Computer buying guide 2016
Share or Find us
10 Solid Computer Buying Tips
If you are looking for a laptop buying guide or for a pc buying guide then read through this post to learn about a few good tips on what to look for before purchasing a new computer. In this guide you will find general points about buying home desktop computers or office PCs, advantages of a desktop versus laptop purchase or laptop vs pc.
It is not easy to buy a computer considering the vast amount of available models, prices and ever changing specs.
You must be really sure the computer you go for will give you the best value for the money and that you stand a real chance of using it for more than a year.
Computers nowadays are not built using the same quality materials as ten years ago, like the old XP Dell desktop computers use to be built and therefore their lifespan is much shorter.
As we all know there are many, many computer brands and models out there and if you have no idea how computer hardware works or which operating system is the best then buying a new laptop or PC can be a daunting experience.
General advice:A lot of big chains push their customers to buy a lot of crap software like Mcafee Internet Security or Office 365 subscriptions. Please keep in mind that while Office 365 is a very good application the subscription model is only good for people with three to five computers or more but for single computers you should never buy a subscription based license.
Here are ten computer buying tips to help you buy the kind of machine that is right for you.
A laptop computer or a desktop PC?
If your business demands that you keep running around, a laptop will make a lot of sense. Nonetheless, laptops are more expensive than desktops, yet both might be having similar specs. Because of the technology involved in building a laptop and fitting everything inside the prices are high.
On the other hand, if you have just created an office at home and are looking for a wonderful workstation that allows you to work steadily without interruptions then a desktop PC makes a lot of sense.
A desktop comes with powerful fans to keep it as cool as possible guaranteeing a higher performance level and longer lifetime for the machine. A desktop is also easier to upgrade with newer and better hardware to ensure it is compatible with new software requirements.
In case all you need is a word processor and browser while on the go, perhaps instead of buying a desktop tower computer a Netbook or an affordable tablet is a better choice . You will save some money that you could use to buy a cheaper desktop with and get two devices at the price of one laptop(from a good brand). Obviously nowadays there are a lot of offers on the market and prices change quite a lot so keep an eye out for good deals.
Laptop screen type
Be careful what type of screen your laptop will have before buying it: matte laptop screens are a better choice if you will be using the computer outside a lot because it is much better at not reflecting sun glare while glossy (shiny) screens are absolutely fine indoors.
Laptop screen size
If you like watching a lot of movies then get a laptop with a Full HD wide screen and ideally it should be no less than 15″. Also 15″ laptops come with better specs for roughly the same amount of money as a lower spec laptop with a smaller screen. The reason why is because the smaller the size of the laptop is the more difficult it is to build.
Mind the memory RAM
A lot of people confuse memory RAM with storage space. Here we are referring to Random Access Memory and not hard drive storage space.
This specific type of memory is used to store various data files that the computer needs to run its functions when it is on and it is only used temporarily.
The more RAM the better, especially if you are guilty of opening tens of browser windows almost all the time or if you need your new computer for heavy photo editing, video processing or gaming.
Which hard drive?
Data storage for a computer is important. While lots of options are there already, remember that the way you intend to use the machine should determine the hard drive’s storage capacity.
Hard drives are divided nowadays in 2 main categories: Traditional hard drives that use mechanical parts like platters and heads to store and access the data and SSD (Solid State Drives) which store the data inside memory chips.
SSDs are very new compared to traditional hard drives but accessible in terms of prices and also provide up to 10 times the speed of traditional hard drives.
For those who just want to store everything on their computer can go for the largest hard drive in terabytes – TB – or gigabytes – GB -considering that all the programs and files will remain stored on the computer. Generally a 2TB hard drive is quite enough for a tower PC but for laptops it is safer to go with 500Gb(half a TB) because of the risk of dropping your laptop and damaging the hard drive.
If you do not intend to have lots of apps, tools and data on your PC a small SSD is a much better as it will provide better performance.
A very important factor to consider is that although a bigger hard drive allows you to store more data, it also increases the chances of you losing more if it goes wrong so always remember to backup you data.
If speed is important to you an SSD flash hard drive is the best especially that nowadays even SSDs with a lot of storage are becoming more and more affordable.
Linux, Windows or Mac
Now, that is a tough one. Generally it seems that most people choose based on what they feel more comfortable with. Apple mac computers are very nice in terms of design, quite stable and reliable in terms of software (certainly better than Windows computers) but they come with very high price tags.
Windows computers are much more common, especially in Europe, have more affordable prices but at the same time Windows operating systems are not as reliable as Apple Macs.
There is always some sort of give away but if you like Apple and also if what you need to do can be done on an Apple computer and if the budget allows then by all means go with an Apple.
On the other hand if you like Windows computers, then take your time and look for a good one and then take your time and take care of the software and in most cases all will be ok.
Choose the type of operating system you know very well because adjusting to another operating system is not easy unless you have some time on your hands. If you have never used Linux or hardly know what it is, you probably do not need it.
For an OS that is easy to get around and keeps things as easy and basic as possible, try Mac but remember that macs will always be more expensive to fix when they break down….and they will at some point, like all other computers.
If you know Windows very well, are not interested in switching to a different system and like to have more control of the different things on your PC, Microsoft is a choice worth thinking about.
If you need a powerful computer chances are you are looking for a machine mostly for PC gaming. If you want to play the best games that just hit the market the graphics need to be ultra or as high as possible while maintaining an increased frame-rate.
A machine that performs really well is a must. A sizable hard drive is important since more space is needed by the ever changing modern games. The drive should also be fast; most games really need a higher processing power, one that is heavy hitting. Lots of cores in the processor might not be needed if you have a fast processor but if you are a person who has many favorite games, boosting the core count is a wise choice.
If you are thinking about another operating system and not Windows, you might want to rethink your decision. Linux and Mac OS might have a number of games but most are built for Windows.
A laptop for gaming? Not a great idea, considering they are expensive with all kinds of hardware crammed up together in a small device. PC gaming majesty demands the highest quality and latest hardware. Lots of laptops for gaming purposes are there in the market but a desktop is an inexpensive choice, does not overheat like a laptop and can be upgraded at any given time with the best hardware.
What about Windows 10?
Clearly almost anyone has used, is using or can use Windows due to its flexibility. It is also found on more computers than both Mac OS X and Chrome operating systems.
At the same time, you can buy a Windows Notebook even below £200 on the lower side allowing you access to a huge number of features such as dual graphics chips, fingerprint readers and touch screen.
Windows 10 is an enhancement of both Windows 8 and Windows 7. It allows the user to alternate between desktop and tablet modes and comes with zillions of programs for desktop users plus a complete version of the various productivity, development, video and graphic tools.
In case you are shopping for the best laptop, do not stop at specs only but do consider how the ergonomics are. Considering how important a comfortable machine is especially when you use it everyday it is important to take your time to check the keyboard and the touchpad.
Watch the keyboard closely and choose one with vertical travel worth talking about (the distance a key will go down if pressed). The space separating keys also should be enough. A touchpad that does not result in a shifty cursor is a choice worth having while those looking for a laptop for their business should choose one with the pointing nub resting above the B key and between the keys G and H.
Have a budget in mind before you go shopping for a computer. Shopping around is also a great idea and rather than buying from the computer company directly, shop online and compare prices to see what retailers are offering in terms of prices.
The price of a computer on a company’s website is sometimes a couple of times more than a retailer’s. Above all, be ready to buy a machine at a price you can afford and a model that will serve you better.
Mind the peripherals
Clearly, the kind of computer peripherals you need are directly related to the computing needs that you have. DVD drives might be more important to you than USB ports and vice versa. You might also be a freelancer working online most of the time with a limited need of peripherals.
Nonetheless, ensure the PC you choose supports USB devices, considering lots of keyboards, monitors and mouse models, including modern external hard drives also run through USB ports. Ensure the computer has the latest USB version, although most machines still have 2.0 USB ports.