How to Shop for a Computer
Knowing how to shop for a computer is key if you want to get a good deal.
If you’re in the market for a new computer, you’ll be able to find the best deals around this time of year. Whether you’re looking to buy a computer for home, school, or business here are some tips on how to shop smart.
How to Shop for a Computer
Question: What is it for?
Before deciding on what type of computer and which model you would like to purchase, think about what your requirements and needs will be. If your primary use is to take notes in a class or meeting, you probably don’t need the computer with the fast processor (CPU).
Instead, a good system with a good battery life and includes software bundles like Microsoft Office would be better suited to your purpose. If you’re into media, you might want a computer with a faster CPU or a video card that comes pre-installed with the system.
Set a budget
Remember that price does not always reflect superiority, especially during the month of August & September (thanks to sales). Set your budget and stick to it. Don’t start shopping prior to knowing your firm budget. You can easily be swayed by features of computers, and you don’t want to spend beyond your means.
Choose an operating system
The two main competitors are Windows and Mac, and there is also Linux (less mainstream). The easiest way to choose the right computer is to choose between Windows, Mac or Linux and then narrow it down from there.
If you’re on a tight budget, Windows computers are cheaper than Mac and Linus computers, and there are certain features that are better for a fraction of the price.
If you’re already a Windows user, it may be easier to continue using Windows, and same goes for Mac users. However, don’t be afraid to switch – it just might take a little while to get used to.
Desktop or laptop?
Deciding whether you will need a desktop or laptop will be based on the primary use. Laptop computers are more popular nowadays due to the fact that most students will find themselves in need of taking notes in class on the computer, rather than on paper. If you don’t need to use computers in lectures, you can shop for a desktop computer.
You’ll find that, for the same price of a laptop, you can purchase a higher functioning desktop computer. Laptops are becoming much more affordable, but beware – they are also much more likely to be stolen.
You must also consider the fact that laptop computers may have a lifetime that is shorter than a desktop computer’s, because of issues with keyboards, the track pad, or screen, that are costly to replace.
Consider tablets instead
Tablets haven’t always been a heavy competitor in the computer industry, but they are now, and they’re a great choice. You can own one for a fraction of the price of a laptop, and they’re much more portable. You can travel with your tablet, and in most cases, take advantage of the built in camera to take photos as well!
There are accessories that are compatible with these tablets, such as keyboards, as well as a bluetooth mouse and even printers – to make your tablet as computer-like as possible. You can also purchase a Wi-Fi or data plan compatible tablet for your on-the-go internet needs.
Do your research
Real customer reviews are your best friend when you’re doing research on a new computer, because there are some pros and cons that may not be apparent from what the manufacturer or retailer is telling you.
Researching computers can also help you stick within your budget, so don’t skip this step!
Ask for help from friends and family
If you’re lucky enough to have the family member or friend who is technologically smart and in the know, ask for some tips from them. Maybe you can ask them to come out on a shopping trip to help you and treat them to a nice lunch to show your thanks.
Shop for bundles
Since most of the best deals on computers are available at this time of year, you might be able to find some great bundles such as computers that come with printers. However, be sure to check the reviews for both the computer and the printer to see how great of a deal you’re really getting.
Try before you buy
There are demo computers on the sales floors of most retailers. Check out computers in person to see if you like the feel and functions. If you’re interested in getting a model that a friend or family member may have, ask to test it out!
There are many retailers who sell computers, and you can take advantage of this. Check the store’s price match policy, because some big box stores (such as Walmart, Best Buy and Future Shop, to name a few) will price match (and some give you 10 percent of the difference, too!).
Check the refund policy
Be sure to check the refund/return policy prior to purchasing a computer – and this also applies to the warranty policy. You don’t want to purchase a computer that you may possibly not like, and not be able to return or exchange it. Be prepared!
Consider the extended warranty
Depending on the company you’re purchasing from, they may have a great manufacturers warranty on any manufacturing defects. Don’t automatically buy into this, but do consider it and weigh the pros and cons. Whether or not one should purchase an extended warranty is a heavily discussed topic.
Beware of shopping used
Like other electronics, beware of buying used or refurbished computers. It’s highly unlikely to be able to buy a computer from a thrift shop, for example, and find that is perfectly functioning.
If you choose to buy used, make sure that it comes with a good warranty from the dealer or manufacturer. Ask for a knowledgeable friend to assist you on your computer shopping trip.
Take care of your new toy
Once you’ve purchased your computer, be sure to take good care of it. Purchase a case for your laptop to protect it from bumps and scratches. The better care you take of your computer, the longer it will last.
Also, be careful of beverages, such as coffee, near your keyboard and mouse.
There are countless tips and methods for computer shopping. What are some of your favourite tips to follow when it comes to shopping for a new computer?