So it’s time for a new laptop. A look on any retail website shows machines that range from a couple hundred bucks to over four thousand dollars. Perhaps cheapest laptop won’t meet all of your computing needs. But it’s also very unlikely that you’ll need all of the features that you’d pay for in the most expensive laptop. How do you get the right computer at a good price? Glad you asked:
1) Determine your needs.
How will you use this machine? Surfing the web and using cloud-based applications? Then you could probably find a Chromebook for $200 (or less) that works perfectly. If you’re looking to use a lot of specialized programs like Adobe Premier, you might want to drop the extra cash on a MacBook Pro. A useless laptop is overpriced, no matter how good of a deal you got.
2) Understand the market.
Sites like Cnet, have great buyers’ guides that will give you a clear idea of the needs that you have. You can also shorten the list of eligible computers by knowing which CPU is best for your needs. Since the vast majority of computers run on CPUs made by just two companies (Intel and AMD), knowing which processors have the best performance and value can narrow the market to the range of computers that are best for you.
3) Find the deals.
When and where you buy your laptop can save you hundreds. The cheapest months of the year to buy laptops are supposedly August, September, and April. But if you are looking at a particular brand and model, prices are usually drastically reduced before the next year’s version is launched. Having the second most current laptop usually gives you enough time for several years of use with few setbacks before you need an upgrade. Many manufacturers also offer refurbished models, though it is important to make sure that their warranties are still in place and there is no remaining damage. Sites like BizRate will compare models you search for from retailers all over the web. “Deal of the day” websites, like woot.com also have featured clearance laptops.
4) Investigate your retailer.
Large retailers like Amazon usually have some sort of rating system for sellers. If the vendor is unfamiliar, make sure to check out customer reviews before your final purchase is made.