For a lot of users a laptop is just a bit of plastic that enables them to keep up with their work schedule when away from the office. After a long hard day of meetings, spreadsheets and phone calls, the process can carry on at home afterwards with access to word documents and yet more spreadsheets so you can keep to the deadlines.
For others it’s their livelihoods, running a business – whether it’s a start up company, handmade jewellery store or a blog – or just keeping up with the latest share prices so they know when to invest and when to pull the plug, we all have different needs for our laptops.
Students also have their own uses for laptops. Yes, the main use is to write all their essays, compile dissertation research, read through the latest lecture notes (or the ones you missed because you overslept, again), but they also want it to browse the Internet for research, social media, shopping, gaming, gambling, watching YouTube videos, playing DVDs, the list goes on. In a nutshell, students put the most demands on their machines, effectively wanting them to be all-in-one entertainment laptops as opposed to practical devices aimed at performing one specific task.
These reasons are why choosing a laptop is a much more complex process than many make out. Yes you can just go out and buy a basic machine for around £100, but for that you will get little or no extras, perfect if you literally want to write the odd document or check your emails. But the more you want out of your machine, the more you have to spend. Unfortunately. But how can you bring the price down?
There are a few ways. One of which is to set yourself a budget and ensure that you stick to it. A common mistake is to go into a store, find a machine you like and buy it, thinking about how much it costs later on. By setting yourself a limit on your spending, it forces you to think more practically, actually reading the specifications associated with each machine and getting the one that is best suited to your needs, and within your budget.
Other ways include buying second hand or “ex-display” models. A lot of students will be looking to get rid of certain items they don’t need when it comes to the end of their course, and you could pick up a bargain laptop by reading the on-campus adverts; while retailers will regularly offer discounted machines that were once on display in the store because customers have already had a go with them and there may be no box, but they’re still perfectly good, almost brand new machines. It pays to look around and to even ask the shop assistant if it’s the only one left.