Buying a cheap and good laptop PC is not an easy task: you do not want to spend a lot of money, but you are also unwilling to give up essential technical characteristics for the use that you are going to give it. In this guide, we show you how to make the right purchase.
Currently, in the market, you have at your disposal, many computers with all kinds of configurations and prices, which makes choosing a new laptop not easy. If your budget is quite limited, things get even more complicated, since matching specific characteristics with an adjusted price can be a titanic task. So we want to help you with these tips to buy a cheap and good laptop.
Knowing some key factors when choosing a laptop can save you a lot of money by discarding the features you don’t need to focus only on those that do. Being realistic in this regard will allow you to get the laptop you need to study or work without spending a fortune on it.
Before we begin, let’s define a cheap laptop since this concept does not have the same meaning for everyone.
What do we understand by a “cheap and good laptop”?
Before starting our guide, we have to clarify what we mean by cheap laptop since it is a relative concept that not everyone interprets the same way. For example, an ultrabook for 700 dollars can be a cheap and good laptop, especially considering that the average price range for this type of laptop ranges from $900 to $17500 or more.
Many users confuse the concept of a cheap and good laptop with that of an underpowered computer, and that is the beginning of many of their later problems since they find a laptop that, although it is indeed cheap, does not comply with any of the expectations that have been placed on it.
For this reason, before buying a laptop, you should be clear about what you are going to use it for and the features you need, and then realistically adjust your budget and buy the cheapest laptop you can within these requirements. A $300 laptop is not useful for everyone, nor does everyone need a 1000 dollars laptop.
The market for laptops is correctly categorized, and the fact of finding laptops ranging from $300 to $3000 is not a coincidence. With this in mind, one of the first tips that we offer you in this guide to buy a cheap and good laptop is that you be very clear about what the equipment will be used.
A $300 laptop meets the minimum requirements for browsing and editing documents, but it won’t measure up to run demanding programs. If that is the use you usually do, you will not need more.
If you are going to use the laptop in a more versatile way, for example, to carry out more intensive browsing or watch multimedia content, what you need is a device with a range between $500 to $700.
On the other hand, if the user that is going to be given is a little more demanding and is related to the occasional editing of video or photo, or to playing some undemanding games sporadically, the price range rises between $700 and $1000.
On the other hand, we have specialized laptops, such as gaming laptops, which have been designed to obtain the maximum performance in games and graphic applications, or 2-in-1 convertible ultrabooks and laptops, specifically created to be light and with excellent mobility and autonomy. In this case, prices skyrocket above $1200.
Being clear about what type of laptop you need, you will be able to find models with below-average prices, buying the good laptop possible at the best price.
What is the best time of year to buy a cheap and good laptop?
As with many other commercial segments, technology does not maintain a stable price throughout the year, so prices will go up or down to the tune of limited-time promotional campaigns, featured dates, or new product launches. So one of the best tips for buying a laptop at the lowest possible price is to wait for one of these opportunities.
As a general rule, the best time to buy a product is just when its replacement has just been introduced. At that time, distributors want to empty the stocks of the “old product” to accommodate the new generation. Obviously, the laptop will continue to be as powerful and useful as it was a month ago, but its price will drop considerably.
Global promotional campaigns such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or the Christmas campaign are a good time to buy the laptop you need at a bargain price. However, they are not the only opportunity you will have throughout the year.
Apart from the presentations of the new models, the market trend indicates that, statistically, the months of July and August experience a general drop in prices. The reason is the preparation of the dreaded back to school, which this time will play in your favour to buy your laptop at the best price.
The features you should look at
What operating system do you need?
Most laptops come with their factory-installed operating system, and this is typically Windows 10, except for Apple laptops, of course.
However, if you are going to use a GNU / Linux, you can save a few hundred dollars from the operating system license. Why pay for it if you are not going to use it later? When buying the laptop, note that the manufacturer clearly indicates that it does not include the operating system or, in its absence, indicates that it has installed FreeDos, a free version of the Microsoft MSDOS system with which you can use your laptop from the command window.
Choose the screen size well
Manufacturing costs have a decisive impact on the final price of the product. For this reason, when a new technology begins to reach the devices, its price is high, while as its use expands and its production is optimized, prices gradually decrease. This is something to keep in mind when buying a cheap and good laptop.
The 15.6-inch screens with HD resolution are the longest on the market, and that is reflected in its final price, making it a decisive factor in finding the cheapest laptop. Currently, Full HD screens of the same size have also dropped considerably, and affordable notebooks with that screen configuration are already beginning to be seen.
If you can avoid it, forget about the 12, 13, 14, or 17-inch screens since those sizes are usually somewhat more expensive because they have less production.
Attentive to the processor
The processor is probably one of the most decisive elements in the purchase of a laptop since it determines the performance that will be obtained from it.
In this sense, some brands and distributors use the cores and their frequency to play tricks with the user, not clearly indicating what type of processor the laptop mounts. Needless to say, not all processors use cores the same way, nor is frequency always that decisive in your choice.
Many laptops, especially those belonging to the 2-in-1 convertible categories with touch screen, use components that were initially designed for tablets and mobiles, so their performance, does not measure up traditional laptop processors. An example of these processors can be found in Intel’s Atom or Core M series.
These processors are especially interesting if you want to achieve significant autonomy of use and mobility, but they are not designed to perform demanding tasks.
Save the graphics card if you can
The dedicated graphics card is one of the components that you can perhaps do without when choosing your laptop, saving you a few dollars on the final bill. Suppose you are only going to use the laptop screen and you do not plan to play or edit video. In that case, you are not going to need it since the processor itself already integrates a GPU that powerfully matches some of those that are installed as dedicated.
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In fact, even if the laptop has a dedicated GPU, most of the time, it will only use the GPU built into the processor to save battery power. The laptop’s dedicated graphics card is only used when the running application needs extra power. At that time, the graphics processor is activated and is responsible for managing the graphics automatically.
If the laptop is not going to run those kinds of programs, why pay for a component that you are not going to use? Many manufacturers offer different versions of the same laptop model that offers similar configurations, but without the dedicated graphics card. Without a doubt, a handy tip to buy a cheap and good laptop.
Differences in RAM
The RAM is another data not always specified that everything should appear in the spec sheets of a notebook. Knowing data such as the number of memory sockets it has or the type of RAM and its frequency will serve to weigh future memory expansions.
In other words, if at the time of buying the laptop you do not need more than 4 GB, but it is possible that in the future you do need more, you will have the option of expanding its performance quickly and without having to pay more than your account for something. That you may not finally need.
Unlike desktop computers, not all RAMs mounted by notebooks are the same since, in addition to standard DDR3 / 4, notebooks can also mount DDR3L / 4L and LPDD3 / 4 memories.
The last two types offer lower energy consumption, which is ideal for a laptop, but in return, they also have lower performance. In the case of LPDDR3 / 4, they are soldered directly to the motherboard, which nullifies the options of expansion in the future.
Knowing the characteristics of the RAM will help you to know if the laptop you are going to buy is cheap for the benefits it promises, or its low price is due to lower performance.
Monitor storage type
The internal storage of a laptop is essential, but in many cases, it is not so much the capacity of the laptop, but the speed it offers. The faster it is, the higher its price.
When looking at the specification sheet, you will find acronyms like eMMC, HDD, or SSD. Behind these acronyms hides in reality very different storage speeds with which the experience of using the laptop will be very different.
The cheapest convertible 2-in-1 laptops usually mount eMMC storage, which are memory chips similar to what we would find in memory cards and USB sticks. So you can already imagine that its reading and writing speed is quite limited. Despite that, it may be enough for someone looking for a basic laptop to navigate or perform basic office tasks.
The HDD and SSD (both in their versions with M.2 format, and 2.5-inch format) are the most common options. In economic terms, a laptop with an HDD will always be much more affordable than the same model with an SSD.
The amount of storage is also a decisive factor when buying a cheap laptop. One of the best tips to buy a good and cheap laptop that we can give you is to banish forever the idea that the more storage you have in the laptop, the better since it can be a fatal mistake for your economy.
It may be worth it to choose a model with a 500 GB HDD or a 128 GB SSD and buy an external hard drive, rather than a laptop with more storage capacity. This option also leaves you open the door to a future update in which you can change the original disk for another one with better features if necessary.
Remember: the design is fine, but you pay
Construction materials and laptop l are one of the most popular things when buying a laptop, so if the design is not on your priority list, you can save a few dollars on your purchase.
The aluminium and metal finishes give the laptop a touch of elegance and modernity, but also contribute to increasing its price without providing a substantial improvement in its performance. So, when choosing a new affordable laptop, you don’t mind if it is made of plastic.
The polycarbonates that are currently used in the manufacture of notebooks are of better quality than those that were used a few years ago and offer more excellent resistance to impacts and the passage of time, without penalizing their weight.
By following our tips for buying a good laptop, you will be able to focus on what matters to get the laptop you need without paying more. I’m sure that this article helps you to buy a good laptop in 2020.