Good news–laptop prices are at a record low. We have tablets to thank for this. But it means that laptops are affordable and that many families have one per person. For a child, this means freedom, like a new car once did, only this is way cheaper. So, if you’re on the fence, take this as your cue to buy your laptop for as low as $300 (Chromebook!).
Whether you’re in college and the laptop is mandatory, or you have a child for whom a laptop increases productivity, finding the right technology for you can be overwhelming. If you’re not already, you’ll be bombarded by sales ads in August for Macs, PCs, tablets, and more. Understanding your own budget, needs, your capabilities is the first step in making the right purchase. You want to avoid buying something just because the price is right, or because you think you’re getting a deal.
Tips for Shopping
1. Don’t buy more than you need. Unless you’re a serious gamer, or graphic designer, you do not need a high end Mac. Most students want to start at the bottom of the price points and go from there. Do not start at the stop. Touch screens will soon go from cool feature to essential feature and so this might be one of the few “extras” you consider spending the extra few bucks on.
2. Where is laptop going? Think about how often you’ll be toting it around and what kind of weight you’re physically comfortable with. If it’s staying at home or in your dorm most of the time, then you can worry less about slimness and weight and go for the extra large screen. Then again, if you’re a business major and need it for 4 out of 5 classes, it’s worth considering spending extra for a sleeker design. Smaller doesn’t mean less powerful. Screens that measure 12 inches or less are now coming equipped with stronger processors and higher screen resolution.
3. The fact is that most laptops look ridiculously similar on the inside. So much so that there is little differentiation across the board except for design. Design is becoming the key factor in laptop preference. The laptop you choose should feel comfortable to use. We’re not talking operating system, but do you like the look of your laptop? Is trend and sleekness important to you? Then Mac might be your guy. Design, look, and feel is the one that you gravitate toward in the store. Shop for deals online, but when it comes down to it, test them out Best Buy. You’d be surprised by what features speak to you.
Getting The Best Deal
- Save money with a trade-in
- Shop in August
- If you miss August, shop on Labor Day
- Get “student” deals with an .edu email address
- Apple deals come from retailers; less so from Apple
- Use a coupon, like this one: $100 off select PCs from Microsoft, or 20% TechSmith products for your accessories
Source: CNET and DealNews