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Not too long ago, buying a laptop computer was a major purchase for most people. However, prices in recent years have been dropping, putting entry-level models at a cost not much higher than that of a few dinners at a nice restaurant. Here’s what you need to know to find the best laptop deal:
1. Do Your Homework First
Laptops vary in capabilities, with prices ranging from about $150 to $2,500. Read unbiased online reviews written by respectable sites such as Digital Trends and PCWorld. These sites group laptops into functionality and price categories and tell you which models in each group offer the best features.
2. Don’t Pay for More Computer Than You Need
If you’re looking for a laptop to slip into your backpack and bring to class, you don’t need to pay a thousand dollars more for one with an ultra-powerful gaming processor. Look at lower-priced models to see if they meet your needs, rather than heading straight for the heavily promoted new releases.
3. Pick Your Model Before You Find Your Retailer
When you’re shopping for technology, brand loyalty to a specific retailer shouldn’t govern your decision. Instead, take advantage of the competition in this crowded marketplace to find the best price for the model you want. Do a Google search for the exact laptop you’re interested in, and then compare prices between online sources and stores in your neighborhood.
4. Shop When Prices Are Lowest
Since students make up a big part of the laptop market, prices tend to drop during the August back-to-school season. The holiday shopping weeks in late November and December bring a second wave of low prices. Prices also drop on older machines right after a new model is released, so keep an eye on product announcements from the major manufacturers.
5. Consider Buying a Refurbished Model
You have to be careful, of course, when buying pre-owned technology, but refurbished laptops nowadays are available through highly reliable sources. You can check manufacturer sites directly, using the search term “refurbished,” or you can visit major retailers such as Best Buy, NewEgg and TigerDirect. You may also find great prices through an Amazon seller that has high ratings and offers a money-back guarantee.
Laptop computers are remarkable tools, packing outstanding capabilities into an easily portable form. If you approach your purchase thoughtfully, you can find a machine that meets your needs and is still gentle on your budget.