I have to face up to it: I am feeling old. I started telling my cousins about my dad’s old computer, the Tandy 1000, and how excited my brothers and I were to play Rogue, Pinball, and – the classic – Pong. Advances in computers have come a long way from my early days hitting the arrow keys and moving a paddle on screen. In fact, they have become about as common as a toaster, a refrigerator, or a television.
With advancing technologies, it helps to have increased awareness so that you don’t spend a lot of money on a computer with all kinds of fancy features you’re never going to use, or worse, buying something that won’t have the right stuff, the right power to get you quickly through the tasks you’re going to be spending most of your time on.
[headline style=”3″ color=”blue” tag=”h1″]So what do you need to think about when shopping for a new computer? Here’s some ideas:[/headline]
Assess Your Needs
Are you going to be using your computer to link up to the Global Positioning System to calculate the current position of the Hubble Telescope at the same time rendering in High-Definition 3-D graphics a model of our solar system, and this while categorizing the most recent weather patterns in your area and calculating a 5 day trajectory of when the next rain-storm will hit? Neither am I. Even if you plan on doing some fancy stuff with your computer, you may not need the newest and most advanced computer out there to be able to do what you need.
A common mistake for consumers is to wait until the newest hardware, the coolest and latest new toy is out before buying. Most often, waiting for the latest, greatest gadget causes you three problems: 1) You end up waiting to get something instead of finding something that will suit your needs, and you end up not having a tool that could be really useful for you; 2) You pay much more for something that can really be only a little better; and 3) You’re new gadget is going to be old eventually, and you paid more for something that could potentially be outdated by the end of the year.
Another common mistake is to by the least expensive computer or systems. While we all want to save money, sometimes the lower cost machines may end up costing us more in the long run. Frequently, companies will try to sell older models at discounted rates, and that may leave you with an outdated or underpowered system.
How can you know what will work for you, then? Take an inventory of what you will be using your computer for. Do I want to edit a lot of pictures? Am I going to be watching a ton of movies? Will I be storing lots of files? Am I going to be playing a lot of video games? Do I anticipate taking my computer a lot of places? Am I going to be using a lot of different software? Answering questions like these will help you know what kind of a computer will be right for your needs so you don’t get a slow laptop that you can’t do anything with or a pricey one that you can do much more than you will ever need to with.
If you’ve found a computer you think is right for you, don’t forget that you are also going to have some extra expenses you may not have even thought about. Anti-Virus Software, Internet Service Provider, Word Processing Software such as Microsoft Office, Printer, Wireless Mouse: all these are examples of things that may or may not come included in the price of your computer. It’s a good idea not to forget about these items when budgeting to get something so you don’t get slammed with extra costs of stuff that didn’t end up being included.
I break stuff a lot. I’m kind of accident prone like that. For me, warranties are a good thing. However, many of the extended warranties that you are encouraged to buy with your new computer are going not going to be worth the cost. Consumer Reports states “We’ve long found extended warranties to be a bad deal for you and advise against buying them.” For most computers, the chance of failing is pretty low within the warranty time frame and end up expiring before you have problems. Even if you do end up having problems, some of the repairs are already covered by the manufacturer warranty and the repairs that aren’t usually cost about as much or less than the cost of the extended warranty. As always if you are in need of computer or laptop repairs give us a call or bring your machine in.
The best way to find a great deal on a laptop and to really get what you are going to need is to do your research. Look around, shop around, and ask some questions. My biggest question: can I still use it to play pong?