With the huge amounts of sales pitches going on, Black Friday (more like all month) fast approaching, and Christmas just around the corner, some of you may be thinking it is a good time to buy a new laptop. This is probably not a bad idea, especially if you need to replace an old dying one, but with so many choices, how do you start? If you have talked to me in person you know I have some specific methods for my recommendations, and here are some great tips to starting.
1. Establish your needs. Don’t buy a $2000 gaming laptop when you need something to write up documents for school, send emails, and browse the web.
2. Pick a brand. Not all PC’s are equal. Below you will find a ranking of failure rates of computers by company.
3. Decide on screen size. Do you want something small to travel with, or something huge that won’t move much? Your lifestyle decides this, and it will make a big difference on how you feel about your new computer.
4. Storage space. This again depends on your needs. Storing lots of media (pictures, movies, music) takes a lot of space. Don’t buy something that won’t work for you.
5. Operating System: Windows 8, Windows 8RT (and now 8.1), Windows 7, or OS X?
6. Design: This is the last thing. I understand it is important, because you want a slick looking PC to show off, but when it comes down to it, that ugly laptop that has twice the power for the same price is the better choice.
Lets expand on some of these points shall we?
1. Your needs should pick the specifications. For the average person, a dual core processor is sufficient, as well as 4GB of ram or above. Quad core is better and may meet your needs longer, but is not necessary depending on the cost difference. An intel processor performs better than AMD, but if you are on a budget, AMD is great (what I use) and is significantly cheaper. The specs you should look for as an average user are usually a core i5 2ghz or more, 4GB of ram/memory and 500GB or more of storage space.
2. The brand. Your best bet for a computer that will last is ASUS, Toshiba, and Sony. Lifehacker posted an article recently that shows all the companies failure rates here. Read it, make your choice, and stick with it no matter what.
3. Small screens are great for those small school desks, car rides, flights, and moving around to many coffee shops. The smaller screen usually equates to better battery life, but not always. Large screens (above 15″) are usually best kept at home and moved on occasion. They have less battery life and are heavier as well as more difficult to move, but they are still a great option if you want a large screen.
4. Pretty much covered above, I recommend no less than 500GB for anyone, and for the most part it is hard to find any less than that anyways.
5. This is a big one. If you like Apples OS then your brand choice is made for you, as well as most of the others since the options are limited. Windows 7 is optimal, but it is getting much harder to find systems that ship with it. Windows 8RT is not the same as Windows 8. Most of the cheap tablet/laptop combos are Windows 8RT. The difference here is that RT does not let you install programs like normal, they are apps like you install on android and iOS. This means a smaller software choice, which is disadvantageous because the best part about Windows is the vast amount of software available. Windows 8/8.1 is the full on real deal. It is best to know this before you buy.
6. Design is important, some to more than others. I want my new device to look as great as it runs and for the most part, manufacturers are finally understanding that, making this much easier today than it was a couple years ago. However there are still some ugly ducklings out there that do a great job, but do not look so appealing.
Those are the steps I generally go through when helping someone find a new computer. If you still have questions feel free to contact me and I would love to help you in this holiday season.