4 laptop purchasing tips

Hardware_Nov25_BThis holiday season, laptops are highly likely to be a popular gift. We know that most laptops these days will last about three years before you need to upgrade. The problem is, with so many different types of laptops out there, picking one that will last three years while also not feeling terribly outdated might be tough. So, when you are picking a laptop this holiday season, whether it is for yourself, a loved one or someone at work, it helps to know how to pick a reliable model.

To pick a laptop that will be not only be reliable but also make a great gift, follow our four great tips.

1. Think: What will this laptop be used for?

Because there are so many different laptops available you can guarantee that there will be a laptop that meets the needs of any user. Before you get buying a laptop for someone else, pause and make a list as to how the laptop will be used.

If you are buying a laptop for someone who will be using it for work, and works on a daily basis with intensive software like Photoshop, then look for one with higher-end hardware. If the laptop is going to be used for everyday work, like word processing, email and spreadsheets, you likely don’t need one with high level hardware.

When considering different laptops, it is a good idea to actually try the laptop out in the store to see if it can handle what it will be used for.

2. Go with a company offering great tech support

Support is a factor many people who buy laptops don’t consider. The truth is, there is a good chance that the laptop’s hardware may at some point fail. If this happens, the majority of users will contact the manufacturer’s customer service department looking for help.

Now, we all know that many companies don’t have the best customer service but there are a number of laptop manufacturers with good to even great customer support. Pick a laptop that is made by the manufacturers offering good support so that should something go wrong, there is a better chance of reaching someone who will be able to effectively help.

How do you know which companies have the best tech support though? The easiest way to find out is to do a search on the Internet. You will come up with a large number of results and rankings, most of which seem to agree that in 2013 the top four brands for tech and customer support are:

  • Apple
  • Samsung
  • Sony
  • Lenovo

Of course, where these companies show up on the results varies according to individual reviewers, but the majority of articles put Apple and Samsung at the top.

3. Know the statistics

When considering laptops, you also should take into account general statistics. The most important statistic to look at is how long older versions and models from manufacturers have lasted. This can be tough to track down, as many manufacturers don’t readily report this information.

What you want to look at is the failure rate of laptops over time. There was an interesting study conducted by SquareTrade last year looking at the failure rate of popular laptop manufacturers over three years. Firstly, it found that one in three laptops will fail or experience hardware failure and need to be repaired within three years.

The study found that Asus laptops actually failed the least – with slightly over 15% of laptops failing within three years. Apple fared in the middle of the pack, with 17.4% of laptops failing within three years. The bottom of the pack was HP, with 26.6%, of laptops failing within three years.

What this study suggests is that the extended warranty plans offered by many companies are likely a good idea, especially if the intended use of the laptop is for business purposes.

4. Look at what other products the manufacturer makes

The laptop industry is an interesting one, with manufacturers often releasing products of varying reliability and quality. It is because of this that ratings that focus on the company as a whole can often miss the full picture. One company that has marginal tech and customer support may actually have high quality business laptops that will last years.

The Internet can provide a good source of answers for you. If you take the information about what the laptop will be used for you can use this to look at the various reviews on sites like Amazon, The Wirecutter or Laptop Mag – which is arguably the best site out there for laptop reviews.

The key here is to not pay full attention to the ratings – stars, %, etc. – instead, look at the reviews offered by users. If you are going to buy a laptop for someone who will be away from the office and power sources for a longer period of time, look for reviews from users that mention poor battery life. If you see more than a few reviews that mention this weakness you should probably steer clear of this particular device.

For the vast majority of business users, you will likely want to look for a laptop which reviewers and users call a workhorse. These are usually devices that are not only reliable, but will be able to handle most business related tasks and are available at an affordable price.

If you are looking to purchase a laptop this holiday season, please contact us today so that you get the best gift possible.

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