5 things to remember when shopping for a computer

Desktop? Laptop? Tablet? Data Doctor Ken Colburn offers tips to consider when shopping for a new computer. (Thinkstock)

WASHINGTON – Shopping for a new computer can be exciting and stressful – and it’s often both.

With options including desktop computers with monitors, portable laptops and the growing tablet computer market, customers ready for a new computer have many choices.

Ken Colburn, of The Data Doctors, offers a few things to ask yourself as you begin your search and shop for a new machine.

  1. What do I need?
  2. “Most people will say I just need to surf the net or check my email,” says Colburn.

    If most of the things you’ll need to access are available on the Cloud, you may not need to invest in a pricey laptop.

    “If you truly live your life on the web, it’s highly likely you can get by with a tablet or Google Chromebook,” says Colburn.

  3. Do I need to buy new programs?
  4. When figuring what you want to spend on a new machine, Colburn suggests taking an inventory of programs you use on your current computer.

    “If you’re going to go to a new computer, do you have the disks and the ability to reinstall them?” Colburn suggests asking yourself.

    “Buying a new computer isn’t the end to the journey. It’s just the beginning,” says Colburn.

  5. How difficult are the tasks I want to do?
  6. Colburn says if you decide on a tablet or Chromebook, it may be difficult or impossible to perform certain demanding functions.

    “If you really plan on getting involved with photography, taking videos, if you have kids who want to play third-person games,” Colburn says a more powerful laptop or desktop may be necessary.

    “Gaming and video editing are probably the most stressful tasks you can perform on a computer,” warns Colburn.

  7. Will my support system disappear?
  8. If you’re not technically-oriented, or married to an IT pro, chances are you’ll have questions about setting-up your new computer.

    “Do you have friends and family who can help you with whatever platform you’re going to?” asks Colburn.

    “If you’re on Windows and all your friends are on Windows and you decide to go to a Mac, and none of your friends know about Macs, you no longer will have those friends to call on when you have a question.”

  9. Is the salesperson listening to me?
  10. If within two or three minutes of entering a store, the salesperson is walking you toward a computer that’s “a great bargain” be very leery, advises Colburn.

    “They haven’t spent any real time asking you what you’ll use the computer for,” says Colburn.

    “A lot of times a manager will take a slow-moving machine, the ones nobody wants, and put a bounty on them, and tell (sales) people ‘If you sell this you’ll get a $20 bill,'” says Colburn.

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