My Advice When Buying a Home Computer

It’s back to school time and everybody has a deal on pretty much everything, including computers. Naturally, this is also the time of year I get asked most frequently, what kind of computer should I get for my home? Simply put, my first response is, get what you want. Not to be terse, I follow up with what I am going to share with you now.

Computers have become a commodity technology like your TV or your microwave oven. Unless you have a specific use in mind for your computer like graphic editing or music composition what you choose comes down to what you like. If you like Dell, buy Dell if not, buy HP, or Asus. Most of the hardware inside is sourced from the same companies anyway. The next bit of advice I usually give is to ask yourself, what do you use your computer for now and why do you need a new one? If you are like most people, your home computer use is mainly for browsing the internet, playing a few games, checking email, and maybe organizing photos. If you liked the brand of PC you had and you just need some extra performance get another one just like what you have now with a faster processor and more RAM and you are all set. If you didn’t like the brand you got last time get a different brand. No matter what you get, they all have Windows 8.1… unless you are a Mac like those Apple commercials suggested. In that case just get a new Mac. They upgrade their hardware and OS almost every year.

This next bit is where things get a little sticky…you say you have been thinking about a tablet? Oh well that is a whole different can of worms… same worms, just a different can. I personally feel tablets have computers beat hands down for average day-to-day use. If you want to do all the same stuff you did on your computer well that’s easy just look for a hybrid tablet/laptop that runs Windows 8.1 and is within your budget. There are dozens of them in the marketplace and each has its merits and short-comings. Try before you buy. Find a Walmart, Best Buy, Staples that has these devices on display and go pick them up, hold them in your hand, use the touch screen, find one that makes you feel good. In the end, it is still just a Windows 8 computer. The more you want to do with it the more processor speed and RAM you need just like your computer.

What about iPads or Android tablets? They are both great. What kind of phone do you have? I suggest sticking to the same OS as your cell phone. The content shares much easier between devices running the same OS because they use the same app stores. If you have an iPhone get an iPad, Android phone get an Android tablet. A word of caution: Androids and iPads are not like Windows tablets. You have to think about things like pictures and documents differently. These are devices designed to consume content not really store and manage it. The cloud is your friend or a network attached hard drive as long as there is an app for it.

I find that for most of my home use a tablet is my go to almost 99% of the time and the same is true for my wife and kids. I do some light graphics editing and other things on occasion that I have to reach for my computer to do but by and large it tends to just collect dust. Seriously consider a tablet for your daily use but keep a PC around for that other stuff if you need it. I bet this time next year you will have given up your regular computer completely. If not and your computer still needs replaced don’t break the bank. Pick up something modest that will do just what you need it for or just get the hybrid Windows laptop. My niece just got a Lenovo Yoga to start college and loves being able to turn it into a tablet and use the touch screen. In the end like I said in the beginning, get what you want because that’s what you are going to use.

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