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Friday, November 20, 2020

6 Tech Industry Secrets to Know Before Buying Your Next Laptop

 


Did you know that in the Netherlands, a staggering 97.6% of households owned at least one computer in 2017? Or that in 2019, almost two-thirds of all households in Korea also had a computer?


This year, tech industry experts forecast global computer ownership to skyrocket further. After all, many employees are now remote workers, while students have at-home classes.


If you're one of these folks and you need a new laptop, this list of saving money tips can help you score a great tech deal. Read on to discover how you can snag an awesome computer for much less.


1. Don't Let Tech Lingo Bedazzle You Too Much


In computers, the higher the number associated with a spec, the more impressive it usually is. For example, an eight-core processor is twice faster than a four-core processor. Another example is a 4000 (UHD) display, which has twice more pixels than the 1080p (HD).


However, even if higher specs are incredible, they're not always the best choice.


For example, an eight-core processor will just go to waste if the user only needs to use the laptop for basic tasks. These processors are often best for more serious gamers and professionals. It's not practical if you only need a laptop for text editing, browsing, and streaming.


As for a 4000 ultra high definition display, most folks won't see its difference with a 1080p screen. Only the most serious gamers and photo or video editors who deal with pixels and resolution will. Even if you stream a lot of HD movies or play indie to mid-tier games, a 1080p screen will often suffice.


Moreover, the higher the laptop specs, the pricier it is.


Take Apple’s new MacBook Air base model, for instance, which costs $899. This is enough for students and average users, with its eight-core processor, 8GB of RAM, and 256 GB of storage. Go with the higher configuration (512 GB of storage), and it’ll cost you $1,149.


You don’t really need 512 GB of storage unless you produce so much data. If you do need more than 256 GB, you can just sign up for a paid iCloud account that costs $0.99 a month for 50 GB or $2.99 for 200 GB.


In addition, the higher the specs (especially the screen), the more juice it needs to consume. That’s why UHD laptops run out of battery way faster than their 1080p counterparts.


2. Don't Be Too Stingy, Either


You'll find mini-laptops (usually Chromebooks) that cost under $300 or even less than $200. These are ideal for students on an extremely tight budget. However, they don't last long between charges, as they have smaller batteries.


If you need a laptop for work, it's best to go with a traditional laptop or even a two-in-one model. It's your income on the line, so you don't want to compromise that by being too stingy. Otherwise, you can expect your low-performance device to affect your productivity.


For average computer users, 4GB of RAM, 8GB of storage, and a dual or quad-core processor are already enough. With these specs, you can do basic tasks with speed, such as text and photo editing, browsing, and streaming. They're also sufficient for medium-heavy tasks, such as video editing and indie gaming.


3. Go With "Green" Technology Investments


Every year, the world produces over 50 million metric tons of electronic waste. Worse, only 20% of these discarded phones, laptops, and other electronics get recycled.


Because of this, tech makers have started to use recyclables in their products. For example, Apple's 2018 MacBook Air now features 100% recycled and recyclable aluminum. Lenovo also uses 10% to 85% post-consumer recycled content (PCC) plastics.


However, you should also do your part in limiting your e-waste production. You'd want to go with "green" tech, but you should also consider buying an upgradeable laptop. These are devices that allow you to upgrade parts like memory and storage.


Suppose you're on quite a tight budget now but need to buy a new laptop ASAP. However, you foresee yourself needing more RAM or disk space next year. In this case, you can buy an upgradable unit now for less and then get more memory and space next year.


In the above example, you don't have to discard the entire laptop you bought. You only have to install the additional RAM and disk space to boost its performance.


So, how do you choose an "upgradable" laptop then?


First, check that the unit doesn't have "soldered" components. Soldering is a process in which RAM sticks or disk drives get glued onto the internals. Soldered laptop parts aren't removable, so they aren't upgradable, either.


All computer makers indicate if a product features soldered parts. If not, they should state that their RAM or drive is "upgradable" or "non-soldered."


4. Go With a Refurbished Laptop


If you need a new low-cost laptop right away, consider going for a refurbished unit. Refurbished laptops aren't "fresh from the factory," nor are they "used," but they are as "good as new." They don't fall under "brand new" as they've had a previous owner, albeit only for a day or two.


Most refurbished laptops are those that get sold but then returned within a few days. Among the most common reasons for return are cosmetic flaws. Sometimes, they may also get returned because they weren't the model the buyer expected to get.


Store models, open-box units, and overstock supplies also often get sold refurbished.


Because of this, refurbished laptops come with significant discounts.


Don't worry, as these units undergo stringent manufacturer testing during the refurbishing process. The refurbishing team checks and fixes all the units' hardware and software flaws. They then wrap these fully-working laptops in new packaging before selling them again.


Moreover, the refurbishing company also ensures they come with a laptop warranty.


So, if you don't mind a slightly-older laptop model, consider going refurb. Since these are good-as-new items, many of them also last as long as the brand-new ones.


5. Mark Your Calendar for the Biggest Tech Industry Sales


The tech industry runs two of its biggest sales at the end of November until the start of December each year. Black Friday occurs in November, specifically on the Friday following Thanksgiving Day. By contrast, Cyber Monday happens on the Monday right after Thanksgiving Day.


With that said, one of the best money-saving tips to abide by is to make your tech purchases on any of these two days.


However, many online tech platforms, like Lenovo.com, offer deals before Black Friday. The very beginning of November usually marks many computer makers' site-wide sales. These companies mark down the prices of most products launched before the holidays.


So, it's no wonder that from November 1 to December 2, 2019, shoppers spent $81.5 billion on online tech purchases. That should prompt you to start shopping around for a new laptop as early as day one of the eleventh month of the year. This way, you can get your hands on your dream computer before its stocks run out.


6. Wait It Out Until Next Year


Speaking of tech sales, did you know that Black Friday spurred the birth of 1,000 other shopping holidays? So, this means that even if you don't score a deal during Black Friday or Cyber Monday, you still have a lot of chances.


For instance, you can wait until after the yearly Consumer Electronics Show (CES). This event usually occurs during January of each year. Many technology makers launch their new models during this time of the year.


As a result, tech makers reduce their existing products' prices to give way for the new ones.


Another big tech event usually followed by price drops is the Microsoft Build. The schedule varies, but it usually takes place during May, June, or July each year.


The back-to-school season, from late July to early August, also triggers tech sales too. It's for everyone, and not only students and educators. If you're a student or a teacher, though, you can get educational discounts throughout the year.


Next up is the European Internationale Funkausstellung (IFA), often scheduled during September. Traditionally, companies like Samsung and LG used this to launch their new TVs. However, tech makers have since then used it to promote their new laptops and mobile devices.


Shop Around for a New Laptop Early So You Can Be Ready to Snag a Deal


There you have it, your ultimate guide on money-saving tips within the tech industry. As you can see, there are at least half a dozen ways to cut your costs when you purchase a new laptop. If you don't want to go refurbished, you can always snag a deal during the holidays or wait until the CES is over.


Feel free to bookmark this page so you can always reference it in case you forget when the biggest tech deals are. In the meantime, you can also check out our other informative how-to guides and blog posts!

 

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