If you’re in the market for a new desktop computer, right about now you might be feeling a mix of overwhelming confusion and the need to have it all!
It’s true; there’s such a mass selection of computers available as far as brand name…not to mention models, which can make choosing one for your home or business downright intimidating. Really, you don’t need it all.
The key is to set a budget, shop around, and buy with an understanding of the features you need in mind. This way you will ensure you get the most out of your new purchase.
Here are four vital things to consider before buying your next desktop computer…
1. Don’t be afraid to compare prices
You’re the customer, so you’re in control. I really, really mean that statement. Consider that you’re buying at a great time. The holiday season has ended and retailers are trying to clear their shelves before the next batch of new models hit the shelves in late February. This means one very important thing: if you’re looking for computer deals, as a smart shopper you can snag a bargain! However, you have to take the time to shop around and compare computers.
This isn’t a matter of getting it done in an afternoon. So do the footwork (or surf work if you prefer to shop virtually) by checking out several different physical stores and online sites. And if you see a model you like at a store that you can’t get to, take the ad or flyer to a store near you—most computer retailers will match prices if it means a sale.
2. Don’t get dazzled by features
Your preliminary research should also encompass the computer features that are the most important to you. Otherwise, there are so many available that you will get confused by all of the prospects. Start by mapping out what you want to do with your desktop computer by priority.
For example, if you use yours primarily to complete office tasks—like write email, Word documents, complete spreadsheets, etc.—you don’t really care about what CD drive your desktop contains or how streamed video appears on the screen. Don’t let the salesperson overwhelm and sell you on features that you won’t ever use. Make a list of essential features and take it with you when you shop so you don’t get side tracked by needless bells and whistles.
3. Warranty and support services
Get the salesperson to put in writing the warranty details as well as the added support services included with your desktop purchase. For instance, if you aren’t that tech savvy, a computer purchase that includes free computer set-up or 24-hour technical support might be vital to keeping you operational.
That way you can be sure that if a problem or question arises, you’ll have instant access to the support or warranty for parts and services that you need to get you back up and running quickly. And think hard before springing for an extended warranty.
4. Don’t shy away from buying used
Of course you should be cautious when considering a used desktop computer. However, if price is an issue, but the latest and greatest features are not, buying a used computer can save you significant money. Just be sure to do the research. For example, if you have a model in mind, look it up online to get a sense for what the new machine costs. Sometimes online sellers won’t expect you to do your research. You can find many great deals online from sellers who are looking to upgrade to a newer model.
However, if you’re not technically savvy, bring along a trusted friend who can inspect the computer inside and out and give you honest feedback on things like condition of the hard drive, ports, keyboard, etc. Also, be sure to ask if the computer is still under warranty. Many manufacturers’ warranties will transfer to the new buyer. So make sure to double check if the warranty is still honored.