In this modern age of technology and connectivity, electronic gadgets have become an essential part of daily life. Almost everything, from playing music to doing research and accomplishing tasks, entails the use of electronic components.
Furthermore, with the surge in remote working and distance learning, the demand for devices like laptops has increased during the pandemic. However, with the wide array of brands and models on the market, choosing a good laptop can be tricky.
Not to mention, there are many factors to consider, such as the size, screen quality, storage capacity, and price. If you’re looking to purchase a high-quality laptop but don’t want to put a dent in your bank account, here are some budget-friendly tips that can help you out!
Determine what you’ll use it for
Laptops are a popular choice among students and professionals due to their portability. Like mobile gadgets, they can bring it anywhere, and like desktop computers, their processors are capable of running complex applications.
Before you start shopping around, determine exactly what you intend to use your laptop for. This way, you can narrow your options and only check models with the necessary specifications. With fewer options, it will be easier to make pricing comparisons.
Take note of every possible factor. For example, if you travel a lot for work, notebook laptops may suit you well. On the other hand, if you’re a student, identify the operating system and all the software applications you will need to check if the laptops on your list support them.
Set a budget range
Determine how much are you willing to shell out on a new laptop so you can set a range of the minimum and maximum prices you can afford. Also, make some allowances for any additional accessories you may need.
It’s best to share these figures with the store’s sales representative so you won’t waste your time checking out expensive models. It can be heartbreaking when you fall in love with a specific laptop only to find out that it costs beyond your budget.
Consider getting a refurbished device
Instead of buying a brand-new device, why not look into refurbished electronics to save more money? Laptops are known to last between three to five years, so it’s perfectly okay to consider second-hand devices.
As long as the system is functioning properly, a refurbished laptop can work just as well as a new one. However, be sure to check everything before closing the sale. Verify if the seller is legitimate and read some online reviews. Also, it’s important to check the laptop’s actual release date, RAM and processing speed, storage space, battery life, build condition, and refurbishing quality.
Moreover, tell the seller which programs you plan to use to know if they have encountered any compatibility issues with a specific model. You should also check the exact amount of discount you’re getting. If it’s not that good of a deal, it may be wiser to just buy a new model. Lastly, be sure to ask for at least a six-month or one-year warranty.
Learn to compromise
Set realistic expectations. With a limited budget, it’s inevitable to make sacrifices and leave a few requirements unchecked on your list. This is why it’s critical to identify the key specifications you’re looking for.
Also, keep in mind that no laptop will perform perfectly, especially moderately priced models. Often, there are some things you’ll have to sacrifice to get a laptop that fits your needs. For example, a more affordable model may not be as impressively fast as top-of-the-line models. But if it does the job and doesn’t get in the way of your work, then it’s fine.
There also aren’t many low- to middle-end laptops that are thin, light, and compact. Accordingly, 14- to 15-inch displays are more common, and many of them come with pre-installed “bloatware” that you’re less likely to use.
Look for the necessary specifications
In addition to your nonnegotiable, let’s discuss other crucial specifications. For starters, screens with a resolution of 1366×768 are common, but the images they produce will not be sharp and crisp by modern standards. You may also encounter difficulty fitting multiple windows of information on-screen.
If you can find one, a 1920×1080 (often known as “1080p”) panel is more ideal. Don’t be too concerned about getting a higher resolution if it’s not necessary for your work or studies. But if you value a sharp display, consider getting an IPS display rather than a TN panel. This is often more vivid and easier to read from wider angles, but they come with a higher price tag.
When it comes to the internals, go for an Intel Core i5 processor, as it should be powerful enough to handle most software. However, if you do not intend to use your laptop for gaming, a Core i3 processor will suffice.
Having enough RAM is also critical to ensuring a seamless user experience. In this case, you’d want 8GB if possible, or 6GB for more budget-friendly models. As for storage, you won’t find many low-cost solid-state drives (SSD), so make the most of your slower, beefier hard disk drive (HDD). If you can go above 500GB and it’s necessary for your tasks, then consider going big. Ideally, your machine will allow you to upgrade to an SSD in the future if you wish to upgrade.
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Battery life is primarily determined by what you can live with. Just take note that firms tend to exaggerate their estimates. The same is true for ports and connectivity. If nothing else, make sure your gadget supports the fastest 802.11ac WiFi standard. It also wouldn’t hurt to have a few USB 3.0 ports onboard.
All of this information should help you decide, but at the end of the day, the choice is still in your hands. When buying riskier options like refurbished devices, it’s important to conduct substantial research and read customer reviews. Also, do not provide payment without getting your hands on the machine first and doing a physical checkup. After all, it’s the only way to develop a feel for the condition of the device.
Unless you urgently need a new laptop, take some time to save enough money for it. Besides, setting goals and reducing unnecessary costs is a crucial step to gaining complete control of your finances so you can make better purchases in the future.
Gary Everrett is a Tech Geek who is a writer by passion. Mostly he writes about topics revolving around the latest gadget and technology. On his free time, he likes to read sci-fi novels and play golf.