These days, almost everything is done online, from school classes to business meetings and everything in between! As the shift towards more online usage grows, there’s a bigger need for having that perfect computer that fits all of our technological needs. But how do we choose the right one with so many options out there?
Your computer buying guide is here! Learn everything you need to know about what to look for in a computer and how to purchase the best one for you.
Defining your budget is the first step to take when buying a new computer. The market offers many options, so narrowing your search to a specific price range first will help make buying a computer easier. Some features may be irrelevant to you, while others may be perfectly aligned with your needs. Ask yourself: How much do I want to spend?
What to Consider When Buying a Computer
Several factors can help you determine which type of computer is best for you. Here are a few things to consider before making your purchase.
The type of computer you’ll need will depend on the kind of work you’ll be performing on your device. For instance, someone who creates presentations, text documents, and simple excel sheets will have different system requirements than someone who will be using video editing software. In other words, the more demanding the functions are, the more capabilities you'll need, which may result in a more expensive computer.
Laptop vs. desktop computer
Are you frequently on the go? Do you mostly work from home or in a traditional office? These are key questions to ask yourself, as there are significant price and functionality differences between desktop computers and laptops.
Operating System (OS)
Not sure whether to get a Mac or a PC? Here are a few questions to help you choose the best operating system for your needs:
- Which of these two platforms do you feel the most comfortable with?
- Do you use apps or have subscriptions that work exclusively for one of these platforms?
- Is your phone an iPhone or an Android?
- Do you have any other devices that work exclusively for one of these operating systems? (e.g. an Ipad / Windows-based tablet / Apple TV, etc.)
In general, Windows-based PCs are less expensive than Apple computers. Many people prefer Apple computers because of their modern design and engineering, ease of use, and compatibility with the iPhone. However, Windows offers many software programs that are not available in Mac, and some users may find it difficult to switch between the two operating systems.
The processor, a.k.a. the Central Processing Unit (CPU), is the computer's brain. There are many models from different manufacturers, and their characteristics and prices can vary.
The most important thing to consider when selecting a processor is how elaborate your tasks are. Most modern processors will cover simple things like word processing, browsing the Internet, and writing emails.
The hard drive is the physical unit within your computer that saves your programs and files. It's a common practice now to store files in the "cloud," which means that they 'live' in a server on the Internet and that you can access them from anywhere just by connecting to the web.
Considering this, think about how much space you'll need on your computer to save files and apps locally. As a reference, a 250GB hard drive is a recommended capacity that should last you several years.
Random Access Memory
The more Random Access Memory (RAM) your computer has, the faster it'll perform and the more programs it will be able to run at the same time. If you've ever noticed a slow or frozen computer, it’s likely due to the fact that it doesn’t have enough RAM installed. Typically, 8 GB of RAM is a healthy amount to perform various tasks.
If you’re interested in purchasing a laptop computer, battery life is one of the most important factors to consider. Since it's impossible to check their power efficiency and performance at the store, we suggest that you research more about the battery performance of the laptops you are evaluating before making a decision.
Other featuresBefore making your purchase, ensure that the computer you buy has features that are reflective of the current industry standard. For example, your computer should at least have these basic ports and slots: USB ports, HDMI, and a headphone jack. In addition, it should also come equipped with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities.
Buying a computer is like buying a car. All cars are designed to meet the specific needs of different consumers. Use the tips and recommendations we’ve listed above to help you narrow down your search criteria and find the computer best suited for you.Once you have your list of specifications, take it with you when you purchase your new computer in-person or online. For example, you could ask the salesperson for a computer with office work capabilities, a standard processor, a hard disk with 256 GB, 8 GB RAM, and HDMI ports. Knowing exactly what computer specifications and price points will not only help narrow down your options but provide you with the best computer to help you succeed!