The choices can be overwhelming: PC vs laptop? Chromebook or Apple? Columnist Marc Saltzman guides shoppers through the computer-buying process. USA TODAY
Battery activity is key for today’s laptops, with some models carrying up to 15 hours amid charges.(Photo: Dell/handout)
Buying a new computer is a lot like acclimation a pizza: You anticipate it’s a adequately simple assignment until you apprehend how abounding choices you charge to make.
But if your absolute apparatus is so old it could almost run solitaire, you’re apparently due for an upgrade.
The acceptable account is two-fold: there are abounding new agitative developments in the computer space, and there are abounding deals to be had over Black Friday, Cyber Monday and arch up to the holidays.
Aside from addition out your budget, of course, the afterward are some questions you ability appetite to ask yourself to advice adjudge what’s appropriate for you.
More: Best apps to save you money over Black Friday and beyond
More: The best Black Friday deals you can get appropriate now
More: Black Friday 2017: What to buy, what to skip
While best Chrome OS computers are bargain and underpowered, Google’s afresh apparent Pixelbook (from $999) is able and pricey. (Photo: Google/handout)
How you plan on application your new computer should behest what affectionate to buy.
If you alone appetite a computer for ablaze tasks — such as Web browsing, account email, and blockage on amusing media — afresh you could go with bashful blueprint (specs), which should accept a bashful price, too. Article with an Intel Core i3 or i5 should be sufficient.
On the added end of the spectrum, if you’re attractive for a apparatus that can handle high-end computer games, basal absoluteness or video editing, you’ll charge to advance in a faster processor, bigger cartoon capabilities, and added RAM (system memory). An Intel Core i7, NVIDIA graphics, and 16GB or 32GB of RAM (instead of 4GB or 8GB) is a acceptable idea.
When it comes to storage, added and added laptops accept a solid-state drive (SSD) instead of a adamantine deejay drive (HDD), which makes these laptops thinner, lighter, faster and added activity efficient. Like the beam anamnesis in your smartphone, SSDs are additionally beneath decumbent to accident because there are no affective parts.
That said, I like to say purchasing a computer should be like affairs kids clothes: go a little bigger than you charge today, so you can abound into it for longer-term savings. You don’t appetite to accept “buyer’s remorse” by acrimonious article underpowered, alone to alter it in a year from now.
Stick with a cast you’ve had a acceptable acquaintance with, or ones your accompany and ancestors awful acclaim (and critics, too).
Most computers awash today accept Windows 10 preinstalled. It combines a archetypal desktop attending but with the advantage for beyond tiles, as alien in Windows 8. (Photo: Microsoft, handout)
This catechism may additionally be angry to the “What will I use it for?” decision, abnormally if there’s software you appetite to run that alone works with a specific operating arrangement (OS).
Otherwise, you’ve got three capital choices today: Windows, Mac and Chromebook. (Yes, there’s Linux, too, but not a boilerplate pick.)
Stick with the operating arrangement you’re best adequate with. If you’re not sure, or feel like a change, apperceive that anniversary OS has its advantages.
►Windows 10 is the best accepted best today. It’s offered by about all the bigger computer brands — such as Dell, HP, ASUS, Lenovo, Acer and so on — added Microsoft makes their own Surface-branded PCs, too. It’s accessible to use, works with the best software and accouterments out of any OS, and the Windows Hello affection agency you can log assimilate your accessory by artlessly attractive at your computer’s camera. Windows 10 offers assorted means to interface with your content, whether it’s a keyboard, trackpad or mouse; application a stylus pen on the awning for greater attention (often alleged “digital inking”); fingertips on a touchscreen; or by application your articulation with the Cortana claimed assistant.
► Apple’s Mac ancestors are additionally a accepted pick. Aback Apple is the alone one that manufacturers Macs — like the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro — there is about bigger affection control, and congenital with exceptional materials. Macs tend to aftermost a continued time (but not their chargers), admitting Macs amount more, on average, aback compared to Windows and Chromebooks with commensurable specs. Abounding acquisition them easier to use than added operating systems (thought that boils bottomward to claimed preference, of course). Apple includes abounding of its top software for chargeless (or a chargeless download from the Mac App Store), added there is a lot of software for Macs today, too.
Apple’s MacBook ancestors are a accepted aces for its glassy design, durability, and longevity. (Photo: Apple/handout)
► Powered by Google’s Chrome OS, Chromebooks are about added affordable than Windows and Macs, but there are some exceptional Chromebooks available, such as Google’s own Pixelbook ($999), which includes Google Abettor for articulation interaction. Chromebooks usually address with accepted Google apps already preinstalled, such as Gmail and Google Maps. About speaking, Chromebooks accept bashful specs, such as little bounded storage, but best Google apps are cloud-based anyway. Chrome OS is billed as a lean, fast operating system, advised for mostly basal tasks, and with acceptable value.
Affordable and portable, yet usually underpowered, Google’s Chrome OS is accessible through abounding accepted compute makers, including ASUS. (Photo: ASUSTeK Computer Inc./handout)
If it’s been a while aback you shopped for a laptop, you’ll apprehension abounding are abundantly attenuate and light, authoritative them abundant easier to backpack about with you to and from coffee shops, the office, school, airplanes, and so on.
Many Windows-based laptops are “2-in-1s,” as they can transform from a laptop to a book and aback again. Some 2-in-1s are alleged “convertibles” as they catechumen from laptop approach to book by artlessly angle aback the screen, which is on a 360-degree hinge, and disables the keyboard in favor of borer and annexation the screen. While beneath popular, added 2-in-1s are alleged “detachables” as the awning detaches altogether, which you can afresh accompany with you as a tablet.
While laptops are about adopted because they’re portable, anchored desktop computers ability be added ideal for adolescent kids. Why? If you put it in a awful trafficked breadth of the home, you can accumulate an eye on area they’re activity online. They’re usually beneath big-ticket than laptops and harder to breach aback they’re beneath mobile.
Many desktop computers today are “all-in-ones,” with the audacity of the computer congenital in abaft the monitor. (Photo: HP/handout)
Many of today’s desktops are about “all-in-ones,” which is aback the computer is congenital into the aback of the ample monitor, so there’s no belfry to booty up added space. Ideal to abode anywhere in a home — such as a kitchen counter, in a home office, or a teenager’s allowance — abounding all-in-ones accept a touchscreen and about address with a wireless keyboard and mouse.
But if you’re affairs a desktop for a gamer, an all-in-one isn’t as modular, aback it’s not so accessible to amend storage, anamnesis or cartoon cards. Instead, a belfry bureaucracy may be best for a gamer.
As you can see, there’s a lot to adjudge aback affairs a new computer — it’s not a one-size-fits-all book — but forth with how abundant you accept to spend, ask yourself these three questions to advice you carve bottomward your options.
Follow Marc on Twitter: @marc_saltzman. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With the 2017 MacBook Pro Apple alien a new Touch Bar to their archetypal design. Is the new affection a hit or a miss? Check out the video to acquisition out! Reviewed.com
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