About Discount Notebook Computers  

Posted by Laptop Tips

While notebook computer prices have come down quite a lot, laptops still range from inexpensive notebook models to high end luxury jobs. Naturally, the notebook you eventually choose to buy will depend on your resources and requirements, but if you are on a budget like so many of us are, you should give some thought to picking up a discount notebook computer.

There are a variety of reasons that a particular model may be discounted and it’s smart to try to find out why. A legitimate retailer should be able to offer a reasonable explanation. Any discount notebook computer should be new and carry a full manufacturer’s warranty. Some specific notebooks may be discounted because they’ve been factory refurbished.

Generally this means they were bought and returned for some reason. Then the factory rebuilt them to original specifications, replacing any damaged or defective parts. Refurbished laptops may be available for even less than discount notebooks. Not everyone is willing to take a chance on a rebuilt notebook, but you might want to consider the fact that these machines have been burned in and the weak parts failed and have been replaced. And they still come with a full warranty.

Manufacturers will often discount models based on closeout of a particular notebook computer. It may not have the latest technology and is being replaced by an upgraded model. Some discounts may be for loss leaders. Often a person will upgrade later to a more expensive model based on brand loyalty or just the comfortable knowledge that the first notebook from XYZ Corp worked well so why not stick with them. A lifetime customer is worth a small loss. Retailers will often discount in order to get rid of excess inventory or prepare for new models.

You do want to make sure you aren’t being given a used notebook disguised as a discounted model. Check the warranty. A used notebook will normally not carry a manufacturer’s warranty and any warranty period may be shorter then the standard new model warranty. Never, ever be afraid to ask hard questions. It’s your money and it’s going to be your data going into the notebook you buy. If you get weak or unsatisfactory answers, evasions or hostility, walk. There’s lots of places to buy notebook computers.

One thing you must do is to analyze your own computer needs before you go looking for a notebook. Exactly what will you be using the machine for most of the time. How important is it to have a really fast machine? Do you need high end graphics? How much disk space do you require? Do you need to read both CDs and DVDs? Do you want to be able to write CDs, DVDs? What kind of sound do you need? How much memory? What other specific features do you want - wireless, networking, floppy disk? Do you plan to carry it around a lot? Then weight may be important. Do you need a long battery life? How about the size of the screen? What will you be comfortable with?

Let me share something you here. I use a refurbished Compaq for nearly everything these days. It’s been incredibly reliable for well over 2 and a half years. I rarely take it anywhere. I have an external keyboard plugged into it and I use an external monitor too. But I use the LCD at the same time. The graphics allow me to spread my desktop over the external monitor and the LCD screen. My visible desktop is over 25 inches. Depending on your graphics, you can do the same thing with a desktop computer, but it takes up a lot more room. Now I feel horribly limited when I have a little 17, 19 or 21 inch desktop. This is, hands down, the absolute best deal I’ve ever made in a computer buy - including all the computers I’ve built myself from scratch.

That was a little off subject, but I’ve found that very few people realize just how useful spreading your desktop over more than one monitor can be in terms of both comfort and productivity. OK, back to the pre-shopping analysis. This kind of analysis sounds tedious because it is. It’s much more fun to just go out and buy on impulse. Unfortunately that’s not a smart thing to do. It sets you up to be seduced by a hot sales pitch for a really neat bleeding edge high end notebook. There are very very few people who actually need that kind of technology.

The reality is that 97 to 99% of the notebook computer buyers could do at least 95% of their typical tasks with the cheapest, slowest notebook on the market. You need to be certain about how much you’re willing to pay to do that remaining 5% a little faster. And if your needs aren’t typical, you probably already have a good idea of just what’s required. The advantage of a discount computer is that you can put some of the money you’ve just saved into more memory, an external hard drive for backup, an additional (big) external monitor, an extra battery, a new printer or whatever additional accessory will make your work easier. And you’ll probably still come out ahead.

We all have a tendency to overestimate our needs - and to want the biggest, fastest, best, coolest whatever. Salesmen know this. After all a discount notebook computer just isn’t as sexy somehow, is it? But let’s be real here, a notebook is to work. It will not get you that really hot lady or that primo guy. In any case, the truly cool people have minions to carry around their stuff and wouldn’t be caught dead lugging around a computer or using one in public.

A little thought, a little rationality, and you can end up with a high quality discount notebook that’s more than sufficient for your needs without even spending your whole budget. Now that is cool.

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