Shopping for a new computer? It can be tricky to navigate all the different brands, models, and geeky jargon, especially if technology isn’t your strong suit. There are so many options available, at a wide range of price points, how do you know which is the best one for performance and to get the best bang for your buck? Here’s are some important details you should look out for when choosing your new computer.

The operating system

The biggest question is: are you a Mac user or a PC user? Both operating systems have made leaps and bounds over the years, but still, both have their advantages and drawbacks. What do you plan on using your computer for? If you’re using it for work, consider that Apple computers are more popular with creative professionals, as they have been using them for years and tend to stick to the programs they know and are familiar with. Maybe you use a Mac at work and want to stay with it, so the answer here might be obvious: go with what you know. 

PCs are also widely used in the workplace, and you can of course still get the same programs as a Mac has but with a Windows version. There are slight adjustments you would need to get used to, but overall, they can function the same. Plus, you can get a desktop PC with similar specs at a much lower price point than a Mac or Macbook. 

If you’re only going to use your computer for tasks like email and browsing the web, or some light word processing, consider getting a Chromebook that runs on Chrome OS. It’s an ultra-light laptop that mostly forgoes all the heavy specs and components, which you won’t need anyway if those are the only tasks you’ll be doing, but is super affordable. 

Another thing to keep in mind when choosing an operating system is malware. PCs are more vulnerable to viruses and malware than Macs, although both can be affected by them. Before settling on a new machine to buy, click here to read about malware detection to get a better idea of how malware can affect your computer. 

The screen size and weight of the machine

If you’re looking for a desktop computer, the weight won’t matter much, but the screen size on a desktop can vary just as much as a laptop can, and the weight of a laptop will most likely matter to you if you’re lugging it around all the time. 

Laptops: The size of the screen will also determine how heavy the computer is, because the bigger the screen, the bigger the computer. If you want something with portability, look for a laptop with a 13” screen, or consider an ultra-light Macbook Air or its PC equivalent. Just be wary that ultra-light laptops forego components that may be important to you and how you want the machine to perform, so be sure to ask questions about what is missing when shopping for one. If weight isn’t a deciding factor, a 15” or 17” laptop can really make a difference in how you use it, because the extra real estate on-screen can be key. 

Desktops: Most people go with a 24” screen for their desktop because those are the most common screen sizes. Since the weight doesn’t factor in, you could go as big as you want. There are also external monitors available that you can connect to your main computer so you can have multiple screens at varying heights and widths, ideal for creative work like graphic or web design, video editing, or web coding. 

The storage sizeThe amount of storage capacity depends on your needs and what you’ll be using it for. Computers with more storage will, of course, be more expensive. However, you can always upgrade your storage space with an external hard drive or even replace the entire drive on a PC. 

By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

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