What to Look for When Buying a New Computer (or Laptop)

What to Look for When Buying a New Computer (or Laptop)
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With Christmas fast approaching, you may be looking to buy a computer or laptop for someone on your list. If so, this post is for you! In addition to determining your budget, there are other factors to consider before finalizing your purchase.


How you, or the lucky recipient on your list, will use the computer plays a huge role in what you need to buy. Users who will largely be reading email, checking social media, using Office software, etc. are considered light use and thus modest specs such as Intel Core i3 or i5 will be sufficient – and come with a modest price tag.

On the other hand, users who will be using their new computer for high end video games, virtual reality, or lots of video editing will want a faster processor and enhanced graphics capabilities. Look for options such as Intel Core i7, NVIDIA graphics and 16GB or more of RAM.

With regard to storage, laptops are frequently using a solid state drive instead of hard disk, making them thinner, smaller, and faster. They’re also less prone to damage. Just like when you buy kids clothes or shoes – assume you’ll outgrow your storage needs quickly and buy more than you think you’ll need.

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Two people looking at something on a laptop, while pointing at the screen and scrolling on the mousepad.

Operating System

Generally, people select from Windows, Mac OS, or Chromebook. Each has their advantages, but unless you’re looking to change, stick with what you’re comfortable with.
Windows 10
Currently, Windows 10 is the most popular choice on the market. Some cool features include the ability to login just by looking at the camera and multiple ways to interface with your content.
Mac OS
Although Macs tend to be more expensive, they’re also built to last longer and have higher quality controls than other options on the market. Many people find the OS easier to use and Apple offers loads of free or inexpensive software.
Google’s breaking into the computer market with this affordable option. They typically have limited storage and come pre-installed with the entire suite of Google products. For basic needs and people who are sworn Google loyalists, it can be a great option. If a Chromebook is on your list, click the link below to save some money!
Save $80 on Samsung 11.6″ Chromebook
A laptop sitting on a bed with a coffee cup next to it and a plant behind it.

​Laptop or Desktop

Laptops are super portable and lighter than ever before. Adding to the line of portable options are “2-in1s” that convert from tablet to laptop and back again. Either of these is great for professionals, students, and others on the go.

On the other hand, desktops can be a better choice for young children. They’re less expensive than laptops, and because they’re stationary, harder to break. Desktops of old had a monitor and separate tower unit. Today, most desktops are sold as “all in ones” which means the computer hardware is built into the back of the monitor and can fit almost anywhere in the home. Gamers, however, often still prefer the tower models because they’re modular and hardware such as video cards can be easily upgraded.

Buying a computer for Christmas isn’t as easy as picking one size fits all gloves off the rack, but it is a gift your loved ones will be thrilled to see under the tree.

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