Laptop Buying Guide: 5 Things to Know Before Investing

Laptop Buying Guide: 5 Things to Know Before Investing

Thinking of investing in a new laptop? I assume you are if you clicked to read this article. They come in a wide variety of sizes, features, and prices, making choosing the best one a challenge.

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That’s why you need to figure out what your needs are. We’ve put together this laptop buying guide to help you narrow down your options.

No matter what model you get, laptops are expensive.
(Kurt Knutsson)

1. Don’t let price be the deciding factor

No matter what model you get, laptops are expensive. With this in mind, some people will immediately go for the cheapest option. Conversely, others might do the opposite and go for the most expensive model, assuming that anything that expensive must be the best.

Regardless of which side of the coin you might be on, choosing your laptop based on price alone is almost guaranteed to end in disappointment.

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Budget laptops have minimal storage space and without a few features needed for your work, they might not be suitable.

While the more expensive ones often include features you’ll never use, as well as an abundance of storage space that will go unused.

Instead of going for the least expensive or the most expensive, you should:

  • Set a maximum budget
  • Evaluate your current needs and the things you hope your new model will have
  • Find a device that checks all or most of your needs and still fits within your budget

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2. Always try before you buy

Whether you’re a first-time laptop owner or simply upgrading to a newer device, giving your new computer a test drive is always a good idea before you decide to buy it.

It’s important to note that almost all brick-and-mortar tech stores, including the Apple Store, Microsoft Store, and Best Buy, allow you to test their devices. This will allow you to:

  • See if the features are to your liking
  • Get a feel for the keyboard, touchpad and interface
  • Make sure it is the size and weight you are looking for

If the store for some reason doesn’t allow you to test it or if you buy it online, check again RETURN POLICY before you buy it and make sure it is reasonable.

3. Pay attention to compatibility

One of the most common mistakes when purchasing a laptop is not double-checking port compatibility. Today, most laptops use USB-C ports, while you may have several devices that use USB-A ports.

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True, this incompatibility problem could be solved by purchasing a dongle. However, instead of spending more money, it’s a good idea to check that your computer’s ports are compatible with most of the devices you know you’ll be using.

It's a good idea to check that your computer's ports are compatible with most of the devices you know you'll be using.

It’s a good idea to check that your computer’s ports are compatible with most of the devices you know you’ll be using.
(Kurt Knutsson)

4. Plan for the long term

Just like making a decision based solely on price, don’t rush into buying a laptop based on your current needs, as you’ll want the computer to last at least a few years. So, before making the purchase, it is always wise to:

  • Take a look at your current device’s storage and features
  • Determine how many of its apps and services you use
  • Find what you’ll need to get fit for the next few years

You don’t necessarily need to get the most advanced, up-to-date model; however, you should always buy one that will at least be an improvement over your current device and allow you to grow for all your future needs.

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5. Size matters

You should always think Goldilocks when choosing a laptop. Depending on your taste, some can be too big, others too small, which makes you want the “just right” model.

This can be determined quite quickly by several factors:

  • If you will use it more on the go or at home
  • Where you intend to use it and/or what you intend to transport it
  • Your visibility and writing requirements.

Let’s say you plan to use your laptop almost exclusively at home. In that case, a rugged device measuring 15 inches or more will probably suit your needs better, as long as you have the space on your desk or wherever you plan to work.

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These devices may not fit in your backpack or carry-on, and if they weigh around 10 pounds, your shoulders won’t thank you.

If you work on the go more often, a smaller device measuring around 11 inches might be more to your liking. However, as mentioned before you buy it, it’s best to try it first because you may have trouble typing with the smaller keyboard; making a device somewhere right in the middle is the best way to go.

If you work on the go more often, a smaller device measuring around 11 inches might be more to your liking.

If you work on the go more often, a smaller device measuring around 11 inches might be more to your liking.
(Kurt Knutsson)

Of course, the most significant general mistake anyone can make when buying a new laptop is deciding on one factor alone. It is essential to consider your multiple needs and reasons for buying before making your final decision. By considering these five factors, you’re guaranteed to bring home a device that will keep you happy for the foreseeable future.

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