6 Things to Consider When Buying A New Laptop Computer
When your laptop starts making that sound similar to a squirrel dying and or you get the deadly blue screen error message that the computer is dumping all data every time you start your computer, then it may be time to invest in a new laptop. I have had several laptops in which I waited to the last minute then cringed when it was time to fork over another $1,500 on another one. Part of the screen was torn, keys were missing, and yeah, programs were unusable because new technology wouldn’t let me do the things I wanted to do. There is nothing better than taking the sparkling new laptop right out of the box free from files and viruses that corrupted the dying old piece that was once my lifeline for business. Speed and execution with the new device was incredible since it was 10 times faster than my old friend. But how did I select the one laptop that was going to fit my needs and deliver the results I wanted when I wanted them? Research…
People ask me what is the best laptop to get I would ask them “When a prospective buyer comes to you and asks what is the best house to have, what do you say?” The final decision rests on the needs, budget, and emotional attachment the consumer places on the house. Same with laptops. Some people go out and buy the latest and greatest tablet PC with all of the upgrades imaginable and then either not take the time to learn how to use it, or not use the full functionality of the laptop. Money is wasted and the uneducated buyer is disappointed with the equipment.
I have invested in many laptops and have made the same mistakes in buying laptops that most beginners face. Not anymore and either will you. Below are six things to consider before you go out and buy the latest laptop. These will help you become an informed consumer, save money, and thoroughly enjoy an asset that will contribute to your bottom line.
1. Invest in the warranty. If you are going to invest in anything in a laptop, spend money on the warranty. Most dealers or resellers of laptops have locations that you can take your laptop and have it fixed within 24-48 hours even though the company you bought it from is out of state. Some sellers will ask you to mail your laptop back to the manufacturer for them to fix it which can result in longer time delays and the equipment could get damaged or misplaced in the delivery. Risk management consultants have stated that companies that lose power for 10 days run a high risk of going out of business. You do not want to lose power or access to your business for an extended period of time especially if you operate it from your laptop.
2. Size. Size does matter for those who travel frequently or cannot carry excessive weight. Large screens weigh more. Small screens weigh less. DVD/CD-Rom drives weigh more too. There are laptops that do not have built in disk drives but allow for plug in USB 2.0 to connect the external DVD/CD player to use.
3. Dual processors speed up activities. A dual processor executes multiple programs at the same time. Multi-task users will appreciate this feature if you are uploading and downloading files and programs from the internet while checking email or writing documents. Go with the dual processor if you can afford it. You will thank me later.
4. Memory. Most of us will never have a problem with memory unless we store large amounts of multimedia files on our computer. The multimedia family includes: music, pictures, videos, and movies. Memory comes cheap on newer computers additional memory is always a good investment. Most new laptops will come with 80 - 100 GB (gigabytes).
5. RAM. A high RAM (random access memory) will let you retrieve information faster on your computer. It is considered volatile memory since the information is stored temporarily and will be lost if the power is turned off. Think of information stored on the clipboard in Microsoft Word as volatile. 512MB or 1GB of RAM is recommended with newer computers.
6. Tablet or regular laptop? Only the tech savvy will appreciate the tablet PC since you can write on documents and email them to a client or prospect. If you will not use the tablet then do not buy one. Just because you can sign on the screen doesn’t mean that you will use it. Tablets can cost up to $500 more than a traditional laptop.
A laptop purchase is similar to the home buying process. Some manufacturers will allow for 100% financing and throw in additional upgrades and options. Some advertisements say, “If you act now then you may qualify for additional printer.” Knowing what questions to ask at the right time will save you hundreds of dollars. These considerations will give you a start to becoming a more informed consumer. Great websites that I have seen for choosing laptops are http://www.tabletpcreview.com/, http://www.epinions.com/ , and http://www.laptopadvisor.com/.
If you invest in the laptop, invest the time that it takes to learn how to use it in your business. Take a computer class at a community college or through your local REALTOR® association to learn the basics. Real estate specifics courses such as the e-PRO certification, Marketing with Microsoft Office are great for beginners and experienced agents.
(Doug Devitre is a certified e-PRO Trainer for the National Association of REALTORS®. For more information please visit www.RETechTraining.com or e-mail to Speaking@DougDevitre.com. Read past articles here.)
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