October 3, 2023

Are you considering investing in a new laptop? If you click through to read this article, I assume you are. They vary in size, features, and price, so choosing the best one can be a challenge.

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That’s why you need to figure out what your needs are. I’ve put together this laptop buying guide to help narrow down your options.

No matter which model you get, laptops are expensive.
(Kurt Knudsen)

1. Don’t let price be the deciding factor

No matter which model you get, laptops are expensive. With this in mind, some people immediately go for the cheapest option. In contrast, others may do the opposite and choose the model with the highest cost, thinking that anything expensive must be the best.

No matter which side of the coin you’re on, choosing a laptop based on price alone will almost certainly end in disappointment.

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Budget laptops have minimal storage space and lack some of the features you need for work, so they may not be suitable.

While the most expensive ones usually include features you’ll never have, as well as lots of unfilled storage.

Instead of choosing the cheapest or most expensive, you should:

  • set maximum budget
  • Assess your current needs and what you want the new model to do
  • Find a device that meets all or most of your needs while still staying within your budget

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2. Be sure to try before buying

Whether you’re new to a laptop or just upgrading to a newer device, it’s always a good idea to try out your new computer before deciding to buy it.

It’s important to note that nearly all brick-and-mortar tech stores (including the Apple Store, Microsoft Store, and Best Buy) allow you to test their devices. This will enable you to:

  • See if the features are to your liking
  • Get a feel for the keyboard, touchpad, and interface
  • Make sure it is the size and weight you are looking for

Double check if the store won’t let you try it out for some reason, or if you bought online return policy Make sure it’s reasonable before buying.

3. Pay attention to compatibility

One of the increasingly common mistakes when buying a laptop is not double-checking port compatibility. Most laptops these days use USB-C ports, and you probably still have a few devices that use USB-A ports.

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Admittedly, this incompatibility problem can be solved by purchasing a dongle. But instead of spending more money, check to see if your computer’s ports are compatible with most of the devices you know you’ll be using.

It's a good idea to check that your computer's ports are compatible with most of the equipment you know you'll be using.

It’s a good idea to check that your computer’s ports are compatible with most of the equipment you know you’ll be using.
(Kurt Knudsen)

4. Long-term planning

Just like making a decision based purely on price, don’t rush into buying a laptop based on your current needs because you want your computer to last at least a few years. Therefore, before buying, it is wise to:

  • Check the storage and capabilities of your current device
  • Determine how much you are using its applications and services
  • Figure out what you’ll need for yourself in the next few years

You don’t necessarily need to get the most advanced, latest model; however, you should always buy equipment that will at least improve your current equipment and allow you to meet all your future needs.

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5. Size matters

You should always consider Goldilocks when choosing a laptop. Depending on your preferences, some may be too large and some too small, leading you to want a “just right” model.

This can be quickly determined by several factors:

  • If you will be using it more on the go or at home
  • where you plan to use it, and/or where you plan to take it
  • Your requirements for visibility and typing.

Let’s say you plan to use your laptop almost exclusively at home. In this case, as long as you have room on your desk or wherever you plan to work, a sturdy device that measures 15 inches or larger may be a better fit for your needs.

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These devices may not fit in the backpack or harness you choose, and if they weigh around 10 pounds or so, your shoulders won’t be able to handle them.

If you work more often on the go, a smaller device, around 11 inches or so, might be more to your liking. However, as mentioned before buying, it’s best to try it out first, as you may find yourself having trouble typing on the smaller keyboard; having the device somewhere in the middle is the best way to go.

If you work more often on the go, a smaller device, around 11 inches or so, might be more to your liking.

If you work more often on the go, a smaller device, around 11 inches or so, might be more to your liking.
(Kurt Knudsen)

Of course, the biggest overall mistake anyone can make when shopping for a new laptop is making a decision based on only one factor. Be sure to consider your multiple needs and reasons for buying before making your final decision. With these five factors in mind, you’re sure to take home a device that will keep you happy for the near future.

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