Regret is one of the most powerful emotions a human being can feel. Like it or not, it can control you, especially if it involves material things and becomes buyer’s remorse. Such a feeling is all too common when purchasing laptops. And we all want to avoid that feeling, and having a list of things you shouldn’t do when buying a laptop is one of the best ways to circumvent it.
Laptops, after all, can be expensive. In fact, the average laptop is more expensive than a computer of the same specs, especially if we start treading into mid-range or high-end territory.
And wouldn’t you know it, buying a laptop can be a daunting and convoluted experience made even harder by marketing lies and rapidly advancing technology.
That’s why you’d want to be adamant and keep a semi-strict guideline before you pay for that cart or swipe that card when buying a laptop. Here’s a list of don’ts to help you stay strong in the face of temptation and ignorance.
The worst crime you can do to yourself in buying a laptop is purchasing one without any research or at least any form of knowledge to help you understand whether you’re getting ripped off or getting a good deal. This goes for both second-hand and brand-new laptops.
We know it might be tedious or even dizzying comparing specifications or numbers and letters just to get the best laptop. That’s why this website exists. A lot of our buying guides are focused on giving you the best laptop deals depending on your budget or needs and wants.
Reviews are always available both here and on other sites to help you decide what’s actually worth buying this year and what you ought to be paying for a specific device.
Listening Too Much To Negative Anecdotes
At the same time, you also want to be level-headed when it comes to taking buying advice especially if it’s from friends or family.
Just because one person experienced this with that or had a lemon laptop sent to them doesn’t mean that’s representative of the user experience as a whole. Otherwise, the company would go belly up if that were the case with all customers.
There’s also user error to consider here as a factor. Some slowdowns, breakages, or poor optimization could be due to user error and ignorance that gets blamed on the brand or manufacturer.
You have to remind yourself that the average user doesn’t really know how to properly diagnose laptop issues and isolate problems without mistaking causation for correlation. Take lone negative reviews and anecdotes with a grain of salt.
Not Having a Budget
It’s easy to go over-budget and spend too much if you don’t stick with a certain preference for a budget class. For that to happen you need to determine what you’ll use the laptop for. If you’re mostly gaming, you’ll do well with a mid-range to a high-end laptop.
For work that doesn’t involve digital media creation and mostly just meetings or typing, then a low-end laptop will do. For a guide on the budget ranges, use this as a reference:
- Low-end/entry-level: below $800-900
- Mid-range: $1,000 to $1,400
- High-end: $1,500 and above
Stick with a budget so you don’t get sales-talked too much into overspending for features you don’t even need or want.
When it comes to thinking up a preferred budget range for buying a laptop, you’ll do well to include a relatively small additional cost on top of the budget range prices. Like any computer, laptops also need peripherals such as the mouse, keyboard, bag, cooling pad, and more.
Some bundles include these items already, but others don’t. The keyboard and cooling pad are usually the omitted accessories here.
And we don’t recommend ignoring the dedicated keyboard as a peripheral. Laptop keyboards aren’t known for their durability and a broken one is annoying to replace. Besides, your hands and wrists will thank you for using a more “3D” keyboard compared to a laptop’s flat profile.
You might be tempted to ignore the prospect of upgrades since you probably don’t need that extra storage space or that additional stick of RAM probably won’t be necessary. This kind of mindset is a breeding ground for buyer’s remorse.
Because when it comes to laptop storage (especially for gaming), you can never have too much space. So if you can’t afford bigger storage space, then at least get something with an additional storage slot (preferably an SSD slot).
You’ll never know when you suddenly need to add more memory or storage to your laptop until it’s too late, especially if you’re a first-time buyer.
A lot of windows laptops these days love to ape Apple’s MacBook designs and lure a lot of customers into paying a premium for them. The reality is, they don’t perform any better than that bulky tar-black gaming laptop; in fact, some of them perform worse.
The point is, don’t judge a laptop’s usefulness by its aesthetics. Thinner laptops, after all, have terrible cooling since they have smaller heatsinks and weaker fans (if they do have fans at all).
If you’re given the choice between a powerful bulky gaming laptop and a slim and shiny professional laptop and you need the most performance possible, always go for the one with the beefier specs, even if it means choosing the less aesthetically-pleasing option.
Looks are just unnecessary bonuses when it comes to these devices; more often than not, manufacturers end up charging more just because a laptop looks pretty regardless of the performance.
Ignoring Size Implications
A laptop’s size determines a lot of things apart from just portability or the screen. The size also determines how well it cools its components or how durable it is.
As mentioned above, thinner laptops have poor cooling though they are quiet. Thinner laptops also have less durability due to their thinner chassis.
Meanwhile, bulky, durable laptops are heavy. Laptops with larger screens (17-inchers) are also cumbersome and heavy. Again, this boils down to your personal needs or preferences. But you might want to get a feel for these laptops’ weights before you decide on a winner.
Try carrying them in a sling bag on just one shoulder or comparing their screen sizes. Larger screens are definitely easier on the eyes and help a lot with gaming and productivity.
Fussing Over the Best & Latest
Wanting the best and the most recent hardware is a fast way to spin your budget out of control into a dilemma of wants and needs. This is quite a common aspiration for many people, especially with material stuff.
You might want the latest because you want future-proofing but in hindsight, there’s no such thing as that. Most computers go outdated in three to five years. The best ones will eventually be replaced by the next big thing once their future generation comes out (which is usually in two years).
So what happens is you might end up spending extra for that i7 or i9 CPU or an RTX 3080 Ti that you don’t even need. You could have saved money and focused on that one component that matters for your needs (CPU for productivity, GPU for gaming).
This is why mid-range laptops are typically the best value. In case the next generation of computers comes around, you can always upgrade to the next mid-range without much financial damage or remorse.
Expecting Too Much From the Device
Finally, we discuss the hard part of buying a laptop: the limitations of the device and the technology. The most common expectation is for the laptop to perform like a desktop PC, especially if it has the same specs on the sheet.
This isn’t the case since laptop versions of the desktop components are significantly less powerful. So even mid-range laptops with mid-range hardware might encounter some hiccups; such is the case when running the latest video games or when performing some media tasks.
Longevity might also leave you disappointed a bit since laptops run hotter; thus, their components wear out faster compared to the more properly-cooled desktop PCs.
Just temper your expectations for performance, especially if you’re coming fresh from desktop PCs or consoles. The technology for laptops to match their desktop counterparts just isn’t there yet; but with how fast technology advances these days, who knows? Maybe we’ll get there in a decade or so.