One popular gift that does not need much guesswork about a person’s likes and dislikes is a laptop. A high quality laptop will not need an upgrade for at least 3 years.
The trick to picking a good laptop is to do some research before you go to an electronics store. Otherwise, you’ll spend hours listening to a salesperson’s biased pitch.
You can add even more value to the gift by bundling it up with other things, like a carrying case or an Internet service.
While you can tell a good carrying case from a poor-quality one, picking a good Internet Service Provider (ISP) can be trickier. While there are many leading ones for metropolitan areas, it can be harder to find a good one for rural areas. If, for instance, your gift is for someone in in a small community in Florida, look for a company like Frontier in Florida for fast, reliable internet at an affordable price.
If the person is going to use it for work, they may need a higher-end laptop that can handle resource intensive software like Photoshop.
So with so many laptops to choose from these days, how do you decide?
Here are 5 buying tips that will help you make a good decision.
First, Imagine How the Laptop will be Used
One nice thing about the large variety of laptops on sale is that it is easy to find one that matches a user’s needs. So, make a short list of the many possible ways the gift recipient will use the laptop.
If the person is a college student, they may benefit from a laptop with a robust office suite to do their homework and class papers.
If the person is a teenager, they may want a laptop that can has optimum graphics capabilities for gaming.
If the person is older and retired, they may just want a simple laptop that allows them to surf the Internet, visit family on Facebook and check their emails.
Second, Decide Where to Buy the Laptop
If the person is far away, it might be easier to just buy it online, which may dropship for you and waive shipping costs as a purchase incentive.
If the person lives locally, you may want to just go to an electronic store and try out the laptop before you buy it.
Third, Research Leading Brands
Laptops are delicate electronic instruments. Even an excellent, high quality laptop faces certain risks. The hardware may be corrupted by electrical problems in the house. The software may be compromised by malware.
Often these problems can be easily fixed by someone who knows what they are doing. However, getting this expert help can be expensive. Since the new laptop will have a manufacturer’s warranty, a person who has technical problems with their laptop will probably contact them for assistance.
While some laptop companies offer excellent customer support, others cut corners and outsource their customer service to low cost technical support.
For 2015, Laptop Mag gave the following ratings to the top brands:
Fourth, Dig into Performance Reports
Research may not tell you much about the very latest model, but they will tell you about past performance of a company’s earlier models. This will give you a general idea of the best models to pick.
In a research study done by SquareTrade, they found that one in three laptops will fail over a period of three years. The study analyzed reported failures from defects, malfunctions, and accidents. The report’s synopsis said, “SquareTrade analyzed failure rates for over 30,000 new laptop computers covered by SquareTrade Laptop Warranty plans and found that one-third of all laptops will fail within 3 years. SquareTrade also found that netbooks are 20% more unreliable than other laptops, and that Asus and Toshiba are the most reliable laptop brands.”
Fifth, Read through Review Sites
When reading reviews on different laptops on places like The Wirecutter, Amazon, or Laptop Mag, there are some specific things to look for:
• Ignore what the manufacturers say about their product, including how many stars. Often this information is highly-biased and sales-oriented, even if it consists of customer ratings and testimonials (they aren’t going to include the critical reviews).
• Focus on reviewers’ candid commentary, which can be quite revealing. This is where you can spot trends. For instance, one laptop may be consistently criticized for bad customer service while another does not hold a battery charge as long as advertised. Look for keywords like “workhorse,” or “disappointed.”
Be An Informed Consumer
When it comes to choosing a perfect gift laptop, there are many to choose from, but if you use these five steps before you go to a website or electronics store, you should be able to make a good decision rather than be swayed by a salesperson’s biased opinion, one colored by manufacturer’s spiffs or their own limited experience.