Finding the Best Computer Bargains of 2021
Are you in the market for a new computer or laptop? If there has been a year for a renewed interest in laptop and desktop computers, 2020 was it.
Computer sales were on the decline in recent years because of the trend towards mobile devices. In 2020 though, millions were forced to work from home because of the coronavirus pandemic. That drove computer sales to grow at the highest rate in 10 years.
You do need to have a strategy in place to find the best computer bargain. Do not worry; it is not as complicated as you might think.
Are you ready to score a killer deal on a laptop or desktop computer?
Read on to discover the best deals and how to shop for your next computer.
What Do You Need and When Do You Need It?
What kind of computer do you need? Do you have a preference between a desktop, laptop, or all-in-one machine? How fast do you need it to be? How much hard drive space do you need?
Another question that you need to answer is if you need the computer now or later? For instance, if your current computer keeps you from working or gaming, you will need a new computer now. If you think you can wait a couple of months, you will require a different strategy.
If you need a computer now, you could end up with a bargain that does not fit your needs. Be sure to go through the steps below to what you want. You can get a new computer in a couple of days.
You can take your time for those with the luxury of time, but you could still end up with a computer that does not quite fit. That is because you could start your research now and purchase a new machine six months later. At that point, manufacturers are rolling out brand new models.
Be clear about the purpose of your computer. A business laptop and a gaming laptop have very different uses. A top-notch graphics card is a non-negotiable for gaming computers.
Aside from editors, photographers, and graphic designers, most business laptops and computers will not need a powerful graphics card.
Where to Find a Computer Bargain
The big question is, where in the world do you go to get great computer bargains? These are some of the places that you can visit in-person and online.
Direct from Manufacturers
A lot of the time, manufacturers have the best computer deals. You can usually find discounts and rebates on a broad range of computers.
Which manufacturers are worth visiting? Lenovo, Dell, and HP are a few examples of manufacturers with business, gaming, and low-end laptops.
Retailers like Best Buy, New Egg, Amazon, eBay, and B&H Photo are retailers with new computer deals. You will need to spend time shopping at each site to see what they have in stock and how much.
While they do have discounts, they often cost more than shopping at the manufacturer. That is because retailers have to mark up prices to make a profit.
Computer Repair Shops
Computer repair shops often have refurbished computers for less than market value. You can easily get a high-end model that is a year old for the price of a mid-range model.
The staff at repair shops are often more knowledgeable than retail store staff. Call a couple of repair shops in your area. Tell them what you are looking for and see if they have something in stock that fits your needs.
Price Comparison Sites
Thousands of price comparison sites will tell you the best laptop and computer deals. They often have reviews and insights about computers.
These are good if you need a laptop right away and you do not have the time to do a lot of research on your own. Be wary of some of these sites, though. Some make money as affiliate sites, meaning that they make a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
How to Compare the Best Computer Deals
There is no doubt that you have questions about comparing the hundred of computer models out there. There are some points to compare these computer models.
The most obvious comparison is the price. That is not the only comparison you should make. You will find that some computers fall within certain price points.
Low-end computers have basic components and cost between $450-$699. Mid-range computers cost between $700-$999. Most high-end computers cost more than $1000. That applies to both desktop and laptop computers.
Low-end computers are not to be confused with Chromebooks, which are fundamental laptops. These are OK to use as a secondary computer and for basic computing tasks, such as email and word processing. Chromebooks cost between $250 - $400.
Hard Drive Type and Space
This matters if you are looking for additional speed or if you need a lot of storage space. There are two types of hard drives, the emerging solid-state drive (SSD) and standard hard disk drive (HDD).
SSDs are much faster, and you will notice this as soon as you boot up the computer. It will boot up in seconds rather than minutes. While you will end up with a faster computer, SSDs cost more.
If you store any files on your computer, you will have difficulty finding a new computer that is cheap, fast, and gives you a lot of hard drive space.
HDDs have much more capacity and are less expensive. These are still a good choice if you are willing to sacrifice a little speed.
We are on to a different type of memory. Random-access memory (RAM) stores information temporarily so you can access information faster. This lets you multitask and switch between programs seamlessly.
The more RAM a computer has, the faster it runs. A computer that struggles to open a large program like Photoshop needs more RAM.
For most applications, a computer with 8GB of RAM is a good starting point. You want to make sure that the motherboard has room to add more RAM.
That allows you to hold onto the computer for a long time. If you want a really cheap computer, you can get a computer with 4GB of RAM and upgrade it yourself.
If you are planning to drop serious cash on a new computer, you need to know if a warranty covers you. Retailers and manufacturers have different warranties.
Retailers usually offer a warranty for the first month or two on the product. If you need to return it, there is a restocking fee that can be as high as 15%. Retailers also offer extended warranties, which you pay a monthly or annual fee for two or three years.
Manufacturers offer a limited warranty for the first year on low and mid-range models. High-end models, such as business computers, have full-service warranties.
Be sure you know exactly what the warranties cover. You might decide that it is worth it to purchase an extended warranty in case something goes wrong.
Read Online Reviews
Check out the reviews of models you have in mind. You will get a lot of useful information from other owners. You could discover that a particular model has a short-lived battery.
Some computers are weak in the security area. That's a concern for businesses, considering that a business is hit with a ransomware attack every 11 seconds.
You will find that users have similar issues with certain computers. That is enough to make you steer clear of those models.
Visit Retail Stores
Once you have a few models in mind, you want to see how they look and feel. With a new desktop computer, you do not need to worry about this too much. You want to make sure that the desktop will fit in the space you have planned for it.
For a laptop computer, you need to be a bit more careful, especially if it will be your main computer. You want to make sure that the laptop is the right weight if you plan to carry it around often.
You want to make sure the screen size is sufficient if you do not plan to hook it up to an external monitor. Remember that years of looking at a downward angle will cause neck and shoulder strain.
Be sure to try out the keyboard and the touchpad. A keyboard that does not feel right will impact your workflow, and it could make you much less productive.
Paying a visit to a retail store to check out the models on the floor will give you a better idea as to what you are really looking for. It does not mean that you will buy a computer on the spot, but you will be sure to get the right computer.
Score Amazing Computer Bargains
What does it really take to find the best computer bargain? You need to know what you need and when you need it. You need to know where to look, and you need to know what those numbers and specs mean.
Take your time to compare the specs and models and narrow it down to a couple of models. Then look at sites to find that model at the best price.
Head over to the Guides section of this site for inspiration and ideas to help you make the most out of technology.