If you haven’t checked out laptops & computers lately, you might not know how to pick one out. Then again, you can only go so long on your older machine, because eventually, it gets obsolete and no amount of upgrades can save it if upgrades are even still possible anymore.
Before you shell out any of the money you’ve worked hard for, take a look at the reviews for any specific laptops & computers that you’re looking at buying. A new laptop or computer is always going to look great on the page that is selling it if it’s coming straight from the company that makes it. That can lull you into believing it’s great, but it might not always be accurate. See if you can find pages for those models on Amazon or NewEgg. These sites are great sources for user reviews that can tell you quite a bit.
You can find computers and laptops for sale through many big-box retailers in your area but also look online. The Internet is a clear winner for shopping for most electronics and reading the best laptop guides, given the selection available. There are far more machines you can look at, and some of them are far better deals than you’ll find in a brick and mortar store that you can drive to.
If you’re looking at a laptop specifically, don’t overlook how good the sound is. Many laptops have a minimal sound system that will be quite irritating if you want to watch a video and find out how terrible the sound is. For that matter, if you’re looking at turning a computer into an entertainment or gaming machine, it needs to be able to produce a good sound too, although you can address this to some degree with good speakers.
See how many open slots there are for more RAM chips in both laptops and computers. Sometimes, there will be open slots. Other times, you’ll have to take out the existing chips to put new ones in. In either case, maxing out the RAM is one of the cheapest yet most effective upgrades you can do.
Don’t forget about accessories in your budget. A new desktop computer is likely to come with a mouse and keyboard, but they’re not going to be very good. You also might need speakers and a printer, and of course a monitor. Laptops are more likely to come without any accessories whatsoever, but a good case or bag is certainly a must.