The first “modern” computer for popular use was invented back in 1964. Since then these gadgets have come a long way and now form a vital part of our daily life.
We use them at work, on the go, and at home for a whole range of jobs. In fact, now 77% of American homes have at least one computer, laptop or smart device in them. Many homes contain all three!
However, computers don’t always come cheap, which can make replacing one a financial strain. Thankfully, finding an affordable computer is easy if you know where to look.
Looking to buy a new computer? Then read on to find out our top ten computer-buying tips to keep costs low!
1. Think About What You Need Before Your Purchase a Computer
Before you start shopping, it is important to be aware of what you’re looking for. The computer market is vast and all this choice can be overwhelming.
It is important to think about what you will be using your computer for. For example, if you want to edit music or videos on it, you will need more processing power. This may mean you need to spend more on your computer.
It’s also worth thinking about which brands you’d like to buy from. Buying a new MacBook will set you back at least $1,200. However, brands like Dell, Asus, and Acer all offer cheaper options.
2. Know Your Budget
The tech industry in America is set to be worth $5 trillion this year. However, this doesn’t mean buying a laptop has to cost the earth. In fact, most people in America spend anything between $300 and $3,000 on personal computers!
If you are going to stay within budget, you need to know what you’re working with.
You might need to do a little research in order to set a realistic budget. There’s no point in saying you’re going to buy a new laptop for $100 if the cheapest one around costs $200!
When budgeting, it’s also important to consider any additional computing costs, such as:
- Shipping and delivery
- Software costs (such as Photoshop or Microsoft programs)
- Anti-virus software
- Internet bills
Depending on where you buy from, this can add up to $200 to the cost of a new computer. So it’s worth factoring this in when deciding how much you can afford to spend.
3. Be Aware of What You Have to Compromise On
Finding a cheap price for a computer often means that you have to compromise on something else. This is why it is important to know what you need before you start shopping. That way you can decide whether the compromise is worth it.
Often the things you have to compromise on include:
- Battery life
- Processing speed
- Internal storage space
- Software compatibility
Depending on what you are going to use your computer for, some of these things may be more important to you than others.
For example, if you are going to only use your laptop in an office, battery life might not be your biggest concern. Similarly, if you only want to use basic software, then limited compatibility might not be an issue.
It’s worth thinking about how you can overcome certain issues. Poor internal storage, for example, can be balanced out by using more online storage spaces. In comparison, it is very difficult to improve poor processing speed.
4. Look at the Specs an Affordable Computer Offers
To understand what you will be compromising on, you need to take a closer look at the specs in the computer guide. These detail exactly what a computer can do.
These are the minimum specs you should look for in an affordable computer:
- An IPS display (not a TN display)
- An Intel Core i5 processor or higher. If you aren’t going to use your computer for gaming you could go for a Core i3 instead.
- A “7th gen” and “U-Series” model – you can find this information in the serial number. For example, a Core i5-7200U fits this criterion. Y-series are much weaker so if you have to compromise, go for a 6th gen U-series.
- Absolutely minimum 6GB RAM for a laptop. Ideally, try to find one that offers 8GB.
- At least 500GB storage – this is the basic amount provided so try to go for more if you can afford it.
- A device that will support the fastest 802.11ac WiFi standard.
- USB 3.0 ports if they are available in the model you are looking at.
With those basics in place, you should have a laptop computer that can manage most workloads. Obviously, anything that surpasses these specs is even better!
5. Touchscreens Aren’t the Be All End All
In recent years, we have become more and more obsessed with touchscreen devices. Our smartphones have them and now so do some computers.
This is a nice touch (if you’ll pardon the pun) but it isn’t an essential feature. Having a touchscreen will immediately make your computer a lot more expensive. So if you’re trying to keep costs low, leave this out of the equation.
6. Try to Get Your Hands on a Clean Version of Windows
If you want to use Microsoft software on your computer, it is a good idea to try buying it directly from Microsoft. These computers automatically come with a clean version of Windows 10 installed on them.
This might not seem like such a big deal, however, it means that the software is already built into your computer. As a result, it doesn’t take up valuable memory and storage space. So you can save on your storage budget and improve your computer’s processing power.
7. Look at Chromebooks
Let’s say you are planning to use your computer for fairly basic stuff, such as word processing, web browsing, and entertainment. In that case, finding deals on Chromebooks could be just what you need.
These laptops use a Chrome OS from Google and are much more affordable than those on offer from Microsoft or Apple.
Essentially, they extend what you can do using Google (emailing, word processing, going online) to your computer. This reduces their overall production costs and makes them more affordable. They are also compatible with many Android apps, which means you can now do more on them than ever before!
8. Do Your Research
Whatever your budget, research is key when looking for a new computer. The market is ever-changing so this will keep you up-to-date on the latest models and specs.
When researching, it is also a good idea to look for feedback from other customers, especially on cheaper laptops. This will give you a good idea of any serious issues very quickly.
You can do this easily online. When looking at reviews, make sure you’re using independent websites or sites that display all customer reviews. That way you will see any bad reviews as well as the good ones!
9. Consider What Value You’re Getting for Your Money
It’s important to think of buying a computer as an investment. This means that approaching it with a “why pay more?” attitude won’t serve you well. This is why it is important to consider both price and value.
Of course, you don’t need to pay for bells and whistles that you won’t use. But paying for good basics specs will be worth it.
This will ensure that your computer really lasts and continues to perform well. When it does eventually need replacing, you will have almost certainly got your money’s worth.
10. Get Used to Laptops that Don’t Stick Around
No, this doesn’t mean that you’ll have to replace a cheap computer constantly.
It just means that there’s a lot of turnover when it comes to cheap laptop design. This means that when you do come to replace your computer, you won’t necessarily be able to find the model.
This is because brands are constantly updating their computers to ensure they offer the best possible specs. So you might find that a laptop with the same name doesn’t look or feel like the one you used to use!
Find a Cheap Computer to Suit You Today!
As you see, when it comes to finding an affordable computer there are plenty of things to consider.
Most importantly, you need to familiarize yourself with what you need to determine what you can compromise on. Once you know this, a little research will help you find the perfect computer to suit your needs!
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