Buyers Guide for New PCs

So you need a new computer, but which way do you go? You could get a tablet, a laptop or a desktop. How do you know which one is right for you? And even after you've selected the type of device there may be 100's of models to choose from on the market. We'll guide you through some of the most common pitfalls.

What type of device should I buy?

The first and foremost consideration when selecting the type of device to purchase is whether or not you need to use the device when travelling. This one is simple; laptops and tablets are portable, but a desktop is not. We also need to consider what you'll be doing with the device. If you expect to be doing just a few emails, browsing the internet, using Facebook and maybe a game or two any of the above solutions will work. But what if you need to run specific software or programs, or if you need to be able to plug in devices like GPS systems, external hard drives etc? In this instance a tablet is generally not for you. In some cases purchasing multiple devices may be an option to cover all bases.

Here's a quick breakdown:

  • Desktop: Powerful systems designed to complete basic work and more specialized uses in one fixed location. Generally cheaper to buy and repair than a laptop. Desktops can also be upgraded to help them keep up-to-date.
  • Laptop: Less powerful than a desktop, used for basic work and more specialized uses, and is completely portable (as long as the battery is charged). A little more expensive than a desktop to buy, and some can be expensive to repair. Laptops generally have limited upgradability.
  • Tablet: Light, portable and cost effective device to complete basic tasks only. If you need the ability to plug in other devices, or use specialized programs, a tablet will not be suitable. Tablets are not upgradable.
  • OK, so I've chosen what type of device I want, now which model is right for me?

    When looking at the range of devices available, there may be 100's to choose from. The main consideration to keep in mind is what you'll be using the device for. Consider the programs and software you'll be using. All computer software comes with a list of system requirements, and you should find out what specifications each program recommends to run smoothly. It is also a good idea to think about the future too. As time progresses, programs and software require more and more resources from a computer in order to keep running. Therefore purchasing a system a little more powerful than what you require now is a good idea to help future-proof your purchase. Remember, a $500 PC running in two years time will be nowhere near as smooth as a $750 device. With any technology purchase, you get exactly what you pay for.

    So I've selected the device to buy, where do I get it from?

    The best advice here is to shop around. Devices can be purchased in brick and mortar stores, or online. Keep in mind, though, that a faulty device may be easier to return if purchased from a physical store. My favourite method is to collect catalogues from each store you're considering purchasing from and then comparing them side by side. Don't be afraid to walk into a store and tell them another store has the same (or equivalent) device for less.


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