Your use case may be similar to millions of others, but you can be sure it is not exactly the same. Some people are macOS loyalists. Others never deviate from Windows. Some like a featherweight laptop to travel slickly through airports, while others want a heavy, robust piece of kit designed for playing the most intensive games.
Either way, figuring out your own use case is half the battle. When you have cracked that, your search for a new laptop will seem all the simpler.
This short guide gives you all the information you need to buy a new laptop, and in doing so, avoid a potentially costly mistake further down the line.
Work the numbers
As you would with a house, car or other reasonably significant purchase, work out what you want to (and can afford to) spend on your new laptop. Although it may be tempting, try to avoid the temptation of biting off more than you can chew, as it really is not necessary given the competitiveness of the modern PC market.
As a rough guide, anything from around $400 will get you a perfectly good laptop to do what you need it to do. Of course, the higher your budget can stretch, you can take your pick from the numerous features and cool designs now available. But be realistic, and you will be pleasantly surprised about what you can get for your money.
Figure out what kind of user you are
If you are a light user, a budget laptop may well be a perfect solution. If you do not plan to run demanding programs, install games or other demanding activities, you can get a lower end laptop that does exactly what you need without overspending.
With that use case, you will be able to buy something like a Chromebook. Although they are a cheap option, they are well-built devices by Google, and are adequate for simple tasks as well as streaming movies or music. You will benefit from a well laid out keyboard, as well as a touchpad and USB ports.
Going into the mid-market you can find devices capable of handling more graphic-heavy games and applications. This is because these middle-of-the-pack machines have higher quality RAM, CPU and memory to be able to function that little more smoothly. These devices also multitask much more effectively than the lower-end alternatives, meaning you will not be restricted by what your laptop can do.
Only the most intensive users will need to spend thousands of dollars to get a laptop that does what they need it to do. You may wish to treat yourself to some cooler features, but you will find it is really not necessary to splash the cash unless you really want to.
Getting the price right
The mid-market is a real sweet spot for competition in the laptop market. This means there is lots of choice – and therefore some great prices to be had.
Shopping around at different retailers is definitely advised to try to get the best price. You will find the prices to be close, but you may get free shipping, or other package deals with software or peripherals if you are willing to haggle a little!
You should also check out the retail calendar. If you are looking later in the year, Black Friday is a great option to get your pre-Christmas laptop bargains in November. That said, you will need to move quickly as many lines can go out of stock if the price drops to low enough levels.
If you are a student, you may also be able to grab a bargain before the start of term in September. Retailers know students will be on the lookout then, so see what package deals you can snare to cut down on your software and application costs.
To wrap up
Make your laptop search about you, not about the marketing, features and other cool stuff that manufacturers like to tell you about. Avoid overspending when it really is not necessary. You may come to regret it later down the line, and you can most often find what you need without spending above your budget.
By following this advice, you can find the perfect laptop for you whether you are a student, business professional, serious gamer, or more casual user – or maybe a combination of a few of them!