Don’t Break the Bank: Buying Guide to a Budget Laptop

Do you want to buy a laptop computer, but don’t want to make your student loan any higher than it is? Well don’t worry because it IS possible to purchase a great laptop computer without breaking the bank. When considering such a big purchase, you should first look at the big picture.

The Big Picture

Laptops come in all shapes and sizes, each with their own unique capabilities. When purchasing a budget laptop, you will probably be purchasing a heavier model, as the lightweight models tend to be on the pricier side. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get one that easily fits in your backpack. Do your research and shop around, and I’m sure you’ll find a laptop that’s perfect for you. When choosing a laptop you have lots of features to choose from like: RAM, processors, hard drives, DVD and CD drives, battery life, graphics cards and much more. You’ll probably want one with good battery life, since I’m sure you’ll be taking your laptop to class with you. That way it won’t shut down in the middle of a lecture. When purchasing a budget laptop, you should be prepared to spend anywhere from $499 to $900 plus tax, depending on the features you choose.

The Features of a Laptop

Choosing which laptop to buy will largely depend on what features you need. When buying a budget laptop, you may not get all the “bells and whistles” as you would with the more expensive ones. Don’t let that discourage you though, because you can still do a lot with an inexpensive budget laptop.

RAM stands for Random Access Memory and is your laptop’s virtual memory. RAM is measured in MB and GB, and the more RAM you have, the better. You can have more programs running at the same time if you have a lot of RAM. Your laptop will also run faster if you have more RAM. It sounds great, but buying a laptop with a lot of RAM is going to cost you. I would recommend at least 512MB, but if you can afford more then go for it. This is one of the most important things to consider when purchasing your laptop, so it shouldn’t be taken lightly. If you decide to go under 512MB you’ll probably be investing more money later on, because you’ll have to purchase more RAM.

Hard Drives are another feature to consider when purchasing your laptop. Their storage space is measured in GB, and just like RAM, the more you have, the better. However, you don’t need to go overboard with the hard drive space. Just make sure you get a sufficient amount that will allow you to do everything you need to do. If you decide that you need more later on, you can always buy an external hard drive for your laptop.

CD and DVD drives are popular with everyone, not just students. Believe it or not, you can get a CD or DVD drive in your laptop without exceeding your budget. If you want to burn CDs or DVDs, that’s going to cost you a little more money. Most of the time it’s worth the extra money because you can save so much information on them and free up your hard drive space. They’re also nice to use as a portable DVD player, although the battery gets used up fast when you use it this way.

Shopping Tips When Buying Your Laptop

As with all your purchases, shop around! Don’t just accept the first “sale” price you see. While you can check your newspaper for sale ads, I would recommend shopping online. Dell has a great website, where you can customize your own computer and even apply for financing. This is a big advantage when trying to buy a budget laptop, as you can cut out on the unnecessary bells and whistles. Also, their shipping is fast and sometimes it’s even free! I purchased a computer through them and it arrived in about a week. Before you start shopping, write down the features that you’d like your laptop to have. That way you’re not overwhelmed when it comes to making the final choice. You should also consider purchasing an extended warranty for your laptop. Most laptops come with a factory warranty, but investing in an extended warranty is definitely worth the money. They often offer free batteries for the life of the warranty, which is a huge savings in itself. Nomatter what you choose, make sure it’s the perfect laptop for your lifestyle. Even though you’re purchasing a budget laptop, remember that you’re probably going to use that laptop a lot, and for many years. If you’re stuck with something that doesn’t serve it’s purpose, you wasted your money. Keep it simple, but make the cost worthwile.

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