The laptop market is massive and there are tons of options for you to choose from. There are six major brands (Apple, Asus, Lenovo, HP, Dell, and Acer) and there are 22 product lines within these brands (such as the MacBook, the Aspire, and the ThinkPad).
Each of these laptops has been designed for a different purpose, whether that be travel (and so the laptop is portable and lightweight), gaming (and so the laptop has high-quality graphics), or if it may be an entry-level device that doesn’t have the greatest specs but it is affordable.
Figuring out which of these laptops you should buy can be a difficult task. However, you can make buying a laptop a lot easier by answering a few basic questions.
Do You Want a Windows or a MacOS Laptop?
The first question to ask to narrow down your laptop search is whether you want a Windows or MacOS laptop. The two computer operating systems, created by Windows and Apple (respectively), offer very different benefits to their users.
If you’re a gamer, then you’ll want to go for a Windows laptop. Although many new games are optimized for MacOS, most are made for Windows systems first. Some games never get MacOS support or, when they do, it comes several months after launch. However, if you’re a working professional, then a MacBook is the better choice. According to this guide, a powerful laptop is one of the tech tools you need to succeed in business, and the MacBook fits the bill. The Apple laptops are packed full of useful features that help professionals, such as the Pages and Keynote software, while the long battery life and the internal hardware specs mean that the MacBook is great for multi-tasking and getting work done on the go.
What Specs Do You Need?
Next, you should ask which specs you need. The hardware specs of a laptop will determine the price, with more powerful laptops being more expensive than those with entry-level hardware.
LaptopMag’s guide for choosing the configuration of your next laptop explains that there are lots of specs for you to think about. Storage is important because if you download a lot of media or save a lot of files, it will quickly mount up. While it’s a good idea to buy an external hard drive, having a large internal hard drive with your laptop offers you quick and easy access to the files that you need, without having to carry around another hard drive or USB drive with you. Battery life and battery size is important too. Bigger batteries can be heavier but they offer longer battery lives and so if you travel a lot and don’t always have access to a power outlet, this is the specs you’ll really want to look at.
Is the Laptop Available Refurbished?
If the laptop that you want has been released in the last three months or longer, then there is a good chance that it will be available refurbished. Refurbished Windows laptops and refurbished MacBooks are available if you shop around.
The biggest benefit to buying a refurbished laptop is that they cost a lot less than buying a brand new laptop. You can click here to see some of the discounts available on refurbished MacBooks. The prices listed there, on refurbished price comparison site RefurbMe, show that for a refurbished MacBook Air 13-inch with a glossy screen, shoppers could save more than $1,000 on an Apple laptop when buying refurbished instead of brand new. Refurbished laptops sold by reputable retailers have been tested, repaired, and certified before going on sale and they will come with a warranty too. So if you want to save as much money as possible, check out refurbished deals before you buy a laptop.
Does the Retailer Offer Trade-Ins?
The laptop you own now may be old, slow and no longer capable of what you need it to do. However, this doesn’t mean that the device is worthless.
Many tech retailers run trade-in programs that allow you to get some money off your next laptop when you trade your old laptop into them. The money that you’re offered may depend on the condition of your laptop, how old it is, the make and model and whether you have all of the components (such as the box, manual, and all of the cables). Some retailers run limited time trade-in programs in which they provide extra money for trading in the predecessor when a new version is announced. You can read more about the trade-in program that Best Buy ran in 2013 for the Microsoft Surface ahead of the Microsoft Surface 2 release. Those who traded in their first-generation Surface could get up to $350 as a Best Buy gift card. That trade-in offer ran for several weeks and shows that if you want to get the most money from a trade-in, you’ll have to act fast.
For many people, a laptop is one of the most expensive things in their home. That makes it all the more important that you follow these tips and think smart before buying a laptop.