Best Time to Buy a Laptop

So you need a new laptop… Your old one just gave you the black screen of death. Thankfully you were able to back it up recently. This is the situation I found myself in just last week. While I did have my work laptop at my disposal I didn’t want to mix my personal life with business for too long. However, there is one thing that I hate… buying something on the 10th of the month for $200 and seeing it go on sale for $50 the very next month on the 11th. I didn’t want to experience buyers remorse on my new laptop so I did a little research on the best time to buy a laptop. Here’s what I found…

When is the Best Time to Buy a New Laptop?

After a little digging I found that the best time to buy a new laptop is at the beginning of  December. Looking into the average prices on quite a few different computers I noticed the lowest prices at the beginning of the Holiday rush. Another excellent time to buy a laptop is June all the way through September – back to school will be in full swing. Starting in March many of the major computer manufacturers release their latest offerings. As a sidebar I’d also recommend Cyber Monday, Black Friday and Prime Day as great times to buy a new laptop.

With new models in transit to stores the older merchandise needs somewhere to go. Most retailers will begin discounting their current inventory to make room for the newer technology. This is the perfect time for consumers like YOU and ME. We can score great deals on premium laptops at the retailers expense.

Where is the best place to get a laptop?

Once upon a time stores like Best Buy, Circuit City and (if your memory goes back that far) the Good Guys were the go-to dealers for laptop computers but oh how things have changed. Here is the updated 2020 list of the 5 best places to get laptops:

  1. Amazon.com
  2. Overstock.com
  3. Techbargains.com
  4. Walmart.com
  5. eBay.com

Update: I actually ended up buying a Lenovo IdeaPad from Walmart. I was able to snag a great price and pay through the affirm service to break up my payments over 6 months.

What should I consider when buying a laptop?

The first thing I recommend you do when searching for new laptop is asking yourself this simple question: “What will I use this laptop for?” Your answer when well thought out will let you know exactly what to consider. Is this laptop for business or for pleasure?  Will you need to travel with it? Do you want to play games on your new computer? Are there certain software programs you’ll need to run that require certain hardware specifications? What operating system do you prefer? Windows or iOS? No one else can answer these questions except you the laptop user. Even though you’ll need to decide here our the factors that went into my last purchasing decision.

Size

Laptop size is important for quite a few reasons. If you are someone who will be traveling with your computer frequently do you really want a 17″ or 19″ machine that you’ll have to pull out of your suitcase every time you go through airport security? I know I wouldn’t. So if you’re a traveler opting for a smaller size computer maybe 13″ or 15″ might make more sense.

On the other side of the spectrum, maybe you aren’t going to be traveling at all and you’ll use your laptop for watching movies, streaming videos, and gaming the bigger the better! Looking at the large screens makes all the sense in the world if the aforementioned sounds good.

Screen Quality

Screen quality is a biggie. Too many times people order their computer online from Amazon or Walmart.com sight unseen and when they receive the package and open the box the screen resolution isn’t what they expected. This can be avoided by looking at the screen resolution specifications a little more closely.

What is considered good screen quality? Take a look at the diagram below it explain the pixel difference between 4K, HD, and DVD quality displays.

laptop screen quality

Battery Life

Whatever battery life your computers Manufacturer quotes throw that out the window. Those estimates are based solely on perfect conditions in a controlled environment. In the real world you’re going to be watching Netflix, running Photoshop, browsing the internet, keeping a 80% brightness on your screen, remaining connected to a WiFi network, Bluetooth devices and running countless other applications in the background. All of which is going to take a toll on your battery life.

Even your operating system plays a large role in battery life with Chrome OS being easier on the battery than Windows 10. We say all of this to say don’t believe a 15WH (watt hour) battery is going to give you a true 15 hour battery life. Looking for the larger figures upwards of 40 and 50 will give you the best possible battery life. Another key factor for when you’ve purchased your computer is let the battery drain to a degree versus leaving it plugged up at all time which is known to weaken the battery.

Keyboard Quality

Nothing ruins a computer more than a cheap keyboard! I can just envision the display keyboards at my local Walmart missing keys. Keyboards with floating keys often pop off, get stuck, or debris under them. Personally I stay away from laptops with floating keys and opt for rooted keys. Popularized by the Mac books they look cleaner and function a lot better too.

As someone who blogs quite regularly I sometimes find myself in bed with my computer. If this accurately describes you too MAKE SURE YOU GET A LAPTOP WITH A BACK LIT KEYBOARD! Although, the light from the display will be enough to see the keys have a back lit keyboard just makes life a lot easier. Lastly, the keypad is big bone of contention depending on the user. My wife for example is an accountant so she absolutely MUST have a keypad on her computer but for someone like me it isn’t 100% necessary.

CPU/Processor

The Central Processing Unit, CPU or simply processor, is the main chip of your computer that basically makes stuff happen. Your processor is responsible for carrying out all tasks and commanding the components of a laptop what to do. Needless to say your processor is a extremely important part of your computer without you don’t have a computer.

But what level of CPU do you need? Again this all depends on your individual needs. Intel creates processors for a wide variety of needs. For everyday PC tasks, quick charging and extended battery life the Intel i3 is more than sufficient. Some users who want something more adequate for all around performance like business, gaming, and streaming will opt for the Intel i5 processor. While these types of processors are most common in today’s laptops there are much more powerful CPU’s available.

RAM

Random access memory or RAM is what makes your laptop run smoothly or bog down. The more RAM you have the better performance you’ll get from your laptop even when running multiple applications at the same time. I find that RAM is particularly important for anyone conducting business on their machine. As business people we need to multi task and multi tasking with limited ram is a nightmare.

These days don’t think about buying a computer with less than 8 GB of RAM if you are going to be multi tasking and getting stuff done. If you are a casual user that will be mostly performing basic PC tasks like word processing, spreadsheets and email you’ll be good with 4 GB.

Storage

When I grew up it was all about the Hard drives but technology is always advancing and the SSD or solid state drive is the result. While the old school hard drives used to be slow, bulky, and heat up quickly. The SSD is the exact opposite they are compact, silent, extremely fast and don’t have heat issues.

Most laptop manufacturers have switched over from hard drives to SSD. Really the only downside is the bang for the buck. For a comparable dollar amount an SSD with 128GB, 256GB or 512GB capacity will cost the same amount as a 1TB or 2TB hard drive

When should you buy a new laptop?

Technology is rapidly improving it seems at all times. However, don’t think that means you need to upgrade your laptop every year. At SmartLaptopGuide we like to think of laptops like cars. Every 4 or 5 years the body style gets changed and that’s the time to start thinking about a new one.

Until then if its not broke don’t fix it. To be balanced though if there is a grand improvement in performance or features that will greatly effect your production then it might be wise to upgrade!

Laptops on Sale Now

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