If you are in the market for a new laptop, there are a number of things to keep in mind. Who is going to be using the laptop? What is your price point? What are your needs?

Because the selection of laptops is practically endless and the technology constantly evolving, knowing what you want before stepping foot in the store will help ensure that you get exactly what you are looking for. 

Do Your Research

Search store catalogs and online lists for the types of products that are available. Knowing what is out there can help more acutely define your personal selection list. Do you prefer certain brands over others? Are you looking for a traditional laptop? A tablet? Or a hybrid of the two?

Laptops are no longer one-size-fits-all; they come in convertible versions, touchscreen versions and more, so decide on a model that’s right for you. 

Consider a Price Point

Prices for laptops range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. Knowing the price you are comfortable paying is a great way to avoid ending up attached to something that is too expensive or settling with something cheaper when you would have been happier paying a little extra to get something with more features. 

PC laptops tend to be quite a bit cheaper and just as effective as other higher end models. You can usually snag one for around $300. Mac machines have some pretty awesome features and a user-friendly interface. They are sleek and aesthetically pleasing, but you are looking at a significantly higher price point –– newer MacBooks start at around $999.

Know the Specs

When deciding on a laptop, it is important to know exactly what you are looking for and what you need in your machine. Things to consider include processing speed, operating system, RAM and storage capacity. Consider cosmetic features as well such as weight, screen size and touch screen models. 

The screen size on laptops range significantly from a compact 11 inches to a more spacious 18 inches. You may wonder, what difference does a couple of inches make? The answer: a lot.

While smaller screen size means lighter weight and easier transport, it can be too cramped for some users to be productive, especially if you’re looking for a desktop replacement. If this is going to be your primary computer, you might be better of with something larger, even if it does mean a few extra ounces of weight.

Although now with sleek designs like the Macbook Air, you might just be able to get the best of both worlds. These offer spacious screens, but still weigh under three pounds. 

What are Your Needs?

Are you looking for a laptop for light personal use, web browsing, and word processing? Or do you need something that suits more refined needs for things like video editing and game design? If this is going to be for family use, make sure it is something durable and has parental controls. 

If you are looking for a family computer, consider a few options off of the Parenting.com best family laptops list. The HP Mini 210 is one that made the cut. It is compact, colorful and cost effective. If you have some gamers in the family, you might consider something like the Toshiba Qosmio X505, which offers high processing speeds, large display and surround sound. 

Look for the Extras

A laptop is a pricey purchase, so look for things like extended warranties when purchasing yours. Nothing is worse than buying something brand new only to have to replace it due to unexpected or accidental damage. Does the laptop come with antivirus software? Test out the keyboard as well to see if the ergonomics suit your needs and preferences. 

Ask for Help

While employees and salespeople at electronic stores can be quite helpful when it comes to answering questions about purchasing a laptop, they can sometimes have the best interest of their store in mind rather than the consumer. If you have a tech savvy friend or family member, consider asking fort their advice or bringing them along for the purchase.

You can also narrow your choices down to a few different laptops and check out online reviews before heading to the store to have a sales associate help you decide on “the one.”

Happy shopping!

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