Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tracking Down the Perfect Laptop

Hubby is currently preparing to begin his first year at Business School.  He starts a two week long Orientation on August 16th which is also the day after his last day of steady employment.  This is because Hubby’s school makes everyone sign a contract that they will not work (paid or unpaid) in any way during their first year of Business School.  Yeah, I’m nervous. 

We are trying to find him a great laptop with a whole list of minimum requirements that Hubby’s school has—not to mention the minimum requirements that Hubby has himself.  Right now we are comparing computers from BestBuy.com, SamsClub.com, Amazon.com, Costco.com, basically everywhere.  I really recommend not being impulsive on this matter since it is such a big purchase.  Plus, being thorough helps me to be less paranoid.
I also believe that the extended warranty is a great idea for school laptops.  Think about it, if you have the money now to get a laptop you probably have that little bit extra to pay for an extended warranty (which in our case only needs to be a two-year plan since Business School is only that long.  I think the smartest plan is to get a warranty that is for at least the length of your program if possible—law school: three-years; med school: four-years plus). 

Now here is my reasoning, and it has nothing to do with frivolous spending but everything to do with peace of mind, a year and a day from now (when the basic manufacturer’s warranty runs out) we will not have the money to buy a completely new computer and that is when things are more likely to break.  I also believe in the accidental plans too but they are more expensive and if you trust yourself and everyone who could come near it this might not be necessary and skipping it could save some money.  Seeing as we will soon have a small person toddling around I think that we need the accidental plan…Hubby disagrees, I’ll keep you posted on who wins that one.
It is a long and frustrating process but in the end I think Hubby will be happier knowing that we checked out every option.  Otherwise, if he were to stumble across something better that was available at the time of purchase I know he would be disappointed.

I do have some guidelines to make it a little less convoluted:
·         Decide what is important for your computer to do for you.  Create a list, and this list does not have to use computer jargon!  There are plenty of people out there who can translate what you want into the actual product.  Know what sort of things you will be using this computer for—different programs make the computer run slower and slower.  So, if you want a fast computer but you also want to run a slow program your computer will need to compensate for that and the sales clerks can help you pick that out.

·         After you have picked out your ideal computer compare prices.  Even if you are in a store and don’t have a smart phone this can be done without leaving.  Lately, more and more computer stores are hooked up to the internet—not necessarily all the computers on display but a couple.  Log on and type the model number (ask the clerk) into your favorite search engine (I prefer Yahoo.com even though I still say that I am going to ‘Google it”) and it will bring up the price at various online and real world stores.  Then decide where you want to buy it—keeping shipping costs in mind.
Wish us luck.  Laptop hunting is hard. 

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