Shopping for a new laptop? I'll bet your head is swimming
right about now. No doubt you've hit the Web in search of product
reviews and killer deals (Savings.com is always a good place to
start, ahem), but it's not always easy to determine which brand is
best, what features are most important, or whether it's finally
time to ditch Windows and just buy a Mac.
I get these kinds of questions all the time from friends and
family members, so I've whipped up this handy guide to laptop
shopping. If you have a specific question I didn't answer here, ask
it in the comments below, and I'll do my best to give you an
1. When possible, choose a solid-state
Hard drives are old hat. If you want faster performance and
longer battery life, get a laptop with a solid-state drive
It's back-to-school shopping season, and for a lot of students that
means stocking up on tech gear: laptops, flash drives, and maybe
even a new phone.
Of course, you're probably the one footing the bill for all
this stuff, so it makes sense to seek out the best deals you
With that in mind, I've assembled three tips to help you get
the most bang for your back-to-school buck.
1. Don't Go Overboard on a Laptop
I'm often asked for laptop buying advice, and my response is
always the same: "What do you plan to do with it?"
Students have fairly modest needs--often little more than word
processing, Web browsing, and e-mail. Of course, moving beyond mere
needs, they'll also want to use their machines for things like
music, movies, and games.
Thankfully, these activities don't require a lot of
horsepower. At minimum you'll want a dual-core processor, 4GB of
RAM, and 320GB hard drive.
So you've finally decided to cut bait on your old laptop. You're tired of waiting 10 minutes for Windows to boot, tired of programs that take forever to load, and tired of viruses and spyware gumming up the works.
In other words, it's time for a new machine. And for around $500 (less if you're willing to buy a refurbished or closeout model), you can get yourself something mighty nice.
But what about the old laptop? What should be its fate? You probably can't sell it for much, and in its current condition, it's not much good as a hand-me-down.
Know what I'd do? Wipe the hard drive (after retrieving all your data from it, of course) and install Linux. That may sound like a techie, nerds-only solution, but hear me out. The whole process is easier than you might think, and it results in a laptop that feels brand new—maybe even better than new.
Whether you're a techno-geek or a Luddite, eventually you end up with electronic waste. Those old computers, cell phones, and other gadgets that go unused and obsolete. What do you do with them? It may depend on where you live.