computer that will meet your needs without leaving you broke can be challenging when making such a purchase. Read on to get some useful tips on how to save time, money, and your wits when choosing a new laptop.
Research, research, and research some more
Confession time: for far too many years of my adult life, the price was the only thing that mattered to me when choosing a new phone, laptop, or desktop computer.
I would walk into a shop, buy any currently available device that matched my budget and hope for the best. To make matters even weirder, sometimes I would Google the model I just bought when I got home, only to convince myself that I’ve made the right choice and that my purchase wasn’t just a dumb, spur of the moment decision.
So, the first piece of advice would be – don’t be like me.
Maybe you’ve had positive experiences with a particular laptop brand in the past? Perhaps someone else close to you got a device that you liked? Maybe some bad experiences with battery life or display quality in the past made you avoid a particular computer manufacturer?
Whatever it is, do your research before giving your money away.
Figure out what you really need
All laptops are not created equal, and the same goes for the users. Figure out what you want the most from your computer and choose according to your needs.
If you are looking for a device that will travel with you in your backpack, a sturdy frame, light weight, and good battery life should be your top priority. If you need a machine for video editing or processor-heavy tasks, consider a high-end gaming device. Choose a business-class computer if you’re after a more extended warranty and better durability.
Don’t dismiss the previous generation of laptops
Don’t let yourself get caught up in the hype of shiny new laptop models. The days of Moore’s Law that claimed that computers double their power every two years are long gone. Sure, we’ve all been taught that bigger is better and that higher model numbers mean much better performance, but that is not necessarily true these days.
You can save hundreds by choosing last year’s laptop model, or even one that is just a few months old. Laptop manufacturers are eager to push newer models to the market, so they discount the older models, which will work to your advantage.
Know when to shop
Once you figure out what kind of laptop you want, time your purchase so you get the best possible price for it.
Windows-based laptops tend to get significant discounts during the holidays (especially around Black Friday) and watch out for “back to school specials.” Because many manufacturers release new laptop models at the beginning of the year, the older models need to be cleared out.
If you are in the market for a Mac, things are equally predictable as Apple tends to update its laptops in the spring and fall. Plan your strategy accordingly, and keep an eye out on a buyers’ guide that will help you grab the best deal possible.
Don’t dis the discounts
Everybody loves discounts. Sometimes, finding a good deal requires some activity on your part, such as following a particular manufacturer’s Twitter feed or subscribing to a newsletter.
Other times, it takes just one click to simply find a discount code for Currys or another retailer that is close to you.
Even if it requires some legwork on your part, discount hunting is an excellent way to avoid buyers’ remorse.
Consider refurbished models
Buying refurbished models is yet another way to save a pretty penny, as long as you’ve done your research and know what you are looking for. You can find them in the outlet store or your retailer’s clearance section.
Remember that buying a laptop like this is not the same as buying a used device from eBay or a similar site. When you buy a refurbished computer straight from the manufacturer, you’re getting a pre-owned machine that has been repaired and restored to almost-new condition by the company’s technicians. They typically come with warranties, so you’re protected against buying a faulty product.
When it comes to Apple products, it is almost always wiser to seek a refurbished model because you get the same warranty, updated battery, and new chassis at a fraction of the price.
Set up price alerts
If you are set on a specific budget, but the model you want is currently beyond your price range, be patient, and set up a price alert. This means that you install a web application on your browser that lets you know when a computer you have your eye on drops below a specific price.
Some of these tools are restricted to a specific dealer, such as Amazon, while others let you keep track of several retainers at once.
Cheap doesn’t have to mean shabby
The main thing to keep in mind when searching for your next laptop is that an everyday user doesn’t benefit much from the innovations that manufacturers present as the next best thing. Reduced weight, a backlit keyboard, or slightly increased screen resolution aren’t something that will have a tremendous impact on your day to day life.
If you want a device that is mostly dedicated to gaming, a much better choice would be to buy a dedicated console since you’ll know for sure that the hardware will be able to run any game you want and save you from a lot of potential headaches.
Shop smart, be patient, know what you want and how much you are willing to pay for it. Keep a watchful eye on deals and discounts, and don’t shy away from refurbished models. Soon, you’ll grab the new laptop of your dreams.