There are the times when buying a new computer is all about getting the newest and Cheapest ASAP! These times are: Tax refund anticipation purchases; back to school need-it-now purchases; and, of course, Christmas.
As both of the regular readers of my blogs know most of my alleged retirement is spent hanging out at Computer Central here in Brazil. Our son Nathan is the Special Computer Guru in Charge; all I know about computers is what I've learned by osmosis. And, yes, although it is not a big part of the business, we do sell a few new computers. Over time there are some things we've come to tell anyone who asks about computer purchases (those who ask first and buy second).
First, a Universal Warning:
Beware of cheapest model mass-produced by lowest bidder on a chain-store contract in an "emerging" country. My observation has been these last just long enough to get out of warranty before having really expensive problems. Fortunately for us Computer Central makes a lot more repairing than selling the darn things. What was it the old commercial said, "pay me now or pay me later?"
Whether it is a painstakingly deliberate or "what have you got ready to go Now?" decision, there are three questions which need answer.
#1 - What Are You Going To Do?
When our kids started having babies we got a lot of pictures on our home computer. Fortunately nobody takes as many pics of the second, third, etc. baby; so we're set. And they don't even send us e-mails anymore; we have to go to Facebook to get the latest photo of the latest kid's kid. For what we do what we got will last a while. It is amazing, though, how many people who just wanted to check e-mail and play Solitaire come in having been sold a computer which would do just about anything a high-tech sophisticated user would ever want to do with a computer.
#2 -- How Fast Do You Have To Do It?
Occasionally there is this guy (it's always a guy) who wants to have on-line competition with this other guy (we assume it's a guy) who is on the other side of the earth with the same game. For this you need speed. For most other computer uses maybe not so much speed is required. Why do we need to do things so fast? Because we can; and we've gotten used to it! There are all kinds of computer-geek speak for why the things are "slow" (seconds) and how to speed them up (mini-seconds), but I don't speak geek-speak. What you're going to do and how fast you gotta do it has to be balanced with question #3.
#3 -- How Much Money You Got?
If you haven't enough money to get what you need to satisfy Question #1 and #2, hang on to your cash for a week or two -- the next newest and greatest might be cheaper.
Computer Central has a Free "Computer Buyer's Guide" available. It's not much to look at, but it's a better place to start than somewhere that only has the cheapest model built by lowest bidder on a chain-store contract. Promise Nathan won't try to sell you anything that doesn't meet your need, even if it is close to Christmas.
David L. Lewis is an observer of and sometimes commentator on life who may be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.