We see many articles about the best laptops and the specifications they include. What we rarely see is advice on how much we should spend on one.
The majority of people who buy laptops are not technology experts. This is something that can lead to people spending way too much or even too little. The best laptop isn’t always the most expensive one.
When considering purchasing a new laptop, there are two areas you need to concentrate on first. These are:
By helping you find the answers to these questions, this article will ensure you get the most from your next laptop.
You may already own a laptop and are looking for an upgrade or a new one. If this is you, then consider how you currently use your laptop. Ask yourself these questions:
Is there something about it that you don’t like or that annoys you?
Does it have everything you need or is there something missing?
Are you looking for something to use for gaming?
Do you just want something simple for surfing the web and following social media?
If you want to play games, you need a laptop with a great display and one that includes a graphics card. If you just simply want it to surf the web in your free time, then you could consider some type of Chromebook.
Even if you don’t already own a laptop and this is your first purchase, these are questions you should ask. You need to be honest with yourself about how you are going to use it.
Buying a laptop is not a cheap purchase, so you want to be sure the one you get is right for you. You won’t see any benefit if you just go and buy the cheapest one on sale. Even if you buy the same laptop as your friend, your needs could be different, so in the end, it may fail to satisfy.
Remember, once you have bought it, you are stuck with it. If it doesn’t meet your requirements, or if you don’t use most of the features, it’s too late. Changing it would mean investing more money. If money is no object, then that’s fine, but this is seldom the case for many of us.
After you have thought about how you will use your new laptop, you should think about some specifications. Think about features you probably won’t use. If there are features you are not going to use, why pay extra for a laptop with them?
If you’re looking for something to pass your idle time surfing the web, do you need a 4K display? If you only play the online games that you find on social media and apps, you won’t need a top-of-the-range graphics card.
If you’re a student who only needs to write simple word documents, you won’t need a laptop with an Intel Core i7 processor.
This is the reason why thinking about how you will use your laptop is so important. If you know exactly what you will use it for, then you will know what you can live without.
You also need to understand a little about some of the specifications included, of course, but that will come with your research. Knowing these things will help you decide if the price of the laptop you want is going to be more or less than you expected.
Obviously, the more you need in the way of specs, the higher the price tag. If you don’t need as much as you thought, then the price will go down.
Once you have decided what you can give up and what you need to add, it is time for the next step.
There are so many laptops to choose from, that the thought of it can be mind-blowing. The difference is you now have a better insight into what you need. You know how you will use it so you understand the specifications you’re looking for.
Remember, this is something you will probably be using for the next couple of years or more. You want to make the right decision about it.
Research is an important aspect and something you need to do if you want to find the right one. Yes, it can be a bit tedious, but it is something you need to do. Like if you were buying a car, you would think about how you will use it, and then you would look at different models.
Buying a laptop is the same. Look at different manufacturers, and check under the hood, so to speak. Some offer the same specifications, yet are much cheaper than others.
Find a few that have what you’re looking for and compare them. Doing this will give you a better chance of finding the right laptop. It will also reduce the likelihood of you overspending on specifications you don’t really need.
At the end of the day, a laptop is something you are investing good money in. You want to know exactly what you are buying. Research is the best way of finding that out.
Once you know what you need and you have done the research, it’s time to talk about money. Check out the budget you have available, think about how much you really want to spend on a laptop.
You don’t want to end up in debt for a laptop, but you also want the best one to suit your needs. Will your budget push a little higher if needed or will you need to save a little extra cash first?
Once you have set the budget that you can comfortably afford, it is time to compare that to your research.
Now you have a shortlist of laptops and a budget to use. It is time to start narrowing down those choices. Look at the options that match your budget best.
Look at what customers who are using them are saying. By using this information, you can narrow down your choices to find the perfect laptop for you. If your budget doesn’t match up to the laptop you want, then it is time for plan B.
If you have found the perfect laptop, but the price tag doesn’t match your budget, don’t despair. There are still a couple more options to consider.
The first one is to postpone the purchase until you save the extra cash to buy that ideal laptop. You need to consider if you are in a position to wait a little longer to save that extra money.
Maybe you can’t wait any longer and it is something you need right now. Either way, you are going to have to make sacrifices.
If you need one immediately, you are going to have to choose the one that comes as close to the one you really want. Obviously, it has to be in the price range for the budget you have.
This means going back and checking out the specs to see which one is the best you can afford.
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If you can wait until you save more, that’s great. Set yourself a target and get started. Keep an eye out for offers and sales. You could find it cheaper with some savvy shopping.
Better still, you could find an even better model by the time you have saved the extra cash you needed. Laptop companies keep turning out new models all the time. When they do this, the price of the outdated versions will usually plummet.
Even if we have had numerous laptops before buying a new one, that doesn’t stop us from making mistakes. It is all too easy to be suckered in by a great sales pitch or some fancy specs.
Are they really what we want and will they get used to? Probably not. Nevertheless, they are still mistakes we continue to make.
To keep in line with determining how much to spend on your new laptop, we have some great tips. Use these to avoid making those fateful mistakes. They will only result in overspending, specs you never use, or a machine that won’t meet your needs.
Make sure you check the specifications. A budget laptop is great if you can find one that has everything you need on it.
Remember to think about how you are going to use it. Say you have the chance to buy a dual-core for less than a quad-core. Will you be running several applications at once when using it?
If you choose the dual-core you could well be left unsatisfied. Its speed and performance are not going to meet your demands. For the sake of a few more dollars, you will be left with a machine that performs sluggishly.
Buying an all-singing, all-dancing laptop is not likely to benefit you, either. Yes, you will have the latest in technology, but do you need it all?
You will be wasting your money on features that you may never even use. Gaming laptops are notoriously expensive, for example. If you like gaming but only play online games from apps and social media, you definitely don’t need a high-end machine.
Paying a higher price for a large amount of storage is often unnecessary. It is unlikely you will need so much, particularly now that Cloud storage is so widely available. Think about what you really need.
Usually, when we buy a laptop, it is something we will be using for the next couple of years.
Unless, of course, you are someone who needs to buy the latest in technology as soon as it’s released. In which case why would you be reading this article?
Think about your future needs when buying a laptop. Maybe you don’t need so much storage or speed now, but if it is going to last a few years, that need could change.
Check if you can upgrade it or if not, try to stretch the budget to get a little more RAM and storage. That way, you are considering your future needs too.
When you pay good money for something, you want it to last and continue to perform well.
The display is an important factor to consider, but do you really need a 4K display?
While it gives you amazing quality, smaller screens don’t really let you see the full benefit of the higher resolution. Not only that, it will have a big impact on the battery life of the laptop.
Unless you are buying a gaming laptop, it is not something that will really benefit you. For the average user, FHD resolution (Full High Definition, 1920×1080 pixels) is sufficient.
Some make the mistake of choosing a 2-in-1, thinking it will be like having both a tablet and a laptop. While they are great machines and you can perform many tasks on them, they do become restricted at a point.
Yes, you have a keyboard, but it is often cramped, compared to a laptop.
You can multitask and use different applications, the same as a laptop. The difference would soon become apparent, though. You will see it lacking in performance for fast multitasking. If you need it to run some of the more demanding software, you are more than likely going to be left disappointed.
These are great machines, but some are not a powerful as a traditional laptop and they shouldn’t be compared to them. Remember to check out the specs carefully before making a purchase decision.
There you have some great advice on how to determine what you should spend on your new laptop.
Remember the important aspects of specs and usage, and don’t forget to do your research. Follow this guide and you will have a laptop that will meet your needs for the next few years with ease.
Mico is a current graduate student in computer science researching computer architectures for pattern processing. In her free time, she loves walking her dog, Charles, and exploring local coffee shops.
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